Wimbledon, Great Britain
June 23, 1986; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $1,306,690; Surface – Grass
First all-European men’s semifinals since 1922, three players from non-existed currently countries (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, West Germany)… 18-year-old Boris Becker won his second straight Wimbledon beating all opponents quite easily, and seemed like a potential best player ever. In the final he overpowered Ivan Lendl, for whom it was first Wimbledon final (he had played all other major finals in years 1981-83).
First round: Bob Greene
Jimmy Connors  had been through it. He had been in trouble, he had been pushed to the edge, but always he had found an escape. He would stare down an upset-minded opponent, almost talk him out of winning with a swaggering, pugnacious style. Not last night. For the first time in 15 years, Connors exited Wimbledon in the first round, served out of the tournament by Robert Seguso  of Prairie Oaks, Fla., 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8). Seguso is better known as half of the second-ranked doubles team, winning the U.S. Open doubles last year with Ken Flach. Seguso used four match points in the fourth-set tie-breaker before he won what he called “my best victory.” A second serve ace down the center line tied the tie-breaker at 5. Seguso went up 6:5 when Connors couldn’t return a serve, even though he dived on his stomach in the attempt. Seguso blew his first match point by hitting a forehand wide. His backhand return winner set up the second match point, which he gave back by hitting a volley long. “I was pretty upset inside,” Seguso said. “But I didn’t let it out.” Connors’ shocking defeat came at the end of one of the most hectic first Tuesday’s in the 100-year history of the tournament. “Hey, the guy was playing unconscious,” Connors said. “He’s throwing second-serve aces in there in the tie breaker, just throwing the ball up and giving it a ride. If he can do that, well, good. I was looking for one little opening but he just kept bombing away, `boom, boom, boom.’” Connors, two months shy of 34, clearly was not the Connors who has won eight Grand Slam titles. Still, the match appeared for a long time to be just another tough one that he would gut out. He was up a service break in the third set and seemingly in command when Seguso began to turn things around. Connors, considered by many the greatest returner in the game’s history, simply had no answers for Seguso’s serve. He was jammed constantly, sprayed the ball often and even when he did get into a rally, he was surprised by Seguso’s steadiness. “I was thinking if I get to a fifth set,” Connors said, “I’ll be OK.” But Seguso closed out the match with an authoritative backhand volley. Connors stretched, lunged and got his racket on the ball. But it wasn’t close. The ball landed harmlessly near the stands. John Lloyd was in no mood for jokes. He was talking like a serious burnout case after losing to Christo Steyn, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 1-6. “I think now is the time to retire. I find it very difficult to get charged up,” Lloyd said. “It’s no big drama, I don’t enjoy it out on the court.” 32-year-old Lloyd , the best British player at the time, former Australian Open finalist, never played again on the tour. No. 10 Tim Mayotte, the former Stanford star who stamped himself as a legitimate Wimbledon contender a week ago when he won the Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, moved into the second round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Alexander Zverev (father of Mischa Zverev), the first Soviet man to play at Wimbledon since 1976. Defending champion Boris Becker made a triumphant return to Centre Court on Monday, capturing his opening-round tennis match in the 100th renewal of Wimbledon, which once again was plagued by rain. But Kevin Curren, who lost to Becker in the title match a year ago after upsetting both John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, was upset himself, falling to West German Eric Jelen. Becker, seeded fourth, crushed Eduardo Bengoechea 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, while Jelen  eliminated Curren, the 11th seed, 6-4, 6-7(4), 2-6, 6-4, 12-10 in 3 hours 17 minutes, just before a heavy rain interrupted play. The matches on all courts were suspended by the weather, with the exception of Centre Court, where second-seeded Mats Wilander defeated Scott Davis 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. In the decisive fifth set, Curren, mixing a bundle of aces with almost as many double-faults, held his serve through the first nine games of the final set, moving to a 5:4 lead. He reached a triple match point on Jelen’s serve in the 10th game, only to be repelled each time. Then the West German broke Curren in the 13th game, edging ahead 7:6. But Curren broke right back, and when he held his own service, he had an 8:7 lead and another match point. The two then held service until the 21st game, when Jelen broke Curren, then held at love in the 22nd game to move into the second round. Curren had become the first seeded player to fall. “I had my chances,” Curren said.“I think he played better than I did. He caught me off guard a little bit and I wasn’t as sharp as I’d hoped to be.” Only 19 of the 64 scheduled matches were completed, with another 16 suspended by the rain. Australia’s Pat Cash, who had his appendix removed just three weeks ago, beat 15th-seeded Guillermo Vilas of Argentina 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. Ivan Lendl, from Czechoslovakia, defeated Mexico’s Leonardo Lavalle 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-4, in a match that began yesterday but was suspended because of rain. Lendl, who is seeking his first major grass-court championship, led 1:0 in the 2nd set before the interruption. In the 1st set Lendl escaped from a *4:5 (0/40) deficit. Two other seeds from Sweden had much tougher times, each going five sets before winning. Sixth-seeded Joakim Nystrom downed Kelly Evernden of New Zealand 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, while eighth-seeded Anders Jarryd beat Bill Scanlon of the United States 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. On a cloudy but dry day, the grass courts at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club were busy. Mikael Pernfors is from Sweden but speaks English with a southern accent – thanks to his education at the University of Georgia. Pernfors reached the final of the French Open while unseeded and yesterday won impressively in his first match on the Wimbledon grass. Pernfors, 22, downed Mike DePalmer of Knoxville, Tenn., 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. “Before Monday of last week I had not played more than 10 minutes on grass,” Pernfors said. The French Open, in which he beat the seeded Stefan Edberg, Martin Jaite, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte before losing in the final to Ivan Lendl, is played on slow clay courts. “Playing on grass for me was a lot of fun,” said the two-time NCAA champion. “People told me what grass would be like but I didn’t have that many problems. I’ve played on fast courts in the United States.” Meanwhile, Pernfors wants reporters to drop the Swedish “Mikael” for the more American “Mike.”
Second round: Sun-Times Wires
Another sweeping purge of seeded players shook Wimbledon yesterday and left Ivan Lendl smiling. While Lendl advanced to the third round with a workmanlike 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Marcel Freeman; five more seeded players were wiped out (men and women). Lendl, who won the French Open and is also the reigning U.S. Open champion, was taken to ‘deuce’ on his own service only once in the match, and that was when he was serving at 5:2 for the match. Leading by 40/15, he dropped two match points before ripping off the next two points to close out the 1 hour and 30 minute match. “Of all the tournaments, Wimbledon is the most likely to have a surprise,” Lendl said. “If I was going to put any money on somebody, I would have put it on (Jimmy) Connors.” Connors was upset in the first round on Tuesday. All three of the men’s seeds to lose, No. 8 Anders Jarryd, No. 14 Martin Jaite and No. 16 Johan Kriek, were in Lendl’s half of the draw. This leaves No. 6 Joakim Nystrom and No. 10 Tim Mayotte as the only seeded players blocking Lendl’s path to what would be his first Wimbledon final. Lendl said: ”A couple of slips at 5-all in the third, and then another slip in the tie-breaker, and you’re out. I don’t care that the other players say it’s an open tournament. Sometimes it’s a lottery… It’s better not to worry about other players. It’s better to go and watch a soccer game.” Mayotte, a superb grass court player fresh from victory at the Queen’s Club in London last week, could provide Lendl a stern test in the quarterfinals. Mayotte has yet to drop a set here, reaching the third round with a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over Jonathan Canter. ”There are so many good players now,” Mayotte said, explaining the rash of upsets. ”It depends on who’s really hungry that particular week.” Jarryd, who injured his knee in the Queen’s tournament, lost to Eddie Edwards 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-2; Jaite was put out by American Davis Cupper Ken Flach 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; and Kriek, a surprise French semifinalist who has been bothered by a wrist injury, fell to John Sadri 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-3. Nystrom shook off a shaky start to overcome Wojtek Fibak, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to the third round. Robert Seguso, who handed Connors only his second first-round loss in a Grand Slam tournament, won his second-round match yesterday, stopping a fellow American, Brian Teacher, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Jarryd was fined $1,000 by the Men’s International Professional Tennis Council after he accidentally hit a spectator with his racket yesterday. The Swede hurled his racket to the ground in a fit of temper during his match. It bounced up and hit Rosalind Insley, 16, who was sitting in the front row. “He was just ashamed of himself for making silly mistakes,” Insley said. ”It first hit me on the leg, but then bounced up onto my lap.” Insley said she was not hurt, but other spectators criticized Jarryd for not apologizing. To make the day even worse for Jarryd, he and a Swedish Davis Cup teammate, Stefan Edberg, the top-seeded doubles team, lost to American twins Tom and Tim Gullikson, 6-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, in a first-round match. Swedes Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, seeded fifth, both needed five sets to dispose of their competition in the second round. Boris Becker, meanwhile, was leading Tom Gullikson, 2 sets to 0, and was tied, 2:2, in the third set when darkness fell on Centre Court (the resumed match on the following day required just four games before Becker posted a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win). The two Swedes prevailed apparently because they are built the way Swedish cars are – for endurance. This was especially so of Wilander, who needed 3 hours and 45 minutes to spoil what some British fans hoped would be a monumental upset by a 22-year-old Englishman named Andrew Castle. Although Castle eventually lost, the fact that he – ranked 285th in the world – could take the second seed to five sets should say something about the nature of this tournament. As Wilander struggled in the first three sets, Castle appeared on his way to becoming a national hero – at least for a day. After England’s loss to Argentina in the World Cup and its stunning loss of a cricket series to India last week, the English surely could have used some athletic uplifting. And if Castle had been able to keep the zip in his serve for another set or recoil the springs in his legs for another half-hour, he might have been carried off on some spectators’ shoulders. Castle had little left after the fourth set, and he literally dragged himself into the final set. Castle’s exhaustion helped Wilander prevail, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-7(0), 6-4, 6-0. “I had him on the ropes,” said Castle, who played college tennis for Wichita State and turned professional just two weeks ago. “He was definitely on the run. I knew the fourth set was vital.” Much like Castle, American Paul Annacone threatened an upset, but he succumbed to Edberg, 6-4, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-0. Like his fellow Swede, Edberg needed more than three hours to win. Edberg’s game burst into life in the fifth set after remaining dormant throughout the first four. “It’s always like that on grass,” he said. “Suddenly you get a break and then it’s another game. I don’t think I missed a ball in the fifth set.” Pat Cash had his appendix out three weeks ago; now he’s carving up Wimbledon again. Cash, a semifinalist in 1984, beat Russell Simpson 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 Thursday for his second victory. Cash’s surprising showing in the wake of his recent operation and his serious back problems of 1985 is part of an amazing Australian advance. Five Aussies – Cash, Paul McNamee, Wally Masur, John Fitzgerald and Mark Kratzmann – are in the men’s final 32. “It’s looking good for Australia,” said McNamee, the veteran of the group. “So many Australians doing well does help everyone. We’ve been through a tough time, but I don’t think it’s coincidental with Pat’s comeback. I really think he’s the spearhead, being our best player.”
Third round: Robert Millward
Ramesh Krishnan , the son of a Wimbledon semifinalist (Ramanathan Krishnan reached it twice 1960-61), added to the list of early-round upsets at this year’s tennis championships today when he defeated eighth-seeded Joakim Nystrom of Sweden, 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4. Nystrom, more comfortable on clay courts than the fast grass courts of Wimbledon, fell to the serve-and-volley game of Krishnan. His loss meant that half of the 16 men’s seeds had been eliminated in the first three rounds. “Ramesh played too good for me today,” Nystrom said. “He came in on the right shots.” Krishnan said he had to take chances against Nystrom and took good advantage of slicing the ball to the Swede’s backhand. “The ball stays low on grass, so if you can chip the ball it’s to your advantage,” he said. “I’m not going to rally 40-50 times with him and see who misses, because I’ll be the one.” Krishnan’s father, Ramanathan, reached the semifinals at Wimbledon a generation ago and helped his son get interested in tennis. He was in the crowd at Centre Court for the victory. “He told me to hang in there and try my best,” Ramesh Krishnan said. After Nystrom won the first-set tiebreak, it was all Krishnan as the stylish Indian swept to a 4:0 lead in the second set. He also pulled out to a 5:3 advantage in the third set before Nystrom rallied to go ahead, 6:5. But Krishnan pulled even and won the ensuing tiebreaker to grab a 2-1 advantage in sets. He then won five of the first six games of the fourth set before double-faulting on his first two match points, losing his serve in the seventh game. Nystrom broke again in the ninth to close to within 5:4, but Krishnan broke back in the 10th game to close the match. Ivan Lendl, seeking his first major grass-court championship, defeated Amos Mansdorf of Israel, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, “I served quite well and I didn’t miss too many volleys,” Lendl said, adding that he had no objection to winning all his matches by runaway scores. For Lendl and Mayotte to meet in the quarters Lendl would have to beat Matt Anger of Pleasanton, and Mayotte would have to get past Eddie Edwards of South Africa. Anger won his third-round match from John Sadri, the conqueror of Johan Kriek, by a 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 7-6(2), 6-4 score, and Edwards, who eliminated eighth-seeded Anders Jarryd earlier, yesterday beat Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. “It’s pretty tough not to think ahead to Lendl in the quarterfinals,” Mayotte admitted. “There’s a feeling that there really is a possibility of doing some damage.” England Robert Seguso tumbled out of championship contention yesterday, blaming his victory over Jimmy Connors two days before for the defeat. The tall 23-year-old from Florida lost 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to South African Christo Van Rensburg, a qualifier who advanced to the last 16. Seguso’s first-round victory over No. 3 seed Connors, a two-time Wimbledon champion, still ranks as the biggest upset in a tournament full of them. But it took its toll on Seguso’s mental and physical state. “Mentally I was still playing Jimmy and my whole body was sore from that match,” he said. Seguso, who also has been nursing a knee injury since January, said he felt the soreness during a doubles match and during his second-round victory over Brian Teacher of the United States. Once again the question arises: what is a nice little tennis player like Mikael Pernfors doing in the round of 16 at a Grand Slam event? It was only three weeks ago that Pernfors kept advancing until he reached the final of the French Open, where he faced Ivan Lendl’s topspin on slow red clay without success. Now, with an estimated 15 hours’ practice time on grass, Pernfors will spend the rest of the weekend plotting against Boris Becker, the defending Wimbledon champion. They have met before. Becker barely defeated Pernfors on clay in Indianapolis last year, then lost to the unheralded Swede in the quarterfinals at the French Open. Pernfors advanced Saturday with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory against Sammy Giammalva of the United States. It was his third victory on grass in three matches and three more than he expected. “When I came to Wimbledon, people said, don’t be upset if you lose your matches here the first three years,” Pernfors said. “But I’m feeling very comfortable. I don’t know whether it’s me or the attitude of the players that makes it tough for them to change from surface to surface.” Among the “sons of Borg” who have made Sweden the dominant country in men’s tennis, Pernfors is the little engine that could. He is only 5 feet 8 inches and 150 pounds, and lacks the big serve-and-volley game or the piercing ground-strokes that typify the games of the top-ranked players. Instead, Pernfors relies on his tenacity. ‘A rabbit scooting all around the court’ is how the Frenchman Henri Leconte described him after losing to Pernfors in Paris. ”My game is made-up of returns and passing shots,” said Pernfors, who added that he had not made any changes in his game to compensate for the different surfaces. “I grew up a baseliner but played on hard courts in college.” Other guys are out here trying to get rich, too. Paul McNamee is still chasing the rainbow at 31, and he came out Saturday rolling the dice against Boris Becker. The German won, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. But the Australian made Becker work. McNamee also showed that the “holder,” as Wimbledon calls its defending champion, deeply feels the pressure. His 1985 feat was sports’ equivalent of another 17-year-old, America’s Bob Mathias, winning the 1948 Olympic decathlon. McNamee knows he possesses not a single weapon as powerful as any of Becker’s. His only chance was to try to outsmart him. Thus, the Aussie simply blocked back Becker’s serve, tennis’ best except for John McEnroe’s. The idea in blocking rather than powering the return was first to place it in a spot where Becker would be forced to maximum stretch, and then for Becker to have to furnish his pace on his volley. McNamee basically wanted to confuse Becker. He did. Becker lost a bit of his marvelous natural rhythm, and then slightly pulled his Achilles’ tendon. Then, by McNamee’s appraisal, Becker’s “serve just went” on some particularly pressing points. “Of course, I’d be happy to have his ‘went’ serve, it’s still so good,” McNamee said. “But every time things got real close, it went away. He just got rattled. That demonstrates to me that he feels the enormous pressure. He’s a hell of a nice boy, and it’s very tough on him.” On the same court where the West German launched 21 aces in last year’s final to defeat Kevin Curren, Becker nailed 13 during the first three sets yesterday before a sore right ankle forced a change in his attack. As it turned out, Plan B included a second serve of only slightly less firepower, so Becker still managed to advance easily to the fourth round against Pernfors, the 13th seed, on Tuesday. One of the day’s biggest surprises came when fifth-seeded Stefan Edberg of Sweden, the reigning Australian Open champion, was upset by Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslavakia, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Fourth round: Zan Hale
Pat Cash celebrated the four-week anniversary of his appendectomy by upsetting second-seeded Mats Wilander yesterday and moving to the Wimbledon quarterfinals. “If you had had a crystal ball and said I was going to beat Mats Wilander to get to the quarterfinals, I’d have thrown it in your face,” Cash said. “I wouldn’t have believed you.” Wilander had a difficult time believing Cash’s quick recovery that led to the 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 victory on center court of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. “I said at the beginning, the only unseeded player who can win is Cash, but I didn’t really think he could play this well right after his operation,” said Wilander, who kept alive his six-year streak of failing to reach the quarterfinals. Cash, 21, an Australian, is not only unseeded, but his world ranking of No. 413 wasn’t good enough to get him into the tournament directly. He was given a wild-card spot, a gift entry from the tournament committee. It took into consideration Cash’s ranking was a reflection of his nine-month sabbatical while a back injury healed and he reached the semifinals in 1984, when he also upset Wilander. Cash will play Frenchman Henri Leconte, a 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 winner over John Fitzgerald. Czechoslovakian Miloslav Mecir knocked off his second seeded player in three days with a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 12 Brad Gilbert. Mecir took out No. 5 Stefan Edberg Saturday. But it is Cash who has turned the tournament on, not only with his startling comeback but with his inspired play. Twice during the match, Cash had to ask his fans to quiet. “The girls don’t annoy me except when they scream for a minute after each point,” said Cash. “It gets to be too much. I was just about to serve, and a girl screamed out. Sometimes it’s bad timing.” The return of serve became more important than the serve in the fourth set. There were five service breaks – a rarity on grass. “The harder I served, the harder the ball came back,” Cash said. “He was returning unbelievably. They were on my toes or winners.” Cash finished the match in a way to avoid problems. He aced Wilander. Wilander thought Cash would tire when the center court temperature reached 102 degrees. Cash’s training for Wimbledon was abbreviated because of the surgery. “That’s why I was still fighting,” Wilander said. “He should be tired, but he never got tired.” They gave Mikael Pernfors a retriever’s chance against Boris Becker, which is to say the runty Swede by way of the University of Georgia might have won Monday had he been able to catch bullets in his teeth and spit them back. Alas. Rat-a-tat-tat went Becker, with an occasional cannon ‘boom’, and the defending champion ended Pernfors’ surprising run at Wimbledon, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-2. A slow-surface expert a year removed from his NCAA championship work for Georgia, Pernfors three weeks ago embarrassed Becker in the French Open with a four-set victory – a circumstance so offensive that Becker said Monday, “It hurt a lot. And the way I lost it… 6-love in the fourth.” So on the Wimbledon grass, where power is compounded instead of negated, Becker showed Pernfors no mercy. He served 23 aces – screaming yellow fuzzy bullets past Pernfors before reflex could produce the tiniest movement of his racket. Said Pernfors in admiration bordering on awe: “He can use his serve a lot more here than at the French. There the surface is so slow I can play my rhythm and play my shots. Here I just don’t get the time. He comes in on a slice ball and the ball doesn’t bounce. You can’t see his serve…” Four times Ivan Lendl faced set points that would have extended his round of 16 Wimbledon match with Matt Anger to five sets. Four times, Lendl, the top seed, came up with the big shot. “That must be part of the reason why he’s No. 1,” said Anger, who blew 5 set points seven months earlier during a 4-set loss to Stefan Edberg at Australian Open. Lendl showed he had the mental toughness to win close matches as he defeated 29th-ranked Anger 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 6-4, 7-6(10) in a contest that was started Monday, suspended at 2:2 in the third set because of darkness, and finished yesterday. Lendl will meet 10th-seeded Tim Mayotte in today’s quarterfinals. Lendl broke Anger’s serve in the 10th game to win the third set and, with an early break in the fourth set, appeared to be on a roll. But Anger, 23, broke back in the seventh game and both players served out to force the third tie-breaker. Lendl had big serves to halt three of Anger’s set points in the tie-breaker and hit a backhand service return for a winner on the fourth. Lendl blew his first match point when he hit a forehand that resembled a pop foul in baseball. The center court crowd gave Lendl his warmest reception of the tournament when he got Anger twisted up with one of his patented forehands and Anger couldn’t get straighted out in time to return the ball. “I think the crowds in England and Japan are the best in tennis,” Lendl said. ”Here because they’re educated, they’re tennis crowds. They understand what each player is feeling. They get involved in the match but they don’t interrupt it. In Japan, they are taught to be quiet so they are. It’s better when the crowd follows your emotions with their emotions.”
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl was pushed to the limit Wednesday, beating Tim Mayotte in a five-set quarterfinal at Wimbledon that reverberated with explosive shots by both men and kept Lendl on course toward his first major grass-court championship. Also gaining semifinal berths in heat that reached 104 degrees at court-side. Lendl’s 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 9-7 (3 hours 28 minutes) cliff-hanger over Mayotte closed out the long day and gave Wimbledon its first all-European men’s semifinal round since the challenge round was abolished in 1922. Boris Becker rode his big serve to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(5) victory over Miloslav Mecir. ”The last set was very close, but I didn’t play poorly,” Becker said. ”I didn’t hit any bad shots. My only struggle was with my serve, but my ground strokes were very good and so were my returns.” Slobodan Zivojinovic stopped Ramesh Krishnan 6-2, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. Henri Leconte, often brilliant and frequently erratic, defeated Pat Cash 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5), 6-3… Lendl moved out front when he solved Mayotte’s serve in the ninth game of the 3rd set. At 30/40, Lendl jumped on a serve to his backhand and ripped it cross-court. When he held at 15, Lendl held a 2-1 lead in sets. “I broke him in the first game of the match and I didn’t break him for the next 2 1/2 sets,” Lendl said. “I was a little surprised he didn’t mix up his serves. He was either going for my body or my backhand.” Lendl, who, like Mayotte, is noted for his fidgeting and time-consuming preparations before he serves, was given a time violation warning by umpire Stephen Winyard after he took more than the allotted 30 seconds to serve. “Call it every time, then,” Lendl shouted at Winyard. He promptly double-faulted, giving Mayotte the break he needed. On the changeover, Lendl kept up the argument with the umpire. Mayotte was never challenged on his serve as he captured the fourth set to knot the match again. That made it a best-of-one-set shootout, winner-take-all – or at least a spot in Friday`s semifinals. “I thought the warning was totally unfair,” Lendl said. “I was warned before the match that both of us were taking too long between points for the last few matches. I asked him if he would call 15 seconds every time, and he said he would.” In the final set it was Lendl holding easily and Mayotte struggling, always on the verge of falling. The American fought off a break point in the fourth game and another in the sixth. Then came the final game of the day as Mayotte was serving at 7:8. The match may still be going on if Lendl didn’t make the topspin lob, a champion’s shot, at love-15. Mayotte pushed a volley an inch from the baseline. Lendl, running backward, lifted the topspin lob over Mayotte that landed just inside the sideline. “It was an amazing shot, a meteor from outer space,” Mayotte said. “I didn’t know where the thing was landing. It had so much topspin, I couldn’t get it back.” Leconte married a year ago and says his wife, Brigitte, has given him more confidence. He also has moved to London to avoid the adulation and easy life in France. He was aggressive and intent when he had to be yesterday. In the second-set tiebreaker, Leconte argued dramatically with the umpire and an official over a line call that gave Cash a 7:6 lead. He responded by blasting a cross-court, forehand winner to tie the score, and took an 8:7 lead with a service ace. Leconte won the tiebreaker on the next point when Cash floated a volley wide left. “I’m more consistent this year,” said Leconte, who turns 23 Friday. “Even when I’m down, I’m more confident. Last year, when I lost my serve, I was worried and thinking about how I’d have to come back. Now I say ‘OK, he broke me, so think about the next game.’” Leconte’s consistency has shown in his results. This is his second straight Grand Slam tournament semifinal. He lost to runner-up Mikael Pernfors in the French Open semis last month. After he won yesterday, Leconte strutted around the court with his arms raised like a victorious boxer. His joy was obvious as was Cash’s disappointment. There were no Cash headbands or sweatbands thrown out to the crowd as after earlier triumphs. “It’s first of all a disappointment not being able to play at 100 percent,” said Cash, playing in his fourth tournament since missing nine months with a back injury. “But then again it was a big thrill because I could play. I didn’t even expect to be playing in the tournament.” Zivojinovic , who goes by the nickname “Bobo,” has surprised people at other tournaments. In last year’s Wimbledon, he knocked out Mats Wilander in the first round and at the Australian Open, he eliminated John McEnroe. Zivojinovic’s power was too much for Krishnan, a touch player. “I think my big advantage was I was hitting hard and I didn’t let him play easy,” Zivojinovic said. “He’s one of the best touch players today and he showed it sometimes when I was playing loose shots. So I was going for everything or nothing.” The Yugoslavian advanced to second major semifinal (after Australian Open 1985) despite not having won a tournament. This will be the first all-European men’s semifinals since the Challenge Round was abolished in 1922.
Semifinals: John Feinstein
There is an old saying in theater: a poor dress rehearsal means a good performance. If that is also the case in tennis, then Ivan Lendl is almost certain to become the Wimbledon champion Sunday. In a match memorable not for the tennis but for its many weird moments, Lendl finally won his semifinal against Slobodan Zivojinovic after 3 hours 26 minutes of missed chances and stranger than strange twists, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4. That put him into his first Wimbledon final against the defending champion, Boris Becker, who overpowered Henri Leconte, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3, in a display of power tennis that bordered on breathtaking. Becker’s effort left the crowd awed. He aced Leconte 13 times (91 aces in six matches), but more significantly, Leconte had almost no chance to put Becker’s serve into play on most points. “I just overpowered him,” Becker said matter-of-factly. Leconte, who turned 23 yesterday, did not play poorly. “No one has ever served like that against me,” Leconte said. “Boris is the No. 1 player in the world on grass. I think he will be tough to beat on Sunday.” Lendl is finding everyone tough to beat, but, as he pointed out, he still is winning. Friday, he faced a player whose style is not so much serve-and-volley as serve-and-folly. At 6-6 and 220 (198 cm, 100 kg). Zivojinovic is powerful, but hardly agile. At deadly serious Wimbledon, this match was funny. Zivojinovic complained throughout that the tennis balls were too soft and talked to himself, his family in the friends box, the crowd and, in the fifth set, the royal box. Lendl stalked around, shaking his fists on big points and generally looking upset over the situation. “It was a little hard for me to swallow the idea that I had broken him five times and he had broken me once and we were two sets all,” Lendl said. “I just told myself that I had to hang in there, that if it took 30 minutes or 50 minutes or three hours, or if we had to come back tomorrow that I had worked too hard to give up now. I’m glad I hung in.” He hung in, got the one break he needed in the fifth set and, as against Tim Mayotte in the semifinals, beat darkness by a few minutes against a player who could serve but couldn’t return. In spite of Zivojinovic’s limitations, Lendl was in trouble. He lost two tie breakers and faced a break point in the fifth set. “I had my chance there,” Zivojinovic said. “If I break, maybe it is over.” Lendl had ripped through the first set. But in the second set, Zivojinovic, even though convinced something was wrong with the tennis balls – “They all felt soft to me,” he said – began finding the court with his first serve. He got his one break of the match to lead, 6:5, but Lendl broke right back. Zivojinovic won the tie breaker. Lendl then won the third set, easily, breaking Zivojinovic twice. The fourth set proceeded routinely to 3-all. Suddenly, Zivojinovic had a break point when he came up with a rare return, a cross-court backhand and Lendl threw in a double fault. Lendl served – a fault, clearly wide and called wide. But chair umpire David Howie overruled the call and awarded Lendl an ace. Zivojinovic dropped his racquet and walked to Howie, arguing angrily. Lendl was shocked, too. “I don’t see how he could overrule there,” Lendl said. “The ball looked to me like it was probably out and if it wasn’t out, it was too close to overrule.” Howie simply sat in the chair ordering Zivojinovic to play while the crowd hooted, booed, slow-clapped and called for Howie to reverse himself. He refused. Zivojinovic sat in his chair and said, “I will not play.” Tournament referee Alan Mills and Grand Prix supervisor Ken Farrar showed up, but gave Zivojinovic little satisfaction. “I don’t understand how he did that,” Zivojinovic said. “It’s very disappointing. If I break there, maybe the fifth set is different. I don’t know. Lendl deserved to win, but I do not understand the call.” Shaken, Zivojinovic lost the game. But he kept his composure, got himself into a tie breaker and roared through it, 7/1. The crowd was screaming by now. “That call (the overrule) didn’t help me in terms of crowd support,” said Lendl. “But it wasn’t my fault.” It was also not the fault of anyone in the royal box when a trash compactor somewhere on the grounds distracted Zivojinovic as he served at 3-all in the last set. He had already saved two break points in the set, but he got into difficulty with a double fault that put the game at 30-all. Bothered by the noise, Zivojinovic turned and began talking and gesturing towards the royal box. “I was looking there but I was talking to myself, I think,” Zivojinovic said with a smile. “Or, maybe I recognized someone.” Lendl made his crucial break in that game and served out the match, taking the victory with a service winner. Zivojinovic finished the tournament winning nine tight sets in a row (when the scoreline reached 5-all). He began this streak in the first round as he eliminated Simon Youl being two points away from a 4-set loss.
Final: Jerry Zgoda
Power without petulance overcame determination Sunday on Centre Court, where Boris Becker collected the Wimbledon men’s championship for the second consecutive year with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 flattening of Ivan Lendl. Becker, 18, put his name in the history books last year as the youngest and only unseeded player to win the men’s title. Yesterday he put it there as the youngest to win two championships and also stuck his name beside Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Rod Laver and Fred Perry, among others, for successfully defending the title. “This year was much more satisfying,” said Becker, who was moved to tears as he accepted the Challenge Cup. “Last year I was a nobody. This year I really proved I can play well on grass and I proved I can be a Wimbledon champion. When I stepped on Centre Court last Monday I had a very good feeling and my skin went prickly. I feel like this is my home.” He won yesterday with sheer power, reminiscent of McEnroe and Jimmy Connors – booming serves, pounding ground strokes, gritty lunges and tumbles. But without the tantrums. Becker talked softly and carried a big serve throughout the fortnight, which leaves one question: Has tennis finally found a champion with the calm sportsmanship of Borg and the swashbuckling playing style of McEnroe? Only the early returns are in, but it appeared so yesterday, if a 2-hour, 4-minute demonstration can be fair indication. Lendl’s appearance in the final might have shown that he has learned to play on grass, but Becker’s performance confirmed that he was born for it. While Lendl (50-2 this year) struggled with the likes of Tim Mayotte and Slobodan Zivojinovic, Becker (15-1 lifetime at Wimbledon) blew past everyone, riding the breeze kicked up by his serve and losing just two sets in seven matches. Ion Tiriac, Becker’s manager, talks of him in scientific terms. “If you go to a laboratory and take him apart, he has so much over the other players,” Tiriac said. “First serve, second serve, return of serve forehand, return of serve backhand. How many of those things can he put together? He’s got all of them.” Lendl didn’t know how to describe Becker. “I don’t know the man, young man, boy, whatever you want to call him,” Lendl said. “Just call him champion.” Becker won first two sets then relaxed, falling behind 3:0* and 4:1 (30/15) in the third set. But he won the next three games to tie at 4. When Lendl held serve and reeled off a love-40 lead to force three set points, Becker answered with customary force. He drove a serve that Lendl could only hit into the net. 15/40. He drove a hard second serve, came to the net and jammed away Lendl ‘s weak return. 30/40. He came up with another big serve and applied a delicate touch to the Lendl return. It died on the grass, just over the net, and it was deuce. One more serve-and-volley put-away and an ace tied the set at 5. Becker leaned back and waved his fists in the air and Lendl swatted at the turf with his racket “I made a couple good guesses,” Becker said, “and when I made it 30-40, I saw something in Ivan’s face that he didn’t know what to do anymore to pass me on the big points. That helped a lot.” In the next game Becker ripped three shots in succession, a backhander down the line, a topspin passing shot that just caught the baseline and a backhand bullet cross-court to break Lendl’s serve and take a 6:5 lead. “The problem was that Boris just takes such a big crack at my serve,” said Lendl, who hadn’t lost in straight sets since January 1985. “I’d like to do the same with his serve, but I can’t do it. It’s just too fast. It puts so much pressure on my serve because every time you have a second serve you know he’s going to stand inside the baseline and just swing all the way. It leaves you scrambling.” Lendl hid his face in a towel after losing that serve, yet jumped right back on Becker. He won two straight points and was within two points of perhaps turning the match around, but Becker wouldn’t yield. He won four straight points, including the one when he scurried after lying flat on his face. At 15/30, Lendl drove an attempted passing shot down the right side and Becker threw himself across the grass, but the ball hit the net and dropped in front of Becker. He got up halfway, lunged and drove the ball cross-court out of Lendl’s reach. “I dove, but suddenly the ball wasn’t going behind my ears,” said Becker. “Some things you just can’t describe. You just do it. There’s no book you can learn from, it’s just something inside yourself.” Lendl, who called the tournament a partial success because he played well, didn’t hang around to reminisce about the Wimbledon experience. He asked for, and was granted, permission to leave while Becker was still parading the trophy is front of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and West German President Richard von Weizsacker. Less than three hours after the match, Lendl was on the Concorde back to Connecticut. “Unless you win the tournament, you are always going to wonder whether you can ever win it,” Lendl said. “I’m going to go back and rest and get myself back into decent shape health-wise. I’m going to think about it and see what I can improve again and how to do. Hopefully, by this time next year, I can play even better.” Becker’s 5th title (2nd major!).