uo92edberg_chang

Points won by each set: [ 44-49, 42-36, 43-35, 39-40, 42-35 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
21 % Edberg – 45 of 212
12 % Chang – 25 of 193

Incredible encounter, 25 years later it’s still the longest match in the US Open history. They entered the court at 11 am of the local time, and Edberg [2] easily broke in the opening game – it was the first out of 23 breaks! The match had its own pattern which was abandoned in the decider – a player who built a distinctive lead in a set, lost that lead, but won the set anyway:
– Chang led 5:2* (40/15) & 5:4 (40/0) in the 1st set to convert his 8th set point, and *5:3 (30/15) in the 4th set… saved a mini-match point at 5-all
– Edberg led *4:0 with a game point & 5:2 in the 2nd set, and 5:2*, 5:4 (40/15) in the 3rd set to convert his 7th set point
According to that pattern, Chang [4] should have won the deciding set even though he squandered a 3:0* (40/15) lead. The 20-year-old American had a great 5-set record at the time (12-4), also had won their only previous five-setter (French Open ’89 final). Edberg’s third consecutive match lasting more than four hours (4:20 Krajicek, 4:03 Lendl) seemed to be beyond his physical endurance, but Chang had played two consecutive five-setters as well (3:34 Washington, 4:16 Ferreira); Edberg was approaching the net almost all the time behind his serves and very often with chip-and-charge strategy which meant a lot of running, but Chang was running a lot as well, mainly in different directions than his Swedish opponent – from corner to corner; he was approaching the net quite often too, sometimes even behind the serve (always pointing Edberg’s backhand on ad-court). Crazy running all over the court proved to be exhausting for his sturdy legs when the match reached the five-hour mark: leading *4:2 he was suddenly out of gas losing 14 out of 15 points! In that moment Edberg helped a bit risking his second serve at 30/0 – committed 18th double fault (he’d served 8 already in the opener!). Chang played two good passing-shots and out of nowhere he created a break point. Edberg held his nerves on the second serve and a perfect serve-and-volley action gave him ‘deuce’. He obtained another two points converting the first match point as Chang’s aggressive return landed a few centimetres outside the sideline.

Comparison of three Grand Slam semifinals with similar scorelines:
Wimbledon 1983: Lewis d. Curren 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 8-6… 3 hours 45 minutes… Total points: 194-190
US Open 1992: Edberg d. Chang 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4… 5 hours 26 minutes… Total points: 210-195
Australian Open 2009: Nadal d. Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4… 5 hours 14 minutes… Total points: 193-192

The five longest matches in the US Open history:
5 hours, 26 minutes – Stefan Edberg d. Michael Chang 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4… semifinal ’92
5 hours, 11 minutes – Richard Krajicek d. Todd Martin 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4… third round ’93
5 hours, 9 minutes – Sargis Sargsian d. Nicolas Massu 6-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4… second round ’04
5 hours, 1 minute – Ivan Lendl d. Boris Becker 6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4… fourth round ’92
4 hours, 59 minutes – Kei Nishikori d. Marin Cilic 5-7, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-1… second round ’10

# There’s visible 5:19 in the match clock when Edberg rises his hands in the triumph gesture, it’s because the clock was activated after the first seven minutes, when they made the first change of ends

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