1988 – 1989, Roland Garros

French Open, Paris
May 23, 1988; 128 Draw (16 seeds) – $1,645,000; Surface – Clay

Ivan Lendl, a double defending champion, lost before semifinals for the first time in ten majors. Mats Wilander took advantage of it and captured his third French Open title, displaying superb form (97% of 1st serves in!) in the final against a crowd-favorite Henri Leconte, who survived three five-setters and hadn’t left in the tank after losing the first tight set. The Swede wasn’t a favorite to get the title at the start of the tournament despite winning Australian Open and Key Biscayne that year – he’d poorly played in two events prior to Roland Garros (Monte Carlo, Rome). And he was almost eliminated in the third round as he faced a non-clay specialist “Bobo” Zivojinovic, in a tricky rain-interrupted match, which the Swede began with a comfortable 6-2 3:0 lead, only to found himself at 2:5 in the deciding set! Lanky and short Michael Chang, who sensationally won in 1989, a year before made his debut outside the United States obtaining two easy wins at the age of 16. Two years older Andre Agassi notched his first successful Grand Slam event reaching the semifinals.
All scorelines
First round: (Times Wire Services)

Ivan Lendl, top-seeded among the men, won his opening match Tuesday in the French Open, but other seeded player was knocked out. Lendl, who has won this tournament the last two years, defeated Philippe Pech of France, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4. The men’s 10th-seeded player, Anders Jarryd, was trounced, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1, by fellow Swede Joakim Nystrom. Nystrom eliminated in Paris a seeded player also a year before in the first round. Other men’s winners on the second day of the Grand Slam tournament included second-seeded Stefan Edberg of Sweden over Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Henri Leconte of France over Simon Youl of Australia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3; Tim Mayotte over Carl Limberger of Australia, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Pat Cash of Australia over Jimmy Brown, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Boris Becker of West Germany defeated Claudio Mezzadri of Switzerland, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5, but had trouble making his serve-and-volley game work on the soft clay. Meanwhile, Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia beat Aaron Krickstein, 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, and 16-year-old “wild card” Michael Chang [122, first time playing outside the United States] defeated doubles specialist Robert Seguso, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. The victories were the first at the French Open for Wimbledon champion Cash and the eighth-seeded Mayotte after being first-round losers in their three previous appearances. After losing in the first round here in 1982, 1983 and 1984, Mayotte simply skipped this tournament the next three years. “I was a little bit nervous today,” he said, adding with a laugh: “It’s one of the great milestones of my career.” Mayotte’s victory means all three seeded U.S. men survived their first-round matches. Lendl needs this year’s mcenroe_rg88title to become the first player since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open three straight years. With 17 weeks to go, he also is homing in on Jimmy Connors (he withdrew form Roland Garros ’88) record of 159 weeks atop the men’s rankings. Lendl said he is aiming to reach both goals. “When I see a challenge, I like to do something. I don’t like to give up,” he said. The oldest men’s player, 35-year-old Guillermo Vilas [78] of Argentina, also won. He eliminated Leonardo Lavalle of Mexico, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. Lavalle [203] was 9 years old when Vilas won the French Open in 1977. John McEnroe became angry Monday and won his first match in the French Open tennis championships since 1985. For the second year in a row, McEnroe appeared headed for an early exit at Roland Garros, where he was upset in the first round last year by Horacio de la Pena. But this time, he reached the second round with a 7-6(2), 6-1, 7-6(2) victory over 21-year-old Alexandr Volkov of the Soviet Union. McEnroe, however, showed his anger as early as the 5th game of the 1st set. Volkov was leading, 3:1*, and moved to deuce when McEnroe hit a forehand into the net. “Choke. You’re a choker,” McEnroe screamed at himself. On the next point, his anger switched to an overzealous linesman, who called a foot fault before McEnroe even attempted his serve. McEnroe stopped and shouted: “Thanks for calling it before I hit it.” The ruling was overturned, and McEnroe slammed an ace to start his comeback. “You woke me up,” McEnroe said to the official as he rallied to win the set in a  tiebreaker. In the 3rd set, he also won that tiebreaker by a 7/2 score. But McEnroe was clearly unhappy with the way he played in the first set. “It would have been tough to get worse,” he said. “I would have been defaulted by the chair umpire for bad play.” Another American who has already found a spot in French hearts is 18-year-old Andre Agassi [11]. He has scooted up the men’s ladder in the past six months with a two-fisted backhand and a showman’s feel for the crowd. Today he beat Italy’s top player, Paolo Cane, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2  for his 16th victory in 17 matches on clay in 1988. He is being cast as the good American as opposed to the ”bad boys,” McEnroe and Connors. Agassi also found cheering crowds at the Rome Open recently. ”I was surprised by the publicity in Rome,” he said. ”A lot of people agassi_rg88knew about me and had followed my game. Here it is the same: I am surprised, but I like it. It’s exciting.” Of McEnroe and Connors he said: ”I have always respected and admired them both, but I realized that I didn’t want to be the way they are on court.” Third-seeded Mats Wilander of Sweden beat Josef Cihak of Czechoslovakia, 7-5, 7-5, 6-1, and sixth-seeded Yannick Noah of France downed Ricki Osterthun of West Germany, 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-4. Mikael Pernfors of Sweden, the 1986 finalist, failed to make it past the first round for the second consecutive year, losing to Luiz Mattar of Brazil, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. Andres Gomez defeated Ulf Stenlund 7-6(3), 6-0, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 – the Ecuadorian beat the Swede after very similar scoreline in Paris in 1986, the in the fourth round: 7-5, 7-6(4), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4. 15th seeded, Guillermo Perez-Roldan won a prestigious duel of two talented teenage Argentinians, eliminating [64] Alberto Mancini 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

Second round: Robin Herman

The slow clay courts of Roland Garros Stadium, sticky with rain, dragged down the usually fleet of foot today, producing several close matches for highly seeded players at the French Open tennis tournament. It was rough going for fourth-seeded Pat Cash and 11th-seeded Henri Leconte. Both needed five sets to win their matches, Leconte for the second time in three days. An improved John McEnroe defeated a Swede, Christian Bergstrom, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, with a repertory of slices, drop shots and passing shots backed by a strong serve. He still had too many hollow-sounding missed hits, though, to feel exultant. His opponent in the next round is the 16-year-old Californian Michael Chang, who at 131 pounds (59 kg! when he finished his career 15 years later was 14 kg heavier) is the smallest and youngest man in the draw. “I didn’t play that well today but he played very well,” Bergstrom said. ”He didn’t give me much chance at it. He was very good today. I had big problems with his serve. I didn’t even get close to breaking him.” Chang, from Placentia, beat Tobias Svantessen of Sweden, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. He said he was looking forward to meeting McEnroe and hoping to fulfill his dreams. “I’d see McEnroe playing in, say, Wimbledon or the French and in my mind I’d think that I was out there playing for the finals of a Grand Slam, and I’d do really good,” he said. Despite differences in their ages and the directions of their careers, he said, the match means much the same to both of them. “It’s going to be a match to see where both of us are,” Chang said. ”John is gradually making his comeback, and I’m gradually making my way up.” Should McEnroe get past Chang, he is bound to meet top-seeded Ivan Lendl, who quickly disposed of Niclas Kroon of Sweden, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. “Everybody thinks that opening rounds are formalities and a walk- through,” Lendl said. “It is a cash_rg88walk-through, but it’s a minefield out there.” Both Pat Cash and Henri Leconte had long matches that ended in rain. Cash, an Australian, defeated Javier Sanchez of Spain, 20 years old, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Cash played awkwardly on the rust-colored clay, booming the ball as though he were on a hard surface. Sanchez, a clay-court specialist, had a better feel for when to use a soft touch and when to push the ball hard. But Cash’s power game is difficult to deny on any surface, and with fewer errors in the last two sets, he was able to control the match. ”I feel you just let your racquet do the talking,” said Cash, who does not mince words. ”I know I can play well on clay. I’m not particularly worried about proving anything.” Leconte, a Frenchman, defeated Bruno Oresar of Yugoslavia, a qualifier ranked 100th, after 3 hours 20 minutes. The scores were 6-1, 6-0, 6-7(5), 1-6, 6-2. Leconte had been within 2 points of taking the match in the tie breaker of the 3rd set. But Oresar, a lithe figure on the clay court with long blond hair held back in a ponytail, possesses a sharp backhand passing shot that continually caught the chunky Leconte flat-footed. Oresar used that shot to take the final 2 points of the tie breaker. After Leconte saw that set slip away, he seemed in the clouds for the 4th set, losing it quickly. Later, he said it was intentional. ‘‘I decided not to play hard in the fourth, to have enough energy for the fifth,” he said. ”I preferred not to force it. I tried to tire him as much as I could.” The crowd had been pulling as much for Oresar as for Leconte, with cries of ”Allez, Bruno!” echoing in response to cries of ”Allez, Henri!” Leconte has a tentative relationship with the French public, which has tired of his inexplicable lapses and post-loss complaints. They sometimes call him Riton, a too-familiar diminutive of Henri. A new tennis expression has turned up here: ritonnade, meaning a totally unimaginable error. Leconte rediscovered his edge, and the fickle crowd’s support, in the 5th set. He cut his backhands as low and fine as could be, leaving his opponent exasperated. Tim Mayotte, after winning his first French Open match ever on Tuesday, lost to Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. Andres Gomez, a quarter-finalist three of the last four years here, was eliminated by Ronald Agenor of Haiti, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4). “A streak of one,” Mayotte said of his first-round victory. Mayotte, a very respectable tennis figure of the 80s, finished his career with a poor clay-court record: 8-19. Seeded Swedes, second Stefan Edberg, third Mats Wilander and seventh Kent Carlsson won with an extreme ease dropping respectively 7, 6 & 5 games: Edberg beat Arnaud Boetsch [465] of France, 6-0, 6-4, 6-3, and Wilander, a two-time winner here, beat Francisco Yunis of Argentina, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 and  Carlsson breezed past his second-round opponent, Jerome Potier of France 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Yannick Noah, the 1983 champion, defeated Luiz Mattar of Brazil, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4). Mattar, down 3:1 and facing elimination, fought back and won the 3rd set, then played Noah evenly through the 4th set. In the deciding tie-break, Noah slipped as he rushed the net but managed a weak return while sitting in the clay dust of Roland Garros Stadium. He jumped up in time to fend off Mattar’s next shot, then volleyed a forehand winner to reach match point.  “He has something special,” Mattar said of the former French Open champion, “People like to see him play.” Andre Agassi, the 18-year-old from Las Vegas, moved into the third round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Massimiliano Narducci of Italy. bengochea_rg88It’s as far as Agassi ever has gone in a Grand Slam tournament and left him wondering about his next opponent, Andres Vysand of the Soviet Union. “I’ve never even heard his name,” Agassi said. Guillermo Vilas, the 35-year-old former champion from Argentina, was eliminated by seven years younger countryman Eduardo Bengoechea 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-0. And for at least another year, the Champion of France will not be the French Open champion. Thierry Champion was eliminated by Jonas Svensson of Sweden 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. West German Boris Becker, the No. 5 men’s seed, beat the future Australian Open champion, 20-year-old Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, for whom it was a Grand Slam debut.

Third round: (AP)

Americans John McEnroe and Michael Chang, at 29 and 16 the oldest and youngest men in the field of the last 32, met in a late match on Court No. 1. McEnroe scored an easy 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the teen-ager. “I haven’t been kicked that hard before,” said Chang, who dominated players his age – and older – in the amateur ranks before turning pro three months ago: “It’s a good experience for me to see what the No. 1 player in the world is like. I think John is capable of regaining that rank again, if he wants to.” McEnroe, the 16th seed, broke Chang mcenroe_chang_rg88at love in the first game of the match and held at love in the second. Chang didn’t register his first point until he was behind 15/0 in the third game, breaking the streak on a running forehand down the line. He won just 10 points in the opening set, which McEnroe finished in 24 minutes when Chang netted a backhand. People peeking through portholes to watch the match and moving about in the stands proved more of a distraction for McEnroe than Chang did. McEnroe repeatedly asked for quiet from spectators, who were firmly in his corner. “It was different not having the crowd on my side,” Chang complained. “I never saw a crowd like that. They were loud. When we went out, I thought they were cheering for me. But when they announced John McEnroe – they went wild.” For McEnroe, it also was a different experience. The bad boy of tennis is accustomed to being booed. That’s why he was pleased about being supported by the French fans. “It’s like a home-court advantage to a certain degree,” McEnroe said. “I’ve played 10, 11 years on the circuit without having that. It’s nice to have it for a change.” Chang’s game improved in the 2nd set, when he got his first break point, but McEnroe got the only break he needed for a 4:3 lead. His serving was superb and he chased Chang ragged with volleys and forehands. In the 3rd set, McEnroe broke in the fourth and sixth games and held at love for the match. Third-seeded Mats Wilander of Sweden barely escaped elimination, coming back after trailing 5:2* in the 5th set to beat Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Wilander, probably the mildest-mannered man in tennis, angrily hit a ball into the stands and stormed off court Friday as rain forced a postponement in the French Open. Wilander twice had asked the umpire to stop play when fading light made it difficult to see the lightning-fast serves of Zivojinovic. With winds beginning to gust and storm clouds gathering, Wilander played superbly to take the first set and go ahead by a break (3:0) in the second. Then heavy rain started to fall, and Wilander was unable to hold service. Play was then abandoned for the night. As Wilander, the 1982 and 1985 French champion, walked off court with a 6-2, 3:2* lead, he hit a ball angrily into the almost-empty stands, gathered his bag and, with lightning flashing, stomped off the course. On the following day the match turned into Zivojinovic’s favor, and he was serving for the match at 5:3 in the final set, but after a terrific volley at Wilander’s feet, Zivojinovic paused for a moment and Wilander picked up the ball and slapped it past him. Then the Yugoslav missed an overhead shot after Wilander flipped up a chip shot. Wilander won five straight games and celebrated his victory by slamming a ball out of the stadium (Zivojinovic wasn’t closer than three points to make a huge upset). Second seed Stefan Edberg scored straight-set victory that was tougher than usual yesterday at the French Open. After beating countryman Jan Gunnarsson 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(5), Edberg, a normally mild-mannered Swede, criticized tournament officials who made him play two of his first three matches on a bumpy outside court. ”I deserve better than that,” the world’s No. 2 tennis player said after finally clinching a spot in the fourth round on his sixth match point. Edberg, who has played two matches on Court No. 11, where more obscure players usually perform before a few hundred spectators. ”It is a really, really bad court. The bounces you get there are real bad,” he said. ”I have played one match on Court No. 1, but I would like to get at least one match on center court.” Edberg squandered four match points leading 5:4, another one at 6:5, then came back from a 2:5 deficit in the tie-break. Boris Becker, the fifth seed, won 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 over Thomas Muster of Austria, a left-hander who had the West German in trouble by running down almost all of his powerful forehands. But when leading 3:1 in the 4th set, Muster chased a Becker shot and slammed into a metal advertising sign at courtside, hitting the elbow and forehand of his left arm. Muster returned to play, but did not win another game, as Becker reeled off five in a row to take the match. Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, the No. 1 seed among the men, downed Thierry Tulasne of France 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2. Lendl beat Tulasne also in the third round 12 months before losing just one noah_rg88game fewer (7-6, 6-2, 6-2). In the completion of a match suspended by rain, Andre Agassi of the United States defeated Andres Vysand of the Soviet Union 7-5, 6-3, 6-2. Agassi next plays Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden in the fourth round. In other matches, Pat Cash defeated fellow Australian Mark Woodforde 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2; seventh-seeded Kent Carlsson beat Martin Jaite of Argentina 6-2, 6-3, 6-1; and Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union, seeded 14th, downed Eduardo Bengochea of Argentina 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. Yannick Noah, the men’s ninth seed from France, needed four sets to calm a worried full house on Center Court and overcome Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3. “It’s a great feeling. When I play I feel that people like it when I win,” Noah said on the atmosphere during his matches in Paris.  “Maybe it’s because my game is fun to watch. People feel my emotions, they feel closer to me.”

Fourth round: Jim Sarni

The game of tennis is played not only between the lines, but on the lines as well. And Ivan Lendl, playing picture-perfect tennis at the French Open, used every inch of fair territory today to defeat John McEnroe, 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth-round match (the matches was stretched over two days due to darkness, suspended at 4:2* in the 3rd set for Lendl, who he led 4-love in that set). The 29-year-old McEnroe was  lendl_mcenroe_rg88seeded 16th here, which he found ridiculous, because of a computer rating that heavily weights a player’s latest matches. He played very well, and his serve was tremendous, but Lendl was stronger, more consistent and placed his shots more precisely. The crucial game of the final set proved to be the 5th, when Lendl was able to break McEnroe’s serve. He took a point on a lob that McEnroe could only swat at. He took another point by lofting a lob to the baseline after McEnroe had served and volleyed twice without being able to put the point away on the soft clay. The final point was a perfect forehand return of service that whooshed right by McEnroe. Lendl served out the final game of the fourth set at love with the last shot a forehand that, fittingly, kissed the baseline. In a kind of ritual during the match, McEnroe would insist that a linesman inspect the mark in the red dirt left by Lendl’s ball. The chair umpire would direct the linesman to look. The linesman would bend to the line, touch the white tape and motion that Lendl’s ball had been good. ”You get into the groove,” said Lendl. ‘‘You hit deep, you hit some lines. You don’t really aim for the lines. I don’t know how to explain it. It just happens.”  The crowd in Roland Garros Stadium was behind McEnroe all the way and stood to cheer him when he left the court at the end, and then booed Lendl. Although argumentative, McEnroe has ceased being obscene and has become more and more popular here. ”It’s like wine,” McEnroe observed. ”The older you get, the more they appreciate you, and the French do know a lot about wine.” Other American man did better, 18-year-old Andre Agassi advanced to the final eight on a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 victory over Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden. He became the youngest U.S. man to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the 20-year-old Open era. Agassi, with three clay-court tournament victories this season, lost his first set of the tournament but overcame the unseeded Gustafsson in a match interrupted twice – once by rain, the other time when the cannon-fire shots of the two young players snapped the let-cord. The ninth-seeded American dominated the match with his booming forehand. Up 1:0 in the 4th set when the rain hit, he came back after the delay to win five games in a row. Other 18-year-old player,  Guillermo Perez-Roldan [17] of Argentina, upset second-seeded Stefan Edberg 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. Edberg’s loss to the Argentine was not as much of an upset as the rankings might make it seem. Perez-Roldan is a prototypical clay-court baseliner; Edberg, a serve-and-volley player, is chronically weak on clay. Of his 16 career singles titles, Edberg has had only one on clay. Perez-sanchez_rg88Roldan, on the other hand, has never won a match off of clay courts in his three years on the tour. Other Swedes advanced to the quarterfinals – two-time French Open winner Mats Wilander, the men’s third seed, ousted Ronald Agenor of Haiti 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3, and  unseeded Jonas Svensson upset his Swedish countryman Kent Carlsson, the No. 7 seed, 5-7, 7-6(8), 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. For Svensson, the only unseeded quarter-finalist, it was a second 5-set battle won over a compatriot (one round earlier he ousted Joakim Nystrom, also coming back from 1-2 in sets to win 6-2 in the fifth). Emilio Sanchez, the men’s 12th seed celebrating his 23rd birthday, eliminated Parisian favorite Yannick Noah, seeded sixth, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2. The two players, both agile and powerful with varied games, were perfectly matched and slugged it out in the main stadium before a partisan French crowd of 16,500. In the close exchanges in the front court, however, the dogged Sanchez had more success and he proved steadier from the back court as well. After a rain delay at the start of the 4th set, Sanchez came back from the locker room even stronger. ”When I went to the locker room I realized I could win the match,” Sanchez said. ”On the court I was not so convinced. I kept looking at him and thinking, ‘this is Noah. We are playing in Paris, in France’. It’s difficult. I was very nervous at the end.” Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union, moved through to second major quarterfinal in 1988, upsetting No. 4 seed Pat Cash of Australia 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in a rain-delayed fourth-round match. Cash won the first set easily, but made more and more errors as the match wore on, as the patient Chesnokov kept returning Cash’s shots from the baseline. In the 4th set, Cash was serving at 3:3, 40/0, when he made five straight errors to lose the game. Chesnokov rapidly ran off two more games to win the match. It was a day of rain and sunshine at the French Open Monday. Henri Leconte, the last Frenchman left at Roland Garros, beat Boris Becker in five sets to keep the home crowd happy if a little wet. One day after former French Open champion Noah lost to Emilio Sanchez, Leconte raised the flag with his soggy and relentless conquest of the two-time Wimbledon champion. The match began at noon, was interrupted by rain three times, and finally concluded at 7:31 p.m., when Becker knocked a forehand return wide to give Leconte a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory. John McEnroe buttoned up in his trench-coat, stood in the runway and watched the twilight drama on Center Court. He couldn’t leave this thriller, either. He watched Becker, diving after volleys on the red clay, break Leconte to win the fourth set and even the match. Then, he watched Leconte take a 2:0 lead in the 5th set and Becker take the next two games. But Becker ran out of comebacks after Leconte broke him for a 4:3 lead. There were a few tense moments when Leconte, serving for the match, fell behind love-30 and then double-faulted on his first match point, but the Frenchman held his nerve. ”I could not do much more than I did,” Becker said. ”I thought I had a chance to win, but Henri served well over five sets and he played a couple of ‘Leconte shots’. He’s playing almost the best tennis of his life.” Becker was 5-1 becker_leconte_rg88against Leconte before Monday, but the one loss was on clay in Hamburg earlier this month. Becker can beat Leconte on grass (twice at Wimbledon) and on carpet, but the slow stuff is quicksand. ”Boris still has things to learn about playing on clay,” Leconte said. ”He doesn’t always play the right shot. And I sensed he was very nervous.” Leconte didn’t get tense when the weight of the country fell on him after Noah lost. Leconte has won three five-setters in four matches and is 5-0 lifetime in five-set matches at Roland Garros. ”There’s more pressure, being the only Frenchman,” said Leconte, who reached the quarterfinals in 1985 and the semifinals in 1986, but fell in the first round to Ricki Osterthun last year. ”I didn’t expect Noah to lose to Sanchez. I just tried to take my time.” Leconte took all day, with the rain and the wind and the delays, ”It’s like this at Grand Slam tournaments. The same thing happen at Wimbledon. It rains and you can’t play any more. ‘When it rained, I got a massage, I read the newspapers and I thought about something else.”

Quarterfinals: (AP)

lendl_svensson_rg88Top-ranked Ivan Lendl, looking drained by his two-day victory over John McEnroe, today was upset in the French Open quarterfinals by unseeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden [21], who varied his backcourt game with well-timed volleys at the net in ousting the defending champion 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-2 in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Lendl never showed the powerful form he used to overcome McEnroe in a fourth-round match played Tuesday night and yesterday with interruptions for rain and darkness. He also had a trainer come onto the court twice, apparently to treat a muscle problem in his right shoulder, and appeared bothered by a noisy union demonstration just outside the stadium grounds. Svensson, 21, said he was not aware of Lendl’s shoulder problem and was glad he didn’t know. “If you know the other guy is hurt, maybe you lose a little bit your concentration,” the Swede said. Lendl’s concentration appeared shaken by the bullhorns and recorded music wafting into Center Court from a demonstration by workers from an airplane-manufacturing plant. “Do something about it,” Lendl said to chair umpire Jacques Dorfmann while serving to win the 1st set at 5:4. Dorfmann shrugged his shoulders – the demonstrators were massed outside the Roland Garros stadium grounds – and Lendl lost his serve and eventually the set. Lendl led the first-set tie-break 5:2*, but then dropped five consecutive points, the final two on backhand volleys by Svensson, who is better known for his groundstrokes. Lendl lost the 2nd set when Svensson broke his serve in the 11th game with three straight drop shots – a backhand volley, a backhand half-volley, then another backhand volley. In the 3rd set, the demonstrators left, but Lendl seemed to be having more and more trouble with his shoulder, making many uncharacteristic unforced errors. Lendl, who missed the semifinals in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since Wimbledon in 1985, ended the match by hitting a backhand into the net on match point. “He was playing unorthodox tennis on clay,” Lendl said. “I would have said he was lucky, but he had been doing that in his two previous matches.” The loss was Lendl’s first at the French Open since the 1985 final. It halted his 18-match winning streak in Paris, and 15-match winning streak on clay in 1988 (had won Monte Carlo & Rome prior to Roland Garros ’88). “My game plan was to confuse him and play slow balls and make him feel he is safe back there,” Svensson said. “Then go for it fast and come it. He didn’t know what was going on… which shots I was coming in on.” Lendl said of Svensson: “I thought he played extremely well.  He was taking the ball early and playing very unorthodox tennis. He was hitting very strange shots.” Svensson will look to keep it up Friday against France’s Henri Leconte. The No. 11 seed reached the semifinals for the second time in three years by beating Soviet Union’s Andrei Chesnokov 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4). Leconte, the last representative of France in the tournament, said Lendl’s defeat will mean many of his countrymen will think his chances of winning the title are much better. “That puts a little more pressure on me,” he said, “People expect me to go a long way.” Hours later, the French sanchez_wilander_rg88fans wildly applauded Andre Agassi, the 18-year-old wonder from Las Vegas, as he topped his peer Guillermo Perez-Roldan 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to gain the semifinals. The kid with the fierce forehand and denim shorts is the next American with a chance to end the 33-year U.S. drought since Tony Trabert won the French Open in 1955. In Friday’s semifinals, Agassi plays third-seeded, two-time former champion Mats Wilander, who fought off Spain’s Emilio Sanchez 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-4 in 4 hours. Wilander came back astonishingly thrice from a brink, twice with a happy-ending: he was 1:5* down in the 1st set, saved three set points in the 2nd set trailing 2:5*, he also rallied from a *2:4 deficit of the 4th set winning the crucial 7th game after four ‘deuces’. The French also drank up the bubbly effervescence of Agassi, who blew a kiss to the crowd after he routed Perez-Roldan in a preview of next month’s Davis Cup match. ”It comes in handy when the crowd wants you to win,” said Agassi, the youngest American semifinalist in a Grand Slam since McEnroe was 18 at Wimbledon in 1977… ”I want to win, but I want to entertain the crowd as well.”

Semifinals: (AP)

Third-seeded Mats Wilander, mixing elegant lobs with precise passing shots, outlasted American Andre Agassi 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 today in the French Open semifinal (the Swede had a break point for a 4:0 lead in the 1st set, and was two points away from winning in four). Wilander, the only survivor from the top 10 seeds after a week of upsets, has won the championship here twice and wilander_rg88will be playing in the final for the fifth time in seven years. Agassi, an energetic 18-year-old from Las Vegas, went all out, grunting explosively with the effort of pounding his ground strokes but found Wilander covering every inch of the clay court to send them back. Once, after several remarkable returns in a row ended with a point for Wilander, Agassi aimed the handle of his racket at his opponent and pulled the trigger, as if a rifle shot were the only kind the agile Swede could not handle. “He surprised me a lot. I didn’t think he’d be this good,” Wilander said. “I’ve never played against a player who hits the ball so hard on his forehand.” The Swede also said he wasn’t bothered by Agassi’s antics, or the delighted response from the crowd. “He’s a real sportsman on the court. It’d be great if he can keep that attitude,” Wilander said. But Agassi also made frequent unforced errors, and usually punctuated them with a loud yip of dismay. At a couple of his worst moments, he tossed his racket hopelessly in the air. In the final set, Agassi looked beaten and too tired to chase down Wilander ‘s shots. Trailing 0:3, 15/40, he lost track of the score, thinking he had already lost his serve, and waited for Wilander to serve when it was still the American’s turn. Agassi may be arriving just in time to fill the void at the top of American tennis ranks. U.S. tennis has been in the decline for the past few years. No American man has won a grand slam title since John McEnroe‘s 1984 U.S. Open triumph. McEnroe, 29, is attempting his second comeback in three years, with indifferent results. Jimmy Connors is 35 and has been sidelined with an injured foot. Both are controversial, furthermore, for their on-court behavior. Others, like Jimmy Arias and Aaron Krickstein, have come before Agassi, quickly picking up the label “the next great American player,” but have disappeared into the black hole of tennis mediocrity. “It is unbelievably important that he doesn’t go the way of other young players like Arias and Krickstein,” Wilander said. “It is important for tennis that he makes it, for sure.” Henri Leconte, seeded 11th, thrilled the home crowd with his flair in a quick 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3 victory over unseeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden. Leconte took a 4:2* lead in the 1st set before Svensson, a serve-and-volley Swede who eliminated defending champion Ivan Lendl in the quarterfinals, charged in front, 5:4. They served out the set and Leconte took easily the tiebreaker. Leconte was on top leconte_rg88from there. He broke in the second, sixth and eight games of the 2nd set and came back from 3:1* down in the 3rd to gain his first Grand Slam. “He closes his eyes and goes for everything,” said Svensson in admiration of Leconte. “He makes a lot of unbelievable shots. I didn’t get to play my game.” Leconte is the first Frenchman to reach the final in Roland Garros Stadium since Yannick Noah won the event in 1983. Wilander, who won the Australian Open in January, will be going for his second Grand Slam title of the year. He holds an 8-2 lead in career meetings with Leconte and has not lost since May 1985. “I feel great. I have nothing to lose, so I’m going to play the best I can,” said Leconte. The hopes of a nation will be riding on Leconte’s racket. For many a French sports fan – and some who are not – the French sports year begins and ends with the tournament at Roland Garros. Leconte thinks there will be a lot of support for him when he meets Wilander. “I know I’ll have the public behind me and I hope they’ll be there for the match against Mats ,” Leconte said. “It has happened since I beat Becker.”

Final: Richard Finn

wilander_leconte_rg88Mats Wilander‘s “impossible dream” of winning the Grand Slam is very much a living reality. Sunday Wilander added the French Open crown to his Australian Open title to win the first two legs of this year’s Grand Slam by routing favorite son Henri Leconte 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 before a disappointed partisan Roland Garros crowd. “My next step is to win either Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, winning both might be too optimistic” said Wilander after the 1 hour and 52 minute rout, the shortest final since 1980 (six minutes shorter then). To complete the Grand Slam, a player must win the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Opens in one calendar year. Only four players have ever accomplished the feat: among men Don Budge of the United States in 1937 and Rod Laver of Australia in 1962 and among women Maureen Connolly of the United States in 1953, and 1969 and Margaret Smith Court of Australia, in 1970. Wimbledon’s grass courts are up next – June 20. In his career the Swede has quietly won three French Opens and three Australian Opens, but never the U.S. Open or Wimbledon. “With all the big servers like McEnroe and Becker I think it will be tough for him,” said Leconte. Wilander’s finest Wimbledons were the quarterfinals last year and the fourth round in 1986. “Winning there is a completely different story. I know there will be a little more pressure,” said Wilander, who will move up into the No. 2 spot behind Ivan Lendl when the weekly Association of Tennis Professionals computer rankings are released Monday. Strangely, Wilander’s first two Australian Open crowns in 1983 and ’84 came on grass. “It is still the same game at Wimbledon, serve and volley and come in on everything,” said Wilander, who won this January on the new Rebound Ace court. “There is no real reason why I shouldn’t be able to do well at Wimbledon.” So high was his standard against Leconte, that duplicating that at Wimbledon might be a pipe dream. Wilander played flawlessly. He made 71 of 73 first serves! “I didn’t make any unforced errors,” said Wilander. “I didn’t play fancy.” When Leconte got to net, he was repeatedly passed by pinpoint passing shots. Especially sharp was Wilander ‘s crosscourt backhand shot. The crowd let Leconte, only the fifth Frenchman in the final since 1946, know how badly he was wilander_rg88championoutplayed with jeers and even some boos at the end of the match. “I expected the crowd to be more with him,” said Wilander. “I don’t know whether they lost interest, but they weren’t there when he needed them.” Said Leconte, “To look at the match it looks like a bad match. I was making all the mistakes.” It was a competitive match in the 1st set. Leconte led 3:1, then served for the set at 5:4 after winning two games with dropping just one point. But a double fault put Leconte down 15/40 and two points later he lost the game. “The first set was very important, if he had won that he might have got the crowd on his side,” said the Swede. Wilander’s Wimbledon preparation will be low key. He will not play any tournaments, except for an exhibition event in Dublin next week. But he is looking to begin Wimbledon with soaring confidence. “I feel the most confident I’ve ever felt in going into Wimbledon,” said Wilander. If he needs to look for further encouragement in accomplishing the French and Wimbledon double he need only to look at 1978-80 when his famous countryman Bjorn Borg was winning on both sides of the English Channel. “When Borg was playing we said it would be tough and he was winning all the time,” recalled Leconte. And that was no dream. Wilander’s 29th title (7th major). Stats of the final.

****************************

French Open, Paris
May 29, 1989; 128 Draw (16 seeded); $1,945,000; Surface – Clay

Seven years after an astonishing triumph of 17-year-old Mats Wilander, the Parisian crowd witnessed another miracle fortnight with a 17-year-old boy as a main protagonist. A small USA-citizen of Chinese origin (170 cm, he grew 5 cm later on), Michael Chang destroyed an unexperienced Pete Sampras, afterwards won two 5-set epics against the best players in the world at the time (Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg), separated by 4-set thrillers against other revelations of the tournament (Ronald Agenor, Andrei Chesnokov) to snap a 34-year-old title drought for the American tennis in Paris.
All scorelines
First round: (Associated Press Reports)

The 36-year-old Jimmy Connors [11], the oldest player in the tournament, put on a hustling, crowd-pleasing show in beating Martin Strelba [62] of Czechoslovakia 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Ninth-seeded Connors, who never has made it past the semifinals in Paris, threw his body into every shot, sprinted from corner for lunging gets and pumped his fists after spectacular winners. “I’m still walking. There haven’t been any knockdowns yet,” he said after his victory under sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s (above 20 Celsius). “If the weather stays like this, I can’t ask for anything more,” he said. “The court is dryer and faster. It gives me a chance to give the ball a ride instead of playing ping-pong tennis.” Tim Mayotte, the seventh seed, cruised past Mark Kratzmann of Australia 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Stefan Edberg, the Wimbledon champion and No. 3 seed here, beat Marian Vajda of Czechoslovakia 6-2, 6-0, 1-6, 6-3, showing he also can be a threat on clay. “I don’t think you need to play only from the baseline to win here,” Edberg said. “You can also play aggressively”. In the day’s most exciting match, sixth-seeded Jakob Hlasek [8] of Switzerland outlasted Jordi Arrese [37] of Spain 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 9-7. Hlasek fought off four match points at 4:5 in the fifth set. Then Arrese turned back two match points at 7:8. Hlasek finally ended the contest by hitting a deep first serve, rushing the net and punching a backhand volley into the open court. It was a period of time in which Hlasek lost five matches holding a match point (between Indian Wells ’89 and Key Biscayne ’90).
France’s Yannick Noah, the 1983 champion and No. 13 seed among the men, was eliminated in front of a capacity Center Court crowd of 14,000 by Luiz Mattar of Brazil, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4. Afterward, Noah, 29, indicated his career may be near the end. “It’s not a decision I will make in the next month,” he said. “You don’t decide to quit after one loss. But I am more and more excited by the idea of retiring.”
He retired two and a half years later.  Ivan Lendl [1], who beat West Germany’s [45] Patrick Kuhnen, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1, led a parade of men’s seeds into the second round. They included No. 2 Boris Becker of West Germany – a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 winner over American Jim Pugh – and No. 5 Andre Agassi of the United States, who beat Johan Carlsson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Also advancing were No. 11 Alberto Mancini of Argentina, No. 15 Michael Chang of the United States and No. 16 Guillermo Perez-Roldan of Argentina. Lendl, the three-time champion, got off to a slow start before finding his range against Kuhnen. He had to rally from deficits of 3:1 and 6:5 in the first set to overcome Kuhnen, ranked 45th in the world. Kuhnen served for the set at 6:5, but Lendl broke at love. Kuhnen went up, 4:3, in the tie-break, but again failed to capitalize, as Lendl won the next four points for the set. Lendl controlled the rest of the way, closing out the match with an ace. “The first round is always difficult to get settled down and not get over-anxious,” said Lendl, who won the Australian Open in January and still has hopes of winning the Grand Slam. Mats Wilander, seeded fourth after an eight-month spell without a tournament victory, scored a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Tomas Carbonell, a 20-year-old qualifier. Miloslav Mecir, the men’s eighth seed, was eliminated by Thierry Tulasne 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Mecir, who has been plagued by back injuries, virtually gave up in the last two sets, floating returns on some points and drawing a few whistles from the fans. Sweden’s Kent Carlsson, No. 10 among the men, withdrew with a knee injury and was replaced in the draw by Brazilian Danilo Marcelino. In a duel of teenagers, David Wheaton [120] overcame Fabrice Santoro 3-6, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4, 8-6. Who could expect that 17-year-old Santoro (No. 481, debuted in Paris then, second main-level tournament) 21 years later will be the first player to appear in majors in four different decades? 20 years older than Santoro, Guillermo Vilas [179]  a former champion of the tournament (1977), played his last Grand Slam match losing badly 1-6, 3-6, 4-6 to Claudio Pistolesi [165] in exactly two hours. The legendary Vilas didn’t skip any edition of the tournament in seventeen years (1972-1989)! “That was my last match,’‘ said Vilas. “I haven’t decided what I am going to do in the future yet, but I certainly won’t take on coaching a tennis player on the circuit.” He holds French Open record of 58 victories and 74 matches and was a finalist in 1975, 1978 and 1982. Vilas returned in 1991 to play two years more on a Challenger circuit without successes…

Second round: (Associated Press)

Andre Agassi [5] led a U.S charge into the third round of the French Open tennis tournament today, but the favorite for the men’s title, Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, moved into better clay-court form on the second leg of his bid for the Grand Slam. In a match of little drama or crowd participation, Agassi, the No. 5 seed, outclassed Italy’s [42] Paulo Cane 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Center Court. But the top-seeded Ivan Lendl, the Australian Open champion, fared even better, destroying Derek Rostagno [49] of the United States 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 as Lendl swept on toward a fourth French crown. Agassi also played Cane in the first round in Paris last year and dropped the same number of games, seven (6-4, 6-1, 6-2). Once again, his solid service, heavy ground-strokes and court speed were too much for the Italian, who matched Agassi in only one respect – the length of his hair. Agassi was joined in round two by Michael Chang [19], who hammered [91] Pete Sampras 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in a battle of teen-age Americans. Chang, who reached the round of 16 at last year’s U.S. Open, took just 1 hour, 37 minutes on the day’s opening Center Court match to beat his fellow 17-year-old. A couple of Chang’s unseeded countrymen also advanced as the United States kept up its bid for a first French Open men’s title since 1955. Jim Courier beat countryman Jimmy Brown in straight sets and Lawson Duncan overpowered Andrew Sznadjer of Canada, also in three. After Jimmy Connors lost to [28] Jay Berger 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-5, a reporter asked the 36-year-old how he felt about having just played his last singles match at the French Open. ”Who brought that guy in here?” said Connors. “It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but I could have played a fifth set,” Connors said. “My mouthpiece wasn’t knocked out. I was trying to make it to the five-hour mark to see if I could still stand.” Connors rallied from 4:1 down in the first set to win, 6-4, then broke serve for a 1:0 lead in the second. But Berger kept constant pressure on the draw’s oldest player and took the second and third sets. In the fourth, Connors had a 4:2 lead before Berger broke twice to serve for the match at 5:4. But with the score 30/30, Berger, plainly upset by the wild cheers, fluffed an easy overhead and gave Connors a break point. Connors leveled at 5:5 and saved four break points in a gripping 11th game before falling behind again. Berger came back from 0/30 to serve out the match. “I respect him more than any other player,” Berger said. “This is such a great win for me. I’m so drained I can hardly talk.” “I played a perfect match, I just lost it,” Connors said. “All I can do is go out and fight until death. I enjoy matches like these. To play a kid like that 14 years younger than me and to stay out there and be in the match like that, it’s fun.The match lasted 4 hours 38 minutes, which is one of the longest 4-setters ever. Sergi Bruguera [44] of Spain dumped Erik Jelen [50] of West Germany 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(6), 7-6(1). The future champion of the event, 18-year-old Bruguera, became the second player in history to win three straight tie-breaks in a match at the Roland Garros. His compatriot, Francisco Roig [291], the future coach of Rafael Nadal, was involved in other 4-setter with three tie-break sets (two bagels!) as he beat Todd Witsken 7-6(0), 6-7(0), 6-1, 7-6(5).

Third round: (Associated Press)

As the rain got heavier, Boris Becker‘s [2] bid for a fourth-round spot in the men’s event was delayed. But after a 5 1/2-hour wait, the second-seeded West German resumed his match against qualifier Jeremy Bates [147] and crushed the Briton 7-5, 6-1, 6-2. The showers had the opposite effect on Tim Mayotte, a grass-court expert playing on his least favorite surface. Mayotte’s second-round match against Ronald Agenor of Haiti was suspended by darkness last night at 3:3 in the fourth set, with the American ahead by two sets to one. But it was Agenor who proved the stronger when the match was resumed today, and he rallied to oust the No. 7 seed 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. Unseeded Jay Berger of Plantation, Fla., became the first American man to reach the fourth round as he whipped Jaime Yzaga of Peru 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang reached the round of 16 Saturday with straight-set victories, setting up a fourth-round confrontation between the world’s No. 1 player and America’s newest teen-age sensation. Despite complaints about the scheduling and court conditions, the top-seeded Lendl beat Darren Cahill [25] of Australia 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3. Chang, the 15th seed, downed Francisco Roig of Spain 6-0, 7-5, 6-3. “Lendl’s not going to mess around now,” said the 17-year-old Chang, who beat the Czechoslovakia native in an exhibition in Atlanta this spring (6-2, 3-6, 6-1). “This is the real thing,” said Chang, the youngest player left in the tournament. “You can see it in his face. He has that look. He doesn’t give you anything.” Lendl agreed he’s not the same player Chang beat a few months ago. “The last time I had been playing only four days on clay,” he said. “This time I’ve been playing for six weeks on clay. That’s the difference and the result will be different, too.” Saturday, the roof fell in on Paul Haarhuis, as he was swept out of the French Open by 11th-seeded Alberto Mancini 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Still, it was a nice ride for the Dutchman, who reached the third round of his first Grand Slam tournament. ”It felt great,” said Haarhuis, 23, who transferred to FSU after two years at Armstrong State (Ga.). ”I played well and I had a good draw. I could have played a seed earlier.” Haarhuis, ranked No. 190, qualified with three victories last week. Haarhuis then outlasted Slobodan Zivojinovic in five sets in the first round, and stopped Christian Saceanu in four sets in the second. Haarhuis, who graduated with a degree in economics at FSU, spent last year playing the satellite circuits anspan style=”color: #33cccc;”d getting his ranking up from No. 760. Jim Courier [47] has finally moved to the head of the class at the Nick Bollettieri Academy. The 18-year-old American scored an upset victory yesterday at the French Open over fifth-seeded Andre Agassi, his more celebrated fellow pupil at Bollettieri’s tennis school in Florida. ”We’ve grown up together at Bollettieri’s and we’ve seen a lot of each other in the juniors and now in the pros,” Courier said after winning 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. ”It’s tough to compete against someone you’re friends with.” Courier said he has always come second to Agassi in the eyes of Bollettieri. ”It is sometimes difficult on the court, when he’s your coach and you don’t know if he’ll be rooting for you or against you,” he said. Agassi suggested that Courier may be suffering from ”insecurity,” but he was full of praise for his game. ”I think he’s the most powerful player on the tour,” Agassi said. ”Ivan Lendl has a big forehand but not that kind of dominance on the short balls as Courier has.” Darkness forced suspension of the match with Courier leading 4:2 in the third set. Courier lost on the following day to Andrei Chesnokov 6-2, 6-3, 6-7(3), 2-6, 5-7,  being a couple of points from an easy straight sets win“When it gets to 4:4 or 5:5 in the final set, I go for it too much,” Courier said. “That was the case today. I got a little over-anxious. But give Andrei credit. He beat me. It was more of an emotional letdown after such a big win yesterday.”

Fourth round: (Associated Press)

Michael Chang [19], writhing with cramps and hardly able to serve, staged a sensational rally to upset top-seeded Ivan Lendl 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 today and reach the quarterfinals of the French Open tennis tournament. In a match of high drama and excitement that included a warning and penalty point against Lendl, the 17-year-old from Placentia brought off an improbable victory on Center Court that had the capacity crowd of 14,000 wildly supporting the underdog. After playing the whole of the fifth set in pain, Chang fell on his back and burst into tears after Lendl’s nerve cracked on match point with a double fault that ended the 4-hour, 38-minute contest. Chang sometimes screamed in pain as he chased Lendl’s deep ground-strokes in the fifth set. Every opportunity he got, the 15th seed drank from a court-side water bottle and declined to sit down during the changeovers in an effort to keep his legs from giving in completely. Lendl, a three-time French Open champion, had won six tournaments this year and had lost only two Grand Prix matches. When Lendl served to save the match at 3:5, Chang moved up 15/40 and then advanced on the second serve to within two feet of the service line. The result was a double fault, the first time since 1982 that Lendl had exited so early at Roland Garros. It also ended his hopes of winning the Grand Slam following his victory at the Australian Open in January. “After the third set, I wasn’t moving well,” Chang said. “I tried to do whatever I could to win. If I were to play all long rallies with Ivan, I would have lost. Whenever I had a chance, I reached for it.” Earlier, Ronald Agenor, an unseeded Haitian, reached the quarterfinals. Like Chang, Agenor, too, had physical problems. He had a brief bout of stomach contractions before he fought back to eliminate Sergi Bruguera of Spain 2-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2. Boris Becker, the men’s No. 2 seed, barely averted another upset, staving off a match point in the fifth set and outlasting No. 15 [21] Guillermo Perez-Roldan 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Becker won despite trailing *4:5, 30/40 in the final set. The West German earlier had fought back from a 3:0 deficit in the set. The match lasted 4 hours 30 minutes. Becker’s quarterfinal opponent will be the surprising unseeded Jay Berger of Plantation, Fla., who came from behind to beat Thierry Tulasne, the last Frenchman in the draw, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3. ”For me to make it to the second week, or even to Friday or Saturday, is a good accomplishment,” said Berger, 22, who eliminated Jimmy Connors in the second round. With his good results here, Berger also appears to have his career under control after a bad spell. ”I had been playing the worst tennis of my life and I thought about quitting the game,” he said, alluding to three first-round losses earlier in the year before he won a tournament in Charleston, ”My love mancini_rg89for the game was just gone for a little while. Instead of going overboard by working hard for Charleston, I decided to do the opposite, to relax a little bit and to play golf. And it helped my game, both my golf game and my tennis game.” No. 3 Stefan Edberg, continuing to show that he is a threat on clay and not just on fast surfaces, moved into the quarters with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 victory over rising Yugoslavian star Goran Ivanisevic. Alberto Mancini of Argentina, the 11th seed and newest clay-court sensation, ousted No. 6 Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-4 to grab the last quarterfinal berth in the bottom half of the men’s draw.

Quarterfinals: (Associated Press)

Once again, the forgotten man of tennis is sneaking up quietly on his rivals. Just as he did on the grass at Wimbledon last year, Stefan Edberg has advanced almost unnoticed to the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. This time, it’s the clay of the French Open, and Edberg says on a good day he can beat anybody on the surface. ”I’ve always known how to play on the stuff,” Edberg said Tuesday after thrashing Alberto Mancini 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. ”The difference is probably that I can now maintain the level while before I couldn’t.” Edberg has always been known as a fast-court player, someone who loves to follow in behind his stylish serve and put away the volley. The London-based Swede did it to perfection and to huge applause at Wimbledon last year, beating two-time champion Boris Becker at his own game. Edberg beat Mancini by mixing up baseline rallies with a classic serve-and-volley game. The Swede saved with the help of service winners two set points trailing 3:5 in the 3rd set.  The Argentine was forced to hurry his strokes and never got a chance to turn on his power. ”You can play serve and volley on this stuff,” Edberg said. ”Noah proved it when he won the title in 1983. You have to be patient, and work hard for every point.” Mancini [13] was one of the biggest favorites to get the title, before Roland Garros he had won two big clay-court titles, in Monte Carlo and Rome. Boris Becker, the No. 2 seed, overpowered unseeded Jay Berger 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in a Center Court match that began late because of showers and was interrupted after two games in the middle of a downpour. ‘‘It wasn’t a good day for me,” said Berger, 22, who reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time. ”I did not play well, and the conditions were tough. It was really cold and windy. It didn’t feel like a quarterfinal match with the lousy conditions.” Scheduled third on Court Central, Berger and Becker did not appear until 6:33 p.m. with dark clouds in the background. The trees swayed, and chair umpire Rich Kaufman’s tie flapped over his shoulder as Berger and Becker played the first two games. Berger served with a hard rain blowing in his face. Kaufman instructed the players to play on. There was a rainbow over the stadium, and the sun was peeking out again. At 1-all, 30/15 on Becker’s serve, a downpour covered the court, and a soaked Kaufman called a temporary halt. Becker gave Berger a playful high five as they crossed paths at the net. The match resumed 15 minutes later. And Becker, who lost to Berger 6-1, 6-1 in Indian Wells – ”the worst defeat of my career” – earlier this year, got down to business. How much is beating Mats Wilander worth? Andrei Chesnokov [27], who upset the defending French Open champion Wednesday 6-4, 6-0, 7-5, knows exactly: $73,000. But how much the Soviet player gets to keep of that prize money is another story. “I want to keep my secret about prize money,” Chesnokov said, “I will take some, maybe not $73,000. Maybe a little less. Maybe $72,000. Maybe I’ll buy a ticket to the United States before going back to Moscow.” As he lost most of the long rallies, Wilander tried to change tactics and move into the net. But that didn’t help either as the unseeded Soviet rifled winners past the startled Swede to complete a 2-hour, 49-minute victory (Chesnokov beat Wilander in Paris in straight sets also three years before, in the third round). The Soviet player also said would donate money to victims of a gas pipeline explosion that engulfed two passenger trains in the Ural Mountains earlier this week. Like his Soviet teammate, Natalia Zvereva, Chesnokov has been fighting Soviet sports authorities for the right to keep most of his earnings. Chesnokov said the lure of the prize money gave him added incentive against Wilander, “If you pay me some money, I am going to be more motivated,” he said. Michael Chang, a 17-year-old Californian, suffered no letdown Wednesday after his stunning upset over Ivan Lendl. He beat [30] Ronald Agenor 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) and became the youngest player ever to gain the last four in Paris. Chesnokov also reached a milestone, becoming the first Soviet since Alex Metreveli at Wimbledon in 1973 to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam event. With Chang 5:4, 30/15 up in the fourth set and two points from the match, the Haitian crowded the service line. Chang didn’t double fault, but he lost the point and Agenor went on to win the game to even at 5:5. “It was a way of him saying, ‘You do that to me. I can do that to you,” Chang said. “I didn’t really want to do it,” Agenor said. “The crowd encouraged me to do it. I just did what I was told.” Chang served to win the match again in the 12th game, but failed to capitalize on two match points. There wasn’t much he could do on the first as Agenor lifted a perfectly-placed topspin lob. But he gave away the second with an unforced forehand error into the net. Agenor had a set point at 6:5 in the tiebreaker on serve, but he got sloppy and hit a weak backhand into the net. Chang put away a forehand volley for 7:6 (net-cord helped him in that point at the approach shot). On the third match point, he came to net behind a backhand approach shot and watched as Agenor slapped another forehand into the net. “After I missed the two match points, I tried not to panic and just play each point,” Chang said. “The situation was really tense. It’s a big Grand Slam tournament. It’s Center Court. All of a sudden you’re faced with a situation if you make a shot it’s all over but if you miss it could come back to haunt you. There was a lot of pressure for both of us.”

Semifinals: (Associated Press)

Michael Chang, 17, continued his record-breaking march Friday at the French Open by becoming the youngest male player to reach the final of a grand slam event in the open era. The No. 15 seed, of Placentia, Calif., defeated unseeded Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5 chang_rg89_in 4 hours 5 minutes. He gets a chance to replace Mats Wilander (1982) as the youngest French Open winner Sunday when he meets No. 3 Stefan Edberg of Sweden, who beat No. 2 Boris Becker of West Germany 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2 in 3 hours 55 minutes in the other semifinal match. If Chang beats Edberg, he would be the first United States player to win the French Open since Tony Trabert in 1955. He first must overcome an attack of muscle cramps suffered shortly after his match against Chesnokov. He collapsed after granting a television interview and was taken to the locker room for treatment and a massage. He also suffered muscle cramps earlier in the week during a match with Ivan Lendl. Two hours passed before Chang felt strong enough to conduct a news conference. “I feel very tired coming off a tough match like that,” he said, “but I should be OK Sunday.” Chang won the first set in a breeze and led 3:0 on serve in the second before Chesnokov came alive. The Soviet saved three set points when Chang served at 5:4 and claimed the second set on a forehand cross court winner. The third set was a slug-fest as both players took turns jerking the other from side to side, hitting deep, powerful ground-strokes with pinpoint accuracy. Chang took the set 7/4 in the tiebreaker, clobbering an overhead on set point. “With a match like that, you never think you have it,” he said. “You can’t predict anything until the last point is over.” Chesnokov broke the American in the third game of the fourth set, but Chang, who seemed calm and in control, broke back in the eighth and 12th games. He won the match when his foe smashed a backhand into the net on match point. “I’m not happy since I never managed to gear myself into the match,” Chesnokov said. “And I missed so many important points on those set points. It was the pressure of this match. I think he didn’t play a bad match, there were just a few decisive points that I didn’t win.”
Edberg, who outhit Becker at Wimbledon, broke at 5:3 in the 1st set, then rallied from *0:3 & break point down at 3:4 to take the 2nd set. After missing two set points at 5:4* in the 3rd set, Becker converted his third break point with a forehand cross-court passing shot. Becker broke at 4:2 to ‘love’ to win the 4th set and tie the match. The West German, rolling with the momentum, broke in the opening game of the final set. But Edberg broke right back (from 40/15 for Becker) and broke his foe again for a 3:1 lead. Another, third break for the Swede helped him to close out the match under four hours. ”In the fifth set, I felt very tired, but then I started rallying with him, and suddenly, I started playing well again,” said Edberg, who lost his only previous clay court match against Becker. ”I’m very glad I could come back because I was a little bit out of the match.” A week before the tournament, Becker won the World Team Cup for West Germany, notching a 4-0 record in singles. Stats of the match

Final: Jim Sarni

In a 3-hour, 41-minute thriller, Michael Chang [18] vanquished the third-seeded Swede [3], Stefan Edberg 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to fulfill his destiny. Chang, who as a freshman captured the CIF-San Diego Section individual championship while at San Dieguito High, rallied from an early breakdown in both the fourth and fifth sets. He saved 10 break points in the fourth set – five in the seventh game – when Edberg seemingly had the match put away. “I didn’t think I could come back,” said Chang, the 15th seed. “I thought the match was gone in the fourth set. I don’t know what kept me going.” Chang, the essence of persistence and belief for two weeks, refused to let anything or anyone stop him. Not Ivan Lendl in the round of 16. Not leg cramps. Not youth. Not the 34-year jinx. And not Edberg and his strong serve Sunday. Chang credited God for his victory. “People, in a way, are getting sick of my talking about God, but if I want to tell the truth, it is Jesus Christ,” Chang said. “I give him all the credit. That’s just the way I am. Lady Luck helped, too. I got a lot of lucky breaks. The difference in this match was this much,” admitted Chang, holding his thumb and finger inches apart. Shots on the line. Shots off the tape. Edberg’s shots that just missed. “(The luck) was running for him this tournament,” said Edberg, the 11th Swedish finalist here in the last 12 years, the third to lose. “But I was a little negative in the fourth set. I had lot of chances and I never took advantage of them, and that’s where the match slipped away.” Chances? Edberg had more chances than the Louvre has paintings. Edberg broke Chang for a 1:0 lead but gave the break right back. Edberg had Chang down 15/40, but Chang, after six deuces, held for 2:1 (saved 4 break points in that game). Chang fell behind love-40 in the seventh game. Chang fought back to deuce, but Edberg had two more break points. Chang saved them with passing shots down the line, then punched off a volley for his first game point. Edberg sailed a backhand wide. Serving at 4-all, Chang trailed love-30. Chang got back to 30-all, but Edberg followed a forehand in and Chang netted it. Break point No. 10. Edberg tried a drop shot. Chang charged and passed Edberg, who helplessly tried to volley it. Too tough, too wide. Chang led 5:4, and the pressure was on Edberg. Down 30/40, Edberg netted a backhand volley. The set was gone and the match was even. “Stefan gave me an opening and it went through my head that maybe I can do this,” Chang said. “A few points inspired me to try even harder.” But Chang couldn’t stand prosperity. He dropped his serve from 40/15 in the first game of the final set. This game went six deuces, with Edberg finally succeeding with a lob on his third break point. But Chang then reeled off four games in a row, breaking Edberg twice, at 15 and at 30. Chang saved double break point at 15/40 for a 4:1 lead. Edberg held after four deuces and Chang held at 15. Edberg’s serve was slipping badly – he finished at 58 percent – and Chang, who returned boldly all match, seized command. Chang killed Edberg with a lob for love-30. Chang missed a backhand, but Edberg netted a forehand, and Chang had double match point. He only needed one. Edberg, tired and frustrated, netted a forehand approach, his 19th unforced error of the set, and released a demon. Tony Trabert will not be getting any phone calls next May. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Trabert, who covered the match for Australian television. “Chang was unbelievable. To produce under pressure is something else, and that is what he did.” Five Americans tried and failed in French Open finals since Trabert won two in a row: Herb Flam, Harold Solomon, Brian Gottfried, Vitas Gerulaitis, and John McEnroe (up two sets against Lendl in 1984). Chang never won a major again although in the future he was taller, stronger, better serving, more experienced and higher ranked… He had all important cards, except one – unimaginable strength of will which was the base of his stunning success in 1989… Stats of the final

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