Sampras & Agassi Vs Stich & Wayne Ferreira

AAAA

Hall of Fame
A trivia question for historians

Sampras had a career head-to-head against
Wayne Ferreira of 7-6
Michael Stich of 4-5

However neither Wayne or Michael ever beat Agassi
Wayne is 0-11
Michael is 0-6

So were there any players who never beat Sampras after several attempts but had winning or virtually even h-2-h records with Agassi after several matches? Make sure they have played both Agassi and Sampras at least a couple of times like at least 5 so that they've played enough for patterns to emerge and to iron out special circumstances like injuries, off-form days, freak weather conditions, surface advantages, etc.
 

callitout

Professional
im stumped; I even spent a bit of time searching for guys who've never beaten Pete and comparing with Andre and still couldnt find it; good question.
 

35ft6

Legend
Interesting point Wertheim once made. That Pete had such a great record against Agassi because Agassi was consistently excellent. Andre was able to get further into the draw on surfaces that Sampras was superior on. In contrast, Pete wasn't consistently excellent enough to get far into the draw where he might have to meet Agassi on a surface that Agassi might have an advantage on.

I'm paraphrasing.
 

urban

Legend
Yes, 35ft6, this is a good point. And another point is in my view, that Agassi always had a little fear, when facing Sampras. Especially he played the wrong returns, he tended to do too much with his returns and overhit them. Instead of playing low cross returns and letting Sampras play his volleys, he went down the line with full power. And he overhit his serve , too, instead of going for first serve percentage. When he lost the Wimbledon f 1999, Agassi had only 41% first serves, when he beat Sampras in th sf of AO 2000 he served smooth and stayed focussed even in the difficult 4th set. Sampras also had a good grip on Agassi's hard groundstrokes, other attackers like Stich and Becker had always great difficulties, to stay in court. Besides: I thought, that Feirrera had a positive record against Sampras.
 

35ft6

Legend
urban said:
And another point is in my view, that Agassi always had a little fear, when facing Sampras. Especially he played the wrong returns, he tended to do too much with his returns and overhit them.
I have to say, that after watching the US Open final again, that Agassi has some of the same fear against Federer.

He had some real chances in the 3rd set, but he overhit and went for too much on several points. Of course, one could make a valid argument that without taking such risks, and succeeding, he would never have put himself into the position where he could blow it in the first place, but still.

I was surprised by how close he came to winning the 3rd set, and how one or two less unforced errors in the right spots could have at least turned it into a 5 set final.
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
It surprises me how 2 players(Stich and Ferreira) could never beat Agassi after several matches each, yet had even-matched or better h2h records against a great player like Sampras. Why exactly were the weapons and strengths of Stich and Ferreira effective against a complete player like Sampras yet ineffective against Agassi? Put another does Sampras have some sort of softspot exploitable by a particular type of player?

Anyone interested in this trivia question can see http://www.tenniscorner.net/

I scrutinised the head-to-head charts until my eyes ached and still couldn't find players who played Agassi close after several matches but also never beat Sampras after several attempts.
 

random1

Rookie
35ft6 said:
I have to say, that after watching the US Open final again, that Agassi has some of the same fear against Federer.

He had some real chances in the 3rd set, but he overhit and went for too much on several points. Of course, one could make a valid argument that without taking such risks, and succeeding, he would never have put himself into the position where he could blow it in the first place, but still.

I was surprised by how close he came to winning the 3rd set, and how one or two less unforced errors in the right spots could have at least turned it into a 5 set final.
I agree with both you guys regarding Agassi's "fear", but I think it's a little different.
In another thread, I referred to Sampras and Federer having the instincts to close out matches, to win matches given the slightest opportunity. Agassi has never had that mentality. If he did, I think everyone would be calling Agassi GOAT instead of Sampras. Can anyone even imagine Pete or Fed serving at 4-2 and 30-0 and losing the game? They wouldn't give anyone the chance.
Agassi also often starts slowly, which works against nearly anyone in the world, except for these two greats. Fed and Sampras always come out strong, and have opponents reeeling and feeling like they're going to lose after only 15-30 minutes on the court.

In the 2002 USO, Agassi sleep-walked through the first set and a half, then woke up. He finished the second set looking really strong but was already down a break, then won the third, holding serve easily while Pete struggle every time, finally breaking him for 7-5(if I recall correctly). Set 4 started the same way, but all of a sudden Agassi had a serving game with one df, one easy volley error, and one baseline error. Pete smells blood, hits one winner for the break, and holds the rest of the way for 6-4 and the championship. Pete showing his killer winning instincts. I don't think too many people think Pete was playing better than Andre in 2002, but he still won...
 

fantom

Hall of Fame
urban said:
Yes, 35ft6, this is a good point. And another point is in my view, that Agassi always had a little fear, when facing Sampras. Especially he played the wrong returns, he tended to do too much with his returns and overhit them. Instead of playing low cross returns and letting Sampras play his volleys, he went down the line with full power. And he overhit his serve , too, instead of going for first serve percentage. When he lost the Wimbledon f 1999, Agassi had only 41% first serves, when he beat Sampras in th sf of AO 2000 he served smooth and stayed focussed even in the difficult 4th set. Sampras also had a good grip on Agassi's hard groundstrokes, other attackers like Stich and Becker had always great difficulties, to stay in court. Besides: I thought, that Feirrera had a positive record against Sampras.
I agree with some of what you said here.

I believe, though, that even if Agassi had a 75% first serve percentage during that '99 Wimbledon final, Sampras still would have beaten him. I watched that match, and Sampras was pretty much unbeatable. It was an unbelievable display of grass-court tennis.
 

AAAA

Hall of Fame
I agree with both you guys regarding Agassi's "fear", but I think it's a little different.
In another thread, I referred to Sampras and Federer having the instincts to close out matches, to win matches given the slightest opportunity. Agassi has never had that mentality. If he did, I think everyone would be calling Agassi GOAT instead of Sampras. Can anyone even imagine Pete or Fed serving at 4-2 and 30-0 and losing the game?
It's much easier to have or develop the killer instinct on serve when you know you have one of the best serves out there that will either ace the returner or force a weak return. Agassi has a good serve but Federer's is much better and Sampras's is better still.
 

urban

Legend
A note to the 'fear'-factor. It's interesting, that Agassi won some of his big title matches against players, who themselves were famed for getting nerves: Goran, Medwedew, Todd Martin (remember his choking vs. Washington in Wim sf 1996). They all had good chances to finish it off, but let him escape. The only time i saw Agassi stay really cool and calm against Sampras, was his AO sf 2000. There he didn't rush his serves and waited for his openings, even in the tight tie-break, when Sampras - after a great running forehand winner - thought he had won and smiled.
 

ctbmar

Semi-Pro
AAAA said:
A trivia question for historians

Sampras had a career head-to-head against
Wayne Ferreira of 7-6
Michael Stich of 4-5

However neither Wayne or Michael ever beat Agassi
Wayne is 0-11
Michael is 0-6

So were there any players who never beat Sampras after several attempts but had winning or virtually even h-2-h records with Agassi after several matches? Make sure they have played both Agassi and Sampras at least a couple of times like at least 5 so that they've played enough for patterns to emerge and to iron out special circumstances like injuries, off-form days, freak weather conditions, surface advantages, etc.
Maybe you can check up "Lendl"...
Lendl had a closer Head-Head with Sampras 3-5. If you ignore the last 2 matches due to age difference, Lendl aging & lost these 2 matches, the matchup will be 3-3.
But if you look at Agassi, Head-Head with Agassi is 6-2. If you ignore the last 2 matches due to age difference, Lendl aging & lost these 2 matches, the matchup will be 6-0.

Lendl has problems facing an all court player like Sampras & Becker as compared to Agassi who plays a baseline game. Lendl himself is like a ruthless machine, looks like darth vader, super-fit, super-consistent, most powerful groundstrokes and serves for his era. So a young inexperience impatient Agassi does not have a chance with Lendl's meticulous stroke play.
Now Agassi at age 35 is playing a similar style to Lendl's prime except that Agassi has a better return and takes the ball on the rise, but Agassi now plays a meticulous game, very consistent and always strategising his moves and playing power groundstrokes like Lendl.

Agassi match up well with Ferreira and Stich is because basically Agassi was able to return anybody's serve with pinpoint accuracy and he hits the ball on the rise, giving all his opponents problems. The way Agassi at his peak was exactly the same as a dominating Hewitt who took out Sampras at the US open finals. The reason why Sampras was the only one that Agassi had problems with was because Sampras' serve had lots of disguise, lots of pace, the best serve ever in this sport and Sampras could back his serve with his volleys that were World-class. Sampras' volleying technique need not be as good as Edberg or Rafter or Cash but because his serve was so damaging, Agassi's returns were not as deadly as compared to when Agassi plays other opponents. So Sampras could knock out Agassi's returns easily and Agassi has difficulties playing Sampras who has the best serve, followed by efficient volleying - double attack combination that is the best in the business, the only player that Agassi faced that has this lethal combination. Agassi has no problems returning Stich, Ferreira, Edberg, Becker's serves, so his returns are lethal against them. Agassi has problems playing the best of the extreme styled players (Sampras, Federer - best all court player) & Lendl, Courier, Federer (better baseliners than himself), and he will rip the rest of the spectrum of players who are not the best in their style of play.

Wayne Ferreira is like our modern Kiefer. He is highly consistent, good at both wings, not afraid of Sampras, good passing shots when Sampras is at the net.
Ferreira beat Sampras twice on carpet in 1995 when Sampras was in his prime. Grass is faster than Hard courts. Hard courts is faster than carpet???
Grass is faster than carpet??? Fastest : Grass -> Hard -> Carpet -> Clay Slowest ??? Is the order correct???
Sampras does not seem to like players who are all rounded like himself or can volley competently like himself. Sampras does not have a good record against Ferreira is an all court player and he had problems with Stich, Krajicek, Edberg & Becker (minus last 2 losses due to age gap) are all courters & competent Serve & Volleyers. But Sampras will have a good record of players who are primarily baseliners like Agassi, Moya, Courier, Chang (12-3 after losing 1st 5 matches).

So it's all about matchup...
Looking at the problems faced by Lendl, Sampras, Agassi. It started me thinking that what Federer said is true. Federer is downright honest about how players can beat him.

In order to beat Federer, 3 similar things to note:
i) Lendl's weakness is that he has difficulties playing players that has a well all rounded game like Becker, Sampras, who have big serves, big groundstrokes, good volleys. But Mcenroe only has good volleys and his serve and groundstrokes could not hurt Lendl much, that's why Lendl dominated Mcenroe....Federer may have difficulties playing against all court players. And since he is not tested by any great all courter, it's hard to develop into a an all court player overnight. The only player that has a chance to fall into this category is Gasquet.

ii)If part i) is hard to achieve, then players should go for Agassi's weakness...
In order to beat Federer, you must play your ultimate best like Roddick in the 1st set of Wimbledon 2004 blasting away on all cylinders & blasting serves, Safin's mind, body & soul in Australian Open 2005. A player like Nadal is also the best baseliner on clay, so that's why Federer has problems with Nadal in French Open 2005. Keep working on your strengths until you are the best baseliner, or best volleyer, or best server, or best tactician, best in your style of play. Santoro is the best in his style of play with weird strokes, spin, angles, that's why he gave Federer problems during the US open. Kiefer must be also doing something right (maybe giving no pace to his shots, etc) but he has not perfected his style of play, that's why he gotten a set each time from Federer. Agassi & Hewitt are gotten a set because of Agassi's return of serve (best) and Hewitt's tenacity & hustling (one of the best) but still they are either old or have not perfected their styles. Henman, Dent has no chance against Federer because they are getting old or no stamina or have not perfected their S&V techniques. In short, be the best in what you do.
Best serve, best groundstrokes, best volleys, best S&V, best hustler, best tenacity, best mentally, etc..

iii) Sampras' weakness also like Lendl's: all court players who can S&V competently. But Sampras has more difficulties with the S&V aspect because Krajicek, Stich, Edberg are primarily S&V players. If new and upcoming players can model their styles with Krajicek, Stich, Edberg, Rafter (3-0 vs Federer) they may have a good chance of beating Federer or hanging with him.

To conclude, if those players chasing Federer can alternate between an all-court game with a 100% S&V game to see which type of play affects Federer and perfect that particular style of play, then they have a good chance of beating Federer. But if nobody can play all-court game or S&V game, then develop the baseline game until it is better than Federer.
But the whole trouble with tactics I, II, III is that Federer has already mastered tactics I & II and he is currently developing & fine-tuning tactic III.
 

Kevin Patrick

Hall of Fame
Sampras was 16-4. Courier had a very good record against Agassi(won 6 straight against him at one point)
Agassi vs Muster 5-4
Sampras vs Muster 9-2

As to Ferreira, a very hot and cold player who could read the Sampras serve well. But he was primarily a baseliner without enough consistency to bother Agassi.

That Agassi did so well against Stich is a little surprising. I think Sampras had a bit more pace on both 1st & 2nd serves(& had much higher ace counts)
Agassi did well against some very big servers who played similar to Sampras: Stich, Becker, Ivanisevic, Krajicek. The fact that Sampras had a better career than those players & a better head-to-head against Agassi might be not just do to the fact that he played well on surfaces that suited him, but that he was a great all around player.

And yes, as great a player as Agassi was/is he tends to get tight. Lendl, Mac, Borg, Sampras, Federer would never let go of a lead (4-2) in a big match.
 

Cavaleer

Semi-Pro
ctbmar said:
To conclude, if those players chasing Federer can alternate between an all-court game with a 100% S&V game to see which type of play affects Federer and perfect that particular style of play, then they have a good chance of beating Federer. But if nobody can play all-court game or S&V game, then develop the baseline game until it is better than Federer.
But the whole trouble with tactics I, II, III is that Federer has already mastered tactics I & II and he is currently developing & fine-tuning tactic III.


CTBMAR, what a beautiful, accurate assessment and analysis. My thoughts exactly. Tactics, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. This is tennis.
 
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