Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Muster, Cincinnati final, 1997


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Thomas Muster 6-3, 6-4 in the Cincinnati final, 1997 on hard court

It was Sampras' second title at the event. He'd won Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier in the year.

Sampras won 64 points, Muster 42

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (32/52) 62%
- 1st serve points won (26/32) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (13/20) 65%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/52) 40%

- 1st serve percentage (28/54) 52%
- 1st serve points won (18/28) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (11/26) 42%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/54) 24%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 6%

Muster served...
- to FH 10%
- to BH 87%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 39 (5 FH, 34 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 4 return-approaches
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Forced (1 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (39/52) 75%

Muster made...
- 31 (13 FH, 18 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 7 Forced (6 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (31/52) 60%

Break Points
Sampras 3/5 (4 games)
Muster 1/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 22 (11 FH, 7 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Muster 7 (4 FH, 3 BH)

Sampras had 7 from serve-volley points -
- 6 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 3 FH at net)
- 1 second volley (1 BHV)

- 2 from return-approach points (2 FHV)

- FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 3 inside-out, 2 cc/inside-in

Muster's FHs - 3 inside-out and 1 lob
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc and 1 inside-in return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 22
- 12 Unforced (5 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV)
- 10 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

Muster 19
- 8 Unforced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- 11 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

(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...
- 27/37 (73%) at net, including...
- 17/24 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 14/20 (70%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/4 (75%) off 2nd serve
- 3/4 (75%) return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Muster was...
- 3/3 (100%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Match Report
Commanding showing from Sampras, winning from the baseline as much as the net

Muster returning - and mostly seeking to rally - from well behind the baseline shapes play. Sampras is able to make the most of his potential advantages from such a dynamic

Serving, Sampras utilizes the greater angles Muster's position afford to bang down 12 aces/service winners. The upside for Muster is he gets a better look at the serve. It doesn't really work - sans aces/service winners, he gets most balls back in play (just 9 return errors - 2 unforced, 7 forced), but in all, Sampras still has 40% unreturned serves

The potential upside for Muster would require Sampras to not be upto making volleys. That doesn't happen. Sampras is strong in forecourt all match. Just the 1 UE, and volleys are punched and placed decisively

With Sampras serve-volleying off all first serves, points beginning from baseline are limited to his second serve points and Muster's service points. Muster looks to play clay court like tennis. He plays from well behind the baseline and loops balls over - not threateningly, but with an eye for not missing anything. To be successful with such game would need Sampras to make a lot of groundstroke UEs

That doesn't happen either. Note Sampras with 11 groundstroke UEs (he also has 1 volley), to Muster's 8. In conjunction with UEFI (Sampras a moderate 46.7, Muster a low 43.8), that's a losing game for Muster. He's making UEs at about the same rate as Sampras, but not winning points forcefully, while Sampras is

Muster looks to play FHs as much as possible and backs away to do so. Not only does he play from well behind baseline, but also loops balls (not with undue topspin). He mostly hits inside-in/crosscourt to Sampras BH. No problems with Sampras' BH... it doesn't just hold steady (both players have 6 BH UEs), but packs a decent punch too (though Sampras has 0 BH winners). And anytime the ball falls on the FH, Sampras is forcefully powerful - even to regulation balls. And short balls, he attacks

That alone would probably put Sampras ahead but his approaches puts him well over. Pete's quick to take net after collaring baseline rallies... and volleys surely once there. Again, taking advantage of Muster's court position

Muster's offensive is based on FH inside-outs. He doesn't look to take offensive... occasionally he gets the chance and doesn't pull the trigger on those more often than not

Muster's serve is average. Odd balls swung wide, but mostly, even his first serve is not much trouble and predictably directed to BH (87% go there... other than Nadal serving to Federer, I haven't seen that high a rate by anyone). Sampras returns with seeming ease

General picture of play is -
- Sampras serving - gets a lot of cheap points
- Baseline rallies - evenly matched of consistency, but Sampras far more attacking and forceful
- Sampras taking net to boot, augmenting his advantage

Routine scoreline is not deceptive. Match is routine for Sampras... be it serve, return, groundstrokes or volleys - Muster has nothing to hurt him with, he has everything to hurt Muster with - and does

In first set, Sampras isn't happy with Muster's recently stencilled racquet discolouring the balls. Mid way in the second set, Muster grants Sampras an ace, that had been called a fault

Summing up, routine win for Sampras - serve clicking, baseline play both steady and attacking and volleying decisively. Muster with his average serve and passive baselining, doesn't really get into the match

Stats for their '95 Essen match on carpet, won by Muster -
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This summary is spot on. I attended Thursday and Friday action at Cincinnati in 1997 and saw Sampras beat Rafter and Kafelnikov and Muster beat Martin Damm and Siemerink, the latter a nail biter that featured three tiebreaks. While Sampras cruised to the final without dropping a set, Muster won all four of his matches in three sets. Not that it impacted the result in the final, but Sampras finished off his routine semifinal victory over Albert Costa at about 2 PM on Saturday, while Muster battled Chang in a lengthy evening semifinal. ESPN commentator Luke Jensen mentioned on TV that Muster appeared drained during the morning warm-up prior to the final, and the Austrian certainly played sluggishly a few hours later. Although Muster did briefly display some energy when he broke back in the seventh game of the first set on a nice backhand pass, Sampras was otherwise untroubled. When he could get into a rally, which wasn't all that often on Sampras' serve, Muster remained well behind the baseline and appeared content to loop nondescript topspin ground strokes that landed far too short far too often, allowing the American to move forward with ease. Sampras overwhelmed the lefty with both pace and pinpoint placement on his serve throughout.

This was the second of three meetings between the two in 1997, a year that saw Muster play the most (and best) hard court tennis of his career. Sampras had earlier beaten Muster in the Australian Open semis in fairly routine straight set fashion, although Muster did serve for the second set of that match. They met again at the end of the season in the quarters of the Paris Indoors. Muster managed to sneak a set on that occasion, but Sampras prevailed comfortably in the third.[/QUOTE]


That seems like a huge point spread even considering the relatively comfortable overall score. So basically Sampras gets into nearly every Muster service game and Muster get into very few of Sampras' service games.