Match Stats/Report - Wilander vs Noah, Davis Cup semi-final rubber, 1988

#1
Mats Wilander (Sweden) beat Yannick Noah (France) 2-6, 13-11, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in a Davis Cup semi-final rubber, 1988 on clay in Bastad, Swedan

Sweden would go onto lose the final to West Germany, with Wilander losing in the first singles rubber

Noah serve-volleyed off virtually all his first serves and about half the time off second

(Note: I'm missing an unknown number of points. A Noah service game which Noah went onto win cuts off at 40-15. Service type for a Wilander service point. And 1 Noah service point, won by Noah. In 2 additional instances, I've made confident guesses about whether a serve was 1st or 2nd... so possibly as little as 2 points in total)

Wilander won 185 points, Noah 173

Serve Stats
Wilander...
- 1st serve percentage (141/175) 81%
- 1st serve points won (89/141) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (21/34) 62%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/175) 15%

Noah...
- 1st serve percentage (93/179) 52%
- 1st serve points won (70/93) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (35/86) 41%
- Aces 16, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (45/179) 25%

Serve Patterns
Wilander served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 4%

Noah served....
- to FH 28%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Wilander made...
- 127 (43 FH, 84 BH), including 10 runaround FHs
- 6 Winners (2 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 26 Errors, all forced...
- 26 Forced (9 FH, 17 BH), including 1 runround FH attempt
- Return Rate (127/171) 74%

Noah made...
- 148 (50 FH, 97 BH, 1 ??), including 5 runaround FHs and 12 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (6 FH, 3 BH), including 4 runaround FH and 2 return-approach attempts
- 15 Forced (6 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (148/173) 86%

Break Points
Wilander 7/16 (11 games)
Noah 5/15 (10 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Wilander 62 (17 FH, 27 BH, 6 FHV, 5 BHV, 7 OH)
Noah 65 (11 FH, 9 BH, 20 FHV, 11 BHV, 14 OH)

Wilander - 1 volley was a pass and all but 3 groundstrokes were
- FH passes - 5 cc (1 return), 10 dtl (1 return, 1 at net), and 1 net-to-net
- BH passes - 7 cc (1 return), 3 dtl, 6 inside-out (3 returns), 2 running-down-drop-shots, 1 at net, 1 longline and 5 lobs
- BHV pass - 1

- non-pass groundstrokes - 1 FH at net, 1 dtl/inside out BH and 1 net chord dribbler BH

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

Noah had 28 from serve-volley points
- 14 first volleys (7 FHV, 3 BHV, 4 OH)
- 13 second volleys (2 FHV, 6 BHV, 5 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 8 passes (3 FH, 5 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl
- BHs - 3 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out and 1 lob

- 12 non-pass groundstrokes (8 FH, 4 BH)
- FHs - 3 cc, 3 dtl (1 return), 1 drop shot and 1 at net
- BHs - 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 1 drop shot at net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Wilander 59
- 18 Unforced (10 FH, 2 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 41 Forced (10 FH, 25 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.8

Noah 87
- 47 Unforced (6 FH, 29 BH, 3 FHV, 8 BHV, 1 OH)
- 40 Forced (12 FH, 8 BH, 10 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 BH1/2V, 1 BHOH, 1 Other)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.3

(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)

(Note 3: Noah's 'other' FE was a back-to-net-running-backwards attempt to retrieve a lob)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Wilander was...
- 41/72 (57%) at net, including...
- 12/16 (75%) serve-volleying, all first serves
---
- 2/5 (40%) forced back

Noah was...
- 105/183 (57%) at net, including...
- 66/106 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 49/67 (73%) off 1st serve and...
- 17/39 (44%) off 2nd serve
---
- 5/12 (42%) return-approaching
- 0/3 forced back
 
#2
Match Report
A lively match on a standard clay court. Noah attacks relentlessly - serve-volleying and otherwise seeking the net - and Wilander counter-punches. The end result is entertaining, volley vs pass tennis, with a decent helping off rallying and looking to come in off rallying thrown in. But for the last set, the match is about even, though Wilander's solidity and better fitness do suggest he would be the one to come out on top, as he ultimately does. He does a good job of gradually wearing down the flamboyant Frenchman.

This is my first look at Noah. For starters, he looks every inch the athlete - powerfully built, but lithe. Moves splendidly and gracefully. His jumping smashes are a fine demonstration of athleticism and often, necessary (unlike Pete Sampras, who mostly did it for styles own sake). Volleys well enough and an artiste on the approach. And a fat dangerous serve to go along with it all; he has at least two service motions - 1 orthodox and the second, a round arm swat that looks like a shoulder high FH being hit with which he maximizes the angle on his serves out wide to the deuce court

Its the serve that catches the eye in the first set, especially in contrast to Wilander's delivery. Knocks down 6 aces and a service winner out of just 17 first serves. On return, he gets the ball back comfortably and hangs in in long rallies, not slow to make an approach, but not in a hurry either.

Second set is a surprisingly extended affair. Wouldn't have expected the set to go on so long on clay. Wilander settles into his groove of consistent grondstroking and comes into net himself when necessary to put points to bed. And while still mostly overpowered in return games, he's making enough passes that it seems a matter of time til he puts a few together in sequence to secure the break. That's what happens and the Swede finally breaks in a game featuring a runaround FH return pass, a BH cc pass, forcing a volleying error and finally, using the lob to snatch the set.

There are signs of tiredness from Noah in the third. Nothing major, but it stands out in contrast to Wilander, who looks just as he did when the match started. Noah starts making volleying errors and by this point, he's coming up with the very short end of the baseline rally stick. A late break decides the set.

Fourth set is the only one that looks like a typical clay court affair. 5 breaks in it and break points in 7/9 games. And lots of winners from both players. The final set is straightforward too much consistency from Wilander for Noah to handle - just the 2 errors from Mats

Playing Dynamics & Stats
This is one of the easiest matches to explain the stats for. One could give a picture of play with 1-2 sentences to go along with the stats.

Serve
- Wilander serving at 81%. Not a big deal since he's winning just as many second serve points (62%) as first (63%), but just the act of getting the first serve in dampens Noah's ability to attack. And justifiably too... Wilander serves more strongly as the match wears on... and though not a powerful shot, his first serve also isn't one that invites the returner to attack either. And Noah doesn't seem capable of doing so anyway... other than return-approaching, he doesn't have a threatening return

Baseline
- Errors. In a nutshell, almost all baseline rallies that don't lead to an approach end with an unforced error. And its almost always Noah who makes it. And usually off the BH

Initially, Noah holds decently from the back. Wilander looks to work him all over, with a slight bias for going to the BH. As the match goes on, he targets the BH more and more. Noah slices and slice-drives many BHs and is good at it even against the high balls to begin with, but gradually, begins to yield more and more errors

29 BH UEs from Noah to only 6 on the FH tells most of the baseline story. Wilander with just 2 BH UEs tells the rest

- Unforced Errors Forcefulness Index. In a nutshell, Noah makes two types of baseline errors. Neutral ones from the baseline ( scored a 4) or approach attempts (which are usually scored a 5)… and he makes far more of the former type. He also has the most defensive errors I've yet tracked (4 of them... most matches, the figure is 0 for both players) not because he's pushed on the defensive but because he chooses to play defensive shots

This explains the counter-intuitive, low UEFI of 44.3 for Noah. He's not a pure attacker.... he's only attacking when coming forward. From the baseline, he's as meek as can be

Net Play & Passing
Note Noah doing so much better with the FHV than the BHV. FHV has 20 winners, to BHV 11 and FHV has 3 UEs, BHV 8. This is in keeping with the feeling of vigour rather than finesse that one gets of Noah's net play.

Note also Wilander's 25 BH FEs to just 10 on the FH. These would virtually all have been passing shots.... when he couldn't put the volley away for a winner, Mats' BH was the side Noah targeted. Not very successfully... Mats also had the small matter of 25 BH passing winners. Coupled with Noah's volleying FEs, Mats comfortably comes out ahead in this particular duel

Just as interesting a match up was the Wilander lob vs the Noah OH. Both are excellent. Noah gets the better of it by a 50-50 standard of expectation, but probably comes up short if one more realistically expects the OH to outgun the lob by a significant margin. Noah himself lobs well - its the best part of his passing - and Mats is either forced back or made to make difficult OHs several times

Wilander's net play is steady. He gets of to a bad start - 3 volleying UEs in the first 15 points in the match - which means he only made 2 more for the rest of the match, which is outstanding. Still, 57% at net isn't a great figure and Noah on the pass isn't anything to write home about. So overall, not great for Mats coming forward

Noah's also just 57% at net... but against Wilander's A+ passing, that is praiseworthy

Look at Wilander's winners and forced errors, keeping in mind both are virtually exclusively limited to passing shots. 17 FH winners (16 passes) to 10 FEs and 27 BH winners (25 passes) to 25 FEs.... it must be very rare for a player to hold even hitting winners to making errors on passing shots. This is the key to the match
---

Summing up, from Wilander, superb passing (against strong opposition) and strongly consistent baseline play (against not great opposition) are the keys to the result. Noah is red hot on big serving and coming forward, but steadiness on clay wins the day. An excellent match all round
 
#3
Last edited:
#5
Match Report
A lively match on a standard clay court. Noah attacks relentlessly - serve-volleying and otherwise seeking the net - and Wilander counter-punches. The end result is entertaining, volley vs pass tennis, with a decent helping off rallying and looking to come in off rallying thrown in. But for the last set, the match is about even, though Wilander's solidity and better fitness do suggest he would be the one to come out on top, as he ultimately does. He does a good job of gradually wearing down the flamboyant Frenchman.

This is my first look at Noah.

Summing up, from Wilander, superb passing (against strong opposition) and strongly consistent baseline play (against not great opposition) are the keys to the result. Noah is red hot on big serving and coming forward, but steadiness on clay wins the day. An excellent match all round
Great post!
 
#7
I still have it on video tapes… should consider saving it and too many others before the tapes are dead -- if not already :cry:

 
#9
@NicoMK are you the owner of that YT channel?
No, sorry. I have the same source as his, though. Old TV stuff lol. At that time, this channel used to broadcast a lot of tennis : three GS, the Davis Cup and a lot of other tournaments. Great commentators (sorry it's in French) and all this for free. Things have changed!
 
#10
@Waspsting Saw this match a while ago - remember it being a pretty good one. Do you have number of winners by set?
I thought this match would be right up your alley

Winners by set -

1st Set
Wilander 8 (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 OH)
Noah 6 (1 FH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

2nd Set
Wilander 24 (6 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Noah 25 (4 FH, 3 BH, 10 FHV, 4 BHV, 4 OH)

3rd Set
Wilander 9 (3 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Noah 16 (4 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 5 OH)

4th Set
Wilander 12 (1 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
Noah 10 (1 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

5th Set
Wilander 9 (4 FH, 2 BH, 3 OH)
Noah 8 (1 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)

Curious.... with the exception of the fifth (where its very close), the loser had more winners in every set
 
Last edited:
#11
Quite a contrast to how Noah played Wilander in the 83 RG final
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1983-fo-final-noah-wilander.333578/

Out of his 101 net points(had him winning 63% of them) only 25 were serve and volley points. Here 106 of his 183 net points were s&v points.

62 winners may be the most I've seen from Wilander. We have stats of his vs many serve and volleyers, winner counts weren't near to this.
I was going to say the same thing. I didn't have numbers, but my memory told me that while Noah came in a lot in 1983, it was not a lot of s/v. I had really expected Wilander to win that match.
 
#12
@Waspsting

Thanks, interesting what you say about Noah appearing to have slighly different service motions. For all it's praise I don't think he was one of those guys who could hit all the serves with equal comfort & effectiveness. I remember Mac taking it apart in Davis cup 89 because he was too predictable with it. And agree on his distinctly unimpressive groundies (apart from offensive slice). I have seen him absolutely smack the FH (and it go in), twice, both in a match against Pecci at RG. Appeared to go at about 100mph.
 
#13
By the way, I've seen another rubber in this series. 4 hours of Edberg Leconte. Fascinating watching you'd think? Both players were atrocious. Paticularly the returning on a clay court was so bad.
 
#14
@Waspsting

Thanks, interesting what you say about Noah appearing to have slighly different service motions. For all it's praise I don't think he was one of those guys who could hit all the serves with equal comfort & effectiveness. I remember Mac taking it apart in Davis cup 89 because he was too predictable with it. And agree on his distinctly unimpressive groundies (apart from offensive slice). I have seen him absolutely smack the FH (and it go in), twice, both in a match against Pecci at RG. Appeared to go at about 100mph.
Yeah I recall poster Datacipher post about noah's different service motions here many years ago. This forum used to full of many more avid 80s tennis fans.
It's cool to see all the younger posters here discover these players, but makes me feel old to hear waspsting talk about seeing noah(and Wilander before that) play for the first time on YouTube.
 
#15
.... And agree on his distinctly unimpressive groundies (apart from offensive slice). I have seen him absolutely smack the FH (and it go in), twice, both in a match against Pecci at RG. Appeared to go at about 100mph.
Those slice approaches are first class... low and deep. And not in a hurry to come in, he waits to make sure he's got the right ball or that he's hit it just so before coming in

And this is on high bouncing clay, against Wilander passing superbly. Must be even more of a handful on other sufaces

Groundies don't look great otherwise. And I remember reading Boris Becker saying Noah had the worst groundies of anyone in the top 100 (or words to that effect). Not sure if he was joking.... he says the same thing about Djokovic's OH and that's probably true

By the way, I've seen another rubber in this series. 4 hours of Edberg Leconte. Fascinating watching you'd think? Both players were atrocious. Paticularly the returning on a clay court was so bad.
I believe you

Watched Becker-Edberg on clay in an 85 Davis Cup match. Too many missing points and such to be worth statis-tifying... but painful stuff, with the errors and moonballs and moonball errors etc.

...makes me feel old to hear waspsting talk about seeing noah(and Wilander before that) play for the first time on YouTube.
The problem with you, Moose, is you're so negative

Why should you feel old, next to a guy about the age of a Wimbledon finalist? Becker was 17 when he was

Do stats for any Rosewall-Hoad you might have lying around... you'll feel like a spring chicken in no time:)
 
Top