1990 – 1991, Wimbledon

Wimbledon, London
June 25, 1990; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $2,670,863; Surface – Grass

Definitely the biggest grass-court specialists before Pete Sampras’ emergence, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker met for the third consecutive year in the final. It was the last edition in which Ivan Lendl – for whom winning Wimbledon turned into an obsession – had a reasonable chance to take the title (he’d skipped the clay-court season devoting himself entirely to the grass-court preparation, and won a warm-up event in Queens Club outplaying McEnroe & Becker!). One of the biggest Wimbledon legends, John McEnroe was beaten in the first round for the first time since 1978. Prior to the tournament McEnroe claimed he would win it, despite he had not won a title almost a year. Two-time champion, Jimmy Connors pulled out of the tournament for the first time in 20 (!) years, but he appeared in London as NBC commentator.
All scorelines
First round: Mike Davis

rostagno_mcenroe_wb90John McEnroe was blown out of Wimbledon today, his earliest exit from the tournament he won three times in twelve years. McEnroe showed some of his old temper but not his old tennis. He argued line calls but hit too few lines, and was dumped in the first round by Derrick Rostagno, a long-haired Californian ranked 129th in the world, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. A semifinalist here a year ago and seeded fourth this time, McEnroe showed his age. Rostagno won the first three games of the match and, even though McEnroe came back to tie the set 5:5, the 31-year-old never mounted a serious challenge. A year ago, McEnroe came back from two sets down to beat Darren Cahill in the first round. That was the first time he had done that in his long, flashpaper career, but the feat was not to be duplicated this hazy day on Centre Court. Other seeds lost, too. Among upset victims were sixth-seeded Tim Mayotte and 12th-seeded Pete Sampras of the United States; fifth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador, the French Open champion; and 14th-seeded Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia. Mayotte, a quarterfinalist last year, was a first-round loser today to Gary Muller of South Africa, 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5, 6-3. Sampras, an up-and-comer who won a Wimbledon warm-up tournament last weekend (Manchester), was eliminated 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-6(3) by Christo van Rensburg of South Africa, and Korda was ousted by Gilad Bloom of Israel 6-0, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. “Don’t trust the seeding anymore,” Gomez said with a laugh after losing to American Jim Grabb, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. The men’s third seed, former champion Stefan Edberg, bounced back from early trouble to beat Brod Dyke 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker survived surprisingly tough challenges. Lendl, the top seed, lost four of the opening five games against 22-year-old Christian Miniussi, ranked 116th in the becker_wb90world. Though he recovered to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, he seemed to struggle at times with the low bounce of the ball off the carefully manicured grass courts. While Lendl was battling the bounces, Becker was simply trying to stay on his feet. The three-time winner repeatedly slipped and skidded on the grass, often while charging the net. ”It was very, very wet and soft,” Becker said after his 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-5 Centre Court victory over Luis Herrera. In the 1st set, Becker double-faulted away the 9th game to bring Herrera within 5:4. Soon after, three more double-faults handed Herrera a service break and a 6:5 lead. Herrera actually had a set point in the next game, but Becker responded with three gorgeous backhand winners to force a tiebreaker, which he won easily. The 2nd set was equally laborious, finally resulting in a  tiebreaker win. Becker stated: “The first round is always difficult, but on such a court it is more difficult.” Around the tennis tour, players commonly refer to it as “”breaking through.” It means beating players that are ranked ahead of you. And it’s something Dade City’s Jim Courier has been struggling to do. At Wimbledon, which began Monday, the ninth-seeded Courier hopes to go beyond the expected. He got off on the right foot, disposing of Mark Kaplan 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in a first-round match. “I’m hitting the ball fine and I’m winning a lot of matches, but not the ones I should,” said Courier, who spent several days practicing on the grass courts at the Sheraton Palm Coast resort last week. “It’s those third and fourth round ones that I need to win to get me through.” After a year marred by injury, Australia’s Pat Cash is grateful to be playing tennis on any court. But the 1987 Wimbledon champion is cash_wb90especially delighted to be competing again on his favorite surface, at his favorite event. “It’s just good to be back at Wimbledon,” said Cash, No. 142 in the world. “It’s a place I’ve done well at and I feel it’s very close to my heart.” Cash, who needed a wild card to get into the event, nearly was knocked out early by a young pro from Tbilisi, Georgia, Soviet Union. Cash rallied Monday to beat Dimitri Poliakov 4-6, 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. Cash blamed the slow start on a slightly pulled groin muscle suffered in the first set. “I found it very hard running for a couple sets,” Cash said, “and it wasn’t until it loosened up that I found myself being able to run properly and return serve and get to the net.” After receiving treatment, Cash expects to be ready for his next match – “The report is, it should be fine in a couple of days. When you’ve been out for a year, things gradually come back together.” Wayne Ferreira [176], who’ll make a record of 55 consecutive Grand Slam appearances, debuted stunning 16th seeded Yannick Noah in the first round 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Ferreira won’t play US Open ’90 and something what turns into the record,  will be initiated at the Australian Open ’91.

Second round: Mike Davis

Ivan Lendl chewed up Jakob Hlasek 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in 78 minutes of near-perfect tennis to win a Wimbledon second-round match in Wimbledon, England, on Thursday. Lendl opened with an ace and closed with another ace and two service winners. In between, Lendl attacked the net as never lendl_wb90before at Wimbledon, rapping volley winners forehand and backhand, left and right, against a dazzled Hlasek. “He made me look bad because he played so good,” said Hlasek. “He has really improved on grass. The whole game – the volley, the serve, the confidence. Everything.” “The first rounds in this tournament are very difficult because the grass hasn’t been played for over a year,” Boris Becker said. “The difference between a good player and a less good player is getting closer. If you’re not 100 percent fit you lose.” Becker seemed in danger of joining the upset list on Wednesday defeating Wally Masur 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 . Masur is one of those Aussie snakes-in-the-grass whose specialty is taking down big names on this surface. He beat Becker in the 1987 Australian Open (then on grass) and surprised McEnroe in the second round here in ’88. And he’s a markedly better player than Peter Doohan, the Aussie who shocked Becker in the second round here three years ago. So when Becker dropped the first-set tiebreaker yesterday, a red flag went up. False alarm. Becker quickly unraveled Masur’s fast-closing net-rush attack with a series of precise returns, broke the Australian’s serve five consecutive times and allowed him only seven games the rest of the way. Elsewhere in the men’s draw, several non-seeds considered most dangerous to break through to the second week moved through unscathed. Derrick Rostagno, playing without a day off, handled Britain’s top seed, Jeremy Bates, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Goran Ivanisevic, the big-serving 18-year-old Yugoslav who beat Becker in the first round of the French Open, survived a five-setter against Frenchman Olivier Delaitre 6-2, 6-0, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3. “I was on a high after beating McEnroe,” said Rostagno, “and I felt myself slipping a little in the second set. I tried to fight it off and get excited again – and I did.” Pat Cash, the 1987 champion, look sharp in sweeping fellow Australian, Johan Anderson 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(8). And David Wheaton, a 21-year-old Minnesotan, outlasted fellow American Paul Annacone 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 in a match that ended in controversy. A linesman’s “out” call on a Wheaton serve was overruled by the chair umpire, awarding Wheaton an ace that took him to match point, which he converted. It was the first overrule in a match punctuated by disputed line calls. “The ball is going 130 miles an hour,” Annacone said. “If it wasn’t wide, it was close enough that I don’t think he can definitely overrule.” The only casualties were the No. 15 chang_wb90seeds – Henri Leconte, beaten 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-3 by Alex Antonitsch of Austria. Stefan Edberg took just 1:20 to slice ‘n’ dice Miloslav Mecir, his tormentor in the 1988 semifinals, when the Swede had to come from two sets down to win. The scores were 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. Michael Chang gave further evidence Thursday at Wimbledon that he has rediscovered his form. Seeded 13th, he had an easy time against fellow American Jim Pugh, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. This constituted the latest step in a comeback that as recently as last month appeared to have run aground. A year ago, the teenager was the talk of the tennis world after becoming, at age 17 and 3 months, the youngest player ever to win the French Open. Then he surprised many observers by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon before losing to Tim Mayotte. A year later, Chang again is making some noise here, only this time no one is noticing. “After my first match,” he said, “I was waiting for someone to come and get me for the press, and no one came. This is different.”

Third round: Mike Davis

The first week of the 1990 All-England Lawn Tennis Championships ended Saturday as Stefan Edberg, the No. 3 seed fell behind, then rallied for a dramatic 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2, 9-7 third-round victory against Amos Mansdorf of Israel. edberg_wb90The 5th set was a stalemate that included eight games won at love. Mansdorf five times held with shutout games, the last coming for a 7:6 lead. However, he was just once two points away from breaking Edberg’s serve, at 4:3 (deuce) – Edberg led 40/0 in that 8th game. At that juncture, he had lost just three points on his serve in the set. But by then, it was a matter of nerve, and Edberg, winner of four Grand Slam titles, showed more of it.  “The top guy is going to play better on the big points,” Mansdorf said. “That’s the thing. And deep inside, you know it, in the back of your mind. Thats the difference, the slight mental difference. You know he’s not going to give you the match.” Edberg held with an ace to even it at 7-all, then got the opening for which he was so carefully biding his time, unreeling the crucial winners. Mansdorf led 30/0 in the 15th game, but Edberg hit two passing shots to even the game. Mansdorf hit an ace for 40/30, then double-faulted – his eighth of the match – for deuce. Mansdorf hit a volley for an ad, but Edberg erased it with a backhand passing shot. Edberg blasted a forehand passing shot that Mansdorf couldn’t volley for break point. Mansdorf surrendered with a forehand volley into the net. Edberg held serve at love  to end it after 3 hours, 3 minutes. “He really only gave me one chance, and I was lucky to take it. A match like this will help me,” said Edberg, now fully recovered from a stomach muscle tear that forced him to retire during the Australian Open final against Lendl in January. “When you go to a fifth set at Wimbledon, it brings the best out of you.” Michael Chang, master of the comeback, did it again Saturday. The No. 13 seed rallied from two sets down to beat Australian Mark Kratzmann 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 and set up a round-of-16 encounter with Edberg on Monday – their first meeting since the 1989 French Open final, which Chang won to become the youngest champion (age 17) in that tournament’s history. The turning point of the Chang-Kratzmann match came when Kratzmann could not hold a 30/0 lead as he served at 4:5 in the 3rd set. Chang unleashed two lunging winners that swung the momentum of the match, a scathing forehand return down the line for set point and another huge forehand cross to take it. Kratzmann slipped to 1-7 in five-setters after that loss, finished his career with one of the worst Open era records: 1-9. “There’s no pressure on me,” Chang said about upcoming match with Edberg. “I have nothing to lose, and he has everything to lose because he’s supposed to win. I like that.”  No.1 seed Ivan Lendl lost a second-set tiebreaker (after winning one in the first set) and had his third-round match against Bryan Shelton suspended by darkness. After the resumption Lendl took with relative ease two sets and the match 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4. “It’s hard to say what would have happened,” Shelton said referring to the suspention. “But I felt good after the second set and I felt like he was really, really flustered out there. The conditions were tough, and it was just really tough to play out there.” Elsewhere on a cool, windy afternoon at the All-England Club, Guy Forget [21] of France needed five sets to beat West Germany’s 21-year-old Michael Stich 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Stich, for whom the third round at Wimbledon was his best Grand Slam result at the time, will be a champion in the following year! Despite the miserable conditions, only one seeded player was upset. No. 9 Jim wheaton_wb90Courier had not dropped a set in two rounds, but he was eliminated by Mark Woodforde 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4. Men’s second seed Boris Becker defeated an unexpected quarterfinalist a year before, American Dan Goldie 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. The day’s biggest upset was turned in by a muscular young American, David Wheaton. He rallied from two sets down to beat 10th-seeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden 2-6, 6-7(8), 6-1, 6-0, 6-4. A year before Wheaton lost to Svensson at Wimbledon in three tie-breaks. Becker, trying for his fourth Wimbledon title, showed a strong serve and service-return against Goldie. He broke in the final games to wrap up the first and second sets, handed Goldie the break on a double fault in the 3rd game of the 3rd set, then completed the match by breaking the American a final time in the 12th game on a service-return winner and a forehand passing shot down the line. Brad Gilbert, the highest-ranking American left in the men’s draw, defeated Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Derrick Rostagno lost to Goran Ivanisevic of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Pat Cash, the 1987 champion who has been up and down the rankings since, also reached the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Juan Aguilera of Spain.

Fourth round: Stephen Wilson

What a difference a year and a surface can make. Last year on the red clay of Roland Garros, Michael Chang gutted out a marathon five-set victory over Stefan Edberg to win the French Open. But Edberg was back in his element Monday and Chang was on unfriendly grounds. This was the grass of Centre Court at Wimbledon, where Edberg won the title in 1988 and Chang had never made it past the fourth round. The result was an overwhelming 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win for the third-seeded Swede in their first meeting since Chang’s victory in Paris. The serve-and-volley demolition took just 90 minutes. Only two games in the match went to deuce. “Today he was just too good for me,” Chang said. “The clay surface favors me a little bit, but here the grass favors him.” The other main equalizer was the serve. Chang was broken nine times in 12 service games. Edberg constantly jumped on the American’s second serve and moved to the net behind his returns. Boris Becker bested Pat Cash in a tense tiebreaker, then rolled to a 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-4 victory. Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon winner, had two set points against Becker, but the three-time champion held on, then won the final four points of the tiebreaker. ”When two players like us come together, we both know that the first set is important,” Becker said. ”After I won the first set, gilbert_wb90it kind of clicked, and it was much easier for me and even more difficult for him.” Cash said on wasting set points: ”It would have been a lot different if one of those two backhands had gone in. It would have changed it around a lot. It was a very tight first set when you’re playing a big match. I haven’t played a big match like that for years.” Brad Gilbert and David Wheaton played an entirely different type of match. Gilbert came from behind and won, 6-7(8), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 13-11, in 4 hours 10 minutes, although it seemed longer. There were 43 aces in the match, 24 by Wheaton, who doesn’t think much of Gilbert’s chances against Becker. Wheaton was pretty abrupt about it. Question: Does Gilbert have a chance against Becker? Answer: No. He offered more: “I don’t think Gilbert serves well enough, I don’t think he volleys well enough. If Becker serves well, I don’t think he has any chance at all.” Actually, Gilbert has beaten Becker four times in his career and believes his fortunes at big tournaments are about to change. “I’m overdue to get some decent luck in a major,” said Gilbert, who had been knocked out in the first round of the two previous Grand Slam tournaments he had entered. Gilbert, who saved two match points in the fifth set, rescued his reputation from Wheaton. “That’s probably why he’s 21 years old and ranked 29 spots behind me,” Gilbert said. Wheaton lost also a couple of weeks earlier at Roland Garros losing match points (4) – to Milan Srejber. One big hitter beginning to draw attention is Goran Ivanisevic, the 18-year-old Yugoslav, who will play Kevin Curren in the quarterfinals. Ivanisevic defeated Mark Koevermans 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(2)  and then said he gained new confidence in beating the Dutch clay-court specialist. “I think I play unbelievable,” Ivanisevic said. “(Koevermans) won three matches here, which I think is unbelievable for him. The first set we play is unbelievable. And then I won. But I think, no, I don’t have any pressure, you know, if I play unbelievable again.” An unsmiling Ivan Lendl, whose form on grass at this Wimbledon has not yet been on par with the excellence he displayed two weeks ago at Queen’s Club, today defeated Alex Antonitsch of Austria, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 (Lendl won his opening match after exactly the same scoreline). Cursed by Becker? ”You don’t get points for smiling,” said Lendl, who may be starting to worry that Becker’s pronouncement after being beaten by Lendl in the Queen’s Club final could be on target. Becker, angry with himself for falling in straight sets there, declared that Lendl couldn’t possibly raise the caliber of his game any higher and pearce_wb.90implied that he, a three-time Wimbledon champion, probably would. Brad Pearce, a circuit journeyman with a ranking of No. 120, is assigned with Lendl is just his third quarterfinal as a professional and his first at a Grand Slam event. Today, he beat Mark Woodforde [175] of Australia in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, and agreed that his progress here would qualify him as ”the pride of Provo, Utah.” Just by advancing to the quarterfinals, the 24-year-old Pearce has earned $50,830 for his week’s work here, slightly more than he earned in all of 1989. Pearce, the lowest-ranked player remaining in the draw, said he is well aware of, yet unintimidated by, Lendl’s carefully plotted path toward a title here. ”Wimbledon is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid, but I still have a couple of rounds to go before I fulfill that dream,” said Pearce, who took advantage of his opponent’s nervousness to storm back from a *1:4 1st set deficit and then held his serve for the rest of the match. Pearce, like his countryman Paul Chamberlin a year before, had an amazing luck facing three lower ranked opponents en route to the quarterfinals. Besides Wimbledon ’90, he won only one other Grand Slam match, finishing career in 1999 with a 41-79 record overall. Thanks to Wimbledon ’90 he advanced for a short period of time to the Top 100, he had been there for a momentarily episode in 1986. Besides Pearce, also Christian Bergstrom [98] advanced to his first major quarterfinal stunning Guy Forget 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The 22-year-old Swede at the time is an interesting case, it was his first out of three Grand Slam quarterfinals, but he never won an ATP title, participating in just two small finals.

Quarterfinals: Diane Pucin

Boris Becker said he felt as if he were playing in the second round at Queens, Stefan Edberg had to remind himself he was in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, and Ivan Lendl asked for play to be postponed. Goran Ivanisevic? He knew exactly where he was and what he wanted to get done. And he did. After nearly a four-hour rain delay at Wimbledon yesterday, the four men’s quarterfinals were played simultaneously. That meant defending champion and No. 2 seed Becker found himself out on Court Two and No. 3 seed Edberg on Court 14. Top seed Lendl had the prime spot on lendl_wb90_Centre Court and still wasn’t happy – until the end. Lendl beat gutty Brad Pearce 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4; Becker finished off No. 7 seed Brad Gilbert, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1, and caught the kickoff of West Germany’s World Cup victory over England; Sweden’s Edberg was clinical in his annihilation of countryman Christian Bergstrom, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4; and 18-year-old Ivanisevic served up 27 aces in knocking out Kevin Curren, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3. “I was sitting down at a changeover and I thought it was some kind of second round in Queens,” said Becker of the tuneup tournament to Wimbledon. ”Playing on a side court like that, with the conditions, then the crowd not fully there – it was a funny atmosphere.” Edberg, who needed guards to show him the way to the far reaches of the Wimbledon grounds, noted: “It wasn’t full of people out there, exactly. You sort of had to tell yourself to really get into it and concentrate hard.” Struggling to find his service rhythm and obviously running gingerly on the slippery Centre Court, Lendl called for tournament referee Alan Mills before the start of the 2nd game in the 4th set. “I felt it was extremely dangerous out there,” said Lendl, who had just lost his serve to lose the third set. “The court had gotten a bit damp, and I asked what could be done. They said we couldn’t stop it, but I don’t believe the officials knew how dangerous it was.” Also dangerous was Pearce. The 24-year-old, who was participating in only his third career quarterfinal as a pro. Listed as 5-foot-9 and probably needing to stretch to reach that height, Pearce played Lendl aggressively and fearlessly. He jumped on Lendl’s second serves, of which there were many because the world’s top player converted on only 58 percent of his first serves, constantly cracking cross-court backhands past the befuddled Lendl. “He played very well,” Lendl said. “He was returning great.” The diminutive Pearce appeared to be swallowed up by the massive Centre Court, and when Lendl broke his serve at 15 in the 1st game, the match appeared an easy one for Lendl. But Pearce, who says he wants to make a lot of money so he can support his hoped-for 10 children, settled down. He managed one service break in the first set, though it came when he already was down, 5:2. Pearce used his backhand return to his advantage in that break, and it seemed to give him confidence. The world’s 120th-ranked player jumped out to a 3:0* lead in the 2nd set and led, 4:1, before Lendl went on a five-game run to win the set. The crucial break for Lendl came in the 9th game, when Pearce double-faulted on break point. The 3rd set was tight and well-played. There wasn’t a break point until the 12th game, when Pearce hit three great backhand returns and won the set. “I was really having trouble,” Lendl conceded. “The conditions were just so terrible.” The fourth set started like the third, with each player holding serve easily. Lendl did manage a break point in the 5th game, when Pearce double-faulted, but Pearce followed with three service winners. As the set wore on, though, Lendl picked up the pace of his ivanisevic_wb90serve. He held in the sixth game at 15 and in the eighth game at love. And when Pearce had trouble making a first serve in the 9th game, Lendl pounced on the second serve, getting the crucial break on a cross-court backhand passing shot. The best match of the day, however, came from the two unseeded players. Curren, the 32-year-old who was born in South Africa and became a U.S. citizen five years ago, was a Wimbledon finalist in 1985, losing to then-17-year-old Becker. He came up against another hard-serving teenager yesterday. While Curren had an impressive 16 aces, that seemed anemic compared with 11 more aces from the nerveless Ivanisevic. “I was in the Wimbledon quarterfinals,” the young Yugoslav said. “I thought, ‘You are lucky boy. You play Curren instead of Becker or Lendl to make semifinals. Don’t blow it.'” He didn’t, albeit he wasted a match point leading 8:7 in the 4th set tie-break. Becker won so easily with the help of only one service ace. He was winning points, instead, on penetrating service returns against Gilbert, the 28-year-old.

Semifinals: Robin Finn

Ivan Lendl‘s preparation for the 1990 Wimbledon may have been epic, but today, the curtain came down on him one round too early. At the very moment he most needed it, Lendl ran out of his supply of inspired ambition, or “zazrany”, as they call it back in his discarded homeland of Czechoslovakia. In a semifinal match this afternoon, after marching through the early rounds without having to face a seeded player, Lendl, the world’s No. 1 player, squared off against Stefan Edberg, the 1988 Wimbledon champion and the 1989 runner-up, and emerged from the tournament empty-handed. Edberg, serving solidly and volleying with a degree of finesse that escaped Lendl throughout the match, dismissed the most dedicated student of Wimbledon in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6(2), 6-3, and advanced to a Sunday rematch with the defending champion, Boris Becker, who has captured this title three times and last year took it away from Edberg in straight sets in the final, out-slugged and out-bullied 18-year-old Goran Ivanisevic of Yugoslavia in the other semifinal, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0, 7-6(5). ”Today, Stefan basically played great tennis and he outplayed me,” said Lendl, who still can’t count a Wimbledon championship among his Grand Slam titles – he has eight of them from elsewhere – despite an 11-year campaign to secure one. Becker said his recovery today after losing the first set, an occurrence he attributed to Ivanisevic’s thunderous serves, was a matter of Grand Slam principle. ”Coming back like that is what it’s all about,” said the 22-year-old West German, who admitted that Ivanisevic’s slowdown after failing to serve for the second set was fortuitous (Ivanisevic served at 6:5, 30/30 in the 2nd set when he missed a half-volley by intches, then led 3:0* in the tie-break; he was also two points away from winning the 4th set as he led 5:4* in the second tie-break). ”His arm got heavier and heavier, and I was hoping for that, actually.” Becker, who delivered 15 aces compared with 14 from his opponent, described Ivanisevic’s serve as the hardest and best he had ever encountered. He also said his assignation with Edberg in the final would be the opposite of a blind date. ”I know him blind,” Becker said, ”and he knows the same things about me. The match will be decided on whoever wakes up in the best frame of mind on Sunday.” Edberg, in defiance of the weather, becker_wb90_evidently woke up in sunny spirits today. ”I did very few mistakes and I sort of kept the pressure on him all the time,” said Edberg, who fended off the single break point Lendl held against him (with a reflex-volley at 3:4 in the 2nd set) and converted three of the eight breaks he held against Lendl. ”Of course, there are no limits in tennis, but it was as good as it could be today. It’s a totally different day on Sunday and a different player, but if I maintain my form, I’ll be O.K.” Lendl carried a 10-match grass-court winning streak into his fifth consecutive – and eventually unsuccessful – semifinal on Center Court. He trained on the lawns of three continents with the thought of bringing himself to his 11th Wimbledon in condition to win it. Instead, he suffered his worst loss here since his first-round debut in 1979. The semifinal debut of the saucer-eyed Ivanisevic was an encouraging one. Edberg said he was reminded of Becker’s stunning race to the title as an unseeded 17-year-old in 1985. Becker labeled Ivanisevic a future Wimbledon champion (Ivanisevic had to wait another 11 years to accomplish it) and rated their match as one of the best he has played to date on grass. The self-possessed Yugoslav did not disagree. ”I played unbelievable in the first set,” said Ivanisevic (in that set he fired 5 aces and 12 service winners), who knocked Becker out of the French Open in the opening round last month, ”On tactics, I know everything; on grass, if you’re serving good and returning good, that’s it.”

Final: Robin Finn

When the match was over and it was truly time to surrender his title to the man he had claimed it from last year, Boris Becker paused for a moment and took a mental snapshot of the surroundings becker_edberg_wb90that have been most conducive to his urge to terrorize his competition. Then, in the unfamiliar glare of sunlight, which bathed Center Court and worked like a halo for Stefan Edberg today, Becker made the long trudge across the court and over the net to pay tribute to the victor in the Wimbledon men’s final. Moved by the moment, he put an arm around the shoulder of Edberg, who had just defeated him, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, and gave him a comradely hug. ”I had mixed emotions,” said the 22-year-old West German, who for the past three years has been engaged in a tug-of-war with Edberg for the championship of the greatest tournament in the world. Becker, who in 1988 played the role of the also-ran when Edberg won his first title here, snatched the championship back last year in a straight-set exercise only to have it wrestled away from him again this year. It had been over a century since the same two men had dueled in a Wimbledon final for three years running. ”I know how it feels to win it and to lose it against the same guy,” said Becker, who has won three titles here. ”We’ve gone through so many matches together, and it just came over me then.” The 24-year-old Edberg, a runner-up in 1989 in the French Open and Wimbledon, had not won a major title since defeating Becker here in 1988 and hardly knew how to react in the winner’s circle today. After an instant of uncertainty, he belted a tennis ball into the stands, tossed his shirt into the crowd, and then, in a hurry to change into a clean shirt before confronting the Duke and Duchess of Kent, he put it on backward. ”After what happened in the French Open, losing early, you know, this feels really, really good,” said the Swede, who like Becker was knocked out of the French Open in the first round, squandering a perfect opportunity to move into the No. 1 spot in the world ahead of Ivan Lendl, who skipped Paris to concentrate on his grass game. ‘‘We really are the two challengers to Lendl’s No. 1 spot; I know this No. 1 spot is within reach now,” Edberg said. But Edberg nearly watched today’s match slip away when Becker recovered from a two-set deficit and edberg_celebrates_wb90went ahead a service break for a *3:1 (30-all) lead in the final set. Had Becker been able to maintain his edge, he would have become the first player to recover from so steep a disadvantage in a Wimbledon final since Henri Cochet defeated Jean Borotra in 1927. ”I needed to lift myself in the fifth set to win that match,” said Edberg, who was unusually liberal with his gesticulations after key points. ”I think it’s important sometimes to get fired up, and maybe that’s why I won today.” Becker and Edberg did not exactly synchronize their efforts in the 2-hour-58-minute match. In the first two sets, Edberg played so flawlessly that Becker, who normally exerts an authoritarian presence on Center Court, was rendered nearly invisible. Edberg volleyed with iron wrists, able to deflect the harshest of Becker’s passing shots back onto the West German’s side of the net for winners and pillaged Becker’s serve with scathing backhand returns aimed into his feet. Becker, in contrast, had an easier time using his racquet to speed-dribble the ball than to connect his volleys with anything besides the net. He dropped his serve in the 3rd and 5th games of both sets, and began watching Edberg’s improbable backhand lobs like a spectator. But after looking like nothing so much as a handy assistant as Edberg performed his captivating demonstration of the proper serve-volley technique in the initial two sets, Becker gave a demonstration of athletic reincarnation in the next two. As soon as Edberg failed to convert a break point in the 1st game of the 3rd set, Becker, who likes to think of himself as a Panzer of a player, rumbled into action. He earned his first break point of the match in the 2nd game of that set and converted his second by ripping a backhand service return across the court. He then put the boom back into his serve and never allowed Edberg back into the set. The Swede recovered from 0/40 to hold serve in the 1st game of the 4th set, faltered after earning another break point in the 2nd game, and was broken himself after double-faulting to 30/40 and nudging an overanxious backhand volley wide at breake point. Becker continued to pour on the pressure and used two service return winners to break Edberg for the fourth set and even the match. “If you let it slip a little bit, he is going to get edberg_wb90finalback into the match,” said Edberg, who survived a similar roller-coaster meeting with Becker in the semifinals of the 1989 French Open. Until today, that match was the only five-setter Becker had lost after recovering from a two-set deficit; on three occasions, his comeback had been complete. Edberg said he reminded himself that he needed to step up his intensity for the 5th set, but he started it shakily: he double-faulted twice in the 2nd game before rescuing himself with a service winner, and in the 4th game, he double-faulted twice again (he committed 7 double faults in total), also at break point to stake Becker to a 3:1 lead. Furious with himself, Edberg broke back in the 5th game, involuntarily helped along when Becker overplayed a simple forehand volley at break point ”Stefan was so much on top of Becker in this match and then all of a sudden there’s Boris on top in the fifth,” said Edberg’s coach, Tony Pickard, a former captain of Britain’s Davis Cup team. ”He had him 3:1; let’s face it, he was gone. People think he’s got no fire; I’m telling you he has. If anybody thinks the way Edberg plays is boring, I feel sorry for them.” Edberg regained control of the set by spinning out a parade of uninhibited returns to break Becker in the 9th game at 15: two blazing backhands put Becker in trouble at 0/30, a brilliant backhand service-return winner handcuffed Becker to set up double break point, and all Becker could do was raise his eyebrows to the hazy backhand lob that gave Edberg the game and the chance to serve for the match. The Swede converted his second match point with a service winner holding at 30. ”I thought it was the kind of final you don’t see too often,” Becker said. Edberg’s 24th title (fourth major), during Wimbledon ’90 he began his career-best match winning streak that extended to 21 victories, in the meantime he replaced Lendl at the top of the men’s game. Becker will have to wait to the Australian Open ’91 to become the best player in the world. Stats of the final


Wimbledon, London
June 24, 1991; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $3,460,438; Surface – Grass

For the first time in Wimbledon’s 105-year history, because of atrocious weather, there was play on the sacrosanct middle Sunday! The first round of the tournament is supposed to be concluded in two days, at Wimbledon ’91 the last matches of the first round were finished on Friday (28 consecutive days of rain in London in total until Saturday)! The best player of the 80s, Ivan Lendl lost ultimately his last chance to get long-awaited Wimbledon title; ten years younger rising-star – Andre Agassi appeared at All-England Club for the first time in four years despite earlier assertions that he wouldn’t play there again in regard of etiquette of white outfit. It was Michael Stich’s fortnight though: the slender and graceful German in the end defeated three best players at the time, including Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, who had played three previous Wimbledon finals against each other.
All scorelines
First round: Associated Press, Jerry Radding

Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors played between the raindrops at Wimbledon today and won. Agassi overcame a series of rain delays and a lack of grass-court experience to defeat Grant Connell 4-6, 6-1, 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-3 for his first victory at Wimbledon. Connors, a two time champion, came through with a 6-2, 6-0, 7-5 victory over Veli Paloheimo in a match they were to have played last Monday. Agassi, whose only previous visit had ended in a first-round loss in 1987 (to Henri Leconte), seemed to gain confidence during the match that began Thursday and was interrupted twice today by showers. The fifth seed ventured farther and farther from his usual perch on the baseline as the match progressed, even trying some serve-and-volley play in the final set. Goran Ivanisevic, who lost in a semifinal thriller to Boris Becker last year at Wimbledon, completed a 7-6(7), 7-6(5), 6-2 victory over the London resident Andrew Castle in a match that started Tuesday. A light shower held up play for 26 minutes early in the afternoon and there were a couple of other rain delays, but the weather was better than the first four soggy days. The incessant rain has forced a huge backlog of matches and led tournament officials to consider breaking tradition by playing this Sunday, usually a rest day. Agassi was a ghostly vision at his long-overdue Wimbledon coming-out party, wearing white denim shorts over white biking shorts, a white shirt and a white headband. The fluorescent lime shirt was gone. The neon pink shorts were left at home. A dangling gold earring was the only hint of his unique sartorial style. The player whose flashy wardrobe has infuriated the tennis establishment looked like Frosty the Snowman as he stepped on the grass courts for the first time since 1987. And he played like Frosty for parts of his match against Connell, serving poorly and moving as if his feet were stuck in slush. Agassi lost the first set 6-4, then rallied to win the second set 6-1 and was tied 1:1 in the third before getting washed off court Thursday by a thunderstorm. Connell, a Canadian ranked 73rd in the world, won the third set 7-6 when play resumed today by winning an 8/6 tie-breaker. He saved a set point with a second-service ace on the 12th point of the tie-breaker. Agassi rallied to win the fourth set 7-5 on his fourth set point and was leading 2:1 in the fifth set when it rained for the second time of the afternoon. It took him four days, but defending champion Stefan Edberg finally made it into the second round of the rainy 1991 Wimbledon tennis championships Thursday. The rain, which has played havoc with the Wimbledon program all week, abated long enough for the world’s No. 1 player to complete a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Switzerland’s Marc Rosset in two separate sessions. “It’s the longest match I’ve ever played,” joked the normally straight-faced Swede. American Pete Sampras, who beat Agassi in the U.S. Open final, and German sixth-seeded Michael Stich finished easy wins in delayed matches. Sampras, the eighth seed and the losing finalist in Manchester last weekend, just managed to complete a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Brazil’s Danilo Marcelino before the rain set in again. Stich, a semifinalist at the French Open, beat American Dan Goldie 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Edberg was scheduled to open the Centre Court action Monday, but rain washed out the whole day’s play. The match got under way Tuesday when Edberg raced to a two-sets-to-love, 0:1 lead before rain stopped play again. The wet weather prevented the two men from getting back on court Wednesday, but they took up their rackets again Thursday, half an hour later than the scheduled start. Edberg came out strong, holding serve at love and then breaking Rosset with some excellent returns to take a 2:1 lead. At 5:4, Edberg was ready to serve for the match when thunder rumbled in the distance, lightning flashed and the clouds burst again. Tim Mayotte proved yesterday that there’s still some solid tennis left in his near-31-year-old body. In one of the most dramatic comebacks of his professional career, the Springfield native scored Wimbledon’s first major upset as he put out ninth-seeded Michael Chang in a long-awaited first round match 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(9), 6-2. The match on Court No. 1, adjacent to Centre Court, took three hours and 35 minutes and was a crowd-pleaser all the way. And for a guy who hadn’t played a tournament in 10 weeks because of injuries, Mayotte also had to be pleased. “It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” he said. “I really didn’t come out here expecting too much – I just wanted to have fun.” When was the last time he came from two sets behind to win a match? “I’m not sure… maybe in ’85,” Mayotte answered. Better than that, the Springfield pro fought off four match points in the fourth set against the 19-year-old Chang. Serving in the 10th game of the fourth set, Mayotte was down 4:5 and 15/40 after Chang had crushed a couple of passing returns. Mayotte, unseeded here for the first time since 1982, got it back to deuce with a strong serve and a putaway volley and eventually held to make it 5-all. After it went to the tiebreaker, Mayotte was down match point at 6:7 and 8:9 before taking the set and tying the match with a backhand crosscourt winner to end the breaker at 11/9. Obviously pumped, Mayotte was in control throughout the fifth set. He broke Chang with an overhead in the second game and was off to a 3:0 lead. Serving for the match at 5:2, Tim lost his first match point with a long return. At deuce, Chang returned in the net for the second match point. The former Cathedral state high school champion then ripped a forehand crosscourt winner to end it before a standing ovation. “It took a while to get my feel… I was missing a lot early with my forehand. The forehand is what beat him the other times,” said Mayotte. Jim Courier‘s beloved Cincinnati Reds’ cap, which he normally wears during competition, remained in his room Friday during his first-round match at Wimbledon. “The logo is too big and I can’t wear it here,” said Courier, referring to strict All England Club policies. But Courier, the French Open winner, survived quite nicely by blowing out Rodolphe Gilbert of France, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3). Ranked fourth, Courier next faces fellow American Jim Grabb, the world’s 78th-ranked player. He will consider just about anything he does here a positive step. This Wimbledon is a learning experience for him. Not noted for his grass-court play, Courier was eager to see how he would bounce back from winning his first Grand Slam title earlier this month. “It was fun for a change to come to the net,” he said. “I’m capable of playing like this. The true test of a player is how you play on all surfaces. I don’t feel at the moment I’m competing for the title. But maybe after a few years of experience, I’ll have a shot at it.”

Second round: (Associated Press)

John McEnroe sounded the alarm in a wild Wimbledon when he warned, ”Something freaky might happen.” Then he watched the chaos unfold. No sooner had McEnroe angrily dug divots on Centre Court, scorched the ears of a linesman and barely beaten the skinny, talented son of tennis great Fred Stolle, than a roar erupted on the outer courts with major upsets. Saturday began with the biggest upset of all, sun shining in a blue sky after 28 consecutive days of rain in London, and the players took their cue. They blamed the courts – too firm for some, too patchy for others. They cursed the weather that prevented practice most of the week. They swore at officials and electronic eyes that seemed blind on some calls. But not everyone ranted so crazily. Jimmy Connors, like Jack Nicklaus a legend in his spare time, scooted happily between the courts and TV commentary. Connors, who grew up in Belleville, Ill., celebrated his record 100th Wimbledon men’s singles match with one of the day’s easiest romps, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 over Aaron Krickstein, then dashed to the NBC broadcast booth. ”Right now I’ve got 15 minutes to be on the air,” Connors said a few minutes after the match. ”My tennis is finished for the day. Now it’s time to go to work.” Andre Agassi had a tougher time but got off court a lot sooner than he did in his rain-delayed first match. Still learning the ways of Wimbledon’s grass, Agassi beat Goran Prpic 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 and said he felt ”like a qualifier having the best tournament of his life.” U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras, 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash and a semifinalist last year, Goran Ivanisevic – three of the most dangerous floaters in the field – drowned in the second round. British fans, long resigned to their men bowing out early, went dizzy with delight as English wild-card entrant Nick Brown scored one of the biggest shocks in two decades at Wimbledon. Brown, at 591 the lowest-ranked man in the championships, toppled Ivanisevic, the 10th-seeded booming server from Yugoslavia who nearly beat Boris Becker in the semifinals last year. The Association of Tennis Professionals rated Brown’s 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-3 triumph as the biggest upset here, based on comparative rankings, since it began compiling world rankings in 1973. At the same time the Brits rallied ’round the Union Jack flying over Brown on Court 13, shouts shattered the tension on Court 3 not far away as unseeded but always difficult Derrick Rostagno beat the slumping Sampras, seeded eighth. Rostagno, the hard-serving Californian who beat McEnroe in the first round here last year, knocked off Sampras 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 and made Sampras, 19, change his mind about playing on grass. Only two weeks ago, Sampras maintained that grass should suit his serve-and-volley style and be his best surface (the future confirmed his assessment though) :). Sampras, who also lost in the second round on clay at the French Open and has suffered through an injury-filled year, now complained that ‘‘of all the surfaces I have played on, grass is the toughest for me.” His only consolation, he said, was that he’ll return soon to the hard courts he’s played on all his life as he prepares to defend his U.S. Open title. Pat Cash checked out in a thrilling duel on Court 2, the graveyard of champions, against Frenchman Thierry Champion 7-5, 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-1, 12-10. ”It’s a shocking court,” Cash said. ‘‘It’s got patches all over the place. It’s difficult to get your rhythm.” McEnroe, who plays rock and roll guitar with Cash, left his partner behind by moving into the third round with a 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-0, 7-6(7) victory over Sandon Stolle (b. 1970). McEnroe returned to Centre Court to team with Ivanisevic in a 6-3, 6-4 upset of defending Wimbledon doubles champions Rick Leach and Jim Pugh. McEnroe, 32, recalled beating Fred Stolle (b. 1938) in a clay court event 15 years ago (it must have been an exhibition tournament) when the Australian – a winner of all the Grand Slams except Wimbledon – was in the twilight of his career. ‘‘It was really a match he’s probably forgotten about now. He got tired about 4:4,” McEnroe said. ”I was a young guy, so I know how? Sandon feels now, but it was strange” playing the younger Stolle, McEnroe said. ”I practiced with him many years ago, when he was maybe 14. He’s coming along. He has a good game for grass, and he played well, I thought.” Friendly feelings aside, McEnroe nearly blew his temper and the match as he fumed about a linesman and wasted 13 break points in the first two sets. McEnroe, standing on the baseline, let Stolle’s half-volley fall at his feet in the fourth game of the match. The linesman signaled the ball in, and McEnroe pointed to the spot where he thought the ball landed just beyond the line. Already annoyed at himself about failing to cash in on any of four break points on Stolle’s service in the second game of the match and two more in that fourth game, McEnroe went on to lose that game. After serving to win the first point of the next game, he kept up his complaints and demanded, with a sprinkling of swear words, that the linesman be removed. McEnroe screamed again when another disputed call by the same linesman cost him another break point in the second set. ”Oh, come on. That ball was clearly outside the line,” he yelled. ”Which ball were you watching? That’s a break point. It didn’t hit any chalk at all.”  First he picked a running forehand off the grass. Then he belted a forehand service return so hard that the thud of racket hitting ball echoed. With two tremendous shots, Ivan Lendl proved why he is a champion. With dozens of other shots Sunday, though, Lendl, winner of eight Grand Slam titles, proved why washington_wb91he probably will never win the one he wants most – Wimbledon. Against MaliVai Washington, a 21-year-old barely into his second year on the pro tour, Lendl, 31, dropped the first two sets, fell behind a service break in the fifth set, then produced the two winning forehands that enabled him to end the second-round match a 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 winner. Even when Lendl went down by *0:2 in the 5th set, he appeared in control. At 30/30 in what turned out to be the final game of the match, Lendl retrieved what appeared to be a winning volley by Washington and sent a wicked forehand whistling past his surprised opponent. At match point, Washington managed to get a first serve in for only his second time in two games. But it was too late. Lendl gobbled the serve up and spit it back right at the feet of Washington. On a day, when fans at the All England Club did the wave, it was Lendl, the No. 3 seed, playing out on cozy Court Two, who put on the best show.

Third round: Diane Pucin, Austin American

For the first time in Wimbledon’s 105-year history, because of atrocious weather earlier in the tournament, there was play on the sacrosanct middle Sunday. Tickets were sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and lines formed before Saturday’s play was over. Despite the fears of Wimbledon officials that unruly hordes would storm the grounds Sunday, morning, the fans were orderly, although noisy. The noise suited 16th-seeded John McEnroe, a 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-1 winner over Jean-Phillipe Fleurian of France, just fine. “I loved it,” McEnroe said. The status quo might have been shattered when the first ball was struck Sunday, but the tennis went true to form. No seeds lost. Stefan Edberg, the men’s top seed and defending champion, found a good way to quiet the Centre Court crowd. He was brutally efficient in scoring a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Christo Van Rensburg, and he will face McEnroe in the fourth round. Also advancing smoothly to the fourth round was fourth-seeded Jim Courier. The French Open champion ousted French qualifier Arnaud Boetsch, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. Sixth-seeded Michael Stich and 14th-seeded Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia also moved into the fourth round, while seventh-seeded Guy Forget reached the third. Andre Agassi did not lose his serve in the 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Richard Krajicek. He won the first tiebreaker 7/5 and finished off the third-round match with a 7/2 tiebreaker. The fifth seed struggled through five sets in his first-round victory over Grant Connell and needed four sets to defeat Goran Prpic in the second round. But he dominated Krajicek, facing three break points in the match. “As the days go by I’m starting to understand the concept of the grass,” Agassi said. “I’m getting a much better feel as the matches go along.” If Jimmy Connors never comes back to Wimbledon, at least he will have this day. He gave this place so many good years, so many finals, but, for once, Wimbledon gave him something back. On Sunday, bloody middle Sunday, Connors and the masses had the run of the joint. He was the street kid again, playing to the tennis barbarians on Centre Court, and not to the usual snooty cast of royals who shake their jewelry and take their tea. This was between Connors and Wimbledon. So what if he lost yesterday to Derrick Rostagno, 7-6(2), 6-1, 6-4? The man is 38 years old, with a bad wrist, a bad back and a bad knee, and he goes out swinging in a third-round match. It was perfect, really. They never play on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, but after five days of rain, the officials had to scramble and bust tradition to break a gridlock of matches. So they opened the gates and let in whoever showed up, and then they gave everyone Connors on a cloudy day. “My kind of crowd,” he said. “Wish it was like that the last 20 years. Where have they been?” Imagine Mozart writing music for Madonna. Imagine Julia Child ordering a Big Mac. Imagine Picasso drawing chalk portraits on a street corner. Imagine Ivan Lendl winning Wimbledon. Wait a minute… Lendl, something of a tennis genius when he is performing on clay or hard courts, can find no comfort on Wimbledon’s grass. Monday, it was David Wheaton – a 22-year-old American with a great serve, solid volleying ability, adequate ground strokes and poor foot speed – who ended the third-seeded Lendl’s hopes of finally winning Wimbledon. Lendl lost by 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in the third round, making his earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament since he lost in the first round of Wimbledon in 1981. Wheaton summed up Lendl’s problem best: “Ivan’s not the most natural volleyer in the world. He doesn’t have the greatest hands or much feel when he’s at the net, so it’s strange how he plays on the surface. It’s like he changes his whole game.” By fanatically devoting himself to training and because of his inborn desire to outwork other players, Lendl, though not particularly gifted physically, made himself into the world’s best tennis player in the 1980s. He hit so many balls in practice on clay and hard courts that he had every bounce and every angle figured out. Nothing that happened at the U.S. Open, which he won three times, or the French Open, which he won three times, or the Australian Open, which he won twice, surprised him. But grass is different. The ball rarely bounces the same way twice. Lendl believes that the longer a point lasts, the better chance he has to win it because he is so well prepared. But at Wimbledon, the faster the point is over, the better. “Of course, I feel more suited to clay and hard courts,” Lendl said. “To win from the baseline at Wimbledon – those days are over, with all the new (rackets). I think it would be extremely difficult to play from the back and be competitive for the championship here. So, for me, the only answer is to volley better.” Having now failed in 12 attempts to win Wimbledon, Lendl, 31, watches a player such as Boris Becker with undisguised envy. Only 22, Becker, the No. 2 seed, already has won three Wimbledon titles. Monday, he took a step toward his fourth with a 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Andrei Olhovskiy of the Soviet Union.

Fourth round: Mike Davis

Defending champion and top seed Stefan Edberg used a couple of short streaks to bounce John McEnroe out of Wimbledon today. Edberg beat McEnroe, a three-time champion, 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-4, to move into the quarterfinals. In Edberg’s victory, he ran off 15 straight points midway through the second set and then won 16 of 20 points in a third-set spurt. The Swede won the tie-breaker to end a first set that went entirely on serve. The 16th-seeded McEnroe seemed to sag after the tie-breaker. “He outplayed me. When it really came down to it, he just played a little better than I did,” McEnroe said. “His game is suited to grass, it’s a natural. Anyone that volleys that well is going to be good on grass. I would have preferred to play a lot of other guys.” Edberg expected a tougher match. “I still believe he can play some very good tennis out there, but he’s not as consistent as he was before,” Edberg said of McEnroe. “He has lost a little bit of his speed, but there’s still a lot of greatness out there.” Unseeded David Wheaton reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Jan Gunnarsson. On Monday, Wheaton ousted third seed Ivan Lendl in four sets. Also advancing to the quarterfinals was French Open champion Jim Courier, who defeated 14th seed Karel Novacek 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. His next opponent will be sixth seed Michael Stich, who rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Alexander Volkov. Stich won the match in amazing circumstances, in the 5th set he saved a virtual mini-match point with a second serve ace at 1:3, at 4:5* (30/30) his forehand passing-shot which was going ‘out’, hit the net-cord and landed on the court! Theoretically nothing extraordinary happened, but the Russian dwelling on “bad luck” couldn’t win a game afterwards. Courier defeated Stich in the semifinals of the French Open. The All-England Club has taken some heat over its by – the-rankings seeding for Wimbledon this year, so maybe it deserves some credit now. The men’s singles finally are down to the quarterfinals, and six of the top eight seeds still are playing. In Wednesday’s fourth-round matches, Boris Becker beat Sweden’s Christian Bergstrom 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-6(2), and Andre Agassi defeated Dutchman Jacco Eltingh – at No. 106, the lowest-ranked player still in the tournament: 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Frenchmen,  no. 7 Guy Forget and unseeded Thierry Champion, finished off rain-suspended matches Wednesday. Forget beat Tim Mayotte 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-2, 6-4; Champion outlasted Derrick Rostagno 6-7(12), 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. The quarterfinals will be played Thursday. And the way things have turned out, grass-court prowess – which the All-England Club was criticized for not considering in its seedings – wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Three of the four quarterfinals feature a player considered a clay- or hard-court specialist: Agassi, Champion and French Open champ Courier. “I am a bit surprised, especially with Champion because he’s really played like a clay-courter at Wimbledon,” said Becker, who predicted before the tournament that Agassi would do well here. “With Andre, it is not such a surprise. He is not really a clay-courter. He does not play softly from the back. He hits it hard. He plays like Jimmy Connors (a two-time champ here), just with the right arm.” Still, few expected baseliners Agassi and Courier to reach the quarters – particularly Agassi, who before last week had played only one grass-court match in his life, four years ago at Wimbledon. While Courier has adjusted his style, playing serve-and-volley on most points, Agassi has gotten this far by relying on his usual baseline power game and a favorable draw. His four opponents have been ranked 106th, 73rd, 53rd and 18th – and No. 18, Goran Prpic, was a clay-courter. “This is big stuff for me, doing well here,” he said Wednesday. “It really hasn’t hit me that I’m in the quarters. I feel like a qualifier having the tournament of his life.”

Quarterfinals: Jim Sarni

David Wheaton was the happiest American at Wimbledon on a frantic Fourth of July. The 22-year-old from Minnesota was also the last one left when the fireworks faded. Wheaton extinguished Andre Agassi’s flame 6-2, 0-6, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 with a blazing comeback from 2:4, love-40 in the fourth set. Agassi pulled a thigh muscle in the first game, but refused to quit. “If it had been any other time, I might have felt like I couldn’t have gone on,” said Agassi, who became the darling of Wimbledon in his first appearance in four years. “But that wasn’t the case. I still had a chance to win.” Wheaton, who has beaten the third-seeded Ivan Lendl (in the third round) and the fifth-seeded Agassi, returns today to take on three-time champion Boris Becker, the second seed, and defending champion Stefan Edberg opposes sixth-seeded Michael Stich in the other semifinal. In Thursday’s other quarterfinals, Becker fought off France’s Guy Forget, 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-2, 7-6(7) in 3 hours, 47 minutes; Edberg shrugged off Thierry Champion, Forget’s countryman, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5; and Germany’s Stich stopped French Open champion Jim Courier 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-2. Wheaton found his mighty serve at the last moment in the fourth set. “I have no idea how it happened,” Wheaton said. “At 2:4, love-40, you write it off at that point. Then I hit five big serves, after not serving well all match. That comes from way deep down. It takes Wimbledon for that to happen.” Wheaton broke Agassi in the next game to even the set, but lost his serve again. Agassi was two points from the match at 6:5, 30/15, but couldn’t finish the job. “I had to win the fourth set, but I didn’t believe I could win the fifth,” Agassi said. “I think I rushed it when I served for the match. But I really think the turning point was 2:4, love-40. He came up with five first serves and I didn’t get even one back in play.” Agassi did not think he had a chance after he hurt himself coming down after a serve in the first game. “My biggest concern was offering the crowd a good match,” said Agassi, who received on-court treatment from trainer Bill Norris. “The thought of winning was asinine at that point. I thought there was no chance for me, but I made a few good shots and stayed in the lead.” Wheaton stated: Agassi is amazing. When the tournament began, I felt like I wanted to play him in the first round. Then when I was down in the fourth set, I felt like I didn’t want to play him at all. He’s great at adapting to different surfaces.” Wheaton, who is ranked No. 20 but is unseeded at Wimbledon, always has believed he was a contender for the title. Bring on Becker. “I won’t be overwhelmed at all,” Wheaton said. “He’s one of the best grass-court players in the world, but I won’t be intimidated.” “Wheaton is a good serve-and-volley player, which you don’t see much of anymore,” said Becker, who saved a set point in the 4th set tie-break to avoid a fifth set with Forget. “He’s taken out Lendl and Agassi. I hope it stops now.” Courier beat Stich on the Paris clay, but the big-serving German (77 aces in the tournament) was too strong on grass. “I hope he’s not in my draw next year,” Courier said. He led 5:2* in the 2nd set, but wasn’t able to even the match and make it interesting. “I always knew that I was on top of the match,” Stich said. “Even after I lost my serve in the second set, I still thought that I was going to win the set. I was very confident.

Semifinals: AP

Boris Becker never lost his serve as he defeated David Wheaton 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-5 in the Wimbledon semifinals today and set up an all-German final against Michael Stich. Earlier, Stich had taken advantage of lapses by top seed Stefan Edberg in a trio of tie-breakers to win their semifinal 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. Becker will be seeking his fourth Wimbledon title. Stich has won only one tournament, but never a Grand Slam event. In beating Wheaton, Becker avoided the fate of Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi, who were upset by the unseeded American. Becker, seeded second, saved all 10 break points he faced by coming up with big serves whenever he was in trouble. Wheaton only lost his serve twice in the match. The Becker-Stich battle will be the first all-German men’s final at Wimbledon and the first men’s final between compatriots since John McEnroe defeated Jimmy Connors in an all-American clash in 1984. Stich, hitting his first serve at an average speed of 110 mph (177 kph), dethroned a defending champion – the same thing happened in women’s play – and prevented Edberg from reaching his fourth straight Wimbledon final. “I played a few bad shots at important times. That was the whole story of the match,” Edberg said. “I had a few chances but I blew them. I gave it away, I thought.” Stich, 22, who used his 6-foot-4 frame and long reach to repeatedly win points at the net, won the second set when Edberg double-faulted twice in a 7/5 tie-breaker. Edberg, who had lost only eight points overall in his 11 service games entering that tie-breaker, hit the second of those double faults at least 10 feet out. Edberg made an even more glaring error in the third-set tie-breaker, which also ended 7/5, when he whiffed on an easy shot while facing set point. Standing at the net, Edberg appeared to misjudge the ball and barely touched it as it floated past. Stich got a big break in the final tie-breaker, which he won 7/2, on a shot that struck the net and bounced over Edberg ‘s racket. He closed out the match with a pair of booming service winners. Edberg did not lose his serve in the match, but he seemed to sag after losing the second set. His passing shots lacked sting after that point. Sixth-seeded Stich, who lost in the semifinals of the French Open last month, never got higher than the third round at Wimbledon. Presumably it was the first match in history in which a winner of a 4-setter never broke his opponent. 

Final: Bull Glauber

Five games into the match, and Boris Becker was tugging at the bandage on his right knee, ripping it off in anger and letting the blood trickle down his leg. He started his German monologue in the ninth game and did not finish until the middle of the third set, yelling at his racket, screaming into a towel, screeching to the sky and shrieking at the ground. He reached into his equipment bag and kept pulling out shirts. One in the first set. Two in the second. One more in the third. He even found time to put a protective wrap around his right thigh. He chased a forehand and sat on a ledge. He leaped for a volley, missed and fell face-first to the ground. The king of the All England Club was being shoved around his neighborhood by a guy sipping ice water and unloading aces. Boom Boom, meet Ka-Boom Ka-Boom. Michael Stich ran Becker right off the burned, brown grass of Centre Court and turned Wimbledon’s first all-German men’s final into a rout, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4, Sunday. It was an unremarkable match that produced a remarkable result. Becker may be No. 1 in the world, but that does not mean he is No. 1 in Germany. Stich, 22, is a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound (193 cm, 79 kg) vision of the future of the men’s game, a big, powerful player who combines the reach of a basketball forward with the punch of a boxer. Becker, 23, a football tight end dressed in tennis whites, was out-slugged and outplayed. After three consecutive years of gentlemanly finals matching Becker and Stefan Edberg of Sweden, Wimbledon opened its wrought-iron gates on a bright, sunny day to a German grudge match. This was billed as a battle between players of different styles and temperaments. Becker, the boy champion from Leimen turned adult superstar, against Stich, a former soccer player from Elmshorn who tamed a volatile temper before mastering a powerful tennis game. “He really wasn’t under pressure,” said Becker, a Wimbledon finalist six of the past seven years. “I was the one who was all the time under pressure. First of all, he had not very much to lose. He’s already more accomplished than he believed before he started this tournament. So it was much easier to play for him than for me.” Stich agreed. Before Sunday, the No. 6 seed had one title, the 1990 Memphis Indoors. He started the game as a 9-year-old, but gave it up for soccer because “I really behaved really bad.” But he returned to tennis as a teen-ager and joined the tour in 1988. Despite a rapid rise in the rankings, two Davis Cup appearances and a semifinal showing at the 1991 French Open, Stich was a 66-1 long shot to win Wimbledon. “I had nothing to lose,” he said. “Nobody expected me to beat Stefan Edberg in the semifinals. Nobody expected me to beat Boris in the finals. He was the favorite, the big favorite, and so I just could go out there and just try to play my game, knowing I had a chance to beat him. For him, it was like he had to win.” Becker, who had won 24 of his previous 26 matches on Centre Court and was 40-4 overall at Wimbledon, said he was exhausted – physically and emotionally. “It gets tougher for me every year, but not in the sense that I get more nervous,” stich_wb91_triumphBecker said. “Especially at the beginning of the tournament, it’s not the same thrill to play as it was when you are 17 or 18 or 19, you know. Then it’s still the biggest thrill of your life, to play at Wimbledon. Now, it’s not anymore.” Still, this was Wimbledon and this was the final, and this was Becker defending his turf. But he lost the first service game and spent most of the afternoon screaming. No subtitles were needed. The crowd looked on and laughed. “I just got the feeling that he was, let’s say, out of his mind a little bit,” Stich said. Becker was frustrated. He was worn down by Stich’s 15 aces. He was blasted by Stich’s passing shots. He was bombarded at the net. But he would not go easily. Seven times he saved break points in the final set. After 2 hours, 31 minutes, his last serve was harpooned with a forehand return, and all he could do was watch as a new champion raised his arms and screamed in triumph. Becker walked quickly to the net, climbed over and embraced Stich. It was a warm moment at the end of a wearing day. Stats of the final

1 Response to 1990 – 1991, Wimbledon

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    YT films:

    Official film
    Lendl vs. Pearce
    Edberg’s road to the title
    Edberg vs. Becker (Italian)

    Lendl vs. Washington (last 3 games)
    Agassi vs. Krajicek
    Agassi vs. Eltingh (last 3 games)
    Wheaton vs. Agassi
    Stich vs. Becker
    Edberg vs. J.McEnroe

    Serve speed 1991:
    1. Rosset – 134 mph
    2. Stolle – 123 mph
    3. Evernden – 121 mph
    4. Wheaton – 120 mph

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