Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Pioline, Wimbledon final, 1997

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final, 1997 on grass

It was Sampras' fourth Wimbledon title and he would go onto win the next three editions also to set a then record 7 titles

Sampras won 89 points, Pioline 65

Both players serve-volleyed off all their serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (45/76) 59%
- 1st serve points won (39/45) 87%
- 2nd serve points won (21/31) 68%
- Aces 17 including 1 second serve, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (45/76) 59%

Pioline...
- 1st serve percentage (45/78) 58%
- 1st serve points won (32/45) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (17/33) 52%
- Aces 13
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/78) 38%

Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 35%
- to Body 17%

Pioline served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 57%
- to Body 17%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 46 (7 FH, 39 BH)
- 6 Winners (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (46/77) 60%

Pioline made...
- 29 (13 FH, 16 BH)
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 26 Errors, all forced...
- 26 Forced (12 FH, 14 BH)
- Return Rate (29/74) 39%

Break Points
Sampras 4/7 (4 games)
Pioline 0/1 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 20 (5 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 BHOH)
Pioline 16 (2 FH, 6 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 16
- 5 Unforced (3 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 11 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52

Pioline 23
- 12 Unforced (6 FHV, 6 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 56.7

(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 43/58 (74%) at net, including 41/55 (75%) serve-volleying - off first serves 23/29 (79%), off second serves 18/26 (69%)

Pioline was 36/64 (56%) at net, all serve-volleying - off first serves 19/32 (59%), off second serves 17/32 (53%)
He was 1/2 when forced back from the net

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Match Report
Silky from Sampras while Pioline seems to be out of his weight division for this encounter

Sampras is well nigh flawless on serve in the first set (and not too far off it for the match as a whole). He wins 16/18 of his service points and doesn't even have to make difficult volleys. Pioline can't cope with the serve itself. The Frenchman for his part is reasonably safe on his own serve, but for a game and a half - but that's all it takes on grass and against Pete Sampras

In the 12 point third game, Pioline makes 3 unforced errors (from here one, I'll refer to "unforced errors" as simply "errors". If its forced error, that'll be specifically stated) on the BHV, while Sampras contributes 2 winning returns and a running FH dtl pass to go up a break. In his next service game, Pioline finds himself down 15-30 courtesy of 2 more return winners, but manages to pull himself out with some good volleying.

The underdog does hit the two most memorable shots of the set and probably the match. One is a beautiful drop BHV. The other is a return point. He throws up a good FH lob but the ever athletic Sampras is good enough to execute a BHOH on the full jump hard enough that the ball bounces shoulder high as it reaches Pioline, but the unseeded player plays a picture perfect BH lob which lands about half way between Sampras' baseline and serviceline - and more importantly, well higher than even Sampras can hope to reach.

Pioline again flounders in the second set. In the two games that he is broken, he makes a total of 5 volleying errors. The highlight for him in this set is smacking a pass right at Sampras, who simply moves out of the way and allows the ball to land in.

Pioline shows signs of life early in the third. In his first return games, he hits some meaty returns - completely different from the pushes and barely getting the ball back second shots he had been playing up to this point. He manages to take the game to deuce and though he doesn't have a break point, its the best sign he's show so far. But Sampras only ups the ante on his serve and starts hitting lines with them. And Pioline throws away any momentum he might have built next game, when he's broken to love... again with 3 volleying errors and a Sampras return of serve winner.

In short, Pioline makes 11 of his 12 errors in the four games that he's broken in. Just a small lapse is all Sampras needs, as he himself plays with iron consistency. Sampras nurses the break to the end to seal the match

Playing Dynamics
Sampras of course serves well, but Pioline seems to me to return particularly badly. Nobody in particular returns Sampras "well" and nobody seems to be able to read his serve, but Pioline is more like a deer caught in headlights than most. Unable to read the serve, usually not willing to guess, Pioline reacts to the ball after it leaves Sampras' racquet... and its noticeable that he's a little slow to pick up the ball (relatively speaking). Perhaps reflexes and a good eye aren't cornerstones of his game

Both players seem to have planned serving largely to the body. Both men serve the majority of their aces to the others FH (especially out wide), but don't seem to be trying to do the same on the BH side. Serves to the BH tend to be close to the body and both serve plenty of body serves (17% for both). For Pioline, this doesn't go well. Sampras is able to get out of the way deftly and smack these would-be body serves with aggressive BH returns. He hits a number of his return winners this way and gives the net rushing Pioline difficult first volleys

Pioline has long take backs to his groundstrokes. While this looks elegant, its probably a handicap on grass

Sampras volleys adequately. He isn't challenged enough to say more than that, but finishes with a tidy number of just 3 volleying errors. There's room for improvement in his returning. With all points in the match being serve-volley affairs, I've marked all return errors as 'forced', but naturally, some are more returnable than others. And Pioline's are far more so than Sampras'. But Pete makes more errors than he need have on the return

Sampras' passing is also adequate or say, better than average. It would be an exaggeration to call it "great" and stretching it to even call "good"

Summing up, key to the match is Sampras' serve, which leaves Pioline all at sea. 59% unreturned serve percentage from Pete. After that, Sampras does what he has to get and keep his nose in front, helped along by short periods of poor volleying by Pioline
 
Yeah Pioline didn't play well but I think it's a bit much to say he didn't have good reflexes or a good eye. Have you seen him play other than his 2 major finals?

In fact, I would say his returning vs Rusedski and Stich in this tournament was among the best grasscourt returning I had seen vs big servers on grass in the 90s. It was highlight reel stuff. And Rusedski served a lot faster than Sampras.

I like your reports, but you do tend to make broad statements on players sometimes based on just one or two matches which I think is a mistake.

Also this was one of the most rain plagued events in history so both players had to play 5 matches in 7 days. Maybe that could have caught up with Pioline? He did play 5 sets in semis vs Stich. All this stuff sort of matters.
 
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JasonZ

Semi-Pro
Pete Sampras beat Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final, 1997 on grass

It was Sampras' fourth Wimbledon title and he would go onto win the next three editions also to set a then record 7 titles

Sampras won 89 points, Pioline 65

Both players serve-volleyed off all their serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (45/76) 59%
- 1st serve points won (39/45) 87%
- 2nd serve points won (21/31) 68%
- Aces 17 including 1 second serve, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (45/76) 59%

Pioline...
- 1st serve percentage (45/78) 58%
- 1st serve points won (32/45) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (17/33) 52%
- Aces 13
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/78) 38%

Serve Pattern
Sampras served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 35%
- to Body 17%

Pioline served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 57%
- to Body 17%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 46 (7 FH, 39 BH)
- 6 Winners (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (46/77) 60%

Pioline made...
- 29 (13 FH, 16 BH)
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 26 Errors, all forced...
- 26 Forced (12 FH, 14 BH)
- Return Rate (29/74) 39%

Break Points
Sampras 4/7 (4 games)
Pioline 0/1 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 20 (5 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 BHOH)
Pioline 16 (2 FH, 6 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Sampras 16
- 5 Unforced (3 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 11 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52

Pioline 23
- 12 Unforced (6 FHV, 6 BHV)
- 11 Forced (1 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 56.7

(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 43/58 (74%) at net, including 41/55 (75%) serve-volleying - off first serves 23/29 (79%), off second serves 18/26 (69%)

Pioline was 36/64 (56%) at net, all serve-volleying - off first serves 19/32 (59%), off second serves 17/32 (53%)
He was 1/2 when forced back from the net

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Match Report
Silky from Sampras while Pioline seems to be out of his weight division for this encounter

Sampras is well nigh flawless on serve in the first set (and not too far off it for the match as a whole). He wins 16/18 of his service points and doesn't even have to make difficult volleys. Pioline can't cope with the serve itself. The Frenchman for his part is reasonably safe on his own serve, but for a game and a half - but that's all it takes on grass and against Pete Sampras

In the 12 point third game, Pioline makes 3 unforced errors (from here one, I'll refer to "unforced errors" as simply "errors". If its forced error, that'll be specifically stated) on the BHV, while Sampras contributes 2 winning returns and a running FH dtl pass to go up a break. In his next service game, Pioline finds himself down 15-30 courtesy of 2 more return winners, but manages to pull himself out with some good volleying.

The underdog does hit the two most memorable shots of the set and probably the match. One is a beautiful drop BHV. The other is a return point. He throws up a good FH lob but the ever athletic Sampras is good enough to execute a BHOH on the full jump hard enough that the ball bounces shoulder high as it reaches Pioline, but the unseeded player plays a picture perfect BH lob which lands about half way between Sampras' baseline and serviceline - and more importantly, well higher than even Sampras can hope to reach.

Pioline again flounders in the second set. In the two games that he is broken, he makes a total of 5 volleying errors. The highlight for him in this set is smacking a pass right at Sampras, who simply moves out of the way and allows the ball to land in.

Pioline shows signs of life early in the third. In his first return games, he hits some meaty returns - completely different from the pushes and barely getting the ball back second shots he had been playing up to this point. He manages to take the game to deuce and though he doesn't have a break point, its the best sign he's show so far. But Sampras only ups the ante on his serve and starts hitting lines with them. And Pioline throws away any momentum he might have built next game, when he's broken to love... again with 3 volleying errors and a Sampras return of serve winner.

In short, Pioline makes 11 of his 12 errors in the four games that he's broken in. Just a small lapse is all Sampras needs, as he himself plays with iron consistency. Sampras nurses the break to the end to seal the match

Playing Dynamics
Sampras of course serves well, but Pioline seems to me to return particularly badly. Nobody in particular returns Sampras "well" and nobody seems to be able to read his serve, but Pioline is more like a deer caught in headlights than most. Unable to read the serve, usually not willing to guess, Pioline reacts to the ball after it leaves Sampras' racquet... and its noticeable that he's a little slow to pick up the ball (relatively speaking). Perhaps reflexes and a good eye aren't cornerstones of his game

Both players seem to have planned serving largely to the body. Both men serve the majority of their aces to the others FH (especially out wide), but don't seem to be trying to do the same on the BH side. Serves to the BH tend to be close to the body and both serve plenty of body serves (17% for both). For Pioline, this doesn't go well. Sampras is able to get out of the way deftly and smack these would-be body serves with aggressive BH returns. He hits a number of his return winners this way and gives the net rushing Pioline difficult first volleys

Pioline has long take backs to his groundstrokes. While this looks elegant, its probably a handicap on grass

Sampras volleys adequately. He isn't challenged enough to say more than that, but finishes with a tidy number of just 3 volleying errors. There's room for improvement in his returning. With all points in the match being serve-volley affairs, I've marked all return errors as 'forced', but naturally, some are more returnable than others. And Pioline's are far more so than Sampras'. But Pete makes more errors than he need have on the return

Sampras' passing is also adequate or say, better than average. It would be an exaggeration to call it "great" and stretching it to even call "good"

Summing up, key to the match is Sampras' serve, which leaves Pioline all at sea. 59% unreturned serve percentage from Pete. After that, Sampras does what he has to get and keep his nose in front, helped along by short periods of poor volleying by Pioline
Sampras returns and passed have never been great or even good. On the backhand it was not more than average, especially the passing shots.

But his hold game was so good that it didnt prevent him from winning.
 
Pioline wasn't some lumberjack but he did prove to be a gimme opponent in both slam finals. Probably nerves+fatigue. I recall he double-faulted on 4 BPs in the 1993 USO final, isn't this a(n open era) record in a Slam final? Djokovic did that 3 times in RG 12 final.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Yeah Pioline didn't play well but I think it's a bit much to say he didn't have good reflexes or a good eye. Have you seen him play other than his 2 major finals?

In fact, I would say his returning vs Rusedski and Stich in this tournament was among the best grasscourt returning I had seen vs big servers on grass in the 90s. It was highlight reel stuff. And Rusedski served a lot faster than Sampras.

I like your reports, but you do tend to make broad statements on players sometimes based on just one or two matches which I think is a mistake.
You got all that from this?

...its noticeable that he's a little slow to pick up the ball (relatively speaking). Perhaps reflexes and a good eye aren't cornerstones of his game

Pioline wasn't some lumberjack but he did prove to be a gimme opponent in both slam finals. Probably nerves+fatigue. I recall he double-faulted on 4 BPs in the 1993 USO final, isn't this a(n open era) record in a Slam final? Djokovic did that 3 times in RG 12 final.
Third set of that match was wonderfully horrendous from both players. If you like watching stuff like that - I do from time to time - I highly recommend it

Sampras made 5/20 1st serves, Pioline 16/39

Off the 59 points, 19 unforced errors in play to 7 winners

Pioline serving consecutive doubles to get broken, Sampras returning the favour with 2 non-consecutive to get get broken back... match appropriately ending on another double
 
You got all that from this?






Third set of that match was wonderfully horrendous from both players. If you like watching stuff like that - I do from time to time - I highly recommend it

Sampras made 5/20 1st serves, Pioline 16/39

Off the 59 points, 19 unforced errors in play to 7 winners

Pioline serving consecutive doubles to get broken, Sampras returning the favour with 2 non-consecutive to get get broken back... match appropriately ending on another double
So have you seen his matches vs Rusedski or Stich? Or seen Pioline at all outside of the 2 grand slam finals? Just curious. I recall you tearing apart Connors game in one of your early threads as well, it really sounded like you were basing opinions on just one match. It's cool you're learning a lot about earlier players from YouTube, but I think if you weren't there, it's hard to really get the whole picture(like the whole rain delayed 1997- they were still playing first round matches on the first Saturday! It was crazy)
 
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