Points won by each set: | 37-37, 52-51, 24-29, 31-39, 29-22 |
Points won directly behind the serve:
32 % Sampras – 61 of 186
19 % Lendl – 32 of 165
I’d say there are two matches (both Grand Slam five-setters) entwining thirty years of men’s tennis:
# this one when the 30-year-old Lendl (the best player of the 80s) lost to 19-year-old Sampras, who will become the best player in the following decade
# and the Wimbledon loss of the 30-year-old Sampras to the 20-year-old Federer – clearly the best player of the 00s
The 4-hour 5-minute contest between Lendl , who’d played in the US Open final seven times in a row, and the extremely gifted young American , theoretically could have been won by the Czechoslovak in straight sets if he’d played more efficiently the most important points of the opening two sets. Until 5:4 in the 1st set, Lendl was holding with ease, breaking Sampras was close, yet the youngster broke first in the 10th game – Lendl sent long a relatively easy forehand on game point having saved a set point. In the 2nd set the Czechoslovak was serving at 5:4, at 5-all he squandered 4 mini-set points (Sampras withstood two of them with the help of acrobatic half-volleys). Two very intense sets cost the new champion a lapse of concentration, and Lend after taking the 3rd set easily, already led 4:0* (four deuces) in the 4th set. The decider seemed inevitable, yet Sampras sneaked to 4:5* (40/15), then lost four straight points. He gained two breaks in the final set, in games Nos. six & eight, having saved a break point at 4:2 with a deceitfully slow 1st serve on Lendl’s backhand.