Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Lendl, Cincinnati final, 1992


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Ivan Lendl 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the Cincinnati final, 1992 on hard court

It was Sampras' first Masters equivalent level title. Lendl had reached the final recently at Canadian Open

Sampras won 83 points, Lendl 75

Sampras serve-volleyed off all but 3 first serves

(Note: 1 Sampras service point has been tracked through audio. Its a first serve and draws a return error into the net. Its been assumed error was forced and Sampras was serve-volleying. Serve direction and return type unknown

Point in question - Set 1, Game 7, Point 3)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/80) 56%
- 1st serve points won (31/45) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (20/35) 57%
- Aces 13 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (28/80) 35%

- 1st serve percentage (43/78) 55%
- 1st serve points won (26/43) 60%
- 2nd serve points won (20/35) 57%
- Aces 12
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/78) 32%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 5%

Lendl served...
- to FH 23%
- to BH 46%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 52 (22 FH, 30 BH), including 9 runaround FHs & 2 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (52/77) 68%

Lendl made...
- 47 (12 FH, 35 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 2 Winner (2 FH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 ??)
- Return Rate (47/75) 63%

Break Points
Sampras 4/9 (6 games)
Lendl 3/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 25 (6 FH, 4 BH, 6 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 2 OH)
Lendl 16 (7 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)

Sampras had 6 from serve-volley points
- 2 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- 4 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BH at net)

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 1 cc return pass, 1 dtl, 3 inside-out and 1 inside-in pass
- BHs - 2 cc passes, 1 dtl and 1 net chord dribbler return

Lendl's FHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/inside-in, 4 dtl (3 passes - 1 a return, 1 regular return) and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 5 dtl (4 passes) and 1 lob

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 29
- 19 Unforced (10 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV)... with 1 FH at net
- 10 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.5

Lendl 29
- 21 Unforced (13 FH, 8 BH)
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(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...
- 32/48 (67%) at net, including...
- 21/35 (60%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/30 (57%) off 1st serve and...
- 4/5 (80%) off 2nd serve
- 2/2 return-approaching

Lendl was...
- 9/14 (64%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Good match on the whole. Sampras takes matters into his own hands, while Lendl stays on fence on how to go about play

Sampras serve-volleys off all but 3 first serves. From baseline, he's the the one looking to take point by scruff off neck
Lendl does what he can against the serve-volleying (quite well). From baseline, he doesn't seem committed or flexible in how to proceed. Outlast Sampras? Beat him down? Blast him away? Come to net? He does a bit of all of the above. Not too successfully in all but coming to net, which is what he does least

Statistically, its an odd match. Note both players with moderate 1st serve points won (Sampras 69%, Lendl 60%). Looking at that, you'd think conditions were slow and/or server wasn't able to utilize potential of big 1st serve

Conditions are about standard, if anything, on fast side. And both players serve high 12 first serve aces (Sampras also has a 2nd serve). Sans aces, Sampras wins 58% points and Lendl 45.1%.... distinctly low numbers for first serves, especially Lendl

In light of low 1st serve points won, one would expect low 2nd serve points won. In fact, its the opposite - both players winning identical 57% points. Sans double faults, Pete wins very impressive 67%

All of this is odd -
- with so many aces, one would expect players to commandingly dominate 1st serve points where even when returns are made.... doesn't happen
- With both players failing to dominate play from advantageous starting positions, one would expect both to struggle from neutral starting positions of their 2nd serve points.... doesn't happen
- Excelling from neutral starting positions on their 2nd serve points, one would expect both to be threatening returning 2nd serves... which obviously can't happen if both are excelling on 2nd serve points

Sampras matches tend to yield such odd figures due to heavy difference in effort he puts into serve and return games. In this match, that's not the reason. Just the way play runs. Statistically odd though it is, its straight forward enough to put in words

Sampras' Serve-Volley Game
Serve-volleying, Pete scarcely faces a difficult or an easy volley; everythings a regulation, medium paced ball around net high. And 35% unreturned serves is moderate

He volleys decently, well away from Lendl, often into corners, not particularly punched through but not lopped in either. And doesn't miss much. 6 UEs in forecourt.... 3 are in one game that costs him the second set. So just 3 besides a chunk that costs him a set. He looks to volley to BH

Lendl is excellent on running pass, making some superb ones BH dtl, on which he has 4 winners

just 57% points won first serve-volleying (he's also 4/5 off second serves). Mostly credit to Lendl for good passing and a few regulation errors from Pete. Which leaves...


Hall of Fame
Baseline Game
... most of Pete's 2nd serve points and all of Lendl's

First, there's some aggressive returning by Pete. 2 chip-charges (wins both), the 9 runaround FHs are moderately attacking and he misses about as often as not (6 UEs). Lendl by contrast returns neutrally. Sampras has the heavier 2nd serve, not easy to snatch his initiative and Lendl doesn't try

Baseline rallies begin with a big, potential point ending FH (especially from Lendl). Neutral rallies are played along the BH-BH diagonal

Not that they stay BH-BH. More often than not, one or the other - Pete usually - moves around to play FH inside-outs and dynamic is one of the FH player mildly to moderately attacking, the BH player defending correspondingly

- doesn't just hold up neutrally, but has advantage. He has 6 neutral UEs to Lendl's 13. Lendl's 'neutral' shots are heavier than Pete's... dynamic is tilted towards Lendl hitting 'pressuring' shots (short of attacking) and Pete pseudo-defensive ones (short of defensive)

- looks to and does take charge of points with attacking shots of FH. On top of finishing points from back, he comes in after overpowering or pushing Lendl on defensive. Excellent net instincts and he wins 9/11 rallying his way to net

- doesn't really do anything concrete. 'Pressuring' Pete fails because Lendl's too error prone - far more than Pete is strong defensively
- taking charge and hammering Pete down doesn't work for similar reason
- doesn't come in nearly enough. He's also an excellent 9/12 rallying to net. Not a single volleying error. And with so many baseline points being his first serve points, he regularly has initial initiative and far more chances to come in than Pete does. He does not capitilize

Volleys well, Pete's average on the pass and plenty of chances to come in... but he doesn't. Tries pounding away from back instead or to passively outlast Pete to win points. That doesn't work because

a) he's too error prone
b) Pete's good enough to turn rallies to one where he's attacking

Match Progression
Sampras has much the better of first set. Serve-volleys off all first serves and regularly of seconds. Hangs steady banging groundstrokes with Lendl. His FHs are particularly strong

He breaks early from 30-15 down with Lendl making 2 UEs and a double fault. More groundstroke UEs see Lendl in trouble again serving to stay in set and he has to save 3 break points to force Pete to serve it out

Second set goes on serve 'til poor game from Pete where he misses 3 regulation volleys to get broken. Lendl also hits a great BH dtl pass winner in the game. Not an easy serve out for Lendl as he falls behind 15-40 after a mediocre volley allows Pete to pass him, but he bangs down a pair of aces and a strong FH cc to hold and take the set

Strange final set. Going into third set, Pete had won 71% second serve points and Lendl 71% first serve points. In it, Pete's figure falls to 27% and Lendl's 33%. And there are 5 breaks on the trot in it

From 30-0 up, Lendl makes 4 groundstroke errors to get broken
He breaks back to 15 with some great passing shots
Sampras breaks again with a couple of net points and a lucky net chord dribbling winner
Lendl hits right back, again breaking to 15 with 3 winners - 2 of them returns
Sampras makes it 5 breaks in a row in an superbly played game where he has 3 winners (FHV and a pair of dtl winners - 1 of each side)

And serves out the match to love with 3 unreturned serves

Summing up, a meat and potatoes match. Sampras serve-volleys and play coming out of it is very basic, with Lendl passing well. Most action starts at baseline. Lendl doesn't seem to have a fixed way of winning from there - he alternates between outlasting and beat-down play, without being convincing in either style, and declines to come forward to finish points though he's highly successful when he does. Sampras plays along and is at least as good is all styles, while looking for attack from both baseline and approaching net to finish to greater extent

Stats for Sampras' semi with Stefan Edberg -
Stats for '92 Canadian Open final between Lendl and Andre Agassi -
Stats for pair's '90 US Open quarter final -