rg89chang_lendl

rg89chang_lendl

Points won by each set: [ 31-40, 22-29, 34-29, 38-33, 30-24 ]
Points won directly on serve:
6 % Chang – 11 of 159
18 % Lendl – 28 of 151

One of the biggest upsets & most memorable matches in the tennis history, not only because of its dramatic conclusion, also because of its aftermath – Chang won another three matches to become the 17-year-old champion of the event, and never raised the biggest trophy in tennis again…
Lendl [1], the three-time Roland Garros champion, was still unquestionably the best player in the world of 1989, while for the teenage Chang [19], it was just the second fourth round at majors. The youngster had not any serious chance in the two opening sets, but they were long (1 hour 50 minutes), so after them the most expected score of the 3rd set seemed to be ‘6-2/3’ and the teenager would be happy to get another important experience. Lendl led 2:1* (30/0) & 3:2 in the 3rd set when strange things began to happen – Chang won five straight games. The fourth set was a titanic ‘6-3’ struggle – lasted 66 minutes and the young American of Chinese origin gave his all. He was running to everything, and the big favorite began to lose his composure. When Chang led *4:2 (advantage), Lendl lost the game after a point penalty for his second verbal obscenity. At 5:3 (deuce) Chang survived the longest in the match, 40-stroke rally. He won the 4th set saving break points in 4 of his 5 service games (7 break points in total), there will be a reminiscence of that in the 4th set of his final vs Edberg. Chang built a 2:0* lead in the decider when suddenly cramps bothered him. Again, like in the 3rd set, Lendl’s ‘6-2/3’ seemed probable, even Chang’s retirement in the worst scenario. How the teenager managed to win 4 of the next 7 games will remain some sort of a mystery. Chang did all the best he could: he was drinking the water between the points, his 1st serve percentage jumped from +80% to +90%, he changed the pace of his ground-strokes (semi-lobs mixed with attacking Lendl’s shorter balls), but I can’t understand why such a clever & cynical tactician like Lendl, didn’t implement serve-and-volley and dropshot-lobs combinations to force his wilting opponent to running much more. He completely lost his mind, really strange errors haunted him. The last two games brought two points engraved in the collective memory of tennis fans worldwide: first, serving at 4:3 (15/30), Chang decided to propose an underarm serve, and won the point with the help of netcord (celebrated it), then in the final game (after three backhand winners), on his first match point he approached the service line before Lendl’s second serve – it irritated the Czechoslovak, who risked the second serve, the ball hit the netcord and landed outside… Chang fell down in tears on the court.
Really bizarre H2H: they faced each other 7 times, Lendl easily won five times, but lost two epic encounters; two years later Chang beats him again coming back from two-sets-to-love deficit, after even longer encounter (4:42 hrs vs 4:38 hrs) in Munich ‘Grand Slam Cup’.

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