Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs Gerulaitis, French Open quarter-final, 1982


Hall of Fame
Mats Wilander beat Vitas Gerulaitis 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the French Open quarter-final, 1982 on clay

The unseeded Wilander would go onto win the title, beating Guillermo Vilas in the final and become the then youngest ever Slam champion. Gerulaitis was seeded 5th

Wilander won 125 points, Gerulaitis 113

Gerulaitis serve-volleyed off most first serves and occasionally off seconds

[Note: I'm missing the ending of 2 points and have guessed serve type for a small number of points. A small number of points are missing minor, partial data such as serve direction and return data

Points with ending missing
- Set 2, Game 7, Point 2... a Wilander first serve point won by Wilander
- Set 3, Game 4, Point 2... a Wilander first serve that drew a return error (most unlikely unforced)]

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (98/111) 88%
- 1st serve points won (62/98) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (9/13) 69%
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/111) 14%

- 1st serve percentage (67/127) 53%
- 1st serve points won (51/67) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (22/60) 37%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/127) 20%

Serve Patterns
Wilander served...
- to FH 9%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 25%

Gerulaitis served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 47%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Wilander made...
- 93 (43 FH, 49 BH, 1 ??), including 3 runaround BHs
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 20 Forced (7 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (93/119) 78%

Gerulaitis made...
- 94 (20 FH, 70 BH, 4 ??), including 2 runaround FHs & 13 return-approaches
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 15 Unforced (3 FH, 12 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 3 return-approach attempts
- 1 Unknown (1st serve return)
- Return Rate (94/110) 85%

Break Points
Wilander 6/11 (9 games)
Gerulaitis 3/8 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Wilander 38 (17 FH, 17 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Gerulaitis 44 (6 FH, 4 BH, 14 FHV, 13 BHV, 7 OH)

Wilander had 31 passes (16 FH, 14 BH, 1 BHV)
- FH passes - 8 cc, 2 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out return, 2 longline (1 net chord pop over) and 3 lobs
- BH passes - 2 cc, 7 dtl, 1 inside-out return, 1 inside-in return, 1 longline and 2 lobs

- regular FH - 1 inside-out at net
- regular BHs - 1 cc at net, 1 dtl at net and 1 inside-out at net

Gerulaitis had 22 from serve-volley points -
- 8 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH at net)… the BH at net was a drop shot
- 12 second volleys (5 FHV, 3 BHV, 4 OH)
- 2 third volleys (1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 3 from return-approach points (2 FHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 lob
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out pass

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Wilander 42
- 22 Unforced (12 FH, 9 BH, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 20 Forced (8 FH, 11 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.9

Gerulaitis 62
- 43 Unforced (9 FH, 25 BH, 3 FHV, 6 BHV)
- 19 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH, 7 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 2 BHOH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.3

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

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Wilander was...
- 12/22 (55%) at net, with...
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Gerulaitis was...
- 76/130 (58%) at net, including...
- 49/69 (71%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 42/54 (78%) off 1st serve and...
- 7/15 (47%) off 2nd serve
- 7/13 (54%) return-approaching
- 2/4 (50%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
A good match and a lively one with Gerulaitis taking net and Wilander staying on the baseline trying to pass him. Wilander's passing at times is exceptionally good and he comes out comfortably ahead, despite a good showing in forecourt and to lesser degree, even the baseline, from Vitas

Action can neatly be divided into two parts -
a) Baseline-to-baseline
b) Vitas at net vs Wilander on baseline

... and is simple to describe

Baseline-to-baseline starting point comprise all of Wilander's service points, most of Vitas' 2nd serves and some of the 1sts. Play is marked by who-blinks-first hitting. Wilander leads play, though not attacking, and largely keeps rallies BH-BH. Vitas push-slices his BH cc's and Wilander drives his

BH UEs read Mats 9, Vitas 25... pretty clear who gets the better of these exchanges. Nonetheless, Vitas' push-slice BH is among the most reliable I've seen. Other 1 handed, push/drive-slice BHs going up against a 2 handed drive BH encounters looks completely hopeless from the 1 handers point of view, and the UEs come quickly and predictably. This is from players like John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver (who being left handed, has it even worse going up against right handers FH). By that standard, Vitas keeps the ball in play long and reliably... though the end result doesn't go his way too often

Disproportionately high number of Mats' UEs are change-up dtl or longline shots. It'd be an exaggeration to call them 'attacking' shots... he doesn't hit hard enough to overly trouble the fleet footed Vitas

By contrast, Vitas actually has consistency advantage on FH, making 9 UEs to Mats' 12. Again, high lot of change-up extra wide hit shots among Mats' errors. Vitas is either unable or unwilling to orchestrate play to keep things FH-FH and bulk or rallies stay BH-BH, to Mats' advantage

Mats' hitting rarely rises above neutral. Early on, he hits a bit harder, encouraging Vitas to fall back. Certainly not pushing him back, let alone hammering him down. Otherwise, very much neutral, keep-ball-in-play hitting by Mats

All 4 of Mats' non-pass groundstroke winners are net shots. Vitas by contrast has 5 baseline-to-baseline winners (a couple of them from well inside court). He also rarely goes for a attacking shots from the back. Outlasted from the back, Vitas' potential escape is coming to net, but...

Vitas at net, Mats on baseline - doesn't exactly work out well for him either. Rallying to net, he wins just 20/48 or 42%. And that's with the number going up over the match. After winning first 2 points of the match by coming in, he goes on a 1/16 run rallying to net that lasts to almost the end of second set.

As for serve-volleying, Vitas does so -
- 86% of the time off first serves, winning 78% of those points. Staying back, he wins 56%
- 29% of the time off 2nd serves, winning 47% of those points. Staying back, he wins 41%

Return-approaching, he's 7/13 or 54%... mostly against first serves. Mats only misses 13 first serves all match, but his first serve is just a point starter and very much chip-chargeble

If these figures are saying anything, its that Vitas would be best served to come to net as soon as possible - off the serve and off the return. He does so behind first serve all match and frequency of second serve-volleying and return-approaching increases as match goes on

This is the best serving I've seen from Vitas. Even on the slow clay, he regularly has Mats lunging and jumping to make returns. Lunging and jumping yes, missing returns, no and Mats still returns at 78%, leaving Vitas work to do on the volley


Hall of Fame
The Vitas volley vs Mats pass contest is the highlight of the match, and its excellent from both players. Vitas is up to net in a flash, makes negligible approach errors. He comes in behind slices, not firmly hit shots. He's got 9 UEs and 13 FEs in forecourt. Having more FEs than UEs in forecourt is usually an indicator of volleying well - and Vitas' showing is no exception

He volleys deep and wide and punches his volleys through. When he can, he swats or half-swings the volleys, which is necessary to get it through the slow court. He covers the net superbly. And has to because Mats is even more impressive on the pass

Mats runs down everything, without even looking particularly rushed, passes wide rather than low and utilizes the lob for variety. He's got 27 passing winners (excluding 4 returns), to just 19 groundstroke FEs (virtually all pass attempts). By shot -

- FH 14 passing winners, 8 FEs
- BH 12 passing winners, 11 FEs

All this against Vitas volleying superbly, and relying on a good strong first serve to set up comfortable first volleys. It takes Vitas 2-3 good volleys to finish a point, with Mats running down everything and smacking the pass cleanly. He's not overly powerful and relies on precision placement to get the job done

Mats is a bit predictable in his direction. On the BH, he goes dtl (7 winners to 2 cc) and on the FH, he goes cc (8 winners to 1 dtl). The lob is his main variety from his preferred direction and while he also lobs very well (5 winners and forcing 2 BHOH errors), probably not well enough that Vitas wouldn't look to cover Mats' favoured shot of either wing

Vitas does pick up on it as match goes on and looks to cover FH cc more and more, making many a running FHV winner

In nutshell, great battle all around on this front. Vitas is sharp on the volley and quick to cover net. Mats is even quicker to cover the baseline, gets his passes off wide for winners or force uncontrolled volleys that he can have a second hit at and willing to test Vitas on the regulation volley

Mats by contrast is rarely at net. He comes in behind strong groundstrokes a few times early on, but is content on baseline thereafter. Just 22 approaches (Vitas has a 130), about a quarter of which are forced

Match Progression
Match starts as it doesn't continue. Vitas doesn't serve-volley on his first 2 points, but comes to net to win the points, from 30-30, Mats comes to net to take the next 2 points and get the break

Vitas breaks right back, with Mats again taking net, but sloppily missing 3 groundstrokes

Thereafter, Vitas serve-volleys almost all the time off first serves and Mats stays put on the baseline. Mats has much the better of play, hitting precise, wide passing shots. After 2 sets, Vitas has won just 6/29 second serve points and doesn't have any more break points after his initial break

Remaining 2 sets are close though, with Vitas having more success coming to net, 2nd serve-volleying more often and taking to return-approaching. Mats had been zoning on the pass, and that standard inevitably falls too. Vitas breaks to go up 2-0 in the second set in another rare, sloppy games from Mats, who makes 4 baseline UEs to be broken to 15.

Vitas is broken back in game 7 double faulting twice from 30-30. He endures another tough hold after, before breaking in a fine game to take the set

The fourth set is tough all around, and returner has break points in 5 of first 6 games. The only break comes to 30, with Mats hitting a BH inside-out return pass winner and forcing 2 volleying errors. After consolidating in a 12 point game (3 break points), there are no further thrills. Both players hold comfortably from thereon, leaving Mats with the win

Summing up, fine and entertaining contest between Gerulaitis' sharp and smart volleying and Wilander's precision passing, supported by running everything possible down. Wilander has the better of the contest, with Gerulaitis needing help from strong first serves to win net points - and even those are a struggle to get ball by the omnipresent Wilander. From the baseline, Wilander outlasts Gerulaitis in BH cc rallies regularly, though Gerulaitis doesn't blink easily. Good show all around

Stats for Wilander's 4th round match with Ivan Lendl - Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs Lendl, French Open fourth round, 1982 | Talk Tennis (
Stats for the '83 final between Wilander and Yannick Noah - Match Stats/Report - Noah vs Wilander, French Open final, 1983 | Talk Tennis (
Stats for the '80 final between Gerulaitis and Bjorn Borg - Match Stats/Report - Borg vs Gerulaitis, French Open final, 1980 | Talk Tennis (


The Vitas volley vs Mats pass contest is the highlight of the match, and its excellent from both players.

Summing up, fine and entertaining contest between Gerulaitis' sharp and smart volleying and Wilander's precision passing, supported by running everything possible down. Wilander has the better of the contest, with Gerulaitis needing help from strong first serves to win net points - and even those are a struggle to get ball by the omnipresent Wilander. From the baseline, Wilander outlasts Gerulaitis in BH cc rallies regularly, though Gerulaitis doesn't blink easily. Good show all around.
Perfect summary of a good match as we don't see anymore these days: a server volleyer - on clay please - against a baseliner.

That's no secret that Mats the champion was born during that tournament in Paris that year.

Great memories, as always, thanks for reminding us.