Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs Cash, Masters round robin, 1987


Hall of Fame
Mats Wilander beat Pat Cash 7-6(3), 6-3 in the Masters (Year End Championship) round robin, 1987 on carpet in New York, USA

The result saw Cash eliminated from the event. Wilander would go onto the final, losing to Ivan Lendl. The two would meet soon after in Australian Open final, with Wilander again winning

Wilander won 69 points, Cash 60

Cash serve-volleyed off the majority first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (50/78) 64%
- 1st serve points won (33/50) 66%
- 2nd serve points won (16/28) 57%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/78) 19%

- 1st serve percentage (28/51) 55%
- 1st serve points won (19/28) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (12/23) 52%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/51) 24%

Serve Patterns
Wilander served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 5%

Cash served....
- to FH 29%
- to BH 71%

Return Stats
Wilander made...
- 37 (14 FH, 23 BH), including 3 runaround FHs, 1 runaround BH & 1 return-approach
- 9 Errors, all forced...
- 9 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (37/49) 76%

Cash made...
- 62 (28 FH, 34 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 10 return-approaches
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 10 Unforced (6 FH, 4 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (62/77) 81%

Break Points
Wilander 3/3
Cash 2/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Wilander 21 (6 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 4 OH)
Cash 22 (4 FHV, 9 BHV, 9 OH)

Wilander had 12 passes (6 FH, 6 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc and 5 dtl
- BHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl, 1 longline (that Cash left) and 1 lob

Cash had 7 from serve-volley points
- 5 first volleys (5 BHV)
- 2 second volleys (2 OH)

- 4 from return-approach points (1 BHV, 3 OH)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Wilander 25
- 11 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 8 BH, 1 Over-the-Shoulder)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot (not at net)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.5

Cash 31
- 14 Unforced (8 BH, 6 FHV)... with 1 swinging FHV from the baseline
- 17 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 BHOH, 1 Back-to-Net)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.3

(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 are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Wilander was...
- 22/26 (85%) at net, including...
- 4/7 (57%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Cash was...
- 39/63 (62%) at net, including...
- 14/21 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/18 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/3 (67%) off 2nd serve
- 7/11 (64%) return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
A fine, all court match on a slowish but low bouncing court and a close one. The centerpiece of action is the contest between Cash at net and Wilander on the pass, but its not the only show in town. There are baseline rallies and there’s Wilander at net vs Cash on the pass

In formulae -
a) Cash at net > Mats on the pass
b) Baseline rallies =
c) Wilander at net >>> Cash on the pass

… with there being a lot more of a) than c) going on, that potentially leaves result up in the air

Statistically, Cash has sizably better of the first set. Cash wins 42 points, Mats 40, while Cash serves just 32 of them. In other words

- Cash wins 51.2% of the points while serving 39% of them

He holds to love 4 times, Mats 0. He’s not taken to deuce, Mats is 4 times. They both break once

But its Mats who’s on top. There are two breaks in the set. Mats gets his in game 5 to move up 3-2 and nurses the break to serving for the set at 5-4. Where he advances to 40-0 and the fat lady humming

The tennis, very good throughout already, touches a higher standard still for rest of set with added elements of drama and tension thrown in. A flurry of net approaches sees Cash break, follow up with a love hold and then put Mats through the hoop in another high end game

Serving at 5-6, Mats finds himself down 30-40 on the back of more net rushing from Cash. A rally develops on break/set point, which turns exciting via a Cash drop shot - and all kinds of fun things happen from there - running-down-drop-shot shots at acute angles, net-to-net exchange of volleys - with Mats coming away with the point. Not out of the wood, he has to hit a perfect FH dtl pass to win the next point and holds with his sole ace of the match

The tiebreak has many exciting and up-in-the-air points too. 7-3 is an injustice to how competitive it is, but certainly an excellent one from Mats and better than Cash

Second set isn’t bad either, but its setted by bad games. There are 3 breaks. Cash gets his in another swashbuckling game with 5 winners and 2 FEs (and an aggressive return UE) making up the 8 points. Both men are at net 4 times in it

Unfortunately for him, that break is sandwiched between 2 terrible games where he’s broken, with double faults and easy volleying UEs

Mats has much the better of the second set. More so than Cash did the first. He maybe plays slightly better than he did in the first, though in same ball park. Cash lapses by contrast into poor territory with the 2 bad games. He serve-volleys less in the set but continues coming to net

So Cash with better of first set, Mats with more the better of the second. Altogether, things remain close

Mats wins 53.4% of the points, while serving 60.5% of them. That’s a bit deceptive in that Cash is broken in short games (once to love, twice to 15), but Cash does have 5 love holds to Mats’ 1 (the last game of the match)

Break points - Mats 3/3, Cash 2/4 (3 games)

Interesting & Extreme Stats
There are a few of these here

- Cash with 0 ground winners. Might be the only time I’ve seen this. Pat Rafter technically had one in ‘97 Grand Slam Cup final (it was a 1/2volley winner at net)

It fits though. There are no baseline-to-baseline winners in the match, which isn’t unusual in the period. And Mats loses just 4 points at net - 2 to volleying UEs and the other 2 would be his forced back/retreated points

- Cash with 0 FH UEs. There’s a fair amount of baseline rallies, so this is surprising. Particularly for one of his reputation of having a better BH than FH

The two players are about equal in their ground consistency, but Mats’ is evenly distributed. Ground UEs -

- Cash BH 8
- Mats FH 5
- Mats BH 4

Its surprising however you look at it. Just a touch less so in light of majority of rallies being BH cc based. That might be, but it hasn’t stopped Mats from having 5 FH UEs

- Cash's volleying distribution

FHV - 4 winners (none of them from serve-volleying), 6 UEs
BHV - 9 winners (5 from serve-volleying), 0 UEs

Not sure what Cash’s reputation is as far as which volley is better. @Cashman ?

Mats seems to prefer going to BHV, but Cash seems to prefer making them too. Mats directs his returns and passes that way and Cash, if anything, slightly moves over to make BHV when he could as readily done FHV (its very minor, he doesn’t seem to mind either way)

Cash's UEs read a strange (8 BH, 6 FHV) ... no FHs, no BHVs
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Hall of Fame
Everything Else
Serve isn’t much of a factor. Cash throws out his most powerful ones when he’s not serve-volleying. Mats’ is unchallenging all the time

10/13 Cash’s return errors have been marked UEs and majority are against first serves. 2 of the FEs are products of serve-volleys and the other is marginal. Suffice to say, no demons in Mats’ serve. 64% in count can be considered low given strength of serve

Good lot of Cash’s return errors are also product of aggression. There’s 2 chip-charges he misses and others beside when he steps well in and looks to smack the ball to a corner

Mats meanwhile as ever gets every return he can in play, even if its to leave an easy volley. No return winners for Mats despite considerable amount of serve-volleying and Cash’s serve also not being overwhelming (though not as harmless as Mats’)

Cash serve-volleys 72% of the time off first serves. He wins 67% so doing. Staying back, its 57% (though with small 7 times total) and about half of those points he wins are via return errors

Baseline rallies are best captured by the UE figures given earlier. Surprisingly even. At the Australian Open final shortly after, Mats would slaughter Cash in this area. The rallies that don’t end in UEs turn into net points. Rallying to net -

Cash 18/31 or 58%
Mats 17/18 or 94%

The Cash at net vs Mats’ pass as stated earlier is the centerpiece of action. Great volleying, great passing. Mats hits many a needle threading perfect pass (and has to to win) and Cash not only putsaway volleys above net, but volleys with authority to balls under (Mats sometimes makes the pass anyway)

Cash does get sloppy at times and 13 net volley UEs in a short match isn’t good. Its part of Mats’ general way - if he can’t get a great pass off, he’ll make do with putting a weak one in play (rather than miss the pass going for a strong one). Gives the volleyer a chance to mess up

That’s why so many players have such high winner counts against him, and he looks thrashed at such times. But he’d lose those points anyway if he’d missed the pass in the first place. And when it work and the volleyer does drop the ball, he wins matches like this. Or the ‘88 US Open final. Not a bad strategy

Cash is off on the pass and Mats’ is particularly strong in his finishing on the volley. Generally, Mats’ is a less decisive volleyer, knocking volleys not far from the baseliner and counting on passing errors. Here, he dispatches what’s there to be putaway almost like Cash himself, including on the smash, where he’s likewise, usually more circumspect than most

However well Mats volleys and how smartly he comes to net, 0 passing winners, forcing 0 volleying errors along with 11 ground FEs (almost all of which would be passes) is a poor job by Cash on the pass. Mats barely sees a difficult volley, 1 or 2 at most. He’d probably have been better of creating more approaches rather than staying on baseline (where things are surprisingly even) or having Cash come in (which he isn’t in a rush to do most of the time)

Match Progression
Holds to 2-2, with Cash having the easier time of it. Both his holds are to love, Mats is stretched to deuce once and wins the other to 30. No particular net play from Cash in the return games

But its Mats who breaks for 3-2 lead, mostly by his own strong play. Cash draws him to net but loses the point and Cash blinks first in a baseline rally - not much to fault for either. Cash does miss a routine FHV that he trys to drop, and Wilander wraps up with his favourite BH cc pass for a winner

Down a break, Cash starts taking net more often in return games. Too good effect. He takes Mats to deuce, winning 2 points with chip-charge returns. At deuce, he goes for a return winner against a second serve but misses before missing another routine return, this time against a first serve

A good set of tennis becomes a great one when Wilander steps up to serve for the set and moves to 40-0. Points he wins include Cash missing an easy FHV and a difficult BHV. Undeterred and with nothing to lose, Cash keeps coming forward. The only point of the remaining 8 that he’s not at net is when Mats serve-volleys. Lovely BHV winner from under the net is the best of the game, and on his second break point, Cash approaches behind a good FH dtl and finishes with a smash to level the set

Having got out of jail, Cash looks good to take the set. Another furious return game follows where he’s at net 5 times in 8 points and has a set point. Some fantastic points, exchanges and shots in the game, especially the most important ones. Great job by Mats to hold out against the assault and hold

The ensuing tiebreak has its share of thrilling points too. The two exchange early ground UEs, but its Cash who falls behind when he misses a regulation, just-under net FHV and later, another BH. Mats serve-volleys himself to seal the set

Second set is more mundane. Cash is broken in game 2 in a terrible game with 2 double faults, missing a regulation BH and on break point, a swinging FHV winner attempt from just inside the baseline.

He’s still a threat to break back though and does so to move back on serve, down 2-3 in a game as good as the end of the last set. Only to follow up with another terrible game to be broken to love - missing an easy FHV and another 1 which makes the first look like difficult (credit to Mats for hanging in the point long enough for that though, as he gets 2 smashes back in play) and on break point, a BH dtl approach attempt

No more competitive thrills. Cash takes net twice in each of Mats’ remaining service games, but Mats wins 3/4 of those points with excellent passes. He serves out to love, finishing with 2 serve-volleys that draw return errors

Summing up, a very good match, the high points of which reach the top drawer. Particularly good first set, especially the climax, where a furious net rush from Cash is held off and returned in kind by the resourceful Wilander. A coin flip set, tilted towards Cash but which falls Wilander’s way through Wilander’s own mettle. Second set is settled by runs from Cash

From Wilander, some great passing and above personal norm finishing on the volley when he chooses to come in. He’d have done well to have done so more
From Cash, plenty of good volleying, with faltering thrown in and while he does well to hang tough in baseline rallies, he’s poor on the pass

Stats for the final between Wilander and Ivan Lendl - Match Stats/Report - Lendl vs Wilander, Masters final 1987 | Talk Tennis (