Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Rafter, Cincinnati final, 1999

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Pat Rafter 7-6(7), 6-3 in the Cincinnati final, 1999 on hard court

It was Sampras' 4 title in a row (Queens, Wimbledon and LA), but he would miss the US Open due to injury

Sampras won 70 points, Rafter 56

Rafter serve-volleyed off all serves, Sampras all but 4 seconds


Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (44/66) 67%
- 1st serve points won (34/44) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (15/22) 68%
- Aces 12 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/66) 48%

Rafter...
- 1st serve percentage (32/59) 54%
- 1st serve points won (23/32) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (17/27) 63%
- Aces 4 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/59) 46%


Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 68%
- to Body 6%

Rafter served....
- to FH 23%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 21%


Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 30 (6 FH, 24 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 22 Errors, all forced...
- 22 Forced (5 FH, 17 BH)
- Return Rate (30/57) 53%

Rafter made...
- 32 (6 FH, 26 BH)
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (32/62) 52%

Break Points
Sampras 2/2
Rafter 1/2 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 16 (3 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)
Rafter 7 (2 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)

Sampras had 10 from serve-volley points
- 7 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 FH at net, 1 BH at net)… the FH at net was not clean
- 3 second volleys (1 BHV, 2 OH)

6 passes (2 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)
- FHs - 1 dtl and 1 dtl/inside-out
- BHs - 2 dtl and 1 inside-in return
- FHV - a swinging shot hit from just inside the baseline

Rafter had 3 from serve volley points
- 2 first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 1 second volley (1 BHV)

4 passes (2 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 1 dtl and 1 inside-in return
- BHs - 1 cc (not clean) and 1 dtl return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 18
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 13 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 56

Rafter 19
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 15 Forced (1 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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...
- 36/46 (78%) at net, all serve-volleying, comprising..
- 24/33 (73%) off 1st serve and..
- 12/13 (92%) off 2nd

Rafter was...
- 36/53 (68%) at net, all serve-volleying, comprising..
- 19/28 (68%) off 1st serve and..
- 17/25 (68%) off 2nd

Match Report
Possibly Sampras' greatest display of power serving. Sans video proof, at least 2 legends would have sprung up about this match, but happily, its there on record for all to see

Sampras blasts through Rafter's racquet with a serve. Literally. The ball hits Rafter's racquet just below the sweet spot... and the ball breaks through the strings on its way through. I've never seen or heard of anything like this.... neither had any of the commentators

Rafter injures his shoulder... from returning Sampras' serve. His serve speed drops at the start of the second set and his shoulder is treated at the change over. The commentators make enquiries, and Rafter himself explains after the match that he got a twinge in the shoulder from coming down late on Sampras' serve. Have you ever heard of a player needing treatment because returning serve has jarred their arm?

Would be legends - that I would have been sceptical hearing without seeing - this is as straight forward a match as you'll see

Very fast court, serve-volley all the time, serve mostly to the BH (in Rafter's case, BH + Body). Mostly return errors drawn (and aces hit for Sampras), and when not, volley to the BH. Mostly very forced BH passing errors. Wash, rinse, repeat. 100% net points are serve-volleys - not even a forced approach to a drop volley.... haven't seen that come up before

In the first set, Sampras has 20/35 serves unreturned (57%), Rafter 21/39 (54%)… neither has a sniff of breaking. First point of tiebreak though, Sampras manages to force a volleying error... and with serve dominating, looks on course to nurse it to a win. But Rafter manages to pinch the mini-break back 4-5 down with a FH dtl pass. Points continue to go on serve til Rafter makes a FHV error to yield the set. The ball was medium height, medium pace and straight at him.... not difficult, especially for him. He tries to inside-out it (to keep it away from Sampras' FH) and pushes it wide

Players trade breaks early in the second set. Rafter's broken on the back of a BHV error, a double fault and a pair of forced errors at net. Sampras is broken in a similar way, only the forced points are more spectacular.... a return BH dtl winner. On the other point, an on-the-baseline Rafter daringly BHVs a deep volley from an at-net Sampras while scampering, catching Pete off guard and forcing the volleying error

Thereafter, Rafter doesn't serve as hard, presumably due to the twinge his shoulder's suffered from returning Sampras' bombs. He is able to push Sampras in a 10 point game - largely due to Sampras inexplicably staying back on 2 second serves (loses both points via attacking groundstroke UEs)…. otherwise, Sampras continues to hold with ease and is able to return Rafter more surely. He breaks convincingly and then serves out the match

Playing Dynamics & Stats
Sampras as ever serves well and on a very fast court, rules on serve. If anything, 77% first serve points won is 'disappointing' for him on this court... I'd have expected 80% +

Note Rafter with unreturned serve 46% (Sampras had 48). Rafter follows every serve to net and has a decent serve... but 46% seems a bit too high. I can only say Rafter returned significantly better, given he was up against a much meatier serve. In the semis against Agassi, Sampras was apt to return aggressively by stepping in and/or taking big cuts. Agassi was staying back unlike Rafter.... but there was scope to attack Rafter's serve more

Note Rafter having 8 forecourt FEs to Sampras' 3.... that stems from Sampras' superior serve and the relatively advantageous positions it leaves him in. Not much difference in the players passing

Note Sampras' perfectly symmetrical UEs - 1 each of the 5 basic shots. A cute finding

Summing up, lightning fast conditions, pure big game serve-volleying, serve to the BH, volley to the BH stuff with huge unreturned serve percentages. Sampras simply blasting through on serve, Rafter more crafty on serve, but Sampras probably underperforming on return

1st set a coin flip, 2nd set favouring Sampras as Rafter eases up on the serve

You can find the Sampras-Agassi semi here https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-vs-agassi-cincinnati-semi-final-1999.636368/
 
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Pistol10

Professional
@Waspsting First of all, thanks for all these matches statistics.

Sampras blasts through Rafter's racquet with a serve. Literally. The ball hits Rafter's racquet just below the sweet spot... and the ball breaks through the strings on its way through. I've never seen or heard of anything like this.... neither had any of the commentators

Rafter injures his shoulder... from returning Sampras' serve. His serve speed drops at the start of the second set and his shoulder is treated at the change over. The commentators make enquiries, and Rafter himself explains after the match that he got a twinge in the shoulder from coming down late on Sampras' serve. Have you ever heard of a player needing treatment because returning serve has jarred their arm?
I know the first incident which is mind plowing o_O. But the second one! Is that true ?!!!!!!!!!

And some fans claim that Nole would do better than Agassi, and with his lite racket :-D:-D:-D.


Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 7-6(7), 6-3 in the Cincinnati final, 1999 on hard court
You mean, Patrick Rafter :giggle:.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
I know the first incident which is mind plowing o_O. But the second one! Is that true ?!!!!!!!!!
Unless Rafter was lying, it is

The commentary team have a man on the ground, who give that for the reason for Rafter reading treatment

After the match, Rafter says it too. Says he came down late on a Sampras serve and it tweaked his shoulder. Says it didn't affect his serving, but I think he's wrong there... I noticed a drop in his serving power before he took treatment

I seem to recall Boris Becker injuring his wrist (was it a snapped tendon?) in one of his late tournaments (Wimbledon, I think). A wrist and a clean injury I can see happening (not necessarily a product of how big the serving was) and he retired immediately.

But a shoulder, that had just been pounded down from taking heavy returns? Can't recall something like that

You mean, Patrick Rafter :giggle:.
:) I do - thanks, editing now

I copy-paste the presentation format, change names, delete numbers and add the new ones in... occasionally mistakenly leaving the wrong name

Did it on the title a couple of times... and had to write the admins to fix. this one's easier
 

Pistol10

Professional
I seem to recall Boris Becker injuring his wrist (was it a snapped tendon?) in one of his late tournaments (Wimbledon, I think).
I remember this one, but I don't think it was at Wimbledon.

Wrist injuries because of heavy serve (on slick surface where the ball slides and keeps most of it's power) that's normal.... BUT SHOULDERS!!! Rafter was a bit muscular & athletic guy.
 
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