Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Kuerten, Miami final, 2000


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Gustavo Kuerten 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(8) in the Miami final, 2000 on hard court

It was Sampras' 3rd title at the event and 11th Masters title and would turn out be his last. Kuerten would go onto win his first hard court title later in the year and would win the Year End Championship at after that on same surface, beating Sampras en route

Sampras won 160 points, Kuerten 147

Sampras serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (94/148) 64%
- 1st serve points won (75/94) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (30/54) 56%
- Aces 20 (2 second serves), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 9
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (70/148) 47%

- 1st serve percentage (89/159) 56%
- 1st serve points won (60/89) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (44/70) 63%
- Aces 16 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (51/159) 32%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 56%
- to BH 41%
- to Body 3%

Kuerten served...
- to FH 21%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 104 (20 FH, 84 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 33 return-approaches
- 34 Errors, comprising...
- 18 Unforced (3 FH, 15 BH), including 9 return-approach attempts
- 16 Forced (8 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (104/155) 67%

Kuerten made...
- 69 (34 FH, 35 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 9 Winners (7 FH, 2 BH)
- 49 Errors, all forced...
- 49 Forced (30 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (69/139) 50%

Break Points
Sampras 3/13 (7 games)
Kuerten 1/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 35 (4 FH, 2 BH, 6 FHV, 13 BHV, 10 OH)
Kuerten 37 (21 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)

Sampras had 24 from serve-volley points
- 13 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 6 BHV, 4 OH, 1 FH at net)... 1 BHV was a net chord flicker
- 11 second volleys (2 FHV, 4 BHV, 5 OH)

- 5 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BH passes - 2 cc

Kuerten had 26 passes - 9 returns (7 FH, 2 BH) & regular 17 (7 FH, 10 BH)
- FH returns - 4 cc (1 possibly not clean), 2 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BH returns - 1 cc and 1 dtl
- regular FHs - 5 cc, 1 lob and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net
- regular BHs - 4 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out, 2 inside-out/dtl and 2 lobs

- non-pass FHs - 3 cc (1 at net), 2 inside-out, 1 longline and 1 drop shot at net
- non-pass BH - 1 drop shot at net

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first volley BHV

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 50
- 26 Unforced (12 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)... with 2 FH at net (1 pass attempt)
- 24 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH, 7 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 2 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)... 1 FH at net that can reasonably be called a FH1/2V
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.3

Kuerten 51
- 13 Unforced (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV)
- 38 Forced (17 FH, 18 BH, 3 BHV)... with 2 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53.1

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Sampras was...
- 113/164 (69%) at net, including...
- 84/118 (71%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 56/75 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 28/43 (65%) off 2nd serve
- 19/33 (58%) return-approaching
- 0/1 retreated

Kuerten was...
- 20/29 (69%) at net, including...
- 6/8 (75%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 5/6 (83%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Relentless net seeking by Sampras - he serve-volleys 100% of the time, return-approaches as much as possible and looks to take net from baseline rallies - shapes action in a high quality affair on a quick court and in hot, humid conditions. Kuerten is simply overwhelmed by it for most of 2 sets, before getting slightly better grip on returning and making necessary adjustments in his service games to make things competitive. Pete though remains the stronger player and the one more likely to score a break until almost the end

You could say its a 3 part match with phases A, B and C or better A, B1 and B2

In phase A, Pete's in all-out killer mode and completely overwhelms Guga. Huge serving - 1st and 2nd - that'd be tough to cope with even without 100% serve-volleying sees him hold like clockwork. Constant chip-charging second serves and looking for appraoches from rallies see him break or threaten to regularly

Guga plays normally - big serve and looking to get a 'normal' baseline rally going. No chance to on second serve points because Pete returns of the approach. And Pete's on look out in rallies to approach

Pete sweeps out to a 6-1, 5-4, 30-15 lead as he serves for a 2 set lead. At that stage, his unreturned rate stands at 60% and he's broken 3/6 games

Guga whacks 3 passing winners to break completely against run of play. He'd won 1 point in 4 return games in the set prior to the game. Thus begins Phase B1. For rest of match, Pete's unreturned rate falls to 42%

Kuerten solidifies the adjustments to his game that he'd tepidly made in Phase A. He -

- takes something of his own big serve to keep higher in-count to keep from having to make passing shots agaisnt Pete's chip-charge returns against 2nd serve
This allows Pete to return 1st serves with reasonable comfort. Guga's unrestrained 1sts serves are in same ball park as Pete's for pace and would almost certainly overwhelm the returner

- beefs up his second serve to discourage the chip-charges. That doesn't work and Pete keeps coming, but its not an easy serve to chip-charge. More errors from Pete trying and easier passing shots for Guga are end result - though Pete continues to be a nuisance

- hits harder from the baseline, hard enough to keep Pete pinned back. Pete hammers his own FH too, but Guga gets much better of the baseline rallies that Pete's net-thirst has pushed him to play with high intensity hitting. Anything less, and Pete's likely to take net

Guga also starts coming in proactively. He has room to due to outhitting Pete from back and is sure up at net

- Returning, Guga moves further back from his intial, considerably back position. Pete adjusts to Guga's adjustment too and eases up on looking for aces in favour of less powerful but wider serves that move Guga miles wide of court to set up potentially easy volley winners

Guga's able to make use of the greater angles thus opened up too to hit return winners more often and gest more rturns in play than he'd been able to against the full blast serving. Good adjustments by Guga, but Pete remains master of his service games. There's not much anyone could do to have that not be the case, but better prospects for Guga

Phase B2 is continuation of B1, but with Pete tiring. Its a typically hot, humid Miami day. Process of Pete's power (particulalry on the serve) and movement (particularly to net) declining is smooth - there's no one point where there's a transition to Pete's standard falling markedly. He's not serving as hard or moving as well or even volleying with as much care by middle of third set, but hte drop is small. It gets more pronounced with time and by middle of 4th set, his second serve is potentially thrashable. Wouldn't come as a shock to see a strong returner slap a bunch of return-pass winners off them or regularly return bullets to the service line. Guga's returning gets stronger due to fall in Pete's serving, but short of that thrashing degree

Worth noting is Guga's standard drops too, but within natural and normal degree that comes from playing a long match. Pete's is something beyond that. Stamina issues were common problem for Pete, especially in late stages of his career

That's playing dyanmcis. As far as result goes, 3 remaining sets all come down to cauldron of tiebreak. Point here, point there stuff... calling it 'choking' or 'clutching' would be a dramatic way of putting it. Guga sweeps the first to 2 and though scoreline is close in the next 2 ('breakers read 7-5 and 10-8), Pete's in control of them from start

How does it look in numbers?


Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Sampras with 64% first serves in, 20 aces and a service winner and 47% unreturned serves. Close to break-proof

He does a bunch of noteworthy things with the serve.

- Starts by serving body-ishly. Just small 3% serves directed to body, but plenty of crampingly close serves to FH side of body. Unusual for him
- Thrown in with that, plenty aces well wide too
- Serves majority to FH - 56% there (including the body-ish FHs) and 41% to BH

Is it justified? Guga's return errors read 30 FHs, 19 BHs or 61% are FHs, but he also hits 7 FH winners to 2 BHs. Part of reason for high lot of FH serves is Sampras serving aggressively wide in deuce court. That's about serving out wide to open court more than targetting the FH. Guga's FH returns tend to be more more weak than the BHs, but that's probably due to being cramped on teh shot. Most likely, serves that powerful and close to BH would draw the same kinds of weak returns

For a server like Sampras, it doesn't much matter where he directs serves, but there's usually a reason for his choices. He usually serves majority to FH of Andre Agassi too, but against most opposition, sticks to standard majority to BH

As Guga falls back later on, Pete adjusts by serving into corners wide, dragging Guga way off court. Takes something off the serves to do it. Also makes hay with aces down the middle with Guga on look out for the wide serve

Finally, Pete's serve loses its sting as match wears on. Only then is Guga able to get normal returns off (as opposed to strong) somewhat regularly. For most of match, Guga's left to make feeble/weak returns as norm with the better ones being just normal. And a few good returns thrown in once in awhile, via law of averages. At no stage, not even the end, does Guga return with regular (let alone consistent) firmness

Just a top notch service showing from Pete - the pace, the placement, the choices. Guga falling back brings some variety to the battle, but Sampras reigns supreme with his serve

For that matter, Guga has 16 aces and a service winner, or 18% of the time off first serves (Pete has 20%). That's while toning down the serve to protect his 2nd serve from chip-charges. Pete though is a much easier person to ace than Guga is and returns from normal postion at least, and often early

Guga also beefs up his 2nd serve to make it harder to chip-charge and ends up winning very healhty 63% second serve points (better than Pete's 56% for starters). Excellent job by keep doubles down to 4 with the pressure the serve is under (Pete has 9)

Pete's aggressive returning leads to Guga toning down first serves - and 67% first serve points won is a relative win for Pete. All out serving from Guga likely would result in similar 80% points won that Pete has. All credit to Guga for the 63% second serve points won though - its a good serve and he passes strongl when needed

Sampras' 33 return-approaches is by far the highest I've seen from him. Might be something he was doing more and more off in this period with Paul Annacone as his coach, but even then its far higher than his norm. He does it against both serves. A McEnroe like thirst for finding net off the return. He also 'lofts' the return at times like Mac used to be able to get closer to net at cost of giving Guga more time to line up the pass

Pete's 19/33 or 58% return-approaching. Throw in 9 errors trying and that falls to 19/42 or 45%. Its a fiery move, but Guga with 63% 2nd serve points won is still dominant in nominal terms. Just 'nominal' because in context of Pete holding so comfortably, it doesn't matter if Guga's able to make most passes. 1 break is likely to do and return-approaching so regularly is as quick and efficient a way to get there as there is

Finally, Pete with 18 UEs and 16 FEs on the return. The high UEs are about aggressive returning errors - 'good' errors, in line with needing just 1 break. The FEs are fairly low given Guga's hefty serve

Given his strenght of serve, wonderful combination of return cards by Pete - the constant chip-charging getting Guga to ease up on first serves and thus, Pete able to return those with reasonable comfort and Guga under constant pressure on second serves. And great job by Guga to command his service games against it. Takes him awhile to get used to what he's up against but he finishes match on unbroken run of 15 games, after staring it being broken 3/6

Play - Baseline starting point
Baseline play is beat-down calibre of hard hitting and Guga comes considerably better, helped by all such points being on his serve

Baseline-to-baseline -
Winners - Guga 5, Pete 3
UEs - Guga 12, Pete 17

Overall baseline FEs read Guga 38, Pete 9... those are almost all passing shots (particularly Guga's)

Good job by Pete to hang in in the BH rallies where UEs are virtually equal but Guga has hitting and variety advantage. On the FH, Pete looks to be aggressive without much success. His FH has match high 10 baseline UEs. He does get powerful, attacking shots off, but Guga's upto handling it

Groundstrokes ordered by consistency (sans net shots)
- Guga FH and BH - 6
- Pete BH - 7
- Pete FH 10

Neutral UEs are close (and rare) - Guga 4, Pete 6. Neither player is overly consistent, but both step up to attacking most of the time

Very high UEFI's of 53.1 for Guga and 52.3 for Pete further reflect the attacking game of both. In Pete's case, he's got 9 net UEs, which are always at least attacking shots to 9 FEs, which somewhat accounts for high score, but Guga has just 1 net UE. 53.1 is extremely where 12/13 shots are baseline ones

Rallying to net, Guga's 14/20 at 70%, Pete 10/13 at 77%

From advantage accrued through the serve and/or through outhitting Pete, Guga's able to find his way to net more often. More impressively, he's able to hit hard enough to keep Pete - who's particularly looking to come in - from doing so. Guga isn't overly net hungry and there's scope for him to have come in more had he chosen to

In short, hard hitting attacking play with Guga leading play. Pete is largely beat down from the back. His BH stays steady against Guga's more powerful shot, but he doesn't have the dtl attacking change-ups of that Guga does. He tries attacking (including counter-attacking) with FH without much success. The threat of Sampras taking net shapes just how hard hitting play is. Guga can't afford to take it easy and just put a few balls in play - unless he wants to hit even more passing shots - and doesn't. Guga quite comfortably coming out ahead from the back


Hall of Fame
Play - Volley & Pass
Pete's got 30 'volley' winners, Guga 26 passing ones
Pete with 16 'volley' errors (8 UEs, 8 FEs), Guga has 35 groundstroke FEs (overwhelming bulk are passing attempts - with approach shot drawing the error as often as not)

Volley-pass rallies are on long side - though this hasn't come out in stats much. Serve-volleying, 13 first 'volley' winners to 11 second volleys is if anything, weighed towards high first shot winners by Sampras' norm. Guga's backwards return position helps in Pete putting away the first 'volley' beyond his norm

Pete's at least looking to be more decisive with his first volley, so there's that. He's not particularly killer with it though and Guga's able to scramble to put another ball in play - often challengingly - much of the time. The Guga pass vs Pete 2nd volley leads to more exciting action - strong passes by Guga, and Pete's net coverage and wide volleying tested

On flip side, Guga's 20/29 at net - coincidentally winning identical 69% as Pete 9 (who comes in 164 times by contrast)

Just 3 volley winners from Guga and 2 passing ones from Pete. 1 of those passes is critical in the 4th set tiebreak

Otherwise, Guga comes in behind very strong approach shots. Pete's ordinary on the pass but it'd have to be extraordinary passing to get much done against Guga's appraoches

Match Progression
First 2 Guga service points both get chip-charged. Guga slaps BH passing winners on them both - 1 in each direction - and goes on to hold to love, finishing with a serve-volley of his own

That's more or less the last bit of good news for him for next hour. Pete's serve is untouchable and he's chip-charging returns and manufacturing approaches in return games to break twice and take set 6-1. Breaks aren't easy - they last 10 points apiece - but Pete serves out the set with 4 aces (1 a second serve)

Not much changes in second set. Guga sees off 2 break points and 4 Pete net points to hold opening game, but is broken soon after to 30 where he misses all his 1st first serves and Pete return-approaches on all the points (also, 1 double fault). Even that's not the end of it. Guga struggles to hold another 10 point game, where Pete misses regulation 1st serve return on break point

Pete's at 30-15 serving for the set, having won 26/29 of his last service points. Guga steps up to slam 3 passing winners in a row - BH cc, FH cc return and BH lob to break and put set back on serve

Great tiebreak from Guga too. He gains mini-break early by forcing FH1/2V error, then wins both service points that follow with Pete chip-charging, then adds another mini by powering Pete back to baseline before coming in and hitting FH cc at net winner. Throws in his own second serve ace and serve-volley to wrap it up 7-2

Rest of match is virtually even. No more breaks

In third set, Pete serves 44 points to Guga's 45. Its Guga who faces 3 break points in a 14 point game. Pete blows it there, missing an easy FH pass at net on one of them

Pete's in control of the 'breaker after Guga misses third ball FH inside-out to go down 2-0. Pete advances to 5-1. A poor FH at net miss gives Guga a ray of hope to make things 3-5, but Pete dispatches a first volley OH on his first set point on serve to go up 2 sets to 1

In 4th set, Pete serves 48 points to Guga's 45 and Guga has more chances, with Pete the more tired

2 trade tough holds - Pete saving 2 break points with first 'volley' winners (FH at net and BHV), Guga saving one with Pete missing a BH

Guga endures a deuce hold late in the set, but the most dramatic test is for Pete. A game short of another 'breaker, he's put through the hoop and has to save 2 break points in a 12 point game, with Guga striking 3 return winners and forcing to BH1/2V errors. The serve gets Pete over the hump (5 unreturned), though he needs a second volley FHV to stave of the second break point

Its a tense 'breaker though Pete's never behind. He opens with FHV winner chip-charging and moves ahead 3-0. A missed BH cc winner attempt by Guga makes to 4-1, but Pete hands back the mini by missing a routine BHV

Another Guga third ball winner attempt miss (FH inside-in) makes it 2-6 and Pete with 4 match points

He misses an attemped chip-charge return on the first. 2 good returns forces errors on the next 2. And on the 4th, Pete misses his BH dtl winner attempt. 6-6

To stop the rot, Pete pulls off a BH cc passing winner - just his second of the match. And double faults right after to make it 7-7

Fittingly, its a chip-charge return that finally puts Pete over, that he finishes with an inside-out BHV winner to go up 9-8, before serving it out. He makes some tough volleys in the 'breaker under pressure

Summing up, all out net seeking aggression from Sampras - huge serving, 100% serve-volleying, chip-charge returning whenever he can, hammering FHs from the back and looking for net from baseline rallies - shapes action. Whatever hopes Kuerten had of easing into baseline rallies goes out the window and he's forced to play very attackingly from the back too, while taking something of his own big first serve to protect his second, which he also beefs up

After Sampras sweeps through early part of the match, with his opponent almost a spectator, Kuerten fights back gutsily and rest of match is virtually even. Sampras remains slightly stronger initially, but as match wears on, the fresher Kuerten takes over that role. Little in it in the tiebreaks, but Sampras is never behind in the second 2, after Kuerten thrashes him in the first

Good result for both players. The maestro Sampras almost unstoppable and Kuerten, who'd never won a hard court title, almost stopping him anyway

Stats for Kuerten's semi with Andre Agassi - Match Stats/Report - Kuerten vs Agassi, Miami semi-final, 2000 | Talk Tennis (
Stats for pair's Year End Championship semi - Match Stats/Report - Kuerten vs Sampras, Year End Championship semi-final, 2000 | Talk Tennis (