Wimbledon, London June 20, 1988; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $1,815,396; Surface – Grass
It was a breakthrough tournament for Stefan Edberg. The 22-year-old Swede had admittedly won Australian Open twice (less prestigious at the time than nowadays), but he was mainly recognized as an excellent doubles player prior to 1988, when he decided to concentrate more on singles career and it paid off during two weeks at Wimbledon.
Pat Cash opened defense of the Wimbledon men’s championship in overpowering style today, while top-seeded Ivan Lendl rode his booming serve into the second round. Cash, opening play on Centre Court, defeated 17-year-old Todd Woodbridge, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, taking less than two hours and hardly dampening the checkered-flag sweat band around his forehead. The sixth-seeded Australian lost just two points on his serve in the final set, clinching the victory with a service winner. Rain interrupted play shortly after the match. “I’m not thinking about” being the defending champion, Cash said. “It’s just another Wimbledon. I’m just out there trying to do my best.” Cash, who climbed through the crowd to hug his family after winning the title last July, marked his return to the All England Club by taking a fistful of headbands from his tennis bag at the end of the match and throwing them to his fans. Lendl, playing his first tournament match since a quarterfinal upset in the French Open more than two weeks ago, served 20 aces in defeating David Felgate of Britain, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. “I just couldn’t pick it (the serve) up. I couldn’t figure where it was going,” said Felgate (the future coach of Tim Henman), a wild-card entry who is ranked 360th in the world. “I tried everything, but it didn’t make any difference. He kept pounding them down.” Lendl said the right shoulder that he injured in his loss in Paris felt fine, and that at this point in the tournament he’d rather be playing golf than tennis. “I thought I served quite well, which was not the case in practice,” Lendl said. “It’s a dangerous weapon on grass, if you get it in.” The Grand Slam tournament opened its 102nd edition on a hazy, muggy day, the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club lush and springy as most of the men’s seeds were in action. Henri Leconte of France, the French Open runner-up and seeded seventh at Wimbledon, defeated Tobias Svantesson of Sweden, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Tim Mayotte, the 10th seed from Bradenton, Fla., used his big-serve game to defeat another American, Matt Anger, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Amos Mansdorf of Israel, the 15th seed, downed Goran Ivanisevic of Yugoslavia 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 (16-year-old Ivanisevic was a qualifier, it was his debut at the main level). Emilio Sanchez of Spain, seeded 13th, ousted his younger brother, Javier, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Tim Mayotte, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1982, had too much power for Anger. Mayotte’s deep, fast serves kept Anger stretching for returns. When Anger did get the ball back, Mayotte was at the net for put-away volleys. John McEnroe made a triumphant return to Wimbledon today, beating Austrian Horst Skoff 6-1, 7-5, 6-1 to thunderous cheers from the crowd. Making his first appearance since 1985 in the grass-court tournament he has won three times and marked on other occasions by fiery outbursts, McEnroe was cool and calm through the one-hour, 43-minute match on Court No. 1. “The king is back,” BBC-TV announcer John Barratt proclaimed as McEnroe walked off the court, acknowledging the cheering of his fans with a wave of his hand and a nod of his head, It was a different scene than when the eighth-seeded American was eliminated by Kevin Curren in the quarterfinals three years ago, before a sabbatical from tennis and a spate of injuries dropped him from No. 2 to No. 19 in the world. But the style of play was the same. His big serve, use of the whole court, deft flicks of the wrist at the net, and always keeping the match in control. This prodigal comeback was the focus of the second day of the tournament’s 102nd edition. Mats Wilander, the men’s No. 2 seed, beat Eduardo Masso of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) and 16th-seeded Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia rallied to beat another Argentine, Horacio de la Pena, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4. But the first men’s seed was eliminated as Udo Roglewski of West Germany ousted No. 14 Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Second round: AP
Two-time champion Boris Becker of West Germany also won, beating Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Last year, Becker failed to get past the second round, losing to little-known Peter Doohan. Darren Cahill, a grass-court specialist from Australia, gave Ivan Lendl a tough time before losing 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Lendl had to raise the level of his game and gave the Centre Court crowd a taste of his showmanship and his temper. ”Stupid calls. You want to consider it again,” Lendl shouted at umpire Richard Ings during the final set. Ings gave Lendl a warning for verbal abuse. Cahill saved one match point but could not hold off the power of Lendl, who made a couple of behind-the-back returns on service faults to the cheers of the fans. Lendl, who has never won Wimbledon, played like a grass-court novice for a set against Cahill. Then he changed his tactics, staying back and hitting service returns past the Australian. “Everybody knows this is not my best surface and potentially, he’s a very difficult and dangerous opponent,” Lendl, runner-up for the last two years, said. 10th-seeded Tim Mayotte and 12th-seeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden, a pair of serve-and-volley players, easily advanced to the third round. Mayotte, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1982 and the Australian Open in 1983, beat Greg Holmes 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Svensson, who upset top-seeded Ivan Lendl in reaching the French Open semis this month, beat fellow Swede Magnus Gustafsson 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. On a warm, sunny day, the men’s draw lost 15th-seeded Amos Mansdorf of Israel because of an injury. Mansdorf trailed18-year-old qualifier Diego Nargiso  of Italy 6-3, 3-0 when a strained abdominal muscle forced him to retire. Pat Cash, playing on the court he likes least here, No. 1, was in trouble. He was talking to himself, harping on line calls and missing shots he normally handles with ease. “I had chances to win the second set, but didn’t,” he said. “The guy played two great sets. If he had played that well for another set it would have been too good. But I didn’t think he could. As it turned out, I was right.” Barely. Frana tired on a warm, humid afternoon and Cash, serving better as the match progressed, finally won a 3-hour 10-minute struggle 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to move into the third round. And Michael Chang, 16, of the United States, the youngest men’s player in 61 years to compete on Centre Court (since 1927, when Sidney Wood, 15 years 7 months, lost a first-round match to Rene Lacoste), gave seventh-seeded Henri Leconte of France a scare before losing 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3 after missing four set points in the second set. “I’m not disappointed, it’s not hard for me to take this loss,” Chang said. “It’s been a great experience.” “Chang played unbelievable tennis for a 16-year-old,” said Leconte. “I don’t see anybody return my serve that well. He’s quick.” Cash was pushed to the brink by Frana, ranked only sixth in his country and 80th in the world. On the same court and in the same round in which Boris Becker was dethroned last year, the defending champion was twitchy and nervous. His aggressive game, which reached a pitch 12 months ago, was rarely in evidence as he hit a stream of errors. But Cash would never say he almost lost his crown. “He played fantastically well for the two middle sets but there was only one way he could go, and that’s down,” Cash said. “I was not unhappy with my game.”Jim Grabb, a collegiate champion at Stanford and playing at Wimbledon for only the second year, eliminated 11th-seeded Anders Jarryd of Sweden 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 in the second round. “I’ve had some other wins over big names, but the venue of this one is a little more attractive,” said Grabb, ranked 63rd in the world. It was the second consecutive early exit from a Grand Slam tournament for Jarryd, who lost in the semifinals here in 1986. The Swede was eliminated in the first round at the French Open last month. John McEnroe‘s Wimbledon comeback ended today in a flurry of missed chances and disputes over two crucial line calls. John McEnroe, playing in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1985, blew set points in the first and second sets and lost his second-round match to Wally Masur of Australia, ranked 64th in the world, 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-3. Thus ended the effort of the former top-ranked American to show that he still had the skill – and now had the discipline – to return to the top of tennis. “It certainly wasn’t vintage McEnroe,” admitted Masur. “I wasn’t coming up with any shots,” said McEnroe, “It’s amazing to think about. It’s almost enough to make me sick. If I thought that’s the best I’ve got to give, I’d quit tomorrow. That was a disgusting effort.” McEnroe was the fifth men’s seed to be eliminated and the third on the tournament’s fourth day. Also eliminated was 13th-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain, a 7-6(4), 6-3, 3-6, 0-6, 6-1 loser to Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia. Old-timers Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors posted straight-set victories. Connors, a two-time Wimbledon champion, beat 18-year-old qualifierJason Stoltenberg of Australia 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-3. Californian Derrick Rostagno, playing in his second Wimbledon, endured a 4-hour, 45-minute match in 90-degree heat Thursday to defeat fellow American Marty Davis, 6-2, 6-3, 6-7(6), 4-6, 16-14. The match began at 12:44 p.m. and ended at 5:29 p.m. “I wish they would play tiebreakers in the deciding set,” Rostagno said, “although I do like the way it turned out.”In other dramatic confrontation, Ricardo Acuna saved four match points beating David Pate 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(6), 6-4.
Third round: Daily Breeze
Ivan Lendl, whose favorite grass game is golf, found himself in the rough at Wimbledon Friday. It wasn’t an unplayable lie, though. Playing on a chewed-up outside court that his opponent likened to golf course rough, the world’s No. 1 tennis player outlasted big-serving Dutchman Michiel Schapers to move into the fourth round of the Grand Slam tournament. Lendl, the top seed, moaned over line calls and was distracted by noise from a nearby balcony, but he kept his concentration for the nearly four hours it took to win 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1. “I usually have trouble in the rough,” Lendl said of the conditions on Court No. 2. “And the course I play at home (in Greenwich, Conn.) doesn’t look that bad.” Court No. 2 is known as the “graveyard of champions” because stars such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase lost there in past tournaments. Lendl, who has never won a Wimbledon title and doesn’t like playing on grass, nearly added his name to the list of upset victims. But after his 6-foot-5 opponent boomed a service winner to win the fourth-set tiebreaker, Lendl broke him twice in the final set before closing out the match with his own service winner. “I felt in the fourth set he was getting tired and having more trouble with his serve,” said Lendl, who reached the fourth round here for the sixth straight time. Schapers, the only player to win a set against eventual champion Pat Cash at last year’s tournament, had mixed feelings about his losing effort. “I beat Boris Becker in five sets once (at the 1985 Australian Open) and I didn’t play half as well as I did today,” he said. “Against Becker, I was happy with the win but not with the way I played. Today, I was happy with my play but not with the loss.” In his post-match interview, Lendl was asked why the smile he flashes with reporters is rarely seen on the court. “Because things are lot more important out there,” he quipped. The match was dominated by the server, with no breaks in any of the tiebreaker sets. In fact, there were no breaks at all until the third game of the third set. American Paul Annacone, who beat McEnroe in the first round at the 1986 U.S. Open, downed No. 12 Jonas Svensson 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Pat Cash, coming off a tough five-set win over Javier Frana, breezed past fellow Australian John Fitzgerald 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Joining him in the fourth round were two-time champion Boris Becker, seventh-seeded Henri Leconte and No. 10 Tim Mayotte. Becker survived a first-set tiebreaker to beat American Sammy Giammalva 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4. The 20-year-old West German rallied from 0/40 in the final game to wrap it up on a service winner. “He never really had a chance to win,”said Becker, the only male player to reach the fourth round without dropping a set. “I had so many chances to break him, but I didn’t take advantage.” To 35-year-old Jimmy Connors, playing in his 10th five-set match in 17 years at Wimbledon, it was just another comeback. To 22-year-old Derrick Rostagno, it was a masterpiece. “If you don’t appreciate what he does, you don’t appreciate tennis,” Rostagno said Saturday after Connors rallied for a 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 third-round victory that lasted just over four hours. “He comes up with shots no one else does. Tennis is an art and he’s an artist.” Rostagno, ranked 86th in the world, appeared ready to pull off a major upset after taking a 2-1 lead in sets. But Connors, seeded fifth, began bashing ground-stroke winners as he psyched himself with his traditional clenched-fist pump. “My game has always been staying there till I die, because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Connors, who is 8-2 in five-set matches at Wimbledon. The match almost ended in the ninth game of the final set. Connors pinned Rostagno to the corner of the baseline with a forehand approach, then rushed the net for the kill at match point. But Rostagno hit a cross-court forehand that nipped the top of the net and trickled over, out of Connors’ reach. “I thought, ‘Get over,'” Rostagno said. “It was a perfect dink over the net. When that happens, you think, ‘Things are going my way.’” In the end, they weren’t. At 5-all Rostagno had a mini-match point – Connors got 3 points quickly serving on Rostagno’s backhand every time. In the 12th game, facing a second match point, Rostagno hit a second serve a foot past the service line for his 10th double-fault of the match (he served 8 aces, Connors 1). “When he’s down, he just gets better,” said Rostagno, a former Stanford University player who had to win three matches just to qualify for the main draw, “He’s unbelievable. He’s a great, great player.” No. 3 seed Stefan Edberg of Sweden also struggled before beating doubles specialist Ken Flach, 6-2, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 (Edberg in four sets won also his two previous matches at Wimbledon ’88). No. 2 Mats Wilander of Sweden kept his Grand Slam hopes alive with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Menno Oosting of the Netherlands. Among four qualifiers who entered third round, prevailed only one – Andrei Olhovskiy  of the Soviet Union. Before Wimbledon ’88, 22-year-old Olhovskiy had just won 1 match at the main level. In the third round he beat Chris Pridham of Canada, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Fourth round: Mike Davis
First Wimbledon match in the Open era that all sets went to 5-all at least: after 4 hours, 46 minutes, 67 games, two tie-breakers and 458 points, the world’s top-ranked player finally was able to get the world’s 54th-ranked player to the point of no return. Mark Woodforde, No. 54, didn’t make the return. Ivan Lendl, No. 1, got the point. And the game. And the set. And the match. And another sigh of relief. The 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-7(4), 7-5, 10-8 marathon Monday on the No. 1 Court at the All England Club advanced Lendl to the Wimbledon men’s quarterfinal round of eight for the fifth time in the last six years, but his problems playing on the grass here surfaced once again. “It’s just tough to play out there,” said Lendl, who was only a round removed from another five-set victory over 43rd-ranked Michiel Schapers, ”It’s not that draining physically, but it’s tough mentally because if you make a couple of mental errors it’s hard to come back. You can be 3:0 down, two (service) breaks on clay and win it, 6-4. You’re not going to do that on grass.” Top-seeded Lendl, however, did come back after Woodforde took him to match point earlier in the fifth set and, as a result, he will meet either 10th-seeded Tim Mayotte or seventh-seeded Henri Leconte in the next round. Mayotte was leading, 6-4, 7-6(5), when rain forced suspension of play Monday night. On Tuesday, Leconte won opening set 6-4, but lost another one 2-6 and was eliminated.“When you’re a match point down – I don’t care how good of a point you play – you’re still lucky you won it,” Lendl said. “Anything could have happened. I could have foot-faulted, the judge could have called a let and then I could have double faulted.” His play Monday indicated that was not unlikely. Although Lendl had 24 aces, he also had 21 double faults and hit only 56 percent of his first serves to 67 percent for Woodforde. “I was missing a lot of first serves, but that was because he was returning so well there was a lot of pressure on my serve,” said Lendl, who has been a Wimbledon finalist the last two years but has never won the tournament. “If I missed the first serve, I had to make sure I got something on the second because if I just put it there, he’s going to put it away. I did that. I won a lot of points on my second serves, but I double faulted a lot, too.”Lendl saved a match point at *6:7 in the 5th set with a deep backhand volley. Woodforde would go ahead on his own service, 8:7, but Lendl took the final three games. “I was pretty tired, but the guy just kept hitting the ball harder,” Woodforde said. “Obviously, I’ve got to get fitter. He, along with (defending Wimbledon champ Pat) Cash, is probably one of the fittest guys on the tour, so I’m going to have to do quite a bit to catch up. I want to win those matches, 10-8, in the fifth. I don’t want to lose them.” But if it was, as Woodforde suggested, survival of the fittest, it was Woodforde who didn’t fit. Lendl won 12 of the final 14 points and broke Woodforde’s service in the match’s penultimate game. It was the only time either player broke service in the final set. “He kept whamming those returns at me,” Woodforde said. “My serves were losing their sting and he kept hitting those bombs back at me.” Mayotte, the 27-year-old native of Springfield, Mass., is the plodder, quiet, and businesslike with his straight-forward tennis approach of big serve, strong volley and returns drawing polite applause and good steady results. This year, Mayotte has won at Philadelphia, been a semifinalist at Tokyo and reached the fourth round at Key Biscayne. After starting the year as No. 10 in the world, Mayotte has slipped three spots. Leconte, 24, is the showman, a Frenchman with the flair of an entertainer and the looks of a movie star. His dashing bravado on the court raises oohs and ahs from the crowd and some scintillating results. Jimmy Connors, the No. 5 men’s seed and maybe the fiercest competitor ever to leave his sweat on the All-England Club’s pristine lawns, ran out of miracles and was run out of the 1988 Championships by the world’s 90th-ranked player. Patrick Kuhnen, a 22-year-old West German best known previously as Boris Becker’s practice partner, outlasted Connors 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 6-3 in a fourth-round match that had been suspended Monday evening at the start of the third-set tiebreaker. Play was suspended due to rain, and the storm was still hanging in there tough on Tuesday, forcing a delay for nearly five hours. Sixth-seeded Boris Becker, after reportedly refusing to play on one of the treacherous outer courts (No. 14), bashed his way to his fourth consecutive straight-sets win, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, over American Paul Annacone on Court 1. In straight sets won their third round matches also other favorites, Swedes Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg. That sets up what could be the match of the tournament Wednesday in the quarters. Becker, the champion in 1985 and ’86, meets No. 4 seed Pat Cash, the champion last year, who ousted 3x 6-3 Andrei Olhovskiy, in what should be an all-out serve-and-volley war. For Connors, the war is over at Wimbledon for this year, maybe forever. At 35, the oldest player in either of the main singles draws, and owner of more Wimbledon match victories (81) than any man in history, Connors has hinted at retirement. Kuhnen, who meets No. 3 seed Edberg in the quarters Wednesday, won Tuesday by defusing Connors’ vaunted return game. He served decently (five aces, four double-faults, 55 percent), took the net aggressively, volleyed solidly and let the treacherous court do the rest. His only moment of crisis occurred after losing the 4th-set tie-break (wasted match point in the 12th game). Two games into the 5th set he was 15/40 on his serve. But he saved the two break points with big serves, won that game, and broke Connors at 3-all with a wicked forehand drive from mid-court that Jimbo couldn’t handle at the net. Kuhnen broke him in the 9th game, at love, for the match. “The last four games I played perfect tennis,” said Kuhnen, who won 14 of the last 15 points in the match.
Quarterfinals: Phil Rosethal
Uneasy is the head that wears the crown. Relieved of that burden by the two-time champion he had supplanted, Pat Cash opted for something lighter – a bright red fright wig. ”I didn’t want to wear this when I was Wimbledon champion,” Cash said. ”I think it’s quite becoming.” All Cash had become a few minutes earlier Wednesday out on Centre Court was a former Wimbledon champion. The fourth-seeded Australian known for handing out headbands to fans had his head handed to him in the quarterfinals by sixth-seeded Boris Becker, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. “I saw the Wimbledon final last year and it hurt a little bit when Cash won the match point.” said Becker, who reigned at Wimbledon in 1985 and ’86 but was ousted last year in the second round. “Since then, I guess I had it in the back of my mind that he had the title and that he was the one to beat here. I did it today and I’m pleased, but it is not over yet for me.” Becker will meet top-seeded Ivan Lendl in Friday’s semifinals. Lendl also won in straight sets Wednesday but needed two tie-breakers to eliminate 10th-seeded Tim Mayotte, the lone remaining American in the men’s field, 7-6(2), 7-6(1), 6-3. Their last mutual tie-breaks, Lendl dominated them totally: 10-0. They met also in the Wimbledon quarterfinals two years before, and Lendl prevailed 9-7 in the 5th set.Miloslav Mecir, the ninth seed, will face third-seeded Stefan Edberg in the other semifinal. Mecir was at the top of his game in thwarting second- seeded Mats Wilander‘s bid for the third leg of tennis’ Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 quarterfinal victory. Edberg struggled somewhat with Becker’s practice partner, Patrick Kuhnen, but retired him, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(2). In the 4th set Edberg fought off a set point at 4:5 with a backhand volley. If Kuhnen is responsible for sharpening Becker’s serve, his impact in this tournament will be felt even beyond his upset of two-time champ Jimmy Connors on Tuesday. Of the 72 serves Becker got in against Cash, 34 went unreturned. Becker had six aces, but more impressive was the fact that seven of his serves bounced uncontrollably off Cash’s racquet and one time Cash swung and missed. “To win here, it takes more than hitting serves only,” said Becker, who broke Cash’s service twice in the first two sets while Cash couldn’t convert his only break point. Cash finally gained an edge on Becker in the third set, going ahead, 4:2, when Becker double faulted at love-40. But it was an advantage Cash failed to maintain. Becker won the next four games, breaking Cash’s service twice and taking the match. Only late in the match did the two do much volleying. With both players as dependent upon booming serves as they are, it wasn’t tennis so much as it was target practice – and the sniping continued even after Becker’s final serve ricocheted straight up off Cash’s racquet. “Obviously I’m upset, but I’m not disappointed, because I didn’t play my best,” Cash said. “If Boris had beaten me when I played my best, I might be a little frustrated.” When Wilander lost his chance at the first Grand Slam in 19 years, it seemed to bother those who watch tennis more than it did the man who was playing for it. “It’s never been my goal to win the Grand Slam,” Wilander insisted Wednesday “Basically it was just something that people try to tell me is a possibility. It’s something everybody was telling me should be my goal now that I’ve won two, but I think I still have to improve.” Wilander, the Swede who won the French and Australian Opens, knew Wimbledon would be the most difficult leg of the slam, with grass being his least favorite surface. Mecir , runnerup at the 1986 U.S. Open, was out of action for several months before Wimbledon because of back problems. He had no problems against Wilander, though, breaking him five straight times, starting in the eighth game of the first set, and winning 21 points in a row on serve during one stretch. “When I needed to break him, I did,” Mecir said. “I was always up. He had a couple of break points in the first set, but he didn’t win them. That gave me a lot of confidence and maybe Mats got a little nervous.” It was their last meeting, Mecir won 7 out of 11 matches.
Semifinals: Phil Rosenthal
Stefan Edberg charged back from two sets down to beat Miloslav Mecir Friday and put a Swede back in a Wimbledon men’s championship match for the first time in seven years. Edberg, the No. 3 seed, fought off the bullet service returns and delicate volleys of the Czechoslovak to win 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4in 3 hours 10 minutes, and become the first Swedish men’s finalist since Bjorn Borg lost to John McEnroe in 1981. It wasn’t easy. Mecir was overpowering in the first two sets and looked ready to reach his first Wimbledon final and second Grand Slam championship match. He won 31 points on service returns and held 13 break points in total (!) in both the third and fourth sets. But Edberg, a two-time Australian Open champion, was able to raise his play when it mattered most. He saved all those break points, including three at 3:3, 0/40 in the 3rd set, as he turned the match around. His own serving became crisper and his volleys constantly had Mecir out of position. He wrapped it up with his back literally against the wall. Edberg chased down a lob and returned it, then, with his back pressed against the green tarpaulin at the end of the court, watched as Mecir swatted a half-hearted backhand volley into the net. Edberg broke into a gigantic smile. As the weather turned from threatening rain to brilliant sunshine and blustery winds, it looked as if Mecir would advance to his first Grand Slam final since he lost to Lendl in the title match of the U.S. Open in 1986. This was Mecir’s first Grand Prix tournament in almost two months because of injuries, and he still wears an elastic corset to protect a tender back. The Centre Court crowd, which included the Duchess of York, former Prime Minister Edward Heath and the Archbishop of Canterbury, got a peak of the brace when Mecir’s shirttail pulled out and billowed in the breeze. But his game showed no signs of pain or strain as he won the first two sets against Edberg. He took control of the early going by winning four games in a row to go from 4:3 down in the 1st set to a 1:0 lead in the 2nd. Mecir also led 3:1 on serve in the deciding set. Edberg had won their previous match (a few months earlier in Davis Cup) coming back from a break down in the 5th set as well. On the ninth match point of his Wimbledon semifinal with two-time champ Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl finally ran out of lives. Becker – who had failed to convert on the previous eight – took a soft volley off his service return and hit a forehand that put Lendl, whose wrapped left thigh ached, and the match, which had begun more than 21 hours earlier, out of their misery. The 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-4 (3:47 h) victory Saturday on Centre Court advanced Becker to today’s final, where he will try to win his third Wimbledon title in four years against first-time finalist Stefan Edberg, the No. 3 seed, who came from two sets down to defeat ninth-seeded Miloslav Mecir in five sets in their semifinal match Friday. Becker’s match could and probably should have been completed on Friday, as well. But rain delayed its start and sixth-seeded Becker, who had won the first two sets, failed to convert three match points in the third-set tie-breaker (6:4 & 8:7). Top-seeded Lendl, who was also a point away from elimination in his fourth-round match with Mark Woodforde, salvaged the set and play was suspended because of darkness. “It was not an easy night for both of us,” Becker said. “I thought (surviving like that) would be a good omen,” Lendl said. But it turned out Lendl’s best chances were behind him. After squandering a 4:2 lead in the first set, he failed to break Becker’s service in either the second or third set despite seven break points. He failed to even get a break point in the fourth set. Becker, meanwhile, missed a return on break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. And, after rain delays of 33 and 37 minutes (between which Becker served a love game that lasted all of 100 seconds), he failed to convert another four break points in the sixth game. As if the rain delays weren’t enough to further rattle Lendl – the second delay was precipitated by a mere minute of rain and then what the public-address announcer described as “some very dark clouds” moving toward the All England Club – there were Becker’s antics with which to deal. Becker has said repeatedly that winning at Wimbledon has less to do with tennis than nerves and, on Saturday, Becker showed a lot of nerve. “If Ivan has match point, he also does almost anything to win it,” said Becker, who used similar tactics in his quarterfinal with defending champ Pat Cash. “It’s still in the rules of the game. Many people have done it. Many people will do it. Some people talk to the umpire for ten minutes, some to the crowd and others to the linemen. Some wait. Some tie their shoes.”
Final: Phil Rosenthal
Stefan Edberg fell on his back. Boris Becker fell on his face. Neither fall was planned. But then the best-laid plans fell apart long before Edberg laid Becker to rest, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2, Monday in the long-awaited conclusion of the Wimbledon men’s singles final. “It’s just hard to believe I really won it,” said Edberg, who hit the Centre Court turf after Becker botched a backhand on match point. “It’s been very, very hard after all the rain delays. But it came out very well in the end.” The end came more than 27 hours after the final had been scheduled to begin on Sunday. When it stopped raining, Edberg and Becker were only able to play 22 minutes before the rain started again and play was pushed to Monday. Rain delayed for two hours the match’s scheduled resumption, and they got only 15 minutes in before it started again. Ninety minutes later, Edberg and Becker were back on Centre Court to mop things up, as it were. By that time, the concession stands had long been out of strawberries and cream, the courts were almost out of grass and the guests in the Royal Box had out green and purple blankets to fight the cold, blustery front that had moved in after the rain. Becker – who trailed in the first set, 3:2, when play was stopped Sunday but led, 5:4, when play Monday was interrupted – admitted the delays and conditions hurt him. But the West German’s biggest problem was that, after beating top-seeded Ivan Lendl in the semifinals and defending champ Pat Cash in the quarterfinals, he was spent mentally and physically. “When I finally played Edberg, I had the feeling I had already been here too many days,” said Becker, 20, who was Wimbledon champ in 1985 and ’86 but was upset last year in the second round. “I couldn’t really push myself today when I needed to most. I guess that was the bottom line. He was more psyched up for the match.” In his own mind, Becker already had beaten his toughest opponents. Contributing to that was a victory over Edberg last month in the finals of the pre-Wimbledon tuneup Queen’s Club tournament (Becker won 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 then). Edberg’s penchant for double faults at critical moments of that match only added to his reputation for lacking mental toughness. It was Becker, however, who seemed unnerved Monday. “You can always tell because he gets a bit angry with himself,” said Edberg, 22, the first Swedish player to make the Wimbledon final since five-time champ Bjorn Borg lost in 1981. “If he’s upset, he shows it. I could tell that he was upset today and he didn’t know what to do.” Match point came down to a reflex volley and Becker blinked first. The ball went off the top of Edberg’s racquet and Becker hit it into the net. “I could not believe he missed that last point,” said Edberg, who now lives in London. “I don’t think it’s sunk into my system yet that I really won it.” The turning point had come with the score tied at 3:3 in the second set. Edberg double faulted to give Becker break point at 30/40. But Becker’s return of Edberg’s serve went wide for deuce and Edberg hung on to win the game and go up, 4:3. Had Becker won the point and the game, he said the match “would have been over.” Edberg, who came back from two sets down against Miloslav Mecir in the semis, wasn’t so sure. In any case, Becker didn’t come close to breaking Edberg’s service the rest of the match. “He didn’t play that well on the big points today,” Edberg said. “I think I made him play a bit worse because I was serving so well and I was volleying so well he didn’t know what to do in the end. I mean, I never really gave him a chance.” Edberg won the first five points in taking the tie-breaker, won the third set by virtue of a service break in the third game, then broke Becker in both the first and fifth games of the fourth set to take the title. “After I won the second set, I felt very, very comfortable out there,” Edberg said. “I just felt that I could hardly miss the ball.” Edberg seemed to anticipate almost everything Becker sent his way. If Edberg had ever played better in a major tournament, he said he couldn’t remember it. “Normally, when (Becker) plays me, he serves out of his mind,” Edberg said. “Today, I started to get the returns back. Once I get the returns back, I feel I’m in the match and that’s the key.” Instead of hitting his knees, the way Borg did after each of his five successive victories here from 1976 to ’80, Edberg fell back with the win. “So many players have done different things, I didn’t know what to come up with,” Edberg said. “I couldn’t do much. I was just falling.” While he closely followed Borg’s Wimbledon triumphs as a youth and was inspired by Borg, he hasn’t followed Borg at all on the court. “He’s been a big influence, not really on my game but as a person and as a player,” Edberg said. “He’s done a lot for Swedish tennis.” Borg’s Swede success legacy is also carried by Mats Wilander, who made the quarterfinals here and won the Australian Open and French Open. Edberg’s Wimbledon victory gave Sweden three quarters of tennis’ four Grand Slam events with the U.S. Open still ahead. Becker, meanwhile, couldn’t help looking back to his semifinals victory over top-ranked Lendl. “It’s just a pity it wasn’t over on Saturday,” Becker said. “I’m still human, you know. I beat the defending champion. I beat No. 1, and when I went to play the final match, it was like ‘What the hell am I still doing here? I’ve already done everything I have to do, and I still have to win it?’ ” It was Edberg’s 18th title, third Grand Slam. Stats of the final
Wimbledon, London June 26, 1989; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $2,204,162; Surface – Grass
“I don’t ever remember coming back from two sets down before,” the mercurial John McEnroe said after his 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 8-6 first- round victory over Darren Cahill of Australia on Centre Court. Indeed, it’s the only time McEnroe won a match coming back from two sets down.“It’s great to come back and win the match,” he said. “Let’s face it, I could easily be out of the tournament.” Technically, the match may not have been of the highest quality. Both players struggled with their first serves. But it transcended tennis. “It was pure theater. I never really got my game in total gear,” McEnroe said after the 3 1/2-hour battle that started in sunshine and finished in evening gloom with a standing ovation for both players. “I don’t think it’s the greatest match he’s ever played.” admitted Cahill. For two sets, the left-handed American, who gave up a large part of the European clay-court season to concentrate on winning a fourth Wimbledon crown, appeared to have wasted all the preparation. Deserted by his serve – he double-faulted 16 times – McEnroe allowed his 23-year-old opponent, at No. 26 the highest-ranked non-seeded player in the men’s draw, to control the match. Cahill, a dangerous serve-and-volleyer who beat Boris Becker on his way to last year’s U.S. Open semifinals, appeared set to become the second unseeded Australian in successive years to end McEnroe’s Wimbledon hopes. Last year, Wally Masur upset the three-time champion in the second round in McEnroe’s return to Wimbledon after a four-year absence. But with the crowd behind him and his temper in check apart from sporadic swipes of his racket, McEnroe dug deep into his repertoire of unorthodox strokes and turned the match around. As his first serve and returns of serve improved, McEnroe broke Cahill twice in the 3rd set and again in the 4th, passing the Australian with flicked backhands and mixing up the pace on his volleys. In the 5th set, McEnroe’s touch and variation were at their best. But he blew five break points and, serving second, was under continued pressure. He kept his cool, broke Cahill with a backhand cross-court pass to go up 7:6 and served out the match with a pair of swinging, swerving aces. They were two of his best serves in the match. “My serve just wasn’t there today,” McEnroe said after his best comeback in 162 Grand Slam matches. “At the beginning, I felt mentally and physically paralyzed. I don’t know why. In the fourth and fifth sets, I think I had more energy than he did.’‘ Tim Mayotte left the dramatics to McEnroe yesterday. Instead, the Springfield native took a leisurely, routine route into the second round with a 7-6(2), 6-0, 6-1 romp over Italian Paolo Cane. “It was a good first round match,” acknowledged the eighth seed. Mayotte plowed through his opponent in relative seclusion on Court 1 while McEnroe simultaneously clawed his way through five grueling sets before a packed Centre Court crowd. Though McEnroe will need today’s rest day to recuperate, Mayotte could easily return to action immediately if necessary against second round foe Henrik Holm of Sweden. He spent only an hour and a half on court yesterday. A qualifier ranked 307th in the world, Holm displayed no Wimbledon rookie nerves in downing Neil Broad of South Africa 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. Mayotte hustled through his match behind a near flawless serve. Except for a service break in the 4th game of the 1st set, Mayotte was untouchable in his service games. He rocketed 16 aces, had no double faults and did not face a break point and lost only 10 points off his serve over the final two sets. “That is the best I’ve serve in a long time and that is pretty important out here,” said Mayotte. Ivan Lendl , a man on a mission, nearly had his journey cut short at Wimbledon Monday. But Michael Chang, a kid with a crown, had a royal time on Centre Court. Lendl, seeking the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him, struggled to beat hard-serving teen-ager Nicolas Pereira  of Venezuela 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1 in 3 hours 14 minutes. “I always have a hard time getting my rhythm, but today, was especially difficult,” Lendl said. “I didn’t really break a sweat until the fifth set because there were no rallies.” Chang, the 17-year-old Californian who shocked the tennis world by winning the French Open two weeks ago, beat fellow American Bill Scanlon 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in his opening match at the All England Club. “He’s a polite young man, but when he gets on the tennis court he’s going to do everything he can to beat you,” said Scanlon, a good grass-court player who reached the quarterfinals here in 1979. Earlier on Centre Court, defending champion Stefan Edberg used his smooth serve-and-volley game to down Canadian Chris Pridham 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. “I was a little nervous walking out on the court, but I got off to a good start and that helped,” the Swede said. “It’s a nice feeling being defending champion. You can hear the crowd and you have nice memories. But once you get on court, that disappears very quickly.” Also disappearing quickly were sixth-seeded Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland and No. 14 Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union. Hlasek was upset by Thomas Hogstedt of Sweden 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-1 and Chesnokov fell to Brad Drewett of Australia 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-0. A pair of 2-time champions, Boris Becker and Jimmy Connors, easily won their opening matches. Becker beat American Bryan Shelton 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(2) and Connors started his 18th consecutive Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 Centre Court victory over Andrei Cherkasov of the Soviet Union. “I feel comfortable walking out on about five courts in the world, and this is one of them.” Connors said. In a battle of 18-year-old boys, Todd Woodbridge  ousted the future multiple champion Pete Sampras 7-5, 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3 – Sampras’  debut at Wimbledon. David Wheaton, who lost to Jonas Svensson 6-7(3), 6-7(4), 6-7(5) was during a bizarre streak of losing six consecutive sets in tie-breaks (before Wimbledon he lost in Bristol 6-7, 6-7, another match after Wimbledon played in Washington where won his first round match 6-7, 6-4, 6-0). Miloslav Mecir in three easy sets ousted Scott Warner, who had defeated Matt Anger 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(2), 3-6, 28-26 in the last qualifying round after 5 hours 22 minutes!
Second round: (Daily Breeze)
Jimmy Connors anticipated the question, the same one he’s been asked time after time since age began creeping up. Once again, he wasn’t giving anything away. “Get through this year first and see what happens,” the 36-year-old Connors said when asked about retirement after tumbling out of Wimbledon in the second round Wednesday. His 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 loss to Dan Goldie was only the third time since he came to Wimbledon in 1971 that Connors had exited so early. It was by far the biggest upset through the first three days of the tournament. Known for his stirring comebacks, Connors had beaten Goldie, ranked 47th in the world, in both their previous meetings. This time, however, he couldn’t convert a flurry of break points and failed again to add a third title to his 1974 and 1982 triumphs. “That’s the grass. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t,” Connors said. Ivan Lendl, the men’s top seed who was stretched to five sets in his opener Monday, dropped the first set in a tie-break to Sweden’s Richard Bathman , then rallied for a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Centre Court. Lendl ran Bathman ragged in the final three sets, clinching the victory when Bathman hit a backhand service return wide. “I didn’t know anything about him,” said Lendl, still trying to find his best form. “I hadn’t even seen his face.”Stefan Edberg, Wimbledon’s defending men’s champ, beat Todd Woodbridge 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5), in the completion of a second-round match suspended by darkness yesterday. Two-time champion Boris Becker led an early run of seeded players into the third round today at rain-plagued Wimbledon. After downpours and drizzle delayed the start of play for almost three hours, Becker, the third seed from West Germany, defeated American Richard Matuszewski 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 on Centre Court. Becker, the Wimbledon men’s winner in 1985-86, served 11 aces and encountered his only trouble in the 10th game of the 2nd set, when he saved three set points. But the West German recovered to win that game and broke Matuszewski’s serve for a 6:5 lead, then served out the set. “I enjoyed watching Borg play, but I’ve never modeled myself on anybody,” the 17-year-old Michael Chang said Friday after his second-round victory over Ronald Agenor of Haiti, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5. “I don’t want to copy anybody. I want my own style.”Chang had beaten Agenor in four sets also three weeks earlier in the French Open quarterfinal. In what may have been the longest match in Wimbledon history, Greg Holmes  defeated Todd Witsken  in a 26-game fifth set to win a match that began Thursday evening and ended Saturday afternoon. The match between the two unseeded Americans, which stretched over three days because of rain and darkness, included 5 hours, 28 minutes of play and the score was almost as long as the match – 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 14-12. But there was no time to celebrate for Holmes, who less than two hours after his victory had to play a third-round match against 16th-seeded Amos Mansdorf. An exhausted Holmes lost in three quick sets, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in 1:41. Wimbledon officials and veteran British reporters said they could not remember any match lasting as long as the Holmes-Witsken marathon, but said it was impossible to check because time records were not kept in early years of the tournament. “It’s certainly the longest in the Open era (that began in 1968),” said John Parsons, tennis writer for London’s Daily Telegraph, who has been covering Wimbledon for 25 years. “Until 1972 or 1973 the players didn’t have chairs for the changeovers, so the matches went a lot quicker,” Parsons said. Wimbledon officials and Lance Tingay, who wrote the Guinness Book of Tennis Facts and Feats, also said they had no record of any match lasting that long. At the Wimbledon Museum, which keeps the most complete records of the tournament, officials with access to timesheets and other pertinent material had left work for the day by the time queries were made. Before the Holmes-Witsken battle, the longest recorded match in Wimbledon history was a 112-game first-round contest between Americans Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell in 1969 that lasted 5:12. The second-round Holmes-Witsken match started at 7:39 p.m. Thursday, with Witsken winning the first set and the players tied at 3:3 in the 2nd set when darkness halted play. They resumed at 3:56 p.m. on Friday, with Holmes winning two sets in between four rain delays, and Witsken evening the match with a victory in the fourth set. Holmes and Witsken were tied 9:9 in the deciding set when darkness stopped play Friday night and sent the match into its third day. Holmes, wearing a knee brace because of a first-round injury that nearly forced him to drop out of the tournament, needed 34 minutes to finally wrap up the match in its 71st game Saturday afternoon. He then caught his breath before heading out to play Mansdorf. “In the second set my legs just were real tired,” Holmes said. “It was just really tough.” Mansdorf said he could tell his opponent was mentally and physically drained after the marathon match. “He kept looking up at the sky and hoping for rain, I think,” Mansdorf said. In other marathon second round encounter, David Pate defeated Tom Nijssen of the Netherlands, 6-4, 2-6, 1-6, 7-6(7), 15-13, in 4 hours 13 minutes. Pate, a 27-year-old Los Angeles native who played at Texas Christian and now lives in Las Vegas, fought off four match points while winning his second straight two-day match. In the first round, rain forced Pate to finish Monday’s match with Paul Annacone Tuesday, another five-set encounter. Pate shrugged. After all, what could he do? “This is Wimbledon,” he said. “It rains all the time.” Now, after playing 10 sets in two matches spread over four days, Pate takes to the court again today to face eighth-seeded Tim Mayotte. When play was halted Thursday night, Pate trailed Nijssen, 0:2, in the 4th set. But he came back and withstood three match points in the set and another in the fifth. At 11:11, there was another rain delay. Pate, whose ranking has dropped from No. 17 to 47 to 147 in the last two years, is recovering from a muscle tear in his right shoulder last October, which is probably why he wasn’t happy about playing a 15-13 fifth set. “It’s kind of like watching cricket or baseball,” he said. “The fans are just sitting there waiting for the big points to come. Other than that, it’s boring.” Pate is actually lucky to be playing Wimbledon in this era, when only a fifth set is played without a tiebreaker. Until 1971, there were no tiebreakers at all, not in any set.
Third round: Richard Finn
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl beat Tomas Carbonell of Spain 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-1 in the third round, his first straight-set victory of the tournament, and two-time champion Boris Becker beat Jan Gunnarsson of Sweden 7-5, 7-6(1), 6-3. Lendl’s match was interrupted by rain with Lendl leading by 4:3 in the 2nd set; after the resumption the top-seeded player ran off seven straight games. Aaron Krickstein, eliminated in the first round in his only previous Wimbledon appearance in 1984, advanced to the fourth round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Patrick Kuhnen of West Germany. Unseeded Dan Goldie, who eliminated Jimmy Connors in the second round, matched his best Grand Slam performance, moving to the fourth round with a 7-6(3), 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(5) victory over Wally Masur of Australia. Hard-serving Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia beat Miloslav Mecir 6-7(2), 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 and American Leif Shiras saved three match points before beating Kevin Curren 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-3. John McEnroe began to play sporadically in 1987, but his tennis form was slow and unartistic compared to the man’s prime, when he was winning three Wimbledons, four U.S. Opens and ranking No. 1 in 1981-84. As a journalist, I’m a confessed McEnroe-basher. Always loved his tennis artistry but never had use for the bratty behavior and smart mouth. But when a Wimbledon or a U.S. Open came along without him, I’ll admit I missed McEnroe. Last year, he returned to Wimbledon but was wiped out like a hacker in straight sets by unknown Australian tennis soldier Masur. But, in the 12 months since, there has been an imposing renaissance of the McEnroe abilities. On Saturday, at age 30, the retooled and perhaps mildly mellowing old McBrat sculpted a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win against an American unknown, Jim Pugh, to bound into the Final 16. Not an accomplishment meriting a ticker-tape parade, but nonetheless another solid notch of indication that Johnny Mac’s game is re-approaching levels that would allow him to compete with Lendl or Becker. ”I’ll never be as hungry as I once was, and probably not as intense,” he confessed a half-hour after the match. ”But I don’t want my tennis to be the way it was in 1978-through-85.”Tim Mayotte wrapped up the first week of Wimbledon yesterday with a tidy straight set victory over David Pate. “I didn’t really have any tough matches this week, as far as five setters go and it was pretty smooth,” said Mayotte after running over Pate 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 and into the tournament’s final sweet 16. The eighth-seeded Mayotte didn’t lose a set in in his first round win over Italian Paolo Cane then dropped just one set against Henrik Holm of Sweden before throwing the 1 hour and 48 minute shutout at Pate out on Court No. 14 of the All England Club. “I feel good to get through and get these matches behind and get into the middle of the tournament,” said Mayotte, who has now reached the fourth round for the eighth time in nine Wimbledon outings. “Now the competition gets serious.” How serious is no joking matter, for if Mayotte is to keep alive his always flickering Wimbledon title hopes, he will have to beat the reigning ice man himself, French Open champion Michael Chang. The new whiz kid on the tour, the 17-year-old Californian continued his amazing stretch of gutsy victories by saving two set points in the 3rd set to edge Michiel Schapers of Holland 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 yesterday. The lanky, big serving Schapers had Chang down *5:1 in the third set and had set point chances in the 8th and 9th games. “During the times when it is a must needed point, you can’t let any error come into your game,” explained the No. 9 seeded Chang. The defending champion, Stefan Edberg just like in the previous round dropped third set before winning in four as he eliminated Scott Davis 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Fourth round: (AP)
John McEnroe argued with officials, then beat Australian John Fitzgerald today to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. As police investigated a fourth death threat against him, McEnroe complained about line calls and a humming courtside refrigerator, double-faulted 10 times in the first two sets but beat Fitzgerald 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. “If I said what I really felt, I’d get in trouble,” Fitzgerald said. ”Just say a leopard doesn’t change his spots. McEnroe tries to make everyone believe he’s changed his ways, and that’s ridiculous. He’s exactly the same as he ever was. He abuses his opponent, he abuses the referee, he makes everybody wait… Here you’re trying hard, doing your best, and he comes up with this ridiculous nonsense.” McEnroe next plays fourth-seeded Mats Wilander of Sweden, who beat South African Christo Van Rensburg 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3. Defending champion Stefan Edberg and two-time winner Boris Becker advanced in straight sets. Top-seeded Ivan Lendl going for his first Wimbledon title, beat Peter Lundgren of Sweden 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4, closing out the victory with his 14th ace (Lendl saved a set point in the 2nd set). Becker, the only men’s player left who has not lost a set, beat 13th-seeded Aaron Krickstein of the U.S. 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Edberg came back from a break down in the first set to beat 16th-seeded Amos Mansdorf of Israel 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Two American journeymen achieved the best results of their careers: Dan Goldie  ousted Yugoslavia’s Sloboban Zivojinovic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(6) while Paul Chamberlin  dismissed Leif Shiras 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(4). The 27-year-old Chamberlin hadn’t beaten a Top 100 player en route to the quarterfinals! The glint of invincibility disappeared from the eyes of Michael Chang on Monday almost as quickly as his match with Tim Mayotte, a perennial Wimbledon quarterfinalist. Mayotte bullied the 17-year-old French Open champion with his thunderous serve and incisive volleys, picking apart Chang’s game with surgical skill before he ushered him out of the tournament in three convincing sets, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. “Today was more of a struggle,’‘ said Chang, who appeared defenseless and ill at ease. “It seemed like every time I hit a passing shot, it’d be wide, and that in itself is a little frustrating.” It took Mayotte only 1 hour 42 minutes to put an end to Chang’s procession through the draw. The slender teen-ager had faced larger opponents and worn them down with lithe footwork and patient returns.
John McEnroe‘s bobbing, weaving run through Wimbledon took him to his first Grand Slam semifinal in almost four years today as he kept his temper and beat Mats Wilander in a Center Court marathon. Reaching the final four at Wimbledon for the seventh time and the first since his third title in 1984, McEnroe won 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a 3-hour, 52-minute match featuring missed opportunities and golden moments from both players. “I knew after the first set it was going to be one of those matches,” McEnroe said. “We were both onto each other’s serve. You had to hang in there mentally. You couldn’t get a lot of rhythm.” McEnroe’s last Grand Slam semifinal was at the 1985 U.S. Open. Next, he will play Stefan Edberg, who outraced the dusk to beat Tim Mayotte 7-6(2), 7-6(12), 6-3. In the other half of the men’s draw, top-seeded Ivan Lendl claimed the first semifinal spot with a 7-6(8), 7-6(4), 6-0 victory over unseeded American Dan Goldie, who limped through the last two sets with an apparent leg injury. Lendl’s opponent in his fourth consecutive Wimbledon semifinal will be Boris Becker. The two-time champion from West Germany beat another unseeded American, Paul Chamberlin, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. Mayotte, who has earned the nickname “Gentleman Tim” for his good behavior on court, exploded in the second-set tie-breaker when Scottish umpire John Frame overruled a line call on a serve and gave Edberg set point. “How can you be possibly do that? How can you be so sure?” Mayotte screamed at Frame. “I don’t believe it!” Edberg lost that set point but finally won the tie-breaker 14/12 (Edberg’s longest tie-break in career; will win a 26-point tie-break also in 1996), and Mayotte smashed his racket so hard on the changeover that it crumpled the metal frame. McEnroe’s best Wimbledon performance in five years has been marked by play that is sometimes brilliant and sometimes bad and glimpses of the temper that earned the American nicknames such as “McBrat” and “Mac the Mouth” from the British tabloids. It was most evident in his fourth-round victory over Fitzgerald, when he argued over line calls, was warned about slow play and complained that the court-side refrigerator was making too much noise. Against Wilander, who has won the other three Grand Slam tournaments but never gone past the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, McEnroe limited his outbursts to infrequent chirping at umpire Richard Kaufman, an old nemesis. But if the tantrums were gone, the up-and-down play continued. And McEnroe was lucky that Wilander, the fourth seed, was playing the same way. There were 17 service breaks and dozens of break points that never were converted. “He played better on the big points,” Wilander said. “I think I had a lead in every set… and maybe I got a little too loose. He produced some great shots at times, and I played well at times, too.” Becker needed just 93 minutes to overwhelm Chamberlin, serving nine aces and many more service winners that the American barely touched. The West German lost just five points on his serve in the first set and two in the second set before dropping nine points on serve in the last set – including two consecutive double faults on his first two match points. He closed out the match with a second-serve winner. Lendl, who needs Wimbledon to complete his Grand Slam title set, served 21 aces, and Goldie had to limp through the final two sets after injuring his left leg. Neither player lost serve through the first two sets, with Lendl overpowering the American with his serve. “That’s grass for you,” Lendl said. “On grass, you can’t do anything about it.”
Semifinals: Robin Finn
There was John McEnroe, the weight of the world on slender shoulders not only stooped but also sore, out in the drizzle on Wimbledon’s Centre Court trying to stare down sunny-haired, lithe-limbed Stefan Edberg, the defending champion of a tournament McEnroe has won three times and still covets. Six and a half hours later, a time span produced by a lengthy rain delay rather than by an epic struggle, McEnroe watched Edberg slash at a low serve with a backhand and make a return so well angled that the server did not bother to chase it. And, edged out in the semifinal round today by Edberg in straight but close sets, 7-5, 7-6(2), 7-6(5), McEnroe took his leave of Wimbledon, a tournament where he has played every role from mean-spirited spoiler to wounded warrior. ”That wasn’t the reason I lost the match; let’s just leave it at that,” said McEnroe, who has been unable to restore his first serve to something resembling the reliable threat it once was. Before the match today, McEnroe had served 36 aces and double-faulted 47 times here. Today, he added nine double-faults and eight aces. Edberg won the pre-match coin toss, and his decision to serve was wise because it placed McEnroe in the position of playing catch-up in the first two sets, each of which Edberg led by 6:5. McEnroe came on strong in the first set, and at one point held a 4:2 lead before being broken in the 8th game, where he double-faulted at break point, and in the 12th game, where he lost the set. There were no service breaks in the 2nd set. In the tie breaker, McEnroe double-faulted on the third point, and with strong volleys, Edberg went on to win, 7/2. Play in the 3rd set was suspended by the rain with McEnroe leading by 3:2. But Edberg evened it up when play resumed. With Edberg serving at 4:5, McEnroe failed to convert a set point, foiled by a service winner. In the second tie breaker, it was once again McEnroe who faltered, falling behind, 4:1. He pulled to within 6:5, but wound up being punished with the match-ending backhand. Ivan Lendl carried his own towels, lilac before the rain hit and pink thereafter, into his semifinal meeting with Boris Becker on Centre Court today, hoping they would provide a familiar, restorative touch during changeovers. Lendl makes life so difficult for himself here that he’ll accept help from any friendly source, even a towel. But today the towels and the officiating wound up joining the intangible conspiracy that seems to work against Lendl’s every attempt to acquit himself honorably at Wimbledon, a tournament that has left him at 29 years old with a decade-long case of bridesmaid’s syndrome. Lendl, twice a finalist, six times a semifinalist, and currently the No. 1 player in the world, dueled ably with Becker through two sets but suffered a failure of nerve in the fifth and left Wimbledon the way he usually does, angry, after Becker’s 7-5, 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory in 4 hours 1 minute. The match sent the 21-year-old Becker into the finals against the defending champion Edberg, who stunned him in four sets in last year’s final. ”I don’t think I did anything wrong today,” said Lendl, who sent a curt nod in the direction of the Royal Box as he hurried from the court. ”I was extremely disappointed and I was pretty upset, too, actually. Last year I really didn’t have much of a chance. This year, I thought I played well and I thought I had a good chance.” Lendl was leading Becker, 3:0, at the start of the 3rd set on the strength of two breaks of Becker’s renowned serve. Becker said that during the rain delay, he had ample opportunity to ponder the distracted way he handled the second set tie breaker, and the anger he unwisely carried into the third set. Lendl noticed that his opponent had begun to look vulnerable just before the rain chased them off the court. ”It obviously wasn’t as important to me as it was to Boris,” Lendl said of the delay, where Becker entered a huddle with his mentor, Ion Tiriac. ”Obviously, mentally, they picked him up, because I felt he was shattered at the time we went off the court.” Becker agreed that the respite revived his game. ”I could settle down, I could think again, and I came back fresh,” said Becker, who dropped the third set, but went on a tear late in the fourth and won 18 consecutive points on his serve. ”The match had two sides,” Becker said about the way he sandwiched a two-set slump between a fine beginning and ending. ”At the beginning, I was better. Then again in the fifth set I had more chances, and I was the better player.” In the 4th set Lendl broke in the 5th game and had a game point for a 4:2 lead – Becker responded with a return backhand winner… Lendl played at least one tie-break in all his six matches at Wimbledon ’89.
Final: Robin Finn
Boris Becker shocked the defending champion, Stefan Edberg, in three determined sets, 6-0, 7-6(1), 6-4, an outcome he pursued as the only acceptable antidote for his loss to Edberg in last year’s final. With the victory today, Becker, whose Grand Slam titles have all been won at Wimbledon, became the first three-time winner of his sport’s most revered title since John McEnroe, who won in 1981, ’83 and ’84, and just the fifth three-time champion since World War II. It was the second defeat in a Grand Slam final in a month for Edberg, who lost at the French Open to Michael Chang shortly after Edberg had defeated Becker there. Edberg, a poised grass-court strategist who was expecting to outwit the powerful Becker today by combating substance with style, never quite raised his game to championship level and left Centre Court in a daze. ”I’ve lost two Grand Slam finals within a matter of one month, and that hurts,” said the 23-year-old Swede, whose ample ties to the Wimbledon sensibility include a London penthouse, a British accent and his coach, Tony Pickard, a former captain of Britain’s Davis Cup team. ”I felt a little bit like I was playing uphill today,” said Edberg, who was the players’, if not the bettors’, favorite to reprise his role as champion, ”Things obviously aren’t going much right when you lose a set 6-0.” Edberg made a partial recovery from the dissection by Becker in the opening set, in which Edberg’s every volley seemed accompanied by a homing device directing it into the net, but in the end, Becker’s aggressiveness prevailed. Still impetuous at 21, Becker first gave Edberg a conciliatory tap on the shoulder and then, engulfed by the moment, twirled away and hurled his racquet high into the stands. ”It’s gone with the wind,” he said later after he dropped the golden President’s Cup, an antique first presented in 1907 by King George V, as he carried it for a celebratory lap around Centre Court. Becker’s triumph created a double celebration for West Germany because his achievement followed Steffi Graf’s second consecutive Wimbledon championship, making the pair the first from that country to win Wimbledon in the same year and the first since 1925 to hail from the same European nation (when Rene Lacoste and Suzanne Lenglen triumphed for France). The last two from the same country to win were McEnroe and Martina Navratilova in 1984. ”In the last two or three weeks, we got together more than we’ve ever been, and for her to win today and for me, it was just something,” Becker said. Both were raised in small towns outside of Heidelberg, and he involuntarily became her hitting partner when he was 9. ”I used to be the worst in the boys and she used to be the best in the girls, and I all the time had to hit with her,” he said. For Becker, this return to the pinnacle on Centre Court was an arduous journey of rehabilitation. Four years ago, Becker, a gangly, honey-haired teen-ager who used his tennis strokes like artillery, hit Wimbledon in all his adolescent fury and at age 17 became the youngest men’s champion in tournament history. In 1986, Becker repeated the feat and declared himself the world’s best player on grass. He prowled Centre Court with his high-powered game as if he owned it, dominating not only when the ball was in play but during changeovers, when he didn’t hesitate to jostle his opponents. He was, according to Ion Tiriac, his coach and mentor, one aggressive soul, and his nonstop intimidation seemed to bring him the desired results. ”The early victories were more like a fairy tale,” Becker said. ”I didn’t know what I was doing.” Becker overwhelmed Edberg today in the first set, which essentially was a one-way conversation between the West German and his responsive racquet. He bombed Edberg with his serves, paralyzing him at the net, a tactic he repeated when it mattered in the second-set tie breaker (before the tie-break, Edberg wasted a triple set point on serve at 6:5 having won 14 points in a row on serve – after that lost 9 service points in a row!). Just when Edberg seemed ready to crawl back into the match, Becker shut him down, 7/1, in the tie breaker. In the last set Edberg led 4:3* (30/0), but in the following game was broken from deuce, committing a double fault on Becker’s mini-match point. The West German won his 22nd title (third major; had played four Wimbledon finals at the time). Stats of the final