The first meeting between the 193 cm tall players. Stich achieved much, much more in his career, but at the time when he was 23 and Wheaton 22, they both seemed to be at a very similar level, and many observers could perceive Wheaton as a future Grand Slam champion (he already had played Wimbledon semifinal & quarterfinals at two other majors)…
Their dramatic Munich match was finished before 1 a.m., and all tie-break sets (8/6, 8/6, 7/3) could have gone either way (the German was 1-2-1 point away from winning all sets he lost). In the opener Stich  created break point chances in three different games, including two set points at 5:4 (BH error, service winner) and another one at 6:5 (service winner). In the tie-break, at 6-all Wheaton  won two straight points with his best tennis: first as a receiver he made a backhand pass DTL on the run, then played one of his best S/V points. The American built a surprising *5:1 lead in the 2nd set, but Stich didn’t play bad tennis in those games – when he began playing better, he not only levelled, he also had a mini-set point at 5-all and made a casual backhand error when Wheaton stayed on the baseline behind his second serve which was a rarity. The end of the set was crazy – 38 points without sitting on the benches; first Stich held after 9 deuces (withstood four set points, two of them saved with aces) then another 14-point tie-break, and again Wheaton wasted a set point at 6:5 (Stich’s beautiful BH return), but at 6-all he struck an ace down the T. Facing the sixth set point, Stich netted his volley. Many spectators left the Olympia Halle before the 3rd set when midnight approached and Stich’s chances significantly decreased. The German was playing in disinterested mode in Wheaton’s service games, but leading 5:4 another chance to win a set appeared for him – a set point annulled by Wheaton with an ace out-wide. Stich could feel that night everything was against him, at *1:3 in the third tie-break, the strings of his racquet were broken when he hit a simple overhead and instead of a winner landing in the stands, the ball landed on his own court! A moment later Wheaton led 6:1, and converted his third match point after one of a few baseline exchanges. It was a reversal luck for them both: at Wimbledon ’89 Wheaton lost to Svensson an all-tie-break match (3/7, 4/7, 5/7) while Stich, a few months earlier in the Wimbledon semifinal, defeated Edberg winning three straight tie-breaks in a four set match. # Stich was the first Open Era player involved in all-serve-tie-break-battles (maximum 4 breaks of serve in “three-hour” matches) against all the best serve-and-volleyers of the early 90s, below those matches:
It’s a shame Stich played very little in the years 1996-97 and nothing in the years 1998-99; if he had fully played the last four seasons of the previous Century, he could have potentially been involved in similarly dramatic matches against other best serve-and-volley players of the 90s (Henman, Rafter, T.Martin, Rusedski &… Philippoussis – never played against him)
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