Kafelnikov had been recognized in 1994 as one of the most promising young players, yet rather belonging to clay-courts & slower hard-courts. The event in Milan showed that he was a special talent though – on a fast carpet surface he beat in back-to-back matches three best specialists of that surface at the time (three best beside Pete Sampras), and he did it after complicated matches, proving that his mentality should have been considered as the strength too. In the toughest of those three matches that occurred in the final, the Russian  was two points away from a straight sets win at 5:4* (30-all) in the 2nd set. In the deciding tie-break, he trailed 2:4* when he hit off the return one of his many great backhands that day. Becker  had a match point at 6:5, but sent a backhand return long off Kafelnikov’s second serve. On the match point for the Russian, the German committed a double fault rather not risking the second serve… Five days later Becker takes a revenge beating Kafelnikov 7-6 7-6 in Stuttgart.
Kafelnikov’s route to his 4th title:
1 Karel Novacek 6-4, 6-2
2 Karol Kucera w/o
Q Michael Stich 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-0
S Goran Ivanisevic 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4
W Boris Becker 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(6) – 1 m.p.
You must be logged in to post a comment.