Stats for 1989 AO final (Lendl-Mecir)


Lendl d. Mecir 6-2, 6-2, 6-2

Mecir got 6 games here, same as in their '86 USO final.

This was Lendl's first AO title, and towards the end he got nervous. He missed his last 5 first serves of the match, and 9 of his last 12. He became very deliberate, and seemed at times like he merely wanted to run out the clock on Mecir, though he did end with some aggressive play.

The big difference in the match was the serve. In aces and double-faults Lendl had huge leads, but apart from that, the two men won nearly the same number of points.

From Mecir’s Wikipedia page:

After the match, Lendl apologized to the crowd, explaining that he and coach Tony Roche had decided the best tactic against Mečíř was to hit shots deep and down the centre of the court, denying his opponent the angles he thrived on.

My stats:

Lendl leads in total points won, 90-66.


Lendl won 31 of 40 points on first serve (77.5%) and 13 of 37 on second (35%).

Mecir won 28 of 54 points on first serve (52%) and 5 of 25 on second (20%).

Lendl served at 52%, making 40 of 77 first serves.
Mecir served at 68%, making 54 of 79 first serves.

Lendl made his first serve on 5 of 8 break points.
Mecir made his first serve on 12 of 16 break points.

Lendl converted 9 of 16 break points, Mecir 3 of 8.

Lendl had 14 aces, 2 double-faults and 13 other unreturned serves (I judged 3 of the 13 as service winners).

Mecir had 1 ace, 10 double-faults and 7 other unreturned serves (no service winners).

Lendl leads in aces by 14-1, and trails in double-faults 2-10. As far as service is concerned it was no contest.

Aces and double-faults gave Lendl a 21-point edge, which makes up the bulk of the 24-point edge that he had in overall points.


Lendl made 12 clean winners (7 FH, 2 BH, 1 BHV, 2 OV), including one pass (a BH).

Mecir made 15 clean winners (6 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV), including 4 passes/lobs (2 FH).

Lendl made 36 unforced errors: 15 FH, 17 BH, 2 BHV, 2 DF
Mecir made 40 unforced errors: 13 FH, 16 BH, 1 BHV, 10 DF

Six of Lendl’s unforced errors were service returns (4 FH).
Two of Mecir’s unforced errors were service returns (1 FH).
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A boxscore from USA Today:


I don’t know whether the double-faults were included in the Unforced Errors line. Nor is it possible to tell whether the Unforced Errors include any of the Service winners.


Some of the ESPN coverage on Youtube:

In the ceremony Lendl said that this was one of the four greatest tournaments in the world, and that he and Roche had been trying hard for the last few years to win it. This was in contrast to his comments after losing here in ’83, when he said he would not return, and in ’85 when he called it a second-rate event.


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To be fair to Mecir, the '86 final was close for a set. This one was a rout from the start. Always felt sorry for Mecir after this despite liking Lendl. I was probably mad after the 87 Ericson Final, though!


To be fair to Mecir, the '86 final was close for a set. This one was a rout from the start.
In '86 Mecir at least tried experimenting a little. He moved in front of the baseline, back behind it, right on it. In this AO match I didn't see anything like that. And Mecir's serving was just awful, esp. the 10 df's (at Flushing he had only two, though he still was nowhere near Lendl in aces).


One weird stat here. When Mecir was able to return Lendl's first serve, he won 60% of the points (9 of 15). That's not an overwhelming percentage but it's remarkable because Lendl won the match by a landslide, and he's got a strong serve. When a player with a strong first serve gets the serve in the box, you would think that he has the advantage, even when he fails to win the point outright with an ace or service winner. And yet Lendl was able to win only 40% of the time when his first serve was returned.

Service was the decisive factor in this match, so you can calculate what happened in the rallies if you take out all the aces, unreturned serves and double-faults.

When you do that, this is how the players did on serve:

Lendl 40% on first serve (6/15) and 33% on second (11/33).
Mecir 45% on first serve (21/47) and 29% on second (4/14).

For Mecir to have low numbers is no surprise because he lost the match overwhelmingly. Lendl's low number on second serve is no big deal either, because success on second serve is often low in tennis matches. The weird one is Lendl's low success in rallies that began with his first serve.

This is a stat we've never looked at before and it might turn up some interesting results in other matches.

Lendl lost the 1982 USO final to Connors 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. In that match Lendl's serve was a force: it produced 14 aces and 19 other unreturned serves. But when Connors was able to return Lendl's big first serves he often blasted it to the opposite baseline and threw Lendl off balance.

So apart from aces, unreturned serves and double-faults:

Connors 59% on first serve (34/58 ) and 56% on second (20/36).
Lendl 31% on first serve (12/39 ) and 46% on second (25/54).

Amazingly Lendl couldn't win even a third of his points when Connors was able to return his first serve. Lendl was actually less hurt on his second serve.
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I was in awe of how Mecir dismantled some great opponents like McEnroe and Wilander when he was on. If Mecir had a big serve (and a healthy back), he could have been GOAT material.