Points won by each set: [ 31-32, 22-25, 29-22, 32-21, 54-45 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
58 % Philippoussis – 80 of 137
30 % Popp – 54 of 177

One of the most amazing 5th sets as far as Wimbledon quarter-finals are concerned. Before it happened the spectators gathered on court No. 1 had witnessed four quick sets that were many times interrupted by rain (the match extended onto two days; 3:04 hours of play). The stats indicating Popp’s more winners at the net may be a bit misleading – both very tall 27-year-old guys had different ways of holding serves: Philippoussis [48] was constantly applying serve-and-volley tactics, but didn’t have to play volleys often because his serve was tremendous giving him free points throughout the match with 58% (!) efficiency, while Popp was attacking the net only occasionally with powerful ground-strokes when a short ball landed on his side. The Australian experienced just two weak service games in the first four sets, but it was enough to trail 0-2 in sets. The vital moment occurred as he led 3:2* in the 3rd set – Popp at 30/0 on serve, made an error from a comfortable position to lose four straight points. From that moment on, Philippoussis felt much better as a receiver. He broke twice in the 4th set and put a constant pressure on his opponent in the decider in which he…
– had three break points at 1:0
– had four break points at 3:2
– had two mini-match points at 4:3
…while Popp created three return games hoping for breaking as well:
– led 30/0 at 3-all (Philippoussis served 4 consecutive aces)
– had three mini-match points at 5-all (Philippoussis saved the third one with a diving backhand volley!)
– had his fourth mini-match point at 6-all (Philippoussis risked committing a double fault to get a service winner)
And then came 14th game, the Australian with the help of two forehand passing-shots down the line led 40/15 in Popp’s service game for the third time in the 5th set. Popp made “lets” on his second serve twice, and when he finally delivered a good second serve, the Scud responded with a short/tight – rather accidental – backhand return… the German played backhand slice (rarity in his repertoire) and netted.

The 201 cm tall Popp is some kind of a grass mystery. Throughout his career he was losing at the ATP level in the first or second round, yet he found a way to jump outside his skin thrice, every time on grasscourts as a player ranked outside the Top 100 – he reached the Wimbledon in 2000 [No. 114], repeated that achievement three years later [No. 198], and played his lone ATP final in Newport in 2004 [No. 111]

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