Stats for 1988 USO final (Graf-Sabatini)


Graf d. Sabatini 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, for the first Grand Slam since Margaret Court's.

It was the first U.S. Open final since 1974 without either Martina or Chris.

The following is my count. I'm missing 4 points -- two won by each player, all on Sabatini's serve.

Graf had no aces or doubles.
Sabatini had 4 aces and 1 double.

Graf got a return error from Sabatini 10 times.
Sabatini got a return error from Graf 9 times.

Graf served at 61%, making 51 of 83 first serves.

Sabatini served at 54%, making 37 of 69 first serves, though for her some guesswork was involved: CBS failed to come back from commercials in time for 4 points that she served; I split them evenly between first and second serves.

Graf won 5 of 8 break points, Sabatini 3 of 10.

Graf put her first serve in on 6 of the 10 break points she faced, Sabatini on 3 of 8.

Adding up the point scores in the games, Graf won 49 of 83 points on her serve (or 59%), Sabatini 37 of 69 (or 54%).

Again using the point scores, I have Graf winning 81 points overall, Sabatini 71.

Graf had 21 winners apart from service: 14 FH, 5 BH, 2 overheads.

Sabatini had 14 winners apart from service: 1 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 overheads.

Sabatini was split evenly between ground strokes and volleys/overheads. Graf’s winners were overwhelmingly groundies, and most were forehands.

Two of Graf’s backhand winners were drop shots.

Graf returned Sabatini’s second serve three times with forehand winners. None were passes, but she passed Sabatini once with a backhand return off a first serve. And she passed her four other times, twice with forehands.

Sabatini got one return winner, with a backhand off Graf’s first serve. It was not a pass, but she passed Graf with two backhands and a backhand lob.

Not counting service returns, I have Graf making 11 forced errors, Sabatini 19.

Not counting returns or doubles, I have Graf making 31 unforced errors, Sabatini 28.

In the last game of the first set, CBS and I both had Graf at 11 unforced errors. CBS put Sabatini at 12, while I had her at 10. (Note that there were already 3 missing points in the coverage).

In the last game of the second set, Graf was at 25 unforced errors in the CBS count, and 23 in mine. Sabatini was at 21 in the CBS count, and 20 in mine.

And this is the New York Times boxscore:


The service percentages are the same as mine (though mine, again, involved a little guesswork).

The unforced errors are slightly higher than mine.

The total points won by each player are the same as my calculation using the point scores in the games.

The service winners fall 7 short of the return errors I counted.

The boxscore reports 1 Graf double-fault but I didn't see any; and CBS showed all of her service points. In the third set Trabert said that neither player had yet double-faulted. I re-checked Graf’s remaining two service games; no doubles.

The placement winners by Sabatini agree with my own count, but the figure for Graf exceeds my own count by 5.

I don’t think I’m off by that number, though. Like the Times I have Graf winning 81 points. I can account for 79 of them as a Graf winner/ace or Sabatini error. The remaining two are points which Graf won but which are missing from the CBS coverage. They both could have been winners, but even if they were, there would still be a difference of 3 winners between my count and the published figure.
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That was not a really great match. Graf was subpar for her standards that day and still won pretty easily in the end. Graf was so far ahead of the other women around then it was almost boring, similar to Navratilova in 1983 and 1984.