French Open, Paris
May 26, 1986; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $1,125,000; Surface – Clay
During John McEnroe’s sabbatical, Ivan Lendl seemed untouchable; in Paris ’86 he won his seventh tournament of the year, having obtained a final and semifinal in two other appearances. Lendl worked out perfection in keeping concentration through long period of time, and notched amazing 13-, 12- and 9-game-winning streaks respectively, in his last three matches of the event! It was a time of absolute Swedish ascendancy. The Swedish tennis was producing new faces every year in the mid-80s. That year in Paris all four seeded Swedes surprisingly dropped before last 16, but popped out of nowhere two others in the second week: Ulf Stenlund – playing his first main-level tournament advanced easily to the fourth round (!) whilst Mikael Pernfors at his 17th event, stunned four seeds moving through to the final. Two-time Australian Open champion, 28-year-old Johan Kriek participated in his just second French Open, and surprised even himself reaching the semifinals.
First round: (Daily Breeze)
Two French stars had good days: eighth-seeded Henri Leconte beat David De Miguel 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, and struggling Guy Forget nipped Pablo Arraya in a tie-breaker 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1). In the second round Forget won his match (against Thomas Muster) after very similar scoreline: 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(1). The early French winners set the stage for more local stars later in the tournament’s second day. Paul McNamee , unseeded in the draw, beat Joakim Nystrom 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, and the Swedish star who has won five tournaments this season said he might be suffering from too much tennis. “I felt tired today,” he said. “Now I have two weeks off, at least.” Nystrom had played tournaments in five consecutive weeks, collecting a 16-3 record. Leconte took less than an hour (amazingly quick match!) to beat De Miguel, despite getting in just 46 percent of his first serves. It was a strong showing for the Frenchman, coming back from illness and injury that sidelined him for much of the spring. “I feel good,” Leconte said. “I am playing regularly at the moment and hope to keep it up.” Forget has been in a slump, losing three matches in a row prior to Roland Garros ’86. In the swirling wind of center court, with clouds of red dust blowing about, Forget blew a triple-match point in the fourth set “when I forgot the most important thing – I forgot to look at the ball.” The resulting volley sailed long. In the tiebreaker, however, Forget held his concentration and won easily. “The wind was not constant. It was turning around and the longer we played, the stronger it got,” he said. “By the end, I had dust in my mouth and eyes.” Top-seeded Ivan Lendl scored straight-set victory yesterday on the first day of the French Open. Lendl, shaking off a lingering knee injury, routed West Germany’s Michael Westphal 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Westphal is ranked 79th in the world. “I feel I am playing solid, nothing spectacular, but solid,” Lendl said. “I was able to get some practice and treatment in Rome last week. It all went very well.” John Lloyd , disgusted after losing an opening-round match Monday at the French Open, announced his retirement from tennis, saying he would continue through the season and quit after the Australian Open (he played his last match at Wimbledon though). Lloyd, a 31-year-old Englishman, lost to Luiz Mattar  of Brazil, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. West Germany’s Damir Keretic ousted 16th-seeded Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(7), 8-6. Yannick Noah, the 1983 champ here, was at the center of a big day for French players yesterday. In the best match of the tournament’s first two days, he beat countryman Tarik Benhabiles 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(8), 6-4, turning the crowd at center court into two distinct cheering sections. ‘Yah-neek! Yah-neek!’ half the crowd chanted. ‘Tah-reek! Tah-reek!’ the other half replied.’ Noah almost met his match against the 21-year-old Benhabiles, a native of Algeria who lives in Paris. After breezing through the first two sets, Noah, visibly tiring as the warm sunshine gave way to chilly winds and, at the very end, a light sprinkle, held on to move into the next round. With a rifle-shot for a forehand, Benhabiles captured the third-set tiebreaker, then fought off one match point to win the fourth-set tiebreaker. In that tiebreaker, until the final point, no more than one point separated the two players. “I played too loose, and he started coming back,” Noah said of the third set, when he ran off the first three games. “I had trouble with my long game, and he put pressure on my serve. I went to a different state of mind. I played sloppily. I thought I would win it quickly, and when he came back, I fought it. When I was at match point and he won the point, I just said to myself, ‘Try, try, try again.’ ” After 3 hours, 47 minutes, Noah’s 16th ace ended his afternoon of frustration and Benhabiles’ dreams of an upset. By the fifth set, the crowd was cheering both players and repeatedly had to be quieted. During the final changeover, with Noah leading 5:4 and preparing to serve for the match, the crowd stood and cheered for several minutes. Noah wasted two match points before ending the match with his 16th ace of the day. Jimmy Arias  hurt his ankle in an exhibition match last week against Benhabiles. When he was called for his match against Mexico’s Francisco Maciel, Arias withdrew. “It`s disappointing because I was hitting the ball well,” said the 15th- seeded Arias. “But the doctors say if I twisted it again, I might be out for three months.” (Arias came back on tour two months later). Maciel defeated “lucky loser” Florin Segarceanu of Romania 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Winning among the men’s seeds were No. 2 and defending champion Mats Wilander, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, over Riccardo Acuna of Peru; No. 11 Martin Jaite of Argentina, 6-1, 3-6, 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 over Ronald Agenor of Haiti.
Second round: AP
Ivan Lendl, the men’s top seed from Czechoslovakia, notched a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland. “Now it’s round three,” Lendl said. “All I really wanted to do today is win.” Guillermo Vilas, the 1977 French Open champ from Argentina, beat Martin Wostenholme of Canada 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. Defending champion Mats Wilander of Sweden beat American Aaron Krickstein 6-1, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 today, escaping a list of upsets among the seeds at the French Open tennis championships. Wilander, seeded No. 2, needed every shot he could muster to turn back Krickstein, unseeded and ranked 36th in the world. “I was very lucky in the fifth set,” Wilander said after edging Krickstein in a four-hour slug-fest on center court. The No. 2 seed from Sweden converted his only break point of the decisive set, while Krickstein failed to convert on six break points. “Except for the stretch from 2:2 to 5:2* for me in the 3rd set, he controlled the whole match,” Wilander admitted. Probably the key point came almost unnoticed in the third game of the 4th set. Krickstein, an 18-year-old right-hander from Grosse Point, led 40/15 on return when he pulled Wilander way off the court with a shot. Somehow, Wilander got the ball, but put up a weak lob that landed just over the net, giving Krickstein the entire court to just tap the ball for the vital service break. Instead, Krickstein netted the easy shot. When he hit a backhand wide on the next point, bringing the game to deuce, he threw his racket to the ground in disgust, drawing a Code of Conduct. Two points later, Wilander had held serve. Three games later, the Swede, seeking his third French Open crown, broke Krickstein at 30, then served out to level the match at two sets apiece. “That was important,” Wilander said of Krickstein’s blunder in the third game. “Still, there are so many key points in a match like this.” After Krickstein opened the decisive 5th set with a ‘love’ game, Wilander fought off two break points as the two battled through eight deuces before the Swede held serve. Krickstein, never was at match point. But he had Wilander struggling until the Swede’s final serve kicked up at his feet for a winner at the end of the 4-hour, 12-minute match on the red clay of center court at Roland Garros stadium. For the match, Wilander outscored Krickstein by just one point 165-164. Another Swede, No. 5 Stefan Edberg, was among three seeded players eliminated, losing to U.S. collegiate champion Mickael Pernfors 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Pernfors, a Swede, attended the University of Georgia. Also advancing were No. 3 seeds from West Germany Boris Becker beating Bruno Oresar of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-0, 6-7(1), 6-3 and No. 4 Yannick Noah, who struggled to overcome Sammy Giammalva, 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-4. “I was very tired,” said Noah, who jumped to a 4:1 lead in the first set before Giammalva played him on nearly even terms. “I was also very nervous. It was a hard match. He kept changing the rhythm, and I didn’t know what to do.” No. 7 Anders Jarryd, No. 9 Andres Gomez and No. 13 Johan Kriek also needed four sets before advancing. Kriek, the only seeded American in the men’s field, eliminated 6’8 Milan Srejber, 6-1, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3; Gomez ousted clay-court specialist Nelson Aerts, 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; and Jarryd stopped Marko Ostoja, 6-2, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. Jean-Philippe Fleurian and Jonathan Canter co-created a match with a bizarre scoreline, Fleurian prevailed 2-6, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 7-5, the match was suspended by darkness at 2-sets apiece and finished following day.
Third round: (Atlanta Journal)
Top seed Ivan Lendl won his French Open match Friday, but several of highly rated counterparts were upset victims, including fifth-seeded Anders Jarryd . The day was interrupted for about 4,000 spectators when they were evacuated from one area of the Roland Garros stadium during a match when a ticking sound was heard coming from a suitcase under the stands; it was an alarm clock. Lendl recorded straight-set victory, beating Chris Miniussi of Argentina 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Jarryd was the victim of fellow Swede Ulf Stenlund, who surprised himself with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Yannick Noah, who in 1983 became the first Frenchman in 37 years to win the title at Roland Garros, had his third consecutive difficult match, downing Fernando Luna of Spain 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-3. “My ankle was hurting,” Noah said. “It was difficult to concentrate. I used a lot of energy to get me through.” Noah said the ankle, which he injured two months ago, then re-injured “two weeks ago at home when I dropped a suitcase on it,” was swollen and “is like a sprained ankle.” The 19-year-old Stenlund  did not figure in Sweden’s high hopes when the tournament began with four of the top seven seeds representing the Scandinavian country.”I just tried to win games, not matches,” Stenlund said after his third consecutive straight-set victory. ”The first match against West Germany’s Andreas Maurer was the key match. After that, I got more confidence.” Stenlund, hadn’t played a main-level tournament prior to Roland Garros ’86, and suddenly moved through to the last 16 not even being forced to play a 5-all set! Jarryd said of his loss, “After the first set I had no guts. I have no explanation of why I don’t have any fight. I want to win, but I don’t do anything to win. “I feel more relaxed when I play a higher-ranked player,” said Stenlund. “I felt if I had a good day and he was down a bit, I had a good chance. I sensed Jarryd was a bit nervous at first and that encouraged me.” The 33-year-old Guillermo Vilas, the 1977 French Open champion who is making his 15th appearance at Roland Garros, downed Sweden’s Jan Gunnarsson 7-6(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in a match that was interrupted by the bomb scare. “I was very calm. I was not scared,” Vilas said of the one-hour delay that came in the second set. About 4,000 spectators were evacuated during the Vilas-Gunnarsson match when a ticking sound was heard coming from a suitcase under the stands. It turned out to be an alarm clock. Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union surprised Mats Wilander 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, and left Sweden’s hopes, so high when the tournament began, resting with two long shots. Wilander, one of four Swedes seeded among the top seven players was preceded out of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament by No. 5 Stefan Edberg, No. 6 Joakim Nystrom and No. 7 Anders Jarryd. Of the 12 Swedes who began the two-week tournament in the men’s singles, the only two left are Mikael Pernfors, a two-time NCAA champion at Georgia, and Ulf Stenlund, who is playing in his first Grand Prix event. Chesnokov, whose victory over Wilander moved him into the fourth round on the red clay courts of Roland Garros stadium, offered an excuse for his opponent. “He had a tough match against Krickstein, and I think he was tired,” Chesnokov said. “I saw three sets of that match. I figured out how to play against Wilander. Krickstein had the advantage over him so often, but didn’t finish it off, and I knew that would be the key. I had to put Wilander on the defensive.” In men’s play, besides Chesnokov, Martin Jaite downed Spain’s Jose Clavet 6-0, 6-1, 6-3; Emilio Sanchez stopped Jean-Philippe Fleurian of France 6-1, 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3; Mikael Pernfors defeated American Robert Seguso 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 and Henri Leconte eliminated Brazil’s Cassio Motta 1-6, 3-6, 7-6(10), 6-0, 6-0. Leconte saved two match points in the 3rd set tie-break and it’s the longest tie-break won by a player who won a match storming back from a 2-sets-to-0 deficit (it will be equalled twice in the future). Third-seeded Boris Becker completed a 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Eliot Teltscher in a match suspended after three sets because of darkness Saturday. Andres Gomez defeated Kent Carlsson 7-5, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 in was third consecutive year they faced each other at Roland Garros. Gomez grabbed wins every time, in two previous years after straight sets victories.
Fourth round: AP
Local favorite Yannick Noah, the 1983 champion and No. 4 men’s seed, defaulted because an ankle injury hindered his movement. That allowed Johan Kriek, the lone American left in the men’s draw, to advance to the quarterfinals. Before this year, Kriek never had won a match at Roland Garros and hadn’t even bothered to play here since 1979. “This is a bizarre tournament,” Kriek said. “I didn’t even know if I’d win a match. I’m surprising myself as much as anyone else.” Ivan Lendl, of Czechoslovakia, defeated West Germany’s Damir Keretic 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Guillermo Vilas, the 33-year-old Argentine who won the French Open nine years ago, fought back from a single point away from elimination to beat Guy Forget 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 in the fourth round. “Any win I like,” he said when asked to compare this with the victories he registered with regularity a decade ago. “You can get sentimental after the match.” In men’s singles, No. 8 Henri Leconte of France and unseeded Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet advanced to the quarterfinals. Leconte, the lone French player remaining in the tournament, defeated Horacio de la Pena of Argentina 6-1, 6-2, 6-1, and Chesnokov beat Mexico’s Francisco Maciel 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. “I can play against anyone,” the Soviet said. Leconte took just 90 minutes to conquer De La Pena, a clay court specialist who had been expected to give the left-hander a tougher battle. Andres Gomez of Ecuador spoiled the upset hopes of Sweden’s Ulf Stenlund, who was playing in his first Grand Prix event. Gomez prevailed, 7-5, 7-6(4), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, to earn a place against Lendl in the quarterfinals. They meet at Roland Garros ’88, and Gomez gets another win in a very similar fashion, 7-6, 6-0, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4! Mikael Pernfors of Sweden, who won two NCAA championships for the University of Georgia, upset No. 11 Martin Jaite 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(3). Pernfors, who said he would have questioned the sanity of anyone who predicted he’d be the last Swede remaining in the men’s draw, is ranked 27th in the world and Chesnokov is No. 81. Jaite, serving at 5:4 in the fourth set, had four set points to even the match, and he saved three match points in the 12th game before losing the tie-breaker. West German teen-ager, Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, moved into the men’s quarterfinals yesterday, stopping 14th-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain 6-0, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a fourth-round men’s battle. Becker roared to victory in his opening set, then had to battle for every point through the rest of the match against Sanchez, runner-up in the Italian Open two weeks ago. The center-court match was delayed for 15 minutes by a heavy rain when the two were tied 4:4 in the fourth set. ”During the break I tried to pump myself up,” Becker said. “The court was wet and the rain was steady. I knew it was just a matter of time before the referee stopped play.“
Quarterfinals: (Daily Breeze)
Johan Kriek, the only American among the men’s seeds, used a risky tactic to overcome the experience of Guillermo Vilas, 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 7-6(3), today and advance to the semifinals of the French Open. “This is like Disneyland all over again,” Kriek said. “It’s like a little fantasy world.” Kriek, a South African-born naturalized citizen living in Naples, has not won a tournament since last season and had been idle for almost two months before Paris. He plays a serve-and-volley game not usually successful on the slow clay of the French courts, but his risk-taking paid off against Vilas, a more traditional baseliner. “If I hadn’t risked it, I wouldn’t have won,” Kriek said. “If I had stayed back and played his type of game, all I would have done was turn myself into a ball of cramps.” A two-time winner of the Australian Open, Kriek said the victory over Vilas was “the toughest match of my life.” Kriek squandered a 5:3* (40/0) lead in the 4th set, as Vilas, the 33-year-old Argentine who won this championship in 1977, displayed his steadiness. But in the end, Kriek, the 13th seed, used power to help win the final tiebreaker, tying it 3:3 on a service winner and taking the lead 4:3 on a volley launched in full charge to the net. Vilas, seeded 12th, then sent a forehand long and double-faulted. Kriek put the match away with another powerful volley, coming in behind a strong serve. At the end, Kriek, who talked to himself throughout the 3-hour, 49-minute match on the center court clay, dropped to his knees, looked to the sky and smiled. In the 2nd set he miraculously saved a set point serving at 5:6 (30/40); in the tie-break he trailed *1:4 when won a point playing FH around the net post. Vilas had another set points at 6:4* – FH passing-shot & Vilas’ FH error. The fans stood and cheered. Ivan Lendl rebounded to beat No. 9 Andres Gomez of Equador 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-0, 6-0 (fourth time in the fortnight that one player wins two straight bagel sets). “I was little nervous at the beginning and didn’t want to give him easy points,” Lendl said. “However, in the second set I felt there was a barrier and once I broke through it was easy for me.” The Lendl -Gomez encounter was one of dramatic contrasts. Neither player lost his serve in the first two sets. Gomez didn’t hold his after that. Gomez said that after the second-set tiebreaker, “I was really hoping for rain.” Mikael Pernfors, an unseeded Swede, upset third-seeded Boris Becker of West Germany 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 today to advance to the semifinals of the French Open against the last hope of France, Henri Leconte. The No. 8 seed, Leconte won his quarterfinal match over Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, using an aggressive serve-and-volley game. “I went very often to the net,” Leconte said. “I didn’t stay back. If you stay back, you lose.” A two-time NCAA champion at the University of Georgia, Pernfors used a mixture of baseline shots and charges to the net to beat Becker, the 18-year-old who last summer became the youngest Grand Slam champion when he won Wimbledon. Both players were raised on faster surfaces than clay, and it showed as they battled at the net and went for winners on second serves. Over the final nine games, Becker won just one, and amassed eight double faults for the match. So Pernfors keeps an amazing Swedish success string going. Since 1978, at least one Swede each year has played in the men’s semifinals at the French Open. France has not been so fortunate of late, with no French semifinalists since 1983 and only five between 1963 and 1985. But Leconte kept the home nation’s chances alive against Chesnokov. The unseeded Soviet never was able to display the powerful ground-strokes that helped beat defending champion Mats Wilander on Sunday, and Leconte scored point after point coming to the net after chasing Chesnokov deep into the corners. He broke Chesnokov three times in the final set, the last time for the match. Leconte moved to match point with a dropshot. He then won with another drop, this one off a reaching forehand from Chesnokov that was perfectly set up for the way Leconte was playing. Leconte is the lone remaining French player in a tournament that started so hopefully for the home fans. Yannick Noah was seeded fourth and riding a hot streak. Leconte was eighth and playing well, as was Thierry Tulasne at No. 10. And unseeded Guy Forget was back on track after months of sub-par play. But Tulasne fell in the second round, Forget in the fourth round and Noah pulled out before his fourth-round match because of an ankle injury. Leconte remained, and now is the first French player to make the men’s semis since two of them, Noah and Roger-Vasselin, battled in 1983. Noah won the tournament that year.
Semifinals: (Daily Breeze)
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl moved to within one victory of his third Grand Slam tennis championship today, breezing past a listless Johan Kriek, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 (76 minutes, winning the last twelve games of the match), in a French Open semifinal that the beaten American called a ‘disaster’. “Today is the day I shouldn’t have even woken up,” said Kriek, who was booed at the end of the match played in a chill rain. “I came here with the hope that I could win seven matches,” Lendl said. “I’ve won six – I’ve got one more to go.” The weather conditions on center court today were miserable – with windy, spitting rain and unseasonably cold 55-degree temperatures (12 Celsius) when play began. Lendl played the entire match in blue warm-up pants and a short-sleeved sweater. Kriek started in a warm-up jacket, which he later discarded. “I’m freezing,” he shouted at one point. But as bad as the weather was, Kriek’s tennis may have been worse. Lendl broke Kriek in the first and third games of the match and was never in trouble. Out of 84 points Lendl scored, 51 came on unforced errors by Kriek. Kriek had four double faults to one ace, and Lendl won five of the 18 games at love. Kriek served 11 times and was broken on eight of them. He won just 26 points on his serve. Kriek had only one break point in the entire contest, in the eighth game of the first set, and could not capitalize. Lendl, playing well on key points, rallied and won the set when a Kriek backhand went long. Kriek, a surprise semifinalist, spent much of his time talking to himself and never displayed the power game he used in a thrilling quarterfinal victory over Guillermo Vilas Tuesday. By the middle of the second set, the crowd at Roland Garros was whistling derisively at every shot Kriek missed. He dropped that set on his serve, Lendl breaking at love on a Kriek double fault. “It’s a joke,” Kriek shouted to himself at one point, and the fans who half-filled the 16,500 seats couldn’t have agreed more. Mikael Pernfors  waited out two rain delays totaling almost three hours, then played superbly to defeat the last French hope, Henri Leconte, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-3 in 2 hours 30 minutes. “I just feel so confident that I don’t think I can miss a tennis ball,” Pernfors said. “The only time I got nervous out there was when I was ahead 4:1 in the fourth. Then I started thinking that if I lose this, I’ll go crazy.” Leconte said: “He just played great. I thought I was playing well, but some of his shots were unbelievable.” In the fourth game of the fourth set (game in which the Swede made his decisive break), Pernfors chased down a strong forehand and tossed up a lob. Leconte lined it up and crushed it. Somehow Pernfors got back to it and slapped a backhand past Leconte. Stunned, Leconte dove for the ball and rolled in the wet clay as it went past. He lay there as if in shock. Pernfors began walking to the net to see whether Leconte was OK. Leconte weakly shook his finger at Pernfors as if so say, “Now cut that out.” The crowd laughed and clapped. Their semifinal was interrupted by rain twice, the first time as Pernfors led 4:3* in the 2nd set (breaking back from 2:3). “It really helped me to get the break just before the delay,” Pernfors said: “While we were waiting, I was thinking that I was back in the match if I could just come out and play a good first game. If I hadn’t broken, I might have gotten down.” When the players came back, Leconte wasn’t the same. The backhands that had been catching corners began flying wide. “I was playing well before the delay”, Leconte said. “And he started player better after we returned to the court.” Pernfors broke leading 6:5 in the 2nd set with a gorgeous cross-court forehand and it was tied at one set. After they traded service breaks in the second and third games of the third set (Leconte led *2:0), another heavy shower suspended play again. Pernfors broke Leconte’s service in the ninth game, then was serving for the third set when Leconte broke back. They traded service breaks again in the 11th and 12th games, sending the set into a tiebreaker, which the Swede captured. When Pernfors finally ended the match shortly after 8 p.m. with a ball that Leconte netted, the remaining crowd stood to cheer both players. Leconte graciously put his arm around Pernfors and, six hours after they began, the two men headed for hot showers. The Swede advanced to his first final!
Final: (Chronicle News)
Somebody finally figured out how to beat Mikael Pernfors before he ran away with the French Open. Appropriately, it was the world’s No. 1 player, Ivan Lendl, who found the secret: hit hard and deep and don’t make errors. With it, Lendl won his second French singles title 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The match was tougher and more exciting than the scores indicate (lasted 2 hours 45 minutes – the longest three-set Grand Slam final in history until Wimbledon ’13). The unseeded Swede, Pernfors covered the court like a sprinter and never stopped fighting. His spectacular recoveries, tactical surprises and gutty third-set comeback kept the crowd of 16,500 almost wholly on his side. Down, 3:0 and break point in the 3rd, after losing nine consecutive games, Pernfors showed flashes of the brilliant shot-making that had carried him past four seeded opponents. He won four consecutive games and nearly a fifth (had a game point in a three-deuces game) before Lendl reasserted himself. Even then it was no easy matter. Pernfors kept going for his shots and making a fair number of them. Nervousness played no part. Lendl’s relentless drive simply wore down Pernfors. For the first time in two weeks of long, grinding matches, the 22-year-old Swede got tired. “He ran me more than anybody has,” Pernfors said. “And I had to play my best tennis to win a point. He is just too good.” For Lendl, the victory seemed more bitter than sweet. Like Chris Evert Lloyd after she won the women’s title Saturday, he noted sarcastically – and inaccurately – how the dopesters had written him off before the tournament. He also made the crowd seem more of an opponent than Pernfors. “They were against me since the warm-up,” he said. Pernfors started the match with a backhand drop shot. That was pure Pernfors, inspired and daring, and it showed Lendl that he was in for a different sort of afternoon. Unfortunately for Pernfors, for two and a half sets his execution did not match his imagination. He could not counter Lendl’s ability to work up an opening with a series of rocketing shots to the corners, and he usually found himself on the losing end of long rallies. When he did take the offensive, he tended to go for too much, out of the understandable concern of hitting less than a good shot. Pernfors also found that he had underestimated Lendl’s backhand. “I wanted to use my forehand a lot more than I did,” he said. “But when I hit to his backhand, he kept returning deep topspin shots to mine.” Being unaccustomed to double faults actually produced the service breaks that cost Pernfors, a two-time national collegiate champion at Georgia, the first set. Pernfors broke to start the second, and in an effort to hold that edge, made one of the tactical changes that help distinguish his style. In the fourth game, Pernfors came to net more than he had in the previous 12 put together. But Lendl held his own in those exchanges and then lifted his own play sufficiently to run off the nine consecutive games. Yet even then, he produced some marvelous points. On one, he ran more than the width of the court and unable to hit his customary two-handed backhand, whipped a one-hander past an astonished Lendl. Three games later, he ranged so wide that he slid into a linesman’s chair, then recovered to retrieve the next shot on the other side of the court. “Every single one is different,” Lendl said of his three Grand Slam titles (59 overall) – he won the U.S. Open last year. “Two years ago, it was my first. I was down 0-2 in sets. This one is different and very special. I felt since mid-December I have had bad luck with my health and injuries. It means I overcame those things.” Stats of the final