French Open, Paris
May 23, 1994; 128 Draw (16 seeds) – $4,090,101; Surface – Clay
Definitely the best chance in Pete Sampras’ career to win Roland Garros. The American came to Paris having won 41 of his 43 last matches, with three consecutive Grand Slam titles, full of confidence after triumphing in a great style in Rome – at the time considered as the second biggest clay-court tournament behind Roland Garros. In the quarterfinals Sampras was stunned by his friend and 2-time former champion Jim Courier, against whom had a 10-2 Head to Head record. Curiosity: in the opening two rounds, Sampras eliminated Grand Slam debutants – Albert Costa & Marcelo Rios, future Grand Slam champion and finalist respectively… First all-Spanish major final with an unexpected participation of Alberto Berasategui, who was playing his fourth major, and en route to the final eliminated five great players in straight sets!
First round: David Crary
Sergi Bruguera and Jim Courier, the men’s finalists last year, advanced in straight sets. Courier, the 1991 and 1992 champion but now only the No. 7 seed, downed France’s Jean-Philippe Fleurian 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Bruguera, a surprise champion last year when he lost only three sets, is seeded only sixth this year and has struggled with shoulder problems. But the Spaniard’s muscular baseline game looked devastating today in the early stages of his 6-1, 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over Martin Damm, the 68th-ranked Czech. ”I always feel good when I come here. This time of year, this is my home,” Courier said. “I’ll play the best I can, and hopefully that will take me a long way.” Pete Sampras, seeking to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four consecutive Grand Slam events, overpowered Spanish qualifier Alberto Costa of Spain, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. In the day’s featured Center Court match, unseeded Andre Agassi outplayed three-time champion Mats Wilander, back on the tour after three years of semi-retirement, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1. It was their first meeting since Wilander downed Agassi in five sets in the French Open semifinals in 1988. “It wasn’t a normal first-round match,” Agassi said. “I felt a sense of nerves, a sense of pressure, excitement. It was a fun start for me.” The highest seed to go out yesterday was No. 3 Stefan Edberg, who lost to fellow Swede Henrik Holm, 7-5, 7-6(1), 6-7(2), 6-7(8), 6-4 in a 4-hour, 4-minute marathon. Ivan Lendl‘s 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 loss to France’s Arnaud Boetsch wasn’t a big surprise. Unseeded at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1980, the former three-time French Open champion bowed out in the first round here for the second year in a row. Petr Korda, the No. 12 seed and runner-up in Paris two years ago to Courier, was beaten, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2, by Italy’s Andrea Gaudenzi. Edberg’s loss on Court One came in the tightest contest of the day. After dropping the first two sets, he fought back to win the next two in tiebreakers. Holm immediately grabbed the edge in the decisive 5th set by breaking Edberg in the opening game. Serving for the match at 5:4, Holm saved three break points. On the first match point, Edberg leaped to get his racket on a lob by Holm, and the ball hit the top of the net and fell over for a winner. But Holm hit a forehand winner to earn his second match point – and this time he converted with a backhand passing shot down the line. “It was a great win, especially because Stefan doesn’t lose that much to Swedish guys,” said Holm, who had dropped all three previous matches to Edberg. For Edberg, who served 18 double-faults, it marked another frustrating setback in his attempt to win the Grand Slam title that has eluded him. He was runner-up here in 1989 but lost in the first round the next year. “It’s never easy to lose in the first round, but this is a tough one today,” Edberg, 28, said. “I had been hitting the ball quite well the last couple of days.” He acknowledged that his chances of ever winning the French Open are dim. “It doesn’t look good now,” the serve-and-volleyer said. “I won’t get that many more chances. I might have another crack at it next year, but it’s going to be very tough because age is not on my side.” Edberg plans to head straight to England to prepare on grass for Wimbledon. Someone who won’t be going to Wimbledon is Lendl, who announced his withdrawal from the tournament immediately after his Center Court loss to Boetsch. Lendl, 34, said he is suffering from a lingering back problem and is unsure whether he will be back here next year. “It depends how my health is,” he said. “It’s not impossible, but it’s going to take some time (to feel fit again).” It was Lendl’s last match at Roland Garros, he began his career there in 1978… French player with “wild card”, Thierry Champion  defeated Jamie Morgan  4-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5), 9-7 saving a match point in the 5th set. Champion, finalist of just one ATP tournament, but two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist (Roland Garros ’90, Wimbledon ’91) possesses 8th best 5-set record of the Open era (stand for May 2013): 11-4 (.733).
Second round: Stephen Wilson
Battered by the intermittent spring showers that drenched the French Open on Thursday, bolstered by the silver screws that keep the bones in both feet intact and emboldened by his unblemished record against Michael Stich, what else could Aaron Krickstein do but win his second-round match? In fact, Krickstein positively trounced Stich, but the 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 upset didn’t seem to surprise either the subdued victor or the sullen loser. Stich’s recent first-round losses at the Australian and U.S. opens and the second-round exit Thursday have provided a stark counterpoint to his No. 2 ranking. He committed 10 double faults and 57 unforced errors. “I didn’t serve well, and I had a little problem with my elbow,” said Stich, who took a spill in the first round, “but it’s just one of those days when you better stay in bed and don’t get up, and there’s no excuse for that. I just played bad tennis. It had nothing to do with the court or the weather or anything like that.” According to Krickstein, Stich without his sterling serve is like a fish out of water, especially here in Paris, where Stich’s three losses in the second round overshadow his 1991 trip to the semifinals. Andre Agassi left the court to a hero’s ovation. But not as a winner. Agassi repeatedly battled from behind — including 1:5 in the 5th set – before losing to Thomas Muster in one of the most compelling French Open matches in years. After 3 hours and 43 minutes of fierce clay-court tennis, Muster emerged with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 victory. Agassi bowed and blew kisses to the crowd before walking off to a standing ovation on the new Court A at Roland Garros. “It’s very disappointing,” he said. “When I got the match tied up at 5-all, my expectations were there… I just gave it everything I have and it didn’t fall for me. He picked up his level of play and deserves a lot of credit for the way he finished.” Muster was just as heroic in the second-round victory as he overcame blisters on both feet, Agassi’s inspired comeback and a crowd pulling wildly for his opponent. “At 5:1, he just risked everything because he had the match lost already,” the 11th-seeded Austrian said. “He was putting me under pressure and he had the crowd on his side. I had to play against everybody.” Agassi’s dramatic comeback efforts were nearly undermined by his language – he was warned once for an obscenity in the fourth set and received a penalty point in the fifth set for a second offense. A third violation and he would have been defaulted. Agassi was defiant afterward. “A match like that and that’s what you ask me?” he said when a reporter asked about his language. “I’ll choose to pass.” Moments later, however, Agassi criticized French chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh for giving him a penalty point for shouting out “Faggot!” at himself after making an error. In the 2nd set Agassi came back from a *2:5 (15/30) deficit, and 3:5 in the tie-break; then blew a set point leading 5:4* in the 3rd. The Agassi-Muster match was the highlight of a day that included victories by top-seeded Pete Sampras, defending champion Sergi Bruguera and former two-time titlist Jim Courier. Sampras had his hands full with Chile’s Marcelo Rios, the youngest (18) and lowest ranked (283) player in the men’s field, winning 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4. It was Rios’ second main-level tournament, SamPe won just one point more. Bruguera, the No. 6 seed, beat Christian Ruud, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3), while Courier wasted five match points in the 3rd set, but labored to a 7-5, 6-0, 6-7(7), 6-4 win over Stefano Pescosolido. Ronald Agenor, at 29 the oldest man left in the field, outlasted 21-year-old David Prinosil in the longest match at the tournament since the tie-breaker was adopted in 1973. It took 5 hours 2 minutes, and 71 games – played over two days – but Agenor came out on top 6-7(4), 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4, 14-12. The match was suspended at 9-all in the 5th set, the previous record in terms of number of games (1992, E.Sanchez d. W.Masur) was overcome by seven games. “I felt better after the resumption because the first day I had a blister and couldn’t hold the racquet” said Agenor, “I drank a little Bordeaux before.” Agenor rallied from a two-set deficit also in the first round.
Third round: Stephen Wilson
Australian Patrick Rafter won 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 over Thomas Muster, who ousted Agassi in the second round. Muster, a player who whips himself into such a martial frenzy that he can’t bear to sit during the changeovers, was a cantankerous competitor this afternoon. In the 2nd set, Muster indulged in a display of bad manners that threatened to become contagious: when Rafter leaped across the net to question a call, umpire Dana Loconto immediately issued the Australian a warning as punishment for imitating Muster’s bad example. “I think he found something offensive in it,” said the 21-year-old Rafter, who began crafting a reputation as an upset artist by defeating Sampras last summer and reaching this year’s Lipton semifinal. Mikael Tillstrom of Sweden, a qualifier ranked 226th playing in his first Grand Slam, surprised Richard Krajicek 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-3 to earn a fourth-round match with Pete Sampras, who playing his best tennis of the tournament, overwhelmed Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in just 99 minutes. Jim Courier, the men’s runner-up last year and champion in 1991 and 1992, also advanced with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 drubbing of Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman. So did fourth-seeded Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine, but with difficulty. He outlasted Canada’s Greg Rusedski, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. ”It was a strange match,” Courier said. “He made quite a few unforced errors. It’s hard to say how I’m hitting the ball.” If tennis needed some excitement, the French Open provided plenty of it Saturday. Five men’s matches were decided in five sets, including thrillers involving fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic and No. 8 Michael Chang. When play ended, only one seeded player was left in the upset-filled bottom half of the draw: Ivanisevic. In one of the biggest comebacks of his career, Ivanisevic overcame Spanish clay-court expert Alex Corretja 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, in a racket-tossing, fist-pumping display on Center Court. In a match played simultaneously on Court A, Chang engineered one of his patented five-set rallies but fell short against Peru’s Jaime Yzaga in a 4 hour, 25-minute marathon that ended 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 7-5. Also advancing to the round of 16 with five-set victories were Magnus Larsson, Javier Frana and Hendrik Dreekmann. Larsson upset ninth-seeded Todd Martin 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0, 1-6, 6-3. Midway through the tournament, 11 of the men’s 16 seeds have been eliminated an Open era record for the French. ”There’s no more respect for seeded players,” Ivanisevic said. “It’s more of an advantage not to be seeded.” Chang, the 1989 French Open champion, lost the final two games after tripping and banging his head against a small metal billboard next to the net judge. He lay sprawled on his back for several seconds before getting up. Afterwards, Chang made no mention of the incident but said he’d been bothered by back trouble for the past 10 days. ”I think I was sleeping on soft beds,” he said. “I think the beds in Europe tend to be a little softer and you don’t have that support. But I don’t want to take anything away from Jaime. I think he was tired in the fourth set and he was able to get it back in the fifth. He hung tough.” It was a battle of attrition between two baseline players with similar styles. The two traded deep topspin strokes and scrambled all over the court to chase down drop shots and lobs. And neither could seem to hold serve. The match included a remarkable 23 service breaks 12 for Yzaga and 11 for Chang and 71 (!) break points. Yzaga dominated the first two sets, dictating the play by moving Chang from side to side with his forehand shots. But then he started spraying his shots wildly and making numerous unforced errors, and Chang took advantage, winning the next two sets. Yzaga said he stopped exerting himself at the end of the fourth set to save energy for the fifth. ”I knew it was going to be all or nothing,” he said. Chang, who entered his match with a formidable 12-6 record in five- setters, appeared to have the momentum going into the decisive set. But it was Yzaga who went up a break, 4:3, and held serve for 5:3 with a pretty forehand drop shot. Yzaga served for the match in the 10th game and was promptly broken. In the next game, Chang was broken after racing for another drop shot and tumbling into the billboard. Yzaga served for the match again, and this time the game ended with him watching Chang’s errant forehand and dropping to his knees in triumph. In a duel of two Frenchmen a day before, and doubles partners, Olivier Delaitre defeated Fabrice Santoro 1-6, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-2 saving a match point in the 3rd set.
Fourth round: Elliot Almond
Andrea Gaudenzi‘s fast-rising game reached Center Court at Roland Garros Stadium in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday, and it was full of surprises, if not success. Gaudenzi provided a touch of humor and drama on an otherwise drab day of tennis while losing to No. 5 Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Battling the last remaining seeded player in the lower bracket, Gaudenzi fought for every point in every way he knew. An umpire leaving the chair during a Center Court match in a Grand Slam tournament might have been a first, but Gaudenzi seized the moment. Talking into the umpire’s microphone, he said in French: “Reprise,” meaning to start play. Then in English, he said: “Game, set, match, Gaudenzi.” Perhaps it was wishful thinking, because Gaudenzi became angry in the 4th set when a line call went against him. He received a warning for uttering an audible obscenity, and after Ivanisevic finally put him away, Gaudenzi said: “Bognar should be fined.” Then on the way to the locker room, he complained to Ed Hardisty, a supervisor of officials for the Association of Tennis Professionals. Ivanisevic will face Alberto Berasategui of Spain, who advanced to the quarterfinals when Javier Frana of Argentina retired because of a pulled stomach muscle while trailing 6-2, 6-0. “I have to come in a lot (to the net) against Berasategui, otherwise I’m going to die,” Ivanisevic said. Also advancing to the quarterfinals was German teen-ager Henrik Dreekmann. Dreekmann, who two years ago lost in the first round of the French Open juniors competition, advanced past Aaron Krickstein, who self-destructed in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss. Dreekmann, ranked No. 89, faces Magnus Larsson of Sweden, who breezed past Jaime Yzaga of Peru 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Dreekmann, 19, lost in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open this year, his only previous Grand Slam event. “He doesn’t look like a great player,” Krickstein said. “But he’s in the quarters. He must be doing something right.” For Dreekmann it was 14th main-level tournament, but he hadn’t won a clay-court match at this level prior to Roland Garros ’94! In the second round he upset  Carlos Costa 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4, in the third round came back from a break in the 3rd set to beat Richey Reneberg 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Pete Sampras had to fend off qualifier Mikael Tillstroem of Sweden, 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, in a match that could easily have gone five sets. Moments earlier on Center Court, Jim Courier escaped with a 6-1, 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-6(6) victory over French favorite Olivier Delaitre. Sampras had to break Tillstroem in the fourth set to serve for the match. But the Swede did not give in easily. “I was playing the No. 1,” Tillstroem said. “I had nothing to lose.” Tillstroem, who had never played in a Grand Slam tournament, said his only goal was to not lose in an hour. If not for a few missed opportunities, the match could have continued late into the evening instead of ending after 3 hours 22 minutes. “I was surprised by him,” Sampras said. “He showed a lot of determination. I can’t play that way against Courier.” But Courier also will have to improve if he hopes to get past his old friend. A two-time winner at Roland Garros Stadium, Courier has not been on top of his game, and it showed against Delaitre. He was lucky to end it in four sets after trailing, 1:5* in the 4th. Delaitre has a weak serve, so he was not surprised when Courier broke him to begin the comeback, saving two set points in the meantime. But after breaking Delaitre to take a 6:5 lead, the Frenchman broke back to force a tiebreaker. Delaitre stopped one match point in the tiebreaker, but on the second one Courier made a nice cross shot at the net to end it. In the other quarterfinal of the top-half of the men’s bracket, No. 4 Andrei Medvedev of the Ukraine will play No. 6 Sergi Bruguera of Spain, last year’s champion. Bruguera has four consecutive straight-set victories after defeating Patrick Rafter of Australia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Medvedev ousted Jacco Eltingh of the Netherlands, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Quarterfinals: David Crary, Ian Thomsen
Jim Courier dashed archrival Pete Sampras‘ dream of a fourth straight Grand Slam title, outplaying the world No. 1 in four sets today in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Courier, seeking to regain the crown he won in 1991 and 1992, had lost 10 of 12 matches to Sampras, including the last four in a row. But this was their first clash on clay, and the No. 7 seed showed why he likes the surface with a relentless 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Courier will seek revenge in Friday’s semifinals against Sergi Bruguera, who dethroned him in last year’s final. The Spaniard, yet to lose a set in five matches here, ousted fourth-seed Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. At the net after match point, Courier said he apologized to Sampras for breaking the Grand Slam streak. “You go out there and play the best you can,” Courier said, speaking French to a local TV network, “That’s life.” Courier, supplanted by Sampras as world No. 1 last year, played confidently in the first set while Sampras looked uneasy, changing rackets repeatedly and missing close to half his first serves. In the 2nd set, Sampras gained confidence by saving two break points that would have given Courier a 4:1 lead. Sampras broke service for the first time in the next game when Courier double-faulted and suddenly took command. The 3rd set stayed on serve until the 9th game, when Courier broke Sampras for a 5:4 lead with help from a great defensive lob, then served out the set with an ace on set point. The 4th set turned on the 7th game, with Sampras serving to go up 4:3. Instead, after saving three break points, he hit a forehand long to go down 3:4. Courier held serve in the next game at love en route to closing out the match. The loss ended Sampras’ winning streak of 25 Grand Slam matches. It was the third straight year he has lost in the French Open quarterfinals – he has never gotten farther. On Friday will meet: No. 23 Alberto Berasategui against No. 46 Magnus Larsson of Sweden, who benefited from German inefficiency to sting the aforementioned Hendrik Dreekmann, 3-6, 6-7(1), 7-6(3), 6-0, 6-1. Of all the underdogs, Berasategui is the one to come the farthest and arrive with the best chance. At 5 feet, 8 inches (1.72 meters), with two career titles and no Grand Slam experience past the second round, he might have been overwhelmed by the taller and fifth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia, a 1992 Wimbledon finalist. Instead, it was a bit like the lion vs. the giraffe. Ivanisevic went down by 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 as Berasategui served his only two aces in the last five points of the match! “I like to finish with an ace,” said Berasategui, “When I was young, I saw big players like Boris Becker finishing matches with an ace.” Ivanisevic was typically self-destructive. “I couldn’t put one, two balls on the court,” he said. The audience at Center Court reacted to Berasategui’s scurrying and yet direct style of play. His forehand, remarkably, proved a greater threat than the 11 aces conjured by Ivanisevic. The other quarterfinal was not so kind to Dreekmann, who was moving without delay toward the final four. “He was playing really well,” said Larsson, a tall Swede dressed in white. “I didn’t have a chance. He was taking the ball on the rise all the time. I felt very uncomfortable out there, but at 4:5, 15/40 – if you save your serve that time, you are still in the match.” At that stage in the 3rd set, Larsson saved the first two match points; two games later he was back in the same predicament. Match point number three was staved off with an ace – Larsson had 19 of them – while the fourth turned out to be Dreekmann’s best chance. Coming in against the Swede’s second serve, he was beaten by a running Larsson forehand down the line; had Larsson been a split-moment late, Dreekmann could have trampled over him like a fast train. “He was serving unbelievable,” said Dreekmann, playing in his second Grand Slam tournament. “I didn’t have any chance to make the point. I couldn’t do anything.” He kept earning opportunities nonetheless. Match point No. 5 was rescued by Larsson’s forehand, sending them back to deuce in that 12th game. Whereupon Larsson double-faulted off of the net tape. Another match point – the sixth – and he was turning away, chuckling in Swedish understatement. “I was thinking that I’d sent my laundry out and it won’t be back until tomorrow, so I’d better stay around,” he said. He saved No. 6 with a big serve; another ace finally sent them toward the tiebreaker. By then, all Larsson needed was to take one point from Dreekmann’s serve – pull one brick out of the foundation – and the whole thing came down. The erratic Larsson simply kept the ball in play and the last two sets went by in 43 minutes. He won 14 of the last 15 games. “I didn’t know what do after that third set,” Dreekmann said, “I was only thinking of the six match points I had, and then the fourth set was gone.”
Semifinals: Robin Finn
The day had plenty of bluster, but it emanated from the wind, not from Jim Courier. Instead, the mistake-free topspin from a pair of Spaniards in a pair of less than riveting semifinals guaranteed the French Open its first Spanish-only finale ever. Courier, who hasn’t been the same stalwart player since Sergi Bruguera rendered him a former French Open champion in last year’s Roland Garros final, is going to remain a former French Open champion. Again, the damage was done by Bruguera in a flawed semifinal that denied Courier, the event’s 1991 and 1992 champion, a consecutive final-round berth for the first time in four years. Out on Center Court, where a hardy wind ruffled the marigolds along the sidelines and wreaked havoc with Courier’s aim from the baseline, Bruguera turned in another steady performance and advanced to his second consecutive French Open final, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, in just under 3 hours today. Bruguera was later pronounced “the best player on clay in the world,” by Manuel Santana of Spain, the revered two-time French Open champion who sat alongside Bruguera’s father/coach, Luis, in the stands, as he did last year. Win or lose, Bruguera will have his name etched into the record books in Sunday’s finale when he takes on his close comrade and Davis Cup teammate, Alberto Berasategui, in the first All-Spanish final in Grand Slam tournament history. The unseeded Berasategui, the only player in the draw who has yet to lose a set now that Bruguera deeded one to Courier, advanced to his first Slam final in consummate form with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 demolition of 46th-ranked Magnus Larsson of Sweden. “It’s a story for Spain,” observed Bruguera upon learning the identity of his final-round opponent. Berasategui, the 20-year-old with the inimitable twisted grip, has had the season of his life this spring on red clay, a surface on which he already has victories against Bruguera and Courier and, unlike them, has a 1994 title. “If I win, my dream will be completed,” said Berasategui, who paid no attention to his 0-2 record against Larsson when he took to the court this afternoon and served so convincingly that Larsson gained only two break points and converted neither. “It wasn’t fun,” said Larsson, of his 72 minutes across the net from Berasategui. “He just smacked the ball, and I had almost no chance unless he started to miss, and he didn’t.” Berasategui’s advancement to the final without dropping a set was amazing taking into account players he ousted: Ferreira, Pioline, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic, Larsson – five Top 10ers, and no-one even got a tie-break against the short Basque! However, Ferreira and Frana retired against Berasategui under an hour. Courier didn’t play well enough to reach a final, much less end his 10-month drought without a title. Hoping that the momentum from his quarterfinal victory against No. 1 Sampras, the current holder of all three other Grand Slam tournament titles, would continue to rejuvenate him, Courier reverted to the wrong kind of form. “I didn’t play quite the way I could have or should have,” said Courier, who hasn’t won a tournament since August and this year has faltered in four of the five semifinals he did reach. “What I lacked a little bit of in the defining moments of the match was aggression,” said Courier, who saved a set point against his serve in the 3rd set only to fumble away two break points against Bruguera in the last game of the set. “I only seemed to find my aggression when I was behind,” he said. And whenever he found his aggression, it came at the expense of his consistency, which was dreadful. “I don’t mind losing as long as I played the way I think I should play,” said Courier. “If I’d played my best tennis, I would’ve won.” With the exception of the five-game tear that rescued him from a 5:2* deficit in the 2nd set, Courier’s game was punctuated by unforced errors, 64 of them, and mangled opportunities, all of which conspired to make this an afternoon of self-destruction for the 23-year-old American. Bruguera was not unaware of his premier role in dismantling of the ramrod confidence and rip-cord forehand that once made Courier the No. 1 player in the world and virtually invulnerable here at the Grand Slam tournament where he piled up a 20-match winning streak. “I think Jim is playing the same, but maybe the confidence he had before, he lose,” said Bruguera, “Before he was having unbelievable confidence, he was like blind, hitting everything with a feeling that it’s going to go in.” Bruguera’s confidence seems to skyrocket just in time for this Grand Slam event. In the last year, he skipped two others and fell in the first round of the United States Open, but in Paris he has compiled a 13-match unbeaten streak.
Final: Robin Finn
As Spain made a clean sweep of the French Open, with that nation’s clay-court specialists turning this Grand Slam into the Spanish Open at least for the day, Sergi Bruguera outplayed his unseeded friend and countryman Alberto Berasategui and extended his reign at Roland Garros for another year. With a 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 victory, the sixth-seeded Bruguera became the ninth man in French Open history to repeat as champion. The last was Jim Courier, the man Bruguera dethroned last year and detoured this year in the semifinals. Bruguera, who today won his first title of the year, is on a 14-0 undefeated streak atop the changeable Paris clay, and is 25-5 over all on the surface in 1994. This was the first All-Spanish men’s final in Grand Slam history, and Bruguera’s victory over the first unseeded finalist since 1986 allowed him to join Arantxa Sanchez Vicario on the victory stand. “I don’t think this win is better than the first one,” Bruguera said. “I think they’re the same, but I was very happy today to look up and see the King of Spain there.” Bruguera is generally considered to be the best in the game when dueling atop clay. The long rally becomes him, as does the mitigating effect this surface has on the importance of the serve. For two weeks, Berasategui’s hatchet forehand with its twisted grip had been the bane of every opponent. Through six rounds, he was the only man not to lose a set, and Magnus Larsson, whom he defeated in the semifinals, described the forehand as the fastest in the business. But against the unflagging groundstrokes of Bruguera, the 23d-ranked Berasategui finally appeared mortal, and today he lashed out with 65 unforced errors and lost his serve a half dozen times. “To control the forehand of Alberto is almost impossible, but you can’t be afraid of one shot,” said Bruguera, who is 3-1 against his Davis Cup companion. Today Bruguera, bothered by a callous on the ring finger of his right hand, suffered a 2nd set letdown that left him down by 4:1*, but after having the sore finger tended by a trainer during a changeover, he bounced back with a vengeance. By the time he had broken Berasategui and taken a 6:5 lead (earlier he led 5:4, 30-all), Bruguera had committed only five unforced errors and was the beneficiary of 38 by his opponent. “I think I know how to play Sergi, but I think my legs got tired, and I think if I would have won the second set things might have changed,” said Berasategui, who had never before advanced beyond the second round of a Grand Slam, “But against Sergi you have to play at 100 percent the whole match and that’s very difficult.” Bruguera staked Berasategui a 4:1 lead in the 3rd set and this time failed to neutralize it (Bruguera had five game points to win the 8th game). But in the final set, Bruguera was again the aggressor. He sprinted off with the first four games almost before Berasategui, whose aim had deteriorated, realized the danger he was in. It didn’t take long before the underdog ballooned a backhand beyond bounds to end things. Bruguera’s 12th title. Stats of the final.