Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Lendl, US Open quarter final 1990

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Ivan Lendl 6-4 7-6(4) 3-6 4-6 6-2 in the quarter final of the US Open 1990 on hard court

Sampras would go on to win the first of his 14 Slam titles, while Lendl's streak of consecutive US Open finals was terminated at 8

Sampras won 171 points, Lendl 176

Sampras serve-volleyed on virtually all his first serves and a considerable portion of his second serves

(Note: I'm missing minor partial data - such as serve direction, return type and in one case volleying error and type - for a small number of points)

Serve Stats
Sampras....
- 1st serve percentage (99/186) 53%
- 1st serve points won (72/99) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (43/87) 49%
- Aces 24 (including 1 2nd serve), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 12
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (61/186) 33%

Lendl. ...
- 1st serve percentage (91/161) 57%
- 1st serve points won (68/91) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (37/70) 53%
- Aces 13
- Double Faults 9
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/161) 20%


Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 7%

Lendl served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 68%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 121 (55 FH, 65BH, 1 unknown), including 21 runaround FHs and 2 return-approaches
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- 14 Forced (2 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (121/152) 80%

Lendl made...
- 112 (45 FH, 65 BH, 2 unknown), including 3 runaround FHs
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 34 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 33 Forced (15 FH, 18 BH)
- Return Rate (112/174) 64%


Break Points
Sampras 5/14 (7 games)
Lendl 4/15 (10 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 32 (5 FH, 4 BH, 10 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 6 OH)
Lendl 36 (13 FH, 13 BH, 6 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 OH)

On s/v points, Sampras had 7 first volleys (3 FHV, 4 BHV), 7 second volleys (4 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH), a third volley OH and a FHV in an extended exchange

- 1 other FHV was a drop volley

- the BH1/2V hit the top of the net from where it bounced over with Sampras down break point

- 4 passes (1 FH, 3 BH). The FH was dtl, all the BHs were cc (1 on the run)

- on non-passes, 1 FH was hit at net and the other 3 were inside-in

Lendl had 21 passes (9 FH, 12 BH). The 9 FHs were (6 cc, 3 dtl), the 12 BHs were (4 cc, 7 dtl, 1 i-o), including 3 returns (2 cc, 1 dtl)

- 5 non-pass groundstrokes (4 FH, 1 BH). FHs were (2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 i-o) and BH was dtl.... most of the shots were hit from mid-court

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot from behind the service line but I've judged to be a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 97
- 61 Unforced (22 FH, 32 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 35 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH, 6 FHV, 3 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 3 BH1/2V, 1 BHOH)
- 1 unknown volley (both volley type and error type unknown)

Lendl 68
- 29 Unforced (17 FH, 12 BH)
- 39 Forced (14 FH, 25 BH)

(Note: all half volleys refer to such strokes played at net.)


Net Points & Serve-Volley

Sampras was 88/143 (62%) at net, including 62/95 (65%) serve-volleying - 47/74 (64%) off 1st serves, 15/21 (71%) off second - and 0/2 return-approaching

He was 1/2 when forced back from net

Lendl was 20/26 (80%) at net, including 1/1 serve-volleying (a first serve point)

He was 0/1 when forced back from the net

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Match Report
An epic match in its nature, especially in light of what the winner went on to achieve, but not a great match in terms of level of play. Overall, I think Lendl, who won more points in the match, was the better player while from Sampras' point of view, the result indicated mettle of mind as well as quality play.

First 2 sets dead even. a point here and there making the difference. Lendl choked a bit at key moments while Sampras either held his level or successfully attacked (high level, but normal - for him... it stood out given his age, the opponent and the occasion)

In set 1, Lendl was broken to yield the set. He'd made just 1 UE the whole set going into the game (Sampras had 13) but made 4 in the fourteen point game. Sampras on his end boldly took the net in what turned out to be the last 2 points of the game, but even here, Lendl missed a very makeable pass set point down

Lendl gained his first break by forcing net errors from Sampras and served for the set. Again, he choked a bit to open the door and again Sampras stormed in to net to break back.

Both men survived tough holds - Sampras being the more impressive in holding, but somewhat wasting his own break chances with return errors - to send the set into a tiebreaker. Sampras power served his way to take it, while hitting the odd good offensive shot on his return points

Players were equal for 2 sets (Sampras 87 points, Lendl 86), but in the next 2, Lendl stormed ahead as the American went flat.

The fire breathing serving and constant net rushing subsided, allowing Lendl to wear down the young American and push the match into a decider.

With the players experience and reputations, all signs pointed to Lendl carrying on his good work in the 5th and Pete perhaps being overawed. Instead, a revitalized Sampras, who'd gone into his shell for two sets, came out all guns blazing to take the match away. He was aided in this again by Lendl making some highly uncharacteristic errors at critical points... but all in all, I'd judge Sampras to be the hero of the 5th more than Lendl throwing it away

On Sampras' play
Sampras serve-volleyed off the first serve throughout the match. Off the second, he regularly did so in the first and last sets and little to some at other times. The serve itself is a handful and his volleying also looked good, with cat quick movements to back help it along.

His groundstrokes... leave a lot to be desired. He made errors off both wings all day, but intentionally or otherwise, it makes for a disarming prospect. He can hold serve on the strength of his serve and volleying, so he's mostly playing from the back on return.

Does it matter if he makes loose errors and loses points? He's supposed to lose return games anyway. And just for a couple of minutes, if he can keep his groundstrokes in play, that's the break and the match.

This is largely how I remember Sampras overall... but in this match, his groundies were a lot more erratic than in later years

Sampras returned surely. You can see the high return rate of 80%. Part of this is Lendl's fault. Sampras took to returning the Czech's more powerful serves with extreme care and high net clearance. Lendl would take a step in to court and wait for the ball to drop before hitting his first forehand (usually inside-out to the Sampras BH).... if he was tempted to rush to net and put a few away to give the young American something to think about, he controlled the itch well.

Sampras was quick to step around BHs to hit FHs (something I don't remember him doing much in later years)

On Lendl's play
Too cautious from Ivan. He seemed to be waiting for Sampras' fire to burn out and then pick up the pieces. To an extent, he did in sets 3 and 4.... and I imagine anyone watching would have expected that to continue in set 5 too, so I'm not too harsh in judging Lendl's strategy. Also, he was 50-50 with Pete even when the fire was burning bright

Still, to see a guy who had been serve-volleying first and second serves every point a couple of months ago on grass to continually stay back, even as Sampras was all but moonballing returns made me wonder if Ivan didn't overdo the caution a bit. By no means was he winning all the points that started this way (though of course, he won most, being by far the better baseliner)

Look at his errors: Not a single volleying error of any kind... I've never seen that. Despite coming in rarely, its impressive... so why hold tight to the baseline to the extent he did against an opponent who was taking advantage of that being the case?

The uncharacteristic errors at bad times also caught my eye. He gave up the break in the 5th with two very strange errors to completely innocuous balls - he wasn't even trying to be aggressive on those shots.

The margins are fine for backing yourself to outrally people from the baseline.... a point here or there against an opponent who can take care of his own service games, and you end up with the short end of the stick. That is largely what happened to Lendl here

----

One further point of interest. Both players were aiming for the lines with their first serves and many that were called out were out by a hair (if at all). I'd have been very curious to see this match with modern ball tracking handling the line calling.... I doubt all the serves called out actually were
 

krosero

Legend
I recall Pete after he won the title thanking the crowd for helping him, particularly in his match against Lendl.

Just from the scoreline, obviously Lendl was Pete's toughest opponent of that USO, but your in-match stats bear that out even further.

Did not expect Lendl to be ahead in total points, since he was slightly behind in games won.


Aggressive Margins

Sampras 15.6%
Lendl 17.0%

Wasp you said it was not the greatest match as far as level of play and these numbers seem to bear that. There were a lot of UE's.

Look at his errors: Not a single volleying error of any kind... I've never seen that. Despite coming in rarely, its impressive... so why hold tight to the baseline to the extent he did against an opponent who was taking advantage of that being the case?
Good questions about Lendl's play, and wow, no volleying errors ... another piece of evidence that Lendl was not the weak volleyer he was pegged as.

Always I have in mind Lendl's very low service percentage in the fifth set against Wilander, in '88. What were the service percentages in this match in the fifth?
 
Sampras with 78 ue's(counting df's) and 56 clean winners, Lendl with 39 ue's and 49 winners. I will check my tape to see what sort of stats the US broadcast had, I recall it being considered a pretty high quality match at the time. I will never forget sampras running around his bh to hit a fh winner to get the break in the fifth set. I posted some stats on the semi vs Mac. Sampras had very few ue's, but Mac S&V on every serve, so that can skew stats. Sampras made 61% of his returns.

I attended the USO that year and saw Sampras and Courier play doubles on an outside court. There were no bleachers it just had a waisthigh fence on one side you could watch from. so you were pretty close to the players(the noise and visual of a sea of people walking by throughout must have been tough for players) Sampras looked so smooth and natural to me. Still, I never could have imagined he would go on to win the title.
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
I recall Pete after he won the title thanking the crowd for helping him, particularly in his match against Lendl.
Vitas Gerulaitis was commentating and said something like, "the kid" (which is what he kept calling Sampras) "really knew how to get the crowd going"

Sampras was good at many things, but I don't think this was one of them.... he's American and Lendl is disliked was I think about the sum of it and even then, I didn't notice the crowd being particularly vociferous in their support for Sampras

Do you remember who they seemed to get behind more between Sampras and McEnroe?

...What were the service percentages in this match in the fifth?
Sampras 14/25 @ 56%
Lendl 16/26 @ 62%

First serve points won
Sampras 11/14 @ 79%
Lendl 12/16 @ 75%

Second serve points won
Sampras 7/11 @ 64%
Lendl 3/10 @ 30%

Lendl hovered just above 50% on second serve points won - by set 8/13, 11/20, 6/11, 9/16 - so looks like that was the key in the decider

I will never forget sampras running around his bh to hit a fh winner to get the break in the fifth set.
In my notes, I put checks next to particularly good shots or rallies (purely subjective impressions). I see I've given that one a double check

Only other double check I marked in this match was another Sampras FH inside-in winner, break point down, game 11, 2nd set

That was a 1st serve, serve-volley point where Sampras was forced back, Lendl approached and was forced back... and Sampras finished with aforementioned FH i-i

I attended the USO that year and saw Sampras.... play doubles. (He) looked so smooth and natural to me
He reminded me of young Boris Becker and I wondered if Lendl, who'd been through that particular hoop 5-6 years ago, was struck by the similarities

Big serve. Serve-volleying. Inconsistent but potentially dangerous groundstrokes

Sampras' movements were definitely sleeker looking and footwork more precise than young Boris though (old too, come to think of it)
 

krosero

Legend
Vitas Gerulaitis was commentating and said something like, "the kid" (which is what he kept calling Sampras) "really knew how to get the crowd going"

Sampras was good at many things, but I don't think this was one of them.... he's American and Lendl is disliked was I think about the sum of it and even then, I didn't notice the crowd being particularly vociferous in their support for Sampras

Do you remember who they seemed to get behind more between Sampras and McEnroe?



Sampras 14/25 @ 56%
Lendl 16/26 @ 62%

First serve points won
Sampras 11/14 @ 79%
Lendl 12/16 @ 75%

Second serve points won
Sampras 7/11 @ 64%
Lendl 3/10 @ 30%

Lendl hovered just above 50% on second serve points won - by set 8/13, 11/20, 6/11, 9/16 - so looks like that was the key in the decider



In my notes, I put checks next to particularly good shots or rallies (purely subjective impressions). I see I've given that one a double check

Only other double check I marked in this match was another Sampras FH inside-in winner, break point down, game 11, 2nd set

That was a 1st serve, serve-volley point where Sampras was forced back, Lendl approached and was forced back... and Sampras finished with aforementioned FH i-i



He reminded me of young Boris Becker and I wondered if Lendl, who'd been through that particular hoop 5-6 years ago, was struck by the similarities

Big serve. Serve-volleying. Inconsistent but potentially dangerous groundstrokes

Sampras' movements were definitely sleeker looking and footwork more precise than young Boris though (old too, come to think of it)
Thanks for those fifth-set numbers, looks like no problem with Lendl's service percentage. Though 2nd serve looks a little low.

My memory could be totally off about Sampras' remarks. What I recall most strongly is that in some way he looked back on the Lendl match, as a tough, or as the toughest, match he had at the tournament. Could be he mentioned that along with also thanking the crowd for what support he did get.
 
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