Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs Lendl, French Open final, 1985

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the French Open final, 1985 on clay

It was Wilander's second title at the event. Lendl had been the defending champion and reached the final without loss of set. The two had met twice recently on clay leading into the event, with Lendl winning both matches (Monte Carlo final and World Team Cup rubber). The two would go onto play the '87 final also, with Lendl winning

Wilander won 119 points, Lendl 103

Serve Stats
Wilander...
- 1st serve percentage (84/113) 74%
- 1st serve points won (51/84) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (15/29) 52%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/113) 12%

Lendl...
- 1st serve percentage (48/109) 44%
- 1st serve points won (30/48) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (26/61) 43%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/109) 12%

Serve Patterns
Wilander served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 38%
- to Body 14%

Lendl served....
- to FH 21%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Wilander made...
- 94 (33 FH, 61 BH), including 11 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (94/107) 88%

Lendl made...
- 98 (58 FH, 40 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 2 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (10 FH, 1 BH)
- 2 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (98/112) 88%

Break Points
Wilander 9/22 (10 games)
Lendl 6/18 (8 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Wilander 38 (5 FH, 7 BH, 8 FHV, 10 BHV, 7 OH, 1 BHOH)
Lendl 42 (16 FH, 6 BH, 12 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH, 1 BHOH)

Wilander had 8 passes (4 FH, 4 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/lob, 1 dtl at net and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 1 dtl and 3 lobs

- regular FH - 1 cc
- regular BHs - 1 cc at net and 2 dtl (1 caused by wind)

- 4 from serve-volley points
- 3 first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 second volley (1 BHV)

- 1 from a return-approach point, a FHV

Lendl had 9 passes (5 FH, 4 BH)
- FHs - 4 dtl (2 returns, 1 net chord flicker) and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 lob

- regular FHs - 3 cc, 3 inside-out (2 at net) and 5 inside-in
- regular BHs - 2 drop shots

- 1 from a serve-volley point - a first volley FHV

- 1 from a return-approach point - a BHV

- 1 other FHV was a swinging shot and 1 can reasonably be called an OH

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Wilander 47
- 32 Unforced (15 FH, 16 BH, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH at net & 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 15 Forced (7 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BHOH).... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net & 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.7

Lendl 65
- 34 Unforced (22 FH, 11 BH, 1 FHV)
- 31 Forced (13 FH, 17 BH, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.6

(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...
- 57/76 (75%) at net, including...
- 10/12 (83%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 1/2 retreated

Lendl was...
- 33/45 (73%) at net, including...
- 3/3 (100%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/2 off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve
---
- 2/2 return-approaching
- 1/3 (33%) forced back

Match Report
Its who dares (come to net), wins - and Mats Wilander is a lot more daring (and smart) in this area in particular in a very interesting match in tricky conditions

Substantial but irregular winds have a hand in shaping action. Its picks up and dies down unpredictably. Lendl's serve in particular is effected adversely and when winds are on the up, both players fall back to hitting passively

The word 'passively' in context of the match up - which is generally filled with passive rallying - needs amplification. By the standards of the match up in general, action is 'hard-hitting' (by a normal standard, its normal). Wilander steps up a fair bit to hit from inside court (more so than I've seen from him), as does Lendl (not unusal for him). The hitting isn't particularly damaging, but significantly less passive than the pair's norm

Of course, there's still passive rallying, who-blinks-first, looping ball in play. Large lot of it comes when wind is up. Rallies are fairly dual winged - not BH-BH ad nauseum, with both players moving over to hit FH inside-outs to others BH too. Instead of playing who-blinks-first 'til the cows come home, Wilander in particular looks to take net to finish points. Lendl is encouraged, if not forced, to reciprocate. He often resists the encouragement

And Mats comes to net much more, and more daringly. Winning rates at net are very similar (Mats 75%, Lendl 73%), but Mats is up there 76 times to Lendl's 45

All other things remaining roughly equal - that proves decisive

All things remaining remaining equal involves Lendl underperforming with his 1st serve - the power of which is a category or 2 above Mats' - and that's not the only noteworty thing going on on the serve and the return

Serve & Return
1st serve in - Mats 74%, Lendl 44%
1st serve won - Mats 61%, Lendl 63%
2nd serve won - Mats 52%, Lendl 43%

In typical Mats-Lendl encounter, Lendl's first serve is the outlier and remaining 3 serves lead to 50-50 points (to simplify a bit)

Lendl's first serve point by contrast, heavily favour him - he blasts down unreturnables and draws weak returns that he can command from up in the court with his FH. Here, he's only got 44% first serves in - which drastically reduces possiblity of that giving him a significant advantage

On top of that, he's not even winning an unduely large number of those points. Just 2 aces/service winners from Lendl or 1 every 24 first serves. Contrasting with pair's other matches at French Open -

- '82 - 1 every 7.1
- '84 - 1 every 6
- '87 - 1 every 4.6

Wind probably is a factor in him not being able to serve so powerfully but he seems to have adjusted for that. He's serving big, but short of his, all-in looking for unreturnables every first serve way. In that light, he'd look to have a higher lot than 44% first serves in. Just not a good job by Lendl - if he's serving at that low a rate, he should be getting a host of freebies or if he gets so few freebies, he should be getting much higher lot of first serves in - either way you slice it, not a good job by Lendl

To be clear, he does serve powerfully - much, much more so than Mats - and he does draw weak returns that he can step in and pound FHs off (which has hand in his high FH winners - more on that later). And Mats' typical, uber-consistent returning has a big hand in keeping the freebies down so low. That's just typical, virtually to be taken for granted with Mats

Unreturned rates are equal at 12%. A big relative win for Mats

Mats serves in his ussual, point starting way on the first serve. Sends down the rare bigger one. For him, its normal to serve majority to FH and he directs 47% there. It works. 11/13 return errors he draws are FHs - quarter to half of them products of Lendl going for a big FH return against second serves

For most of 2 sets, Lendl looks for FH returns against 2nd serves - standing in doubles alley on ad side and in center of deuce court as he waits for the return. Generally, he's apt to absolutely blast such returns, looking for the winner with it. Here, as with his serve, he dials it down (both his return winners are passes against 1st serves). Early on, he smacks the returns but shy of with all-out force

11/13 Lendl return errors have been marked UEs, to 4/11 for Mats - and Mats' UEs are relatively harder too. Considerably better returning by Mats as far as consistency - he barely misses anything easy (far more so than Lendl) and makes a lot of tough returns too (which Lendl doesn't have scope to do against Mats' ordinary serves) - but he's also quite attacking with the second shot too

Particularly in third set but more broadly, the last 2 sets of the match, Mats pounds 2nd serve returns hard and deep, pushing Lendl back at once. Its not overwhelming - there's little danger of his hitting a winner and he doesn't - but puts Lendl on back foot and behind baseline to start rallies. Rarely, even forces an error. This is the most attacking returning I've seen from Mats against a baseliner - and he loses nothing of his usual consistency by so being

In compound nutshell, Lendl's first seving is a bit off - both of force and percentage in - as his his returning force against 2nd serves. Mats serves his usual, high percentage but undamaging way and his returning is beefed up of force without compromising his increadible consistency. 88% return rates for both players - and then they rally
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline & Net
Action is not too complicated but differentiation baseline and net points are because the two are intertwined. Bulk of points start neutrally with both players on the baseline. Rallies are dual winged, biased towards BH-BH exchanges - but less than norm for the two (norm being extreme). Both back-away to lead with FH inside-outs to the otheres BH fairly often

There's a mix of postions. Mats occasionally steps into court to hit from neutral starting position. Lendl does the same less often and is more tentatively in moving up, though also more powerful with his FHs. For both players the step-in hitting is at most pressuring. Not attacking and against opposition in question, unlikely to end points. Mats in fact becomes more error prone when inside the court for having less time to set up his shots

Lendl also steps in to genuinely attack after his big first serves draw weak returns - this is categoricaly different from the above

More often, both play from behind the baseline, but a less-passive showing from Mats in particular. Lendl's more apt to fall good 3-4 paces behind baseline

Both change up to longline from cc rallies. Occasional hard hit, attacking BH dtl's from Mats. Lendl with the odd power FH dtl

Points that stay baseline-to-baseline still end mostly end with UEs, and rallies aren't short, and some 'pressuring' stuff going on in the combination of hitting strenght, direction changers and step-in positions. Both players defensives abilities are more than capable of handling it

And net-play is the key. Mats wins 57/76, Lendl 33/45 in forecourt - most of it is inextricably tied in with baseline play - lets finish with baseline-to-baseline first and get to that after.

Overall -
Winners - Mats 38, Lendl 42
Errors Forced - Mats 31, Lendl 15
UEs - Mats 32, Lendl 34

... so both players with more winners than UEs. Mats' +6 goes winners/UE differnetial goes up to +37 when errors forced are thrown in, Lendl's +8 and moves up to +23. So the big difference is in FEs. Mats' advanage there is virtually entirely due to his being at net so much more. Net points proves much more important than ground consistency, but ground consistency is the base of play. And consistency is virtually equal.


Baseline-to-baseline UEs read Mats 29, Lendl 33
- ordered by consistency -

- Lendl BH 11
- Mats FH 13 (excluding 2 net shots)
- Mats BH 16
- Lendl FH 22

Neutral UEs read Mats 18, Lendl 21

Everythings pretty close there in what's usually the decisive battleground. Lendl BH being top of consistency tree is a very good outcome for him. Neither player is unduly troubled in the BH-BH exchanges, but Mats is the more comfortable in them and Lenld's more often the one hitting while on back foot or hopping back

'Baseline'-to-baseline winners read

- Mats 3, Lendl 11... and FEs in same situation are small

Overwhelming bulk of such finishing shots are hit from well inside-court - about half way to service line at least. One of Mats' BH winners is entirely due to the wind. In other words, close to 0 aggressively ended points 'baseline'-to-baseline by Mats. When both players stay back, consistency is key. Mats with a thin advantage there

Attacking UEs - Mats 13, Lendl 7
Winner Attempt UEs - Mats 1, Lendl 6

Less than half of Mats' attacking UEs are approach attempts. He tends to miss his more attacking groundies - a few BH dtl's or step-in power FH cc's. The ones he makes tend not to to draw errors - Lendl's upto handling the extra heat. And Mats rarely goes for winners from the back - and has just 1 volley UE. In other words, he doesn't go for winners so missing them doesn't come up from the back - and he's almost perfect at net

Lendl also has just 1 volleying UE so net shots aren't skewing his numbers either. But he can and does hit winners from inside-baseline as his 11 winners attest to. Most misses are off his FH, which has match high 11 non-pass winners (2 are net shots) and 22 UEs. A disproportionately high number of the FH UEs come down break point. Lendl occasionally takes to drop shotting - he's got a couple winners, but also misses and the ones he makes are often poor. Mats can run them down and hit a normal groundstroke, not necessarily even at the service line

In short - nominally baseline-to-baseline everything is pretty close, with the damaging ability of Lendl's FH giving him advanage
- UEs - Mats +4 (as in, Mats has fewer), subdivided as...
- Neutral UEs - Mats +3
- Attacking and Winner Attempt UEs - Lendl +1 (couple of groundstrokes at net account for the imperfect lining up of breakdown - Mats having 2 such shots)

Winners - Lendl +8... with 9/11 winners being FHs and Mats having virtually 0 winners (small 3 he has are hit from close to service line or caused by the wind) and Lendl's FH also having sizable match high 22 UEs

Looks like Lendl's FH is key to baseline action but that's deceptive because realistically, Mats' net points are what corresponds to Lendl's FH, not Mats' FH

The kinds of balls Lendl pounds for winners from inside-court, Mats hits strongly and approaches behind. And Mats' 75% winning rate at net is a lot better than Lendl's winning rate smacking FHs... his way of attacking is smarter and proves more efficient and successful

Furthermore, majority of Mats' net play is a function of his getting better of baseline rallies. He gains advantage, draws short ball and comes in off it to finish

Not all of it, because Mats' showing is varied. He's got 12 serve-volleys - which he peppers in randomly. Or in quick combination - like doing so twice from deuce to serve-out the 2nd set behind 2 of his stronger serves. Or 3 times in a row near end of match when he's got Lendl on ropes. He wins 10/12 - and there are only 2 return errors there

He has the ocasional surprise, quick dash approach. Wins virtually all such points. He manufactures some approaches from neutral postion. But bulk of his high 76 approaches come from outhitting Lendl from the back, and then coming in behind powerful shots usually taken from inside the court. BH dtl or FH cc or FH inside-out all do as appraoch shots with some combo of powerful/wide/deep

Lendl by contrast serve-volleys 3 times (including a surprsie 2nd serve down break point), winning them all and only near end does he manufucature a small number of approaches or comes in quickly (he loses most of those). Otherwise, he comes in mostly from overpoweringly strong appraoch shots - even stronger than the ones Mats comes in behind

Neither player has good passing prospets against the bulk type of strong approaches that are made (particularly Mats) and neither are able to pass well (Mats does better). Mats does come up with the odd superb passing winner from defensive position, but Lendl's passing is disappointing. That said, both players are near perfect on the volley though neither are tested much

Volley figures (including OHs and 1/2volleys)
- Winners - Mats 26, Lendl 20
- UEs - both 1 (excluding a groundstroke at net by Mats)
- FEs - Mats 2, Lendl 1 (excluding 3 running-down-drop-shot errors by Mats)

Just 1 volleying UE for each player. 2 FEs for Mats, 1 for Lendl. Astounding figures. Looking at from passers point of view...

- Passing Winners - Mats 8, Lendl 9
- Groundstroke FEs (excluding running -down-drop-shots shot) - Mats 10, Lendl 30

All the groundstroke FEs aren't passes, but overwhelming bulk are and the number is fair indicator of passing success

The ratio of winners hit to errors trying speaks for itself - Mats close to 1:1, Lendl about 1:3. And thats' in the context of Lendl usually winning his net points by hitting winners. Mats too, but to considerably lesser degree

Mats' ability to outplay, outmanuver Lendl from the back to come in and the daring to come to net (i.e. net instincts) is more eye-catching than the volleying itself, which isn't tested but his volleying is almost perfect. He barely faces a difficult volley and Lendl either hits the ball out or puts the ball comforably over net. Mats putsaway volleys while barely missing or volleys well away from Lendl... nothing easy for Lendl on the pass. Plenty of wrong-footing type, longline volley winners by Mats. Winds might have a hand in Lendl's struggling on the pass - its always a good idea to come in when its windy and players are struggling to hit groundies with any weight

Mats net hunger is daring and smart but not eager. Plenty of possible chances to come in that he foregoes, including off the return. He comes in just once behind return, though he hits several deep and hard enough to push Lendl back

Lendl comes in behind even more powerful approach shots, and so, not daringly Some fantastic passing shots from Mats - particularly a series of BH lob winners he pulls off in quick succession - from defensive positions. Otherwise, he leaves easy volleys above net too and Lendl deals just as decisively as Mats does

Gist of it all is winning ratio in forecourt is virtually equal - Mat 75%, Lendl 73% - but Mats coming in much more (76 to 45) and doing so with some moxie, while Lendl comes in from overt chances and often, bangs big FHs to try to end points from inside baseline rather than come in. And Lendl's ability to smack aggressive FHs to end points is a lot less efficient at finishing than Mats' net play
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Match Progression
Baseline action is dual winged at the start - not the constant BH-BH norm for the two. Mats proactively steps in to court a fair bit - he's not powerful enough to be 'forceful' from there and barely 'pressuring', but its not passive either and at least sure to keep Lendl from stepping up. He plays fair number of FH inside-outs to Lendl's BH

Relatively regulation errors given up by both players in not overly long rallies (all these 'relative assessments are against standard of 2 players). Mats being inside court early on gives both players less time to play ball, though neither is unduly rushed. Early in first set, Mats is coming to net regularly quite proactively off deep shots. Near end, its Lendl, who does it after overpowering Mats from the back

Mats opens with a hold to love, including 2 regulation return misses by Lendl. Such easy holds are very rare for the match-up. Then breaks to 30 coming to net 4/6 points and winning them all. And then is broken back in a a more typical, gruelling game of 12 points after saving 4 break points

After a couple of holds, Lendl wins 4 games on the trot to win the set 6-3. He starts coming in to win the last 2, while winning the first 2 from baseline. Penultimate point of set, he actively manufactures an approach and ends with an OH winner

Just 9/20 first serves in for Lendl - but he wins all 9 first serve points. And he's 10/10 at net - 6/6 in the last 2 games of the set (11 points total in the games)

Second set is better, both players quicker to come in and both a bit harder hitting. Wind picks up randomly and at such times, both fall back to passive hitting. Mats is apt to edge forward during rallies (not necessarily coming to net) on occasion, strikes the odd surprise attacking BH dtl and looks to come in off short ball. Lendl alternates between passive hitting and moving around to hit harder, pressuring FH inside-outs

Pair start by trading breaks - both games lasting 8 points. Lendl brings up his break point with a genuine, on the baseline FH cc winner. After that, Lendl holds a 12 point game, saving 3 break points along the way

What ends up being decisive break comes in game 5, its to love and Mats hits 3 winners (FHV from return-approach, BH dtl from well up in court and an OH) before Lendl misses an aggressive BH cc to open court. Despite the winners, its more a bad game from Lendl - 2 poor drop shots are behind 2 of the winners, on top of the error to finish

3 comfy holds later, Mats steps up to serve for the set. Its a tough game with the wind up. At 15-30, Lendl misses an easy, lined up FH inside-out from well inside court. He wasn't looking to go for too much on the shot either. He brings up break point after that with FH inside-out at net winner but on the break point, misses a regulation FH from inside court. Mats takes matters into his own hands to finish, serve-volleying twice behind his stronger serves to win points. 2 good volleys are needed on set point, and he delivers to finish with BHV winner. 1 set all

Upto now, match has been about even. Thereafter, Mats has much better of things in winning 2 & 2.

Does Mats lift his game? Or does Lendl's drop? As is usually the case, some of combo of the two but I'd say Lendl's dropping is the trigger. Possibly fitness related or a lack of guts. As sets 3 and 4 progress, he seems to lose stomach for the long rallies (and they're not particularly long by the pair's standard). Plays some 'bail-out' drop shots and they're usually bad ones that Mats can easily reach to play a normal groundstroke to (as opposed to the guided, hitting up 'run-down-drop-shot' shot). Mats isn't even at service line in reaching them - though he's happy to continue upto net after his shot

In 4th set, Lendl comes to net a few times early in rallies from neutral postions. Very different from his play in rest of match. He'd been patient, waited for short ball and come in from powerful shots previously

Throws away a few returns. And doesn't move as well - though that's not particularly tested. Would think that a tiring or frustrated Lendl would go for big serves and FHs to (look to) end points quickly, but little of that too. A rather rudderless showing from Lendl in second 2 sets. His demeanour for much of it is very similar to his early Slam final losses, where he looks like he's given up or is sulking about thing being too difficult (not as extreme) and completely opposite of the just-get-on-with-business showing in previous years 5 set final

Mats though plays superbly. Some of the best returning against a baseliner I've seen from him, particularly in 3rd set as he smacks balls hard and deep. Bouncing around and energetic and coming to net more and more - though not without care. Some very good passing too when called upon. And finally, steady and consistent from the back as a base - though that's almost a given for him

Lendl gets 19/36 or 53% first serves in int he 3rd set. By far his highest of the match (other sets are 45%, 42% and 30%). And can't hold a single game

Nice game by Mats to break in opener of 3rd set with a couple of volley winners and a strange FH pass - its half a cc shot and half a lob. Lendl misses a regulation FH inside-out on break point. Lendl breaks right back in 10 point game

Mats wins next 2 games and across 4 points, hits 3 BH lob winners. Lendl also hits a one in the period - a particular fun, smash vs lob rally where the 4th lob finally clears Mats and goes for the winner. First break comes after Mats punishes a poor drop shot with a winner close to net. Next point is another bad drop shot from Lendl, but he wins the point with the extended lob vs OH exchange, but loses the point after to be broken with a BH UE.

Mats adds 2 more BH lob winners next game to hold to 15 and starts the game after with one too, before striking a FH cc pass winner on the stretch couple points after to bring up 0-40. Lendl 2nd serve-volleys and aces away 2 break points before missing a third ball FH inside-in to be broken again

Lendl breaks back to make score 2-4. Hits a return pass winner and on break point, Mats misses approach shot

Again, Mats breaks, this time in an intense 20 point game. Mats is at net 10 times in it, there are drop shots (good and bad and misses) and running-down-drop-shots (good and bad and misses) in the game. Mats finishes it with 3 FHV winners in succession. Lendl has break point as Mats serves for set, after starting the game with 2 FH winners (dtl return pass and inside-in from well in court). Mats erases it with OH winner and on his first set point, strikes a by now, expected longline volley winner, this time BHV

Ironically, Lendl holds easily to love with 4 first serves to start the set, but is broken next time with just 1/6 first serves in. He comes to net, but Mats passes him twice (FH inside-out and BH dtl) and lobs him back to baseline before coming in himself to seal the break.

After Lendl holds for 2-3, Mats reels off last 3 game. First is a throw-away return game where Lendl misses 4 returns - all marked UEs. Next Mat wins 3 net points to break for the last time to 15 and is at net 3 more timess to hold to 30 to end the match - finishing with a serve-volley that draws a return error

Summing up, excellent match of all-court action. Lendl serving at low rate shifts focus of match to rallies, helped by Wilander's typical, supremely consistent returning. Both players are tough and steady from the back in about equal measure. The big difference is in the way they attack

Wilander takes net - mostly after outhitting or outmanuvering Lendl, but in other ways too (quick-dashes to net, manufacturing approaches, serve-volley) - almost exclusively and is top notch on the volley, with Lendl somewhat off on the pass to help. Lendl is less keen to get forward and more apt to pound point-ending FHs from inside the baseline instead. Wilander's way is a lot more effective

Smart and bold (and very good) net play from Wilander, supported by his usual iron consistent groundgame. One of his best matches

Stats for Wilander's semi with John McEnroe - Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs McEnroe, French Open semi-final, 1985 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Great recap and stats. Have not watched since it aired. Just recall being impressed by Wilander's smart, controlled aggression in this one. He took to net at the right times and Lendl never seemed comfortable. I went into this thinking Lendl would win for sure. Of course, then in '87, I picked Wilander to win! Nuts to that. But this match just exemplified what I liked about Wilander.....his game was very diverse and he could really mix it up when he needed to. While he never seemed to have any 'big' weapons, he was very consistent, a solid returner and could change his game plan up midstream. Great court smarts. Largely underrated...not as flashy as Becker or Edberg, but more stable, IMHO.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Sounds like Lendl service problems ≥ Wilanders laudable net attacks,

Thanks for this.
 

Drob

Hall of Fame
Great recap and stats. Have not watched since it aired. Just recall being impressed by Wilander's smart, controlled aggression in this one. He took to net at the right times and Lendl never seemed comfortable. I went into this thinking Lendl would win for sure. Of course, then in '87, I picked Wilander to win! Nuts to that. But this match just exemplified what I liked about Wilander.....his game was very diverse and he could really mix it up when he needed to. While he never seemed to have any 'big' weapons, he was very consistent, a solid returner and could change his game plan up midstream. Great court smarts. Largely underrated...not as flashy as Becker or Edberg, but more stable, IMHO.

Interesting. Some day I have to review Wilander.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
...I went into this thinking Lendl would win for sure. Of course, then in '87, I picked Wilander to win! Nuts to that.
ahh... you win some, you lose some (looks like you lost 'em all on this one though):)

Question for you - after Borg's retirement to end of decade, how'd you see best clay courter in the world between Wilander and Lendl? or year by year?


Sounds like Lendl service problems ≥ Wilanders laudable net attacks,
Can't argue with that

I would put it the other way around - and replace Wilander's net attacks with 'Wilander's play'

Mats wins 52% of his second serve points - despite it getting a lot of stick from Lendl's return
He's won 57% of Lendl's second serve points - which he hits hard, but less so than Lendl does his

He's gotten considerably better of rallies - regardless of who has moderate advantage after the return

My main take-away of play was the difference in the way the two guys go about attacking. Both gain advantage from baseline rallies to tune of being able to step up and/or have the other fall back. What happens next?

Lendl looks to batter Mats down with FHs. He gets his winners, he draws his errors, but he also misses trying. He doesn't come in unless FH is overwhelming

Mats hits a strong shot (FH or BH) - and comes to net. And he barely misses anything on the volley... his way is ends up being considerably higher percentage than Lendl's

More generally, I've found this to be very common with Lendl; Preferring to bang away with beat-down FHs rather than come in and finish - even when he's highly successful at net. It costs him some very close matches - against Edberg, against Mats, maybe even Boris. The first two aren't easy guys to 'beat-down'

As for Lendl's serving woes... from his point of view, I'd look to keep play even - and then his first serve should put him over. If he needs his serve to make up for a considerable handicap in play - on this clay and against this Wilander wall, he's in iffy prospects territory

Also some element of Lendl dropping his shoulders around late 3rd set, maybe tiring. Very common for him in his early career. He's somewhere between gassed and ready-to-drop by end of a whole bunch of matches - '81 French final, '82 French vs Wilander, '82 & '83 US Open finals, even '84 Wimby semi. And while he toughed out the '84 final, I hear he was completely decked after that too

I've looked at all 4 Wilander-Lendl matches at the French, all their other Slam finals and the Masters one and see it a bit like Agassi-Sampras. If Lendl plays well (including serving), he'll win - that simple. Wilander needs Lendl to mess up a bit to come out on top and he's a master of giving his opponent maximum chances to mess up (in other words, he makes them play one more ball all the time - even if its an OH, a weak return, an easy volley)

This is one of my favourite Mats matches because he genuinely outplays a well playing Lendl
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
ahh... you win some, you lose some (looks like you lost 'em all on this one though):)

Question for you - after Borg's retirement to end of decade, how'd you see best clay courter in the world between Wilander and Lendl? or year by year?

That's really tough....top of mind, I lean to Mats, but he did kind of trade off w/Ivan. Perhaps because the bulk of Mats titles came on clay, I think of him as more of a "specialist' than Lendl. But that's shortchanging Ivan who was very successful on the dirt.
 
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