wb97pioline_stich

wb97pioline_stich

Points won by each set: [ 45-45, 29-15, 24-13, 31-35, 34-31 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
39 % Pioline – 59 of 150
34 % Stich – 52 of 152

Strange match of two former Top 10ers, the last singles match in Stich’s career… No-one could expect that big-serving Stich [88] would be facing break points in so many games against a player whom had convincingly beaten in 4 out of 5 meetings; also surprising is the fact Pioline [44] playing for 3 hours in not natural for himself “serve-and-volley mode” behind both serves, dropped his serve just once. The crucial moment came at 3:2* for Pioline in the 2nd set – the Frenchman took a medical time-out to his sore right shoulder, and Stich lost his service rhythm afterwards. It cost him losing as many as 7 games in a row! The German wasn’t seriously challenged in both tight sets he won, serving as the first: five points away in the 1st set TB which he won 7/2 and seven points away in the 4th set. Pioline could have won the decider easier, but squandered a double break point at 2:0. Then a couple of times he was in danger of succumbing his serve: Stich had break points at 2:3 & 3:4. Trailing 4:5, the German missed his backhand return while leading 30/15, it was one of rare situations when Pioline stayed on the baseline behind his second serve.

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