Bryan Shelton stuck another tombstone outside the infamous Court No. 2, which is known as “the graveyard of champions,” by shocking second-seeded Michael Stich 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday. The loss so thoroughly exasperated Stich, who won the tournament in 1991, that he stormed off the sun-soaked court and didn’t bother to look back – not even as a chorus of boos from the standing-room-only crowd of 3,000 followed each angry step. Earlier, with the games slipping away one by one, Stich had delivered a wonderful overhead smash to his equipment bag. That was followed by another tantrum that left a thin divot in the turf. “You can’t expect a player when he loses in three sets to smile and say, ‘Thank you very much, it was a great day,'” Stich said afterward. Since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year, Stich had been defeated in the first round of the 1993 U.S. Open, in the first round of this year’s Australian Open and in the second round of the recent French Open. For Stich, the Slam events have been anything but Grand. Still, this was Shelton we were talking about. He began the tournament with more losses (14) than victories (12) this season. Surely, Stich could beat him. He couldn’t. For only the second time in Wimbledon history, a second-seeded player was sent packing after the opening round. The last time it happened was 1931 (Henri Cochet). “I played a guy today… he could have closed his eyes and hit the ball wherever he wanted to hit it,” Stich said. “He had all the luck on his side. I didn’t have one lucky ball for myself.” Shelton did have his share of shots that tripped over the net and fell in for winners. He hit an awkward backhand off the racket frame for another point. He kept his serves deep and continually frustrated Stich, who yelled to Shelton in disbelief, “Are you OK?” Shelton was better than OK; he was magical. Stich, who didn’t play well or poorly, could find no weaknesses in Shelton’s game. “I think he felt like I was playing really good tennis,” Shelton said of Stich’s on-court question. “He felt I was playing above myself, and I did play good tennis today.” Under a chilly sky, Wimbledon got under way Monday by presenting an assortment of former champions, all of whom escaped the danger of a first-round upset. Defending champion Pete Sampras, his predecessor Andre Agassi, three-time champion Boris Becker and two-time champion Stefan Edberg. True to tradition, Sampras was the player to inaugurate the shadow-striped Center Court lawn. After leaving a series of skid marks across it in the course of his studious 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-3 defeat of 57th-ranked Jared Palmer, Sampras pronounced the court “very green, very slippery.” Sampras pelted Palmer, his Davis Cup teammate and a proficient serve-volleyist, with 25 aces, an amount he figured to be his most ever in a match here, and an amount that kept Palmer in a state of confusion. “He really didn’t have a clue where it was going,” said Sampras. Sampras didn’t become generous with his aces until he had saved two set points in the opening set. “I was 2 inches away from losing that first set,” said Sampras, who used an ace to save the first and took advantage of Palmer’s errant forehand pass on the second. Sampras, as did Agassi, played his match in a pair of voluminous white shorts. Ever since Bunny Austin introduced a very long version of them here in 1932, strange shorts have been nothing new at Wimbledon, but those worn by Sampras and Agassi are certainly the first to be attached to a multi-million-dollar Nike contract. And they’re comfortable, too. “There’s definitely a lot of room,” said Sampras, who also estimated that there’s plenty of room in the draw for a new champion. Sampras also described Agassi as “”a real threat.” Of the group of top contenders, the third-seeded Edberg, assisted by 19 double faults from his over-matched opponent, downed Ellis Ferreira in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-4. In the 2nd set Edberg was 1:5 down. On Court One, seventh-seeded Becker showed that his game, lately imperiled by aches and pains and an unstable attention span, still possesses its old rolling thunder when he wants. Becker doled out 16 aces to David Wheaton, who double-faulted at match point of the 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 continuation of a pro-Becker trend in their rivalry: the German has now defeated the American in all six meetings, and has held him set-less. “For any player, you want to do that, but for Boris especially because he has a tendency to talk to himself and get upset,” Wheaton said. “But today he was pretty calm. I didn’t challenge him enough to hear a word out of him.” Becker described his performance as “one of the best grass-court matches ever.” That takes in some rich territory, including Becker’s three Wimbledon title runs. It also raised questions about whether the 26-year-old German was back to make a run at a fourth title or talking a better game than he could consistently play. “We’ll see in the next week or so, I suppose,” Becker said. “All I know is over the whole period of the match, I didn’t have any lack of focus or lack of doing what I wanted. I’m quite impressed with my performance.” Likewise, the fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic advanced in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, against Fernando Meligeni. Agassi, seeded 12th, easily handled Italy’s Andrea Gaudenzi, a player too uncomfortable on the grass to indulge in any of the hot-dogging he did at the French Open. Agassi, who avoided any and all of the pre-Wimbledon grass court tune-up events, nonetheless moved as if his bottled water had been spiked with catnip, scampering away with a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 victory. “He picked up the serve in the second set, and I couldn’t really make clean contact with a lot of his second serves, and that’s where I tend to hurt people,” Agassi said. “That posed some difficulty, and I made a couple of double faults in the tiebreaker that I’m disappointed about. But I felt like I served tremendous.” In the only real upset of the day, unseeded Richard Krajicek – a grass-court specialist considered perhaps the most dangerous “floater” in the draw – was eliminated 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(5) by 217th-ranked Darren Cahill, who revealed that his nearly three-year absence from the circuit for a battery of knee surgeries did work wonders. French Open champion Sergi Bruguera, playing Wimbledon for the first time since 1990, beat British wild-card Barry Cowan 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. No. 10 Michael Chang beat Alberto Costa 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2, and No. 11 Petr Korda downed John Fitzgerald of Australia 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Todd Martin defeated Grant Stafford 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-7(5), 6-1 in a match that took 3 hours, 24 minutes. “Wild Card” Thomas Muster was very close to win his first grass-court match in fourth attempt. He was drawn to face qualifier in 29 year old German Alexander Mronz , whose career high ranking was 73 and had only been heard of because he dated Steffi Graf between 1989 and 1992. Muster had a match point in the 5th set, but Mronz prevailed 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-7(7), 6-4, 8-6. In other very tight 5-set match, 20-year-old Yevgeny Kafelnikov after more than 4 hours overcame qualifier  Laurance Tieleman 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-7(5), 11-9. Both players served 15 aces each, and 13 double faults. The Russian won four points more (204-200). It was the longest first round match, Kafelnikov won the longest first round match also a month before at Roland Garros.
Second round: Sandra McKee
Tennis, boring? Don’t even think about it. This 1994 edition of Wimbledon is going into the record books as one to remember. A rock ’em, sock ’em upset bonanza. Only four days into this two-week marathon there already have been more major upsets in the first two rounds than ever before here. On Tuesday, women’s No. 1 seed Steffi Graf became the first women’s defending champion to lose in the first round. On Wednesday, Michael Stich became the first No. 2 seed in 63 years to get knocked out by a qualifier. And yesterday, No. 3 seed Stefan Edberg, No. 5 Jim Courier and No. 11 Petr Korda were handed their tickets out of town. It was 21-year-old and 117th-ranked Kenneth Carlsen ousting Edberg, 6-7(6), 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in a 3-hour-46-minute effort on Centre Court. Courier’s match, also originally scheduled to be played before the Royal Box much later in the day, was moved to Court 2, the Graveyard Court. It was there that Stich went down and it was there that 1,130th-ranked Guy Forget took care of Courier, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Korda fell to 104th-ranked Markus Zoecke, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. “Most out of the ordinary,” was how Edberg saw it. He has won here twice. He hasn’t missed making it to the third round since 1984. And he is probably heading to the Hall of Fame at the end of his career. But yesterday, the 28-year-old had nowhere to go after Carlsen used his young legs and several bad serving games by Edberg to get the fifth set break and wrap up the match. “I had the match in my hand,” Edberg said. “I should have won. But I didn’t take my chances. I don’t know if we’re all getting to be old champions, but obviously there is a change this year. Whether it’s going to start a trend, I cannot tell you. Maybe it’s just one of these years that it does happen and maybe it will go back to normal next year. I think I have one Wimbledon, maybe more left in me.” Edberg won the 2nd set despite a 2:6 deficit and everyone thought that Carlsen would fall apart after losing two tight sets to a superior opponent; in contrast, he won sets third and fourth as easily as Becker in a 1990 final. During that final Edberg cleaned up his game in the decider, not this time. He saved five match points at 3:5 in the final set, but Carlsen held his serve in the 10th game to produce one of the biggest upsets in the Wimbledon history. Carlsen, a 21-year-old from Denmark, is playing for only the second time here. “It is like a dream, really,” he said. “To beat Stefan, on Centre Court. This is fantastic.” Fantastic is one word that fits. While Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, France and the United States are used to early-round losses by top seeds, Wimbledon is not. The round that usually takes the greatest toll is the fourth round, but it is still two days away. So far, however, the unexpected seems to be the norm. Forget, 29, who missed all of last year with knee surgery, and who was simply happy to be on a tennis court anywhere, could not hide his joy, as he pumped his fist and smiled broadly out from under his baseball cap before a roaring, appreciative crowd. “I’m surprised myself to be continuing on,” he said after his first career victory over Courier. “There were times last year when I thought my career would be over, that it was finished. Now, whatever comes is, you know, extra for me.” In 1991 Forget held his highest single ranking at No. 4. When he beat Doug Flach Wednesday, he earned his first ranking points since May 1993. And when he beat Courier yesterday, it was the first time he had ever beaten the former No. 1-ranked player from the United States. “I’ve been good on grass, though, and I knew I had the ability, even though I did not believe I would win against Jim today,’‘ Forget said. “I tried not to think about the score too much because that would put extra pressure on me, and it’s the only thing I don’t need right now.” Wimbledon always has been played on grass, and traditionally, the surface has been viewed as an equalizer. But never have players seemed this equal. Fans of the men’s tour have always insisted the No. 100-ranked player could beat No. 1 on any given day. But whoever thought No. 1,103 could beat No. 5? “I’m always in danger, playing a good serve-and-volley player on grass,” Courier said. “And Guy played a great match. He made some wonderful passing shots.” Courier dropped his serve in the third game of the final set, broke back to even things at 4:4, but then fell prey to a down-the-line forehand pass at break point that set up Forget, who enjoyed 16 aces, to serve out the match. When Bryan Shelton went to dinner Wednesday night after knocking second- seeded Michael Stich out of Wimbledon, he did not expect to return to the courts so soon. “I got home and called the referee’s office, and they told me, ‘You’re first up Thursday,”‘ Shelton said. A little surprised and very spent emotionally, Shelton nonetheless trudged back to the courts less than 24 hours after his straight-set victory over Stich. This time, it was not so easy. He need five sets to hold off Karim Alami, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 6-7(7), 6-2. At 120th, Shelton is ranked 20 places higher than the Moroccan. “It’s tough to play the best match of your life and having to come back and do it all over again the next day,” said Shelton. “Mentally, I’m a little fatigued.” It was an emotional day for the 28-year-old from Atlanta. After the victory, he took congratulations from friends here in Wimbledon and phone calls from his father, friends, former teammates and agent Richard Howell. He appreciated the thought but worried it might affect his preparation for the next match. “You try not to get too keyed up or too down,” he said. “I had to say, thank you, but I have another match to play.” His first thought was that playing so soon would negatively affect his performance. To an extent, he was right. But upon reflection Thursday, he decided it was best to come right back out and play. “It might have been a blessing in disguise,” he said, “because I didn’t dwell on the Stich match. It’s all behind me.” Now he is looking forward to an off day. He will not even check the bracket to see his Saturday opponent until late Friday. For the record, it’s Australian Jason Stoltenberg, who’s ranked 44th. “I don’t want to know who I play next because if you know, you tend to think about it,” he said. “I’d just like to be brain-dead for a while.” Aces whizzed past Andre Agassi for most of five sets, 28 in all and still he stood hunched over, twirling his racket, squinting into the shadows, waiting eagerly to pounce on anything he could reach. No one in tennis takes so much abuse from serves, and wins, as Agassi does. He did it to claim the Wimbledon championship two years ago, absorbing 37 aces by Goran Ivanisevic in the final, and he did it in the second round Wednesday against Nicolas Pereira. He looked beaten late in the final set, down a break at 4:3, taunted by unlucky net cords, haunted by his second-round loss at the French Open last month, and unable to handle the serves of Pereira, ranked a lowly No. 119. But after all those aces, Agassi finally connected when it counted, slugging returns at Pereira’s feet or blowing them by him. Agassi broke back, held to 5:4, then watched Pereira virtually self-destruct with a pair of double faults his 14th and 15th of the match to start the next game. When Pereira finally got the ball in, Agassi jumped all over it, crushing forehand returns on the next two points to close out the victory, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4. ”I stayed confident until I got down the break in the fifth, and then there’s a question of just going for your shots, and hope something goes right,” Agassi said. “I got a little breathing room there, when I got my break back, and I think that he got a little tight and I made a couple of good returns.” Agassi had the advantage of an adoring crowd in the Court One stadium, fans who roared for his every winner, and pumped him up with cheers when he was down. ”Their support seems never-ending here,” he said, “and it’s something that has helped me get through some tough five-set matches, one of which I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life the (1992) finals.” Defending champion and top-seed Pete Sampras has not developed that kind of rapport with the British fans, though he won’t need it as much if he keeps playing the way he has. He served 25 aces in the first round, and 26 in the second in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Richey Reneberg. Todd Martin beat Patrik Kuhnen 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and No. 10 Michael Chang edged qualifier Michael Tebbutt 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 6-4. For one sunny Thursday afternoon, all that stuff about tedious tennis at Wimbledon flew out the window. Not just because the match lasted more than 4 hours and contained 68 games, not just because Sergi Bruguera saved four match points, and not just because a No. 8 seed was fighting for his life to avoid an upset. It was because Bruguera and Patrick Rafter put on a dynamic display, brimming with the emotion that critics say is so often lacking on the tour. For 4 hours, 21 minutes, the players smiled, laughed, yelled, grunted, threw rackets, pumped their fists, played many beautiful shots and quite a few awful ones. There were typical grass-court, serve-and-volley points, moon-ball rallies of which Andrea Jaeger would be proud, and nearly everything in between. When the roller-coaster ride was over, Bruguera, the two-time French Open champion playing only his fifth match at Wimbledon, had defeated Rafter, a rising star, 7-6(4), 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, 13-11. The players walked off the court to a two-minute standing ovation. The three-time champion Boris Becker, another player who, like Courier, can fall out of the Top Ten if he fails to perform credibly here, got his wish, drew a German in the second round, and made short work of 172d-ranked Arne Thoms, 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-4 on center stage.
Third round: AP
“The first week is over, I played three matches and only lost one set; that’s very good,” said Boris Becker after successfully passing his Court 1 assignment with Javier Frana, 7-6(4), 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, despite 16 double faults. “I didn’t expect before the tournament to go through the first week that easily.” Becker said he’s feeling more relaxed than obsessed here, a factor he traced to paternity. “It’s made me calmer; I don’t lose tennis matches anymore because I lose my nerve, lose my mind,” said Becker, who also said he is beginning to listen more to his will than his instincts about his game. “The problem is I’ve been having a very good gut feeling in the last couple of months, and it wasn’t right,” said Becker, who last won here in 1989. 28-year-old Bryan Shelton continued his run by earning his first-ever trip to a Grand Slam round of 16. Shelton, the qualifier who persists in defying his ranking of 120th on the heels of his first-round upset of Michael Stich, saved a match point in his five-set epic against Australia’s Jason Stoltenberg on Saturday afternoon in a match that started in a grayish midday haze and concluded just before sunset. The 44th-ranked Stoltenberg finally surrendered, 7-6(7), 5-7, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4, to Shelton, who used a net-grazing serve and canny passing shots to survive his latest test. The defending champion, Pete Sampras, handled his graveyard shift on the graveyard court, Court 2, so admirably that he was reassigned there for his coming fourth-round match against unseeded Daniel Vacek. Saturday, Sampras, who has won 28 of his last 29 Grand Slam matches, completed his held-over match against Chuck Adams with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory. Sampras was romping over Adams 6-1, 5:1 when their match was suspended for the night. Fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic advanced after ousting Amos Mansdorf, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. “Aces and serve-and-volley style, very aggressive, and that’s it,” said Andrei Medvedev, who defeated Richard Fromberg 7-6(4), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, despite being out-aced 17-10. Racing against the rain, Andre Agassi chased down a final backhand at the start of a cloudburst and stopped the torrent of upsets at Wimbledon – at least for a day. “That was perfect,” Agassi said after his winner capped a comeback from 5:2 down in the 3rd-set tiebreaker and gave him a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) victory yesterday over Aaron Krickstein. “I can’t tell you how much I wanted to make that last backhand.” Agassi and everyone else knew that point would have been the last one of the night, no matter how it turned out. The referee was standing at the entrance to Centre Court, ready to give the order to pull out the tarpaulin. If Agassi had lost the point, the tiebreaker would have gone to 6:6 and the conclusion would have been put off until today. “They had the court covered before I even had my stuff in the bag,” said Agassi, who advanced to the fourth round in his bid to regain the title he won in 1992. Though sweltering, it had been a beautiful day until the sky darkened quickly and the shower hit in the third set. “At 4:2, there was the first little sprinkle,” he said of the tiebreaker. “You weren’t sure if it was going to come down. I got down 5:2, and I felt pretty sure it was going to start. At that stage, I was just telling myself, ‘Don’t get anxious because the rain’s coming. Just make your shots. You have to hit a good shot to end this here, to end this set.’ It’s so easy to get impatient when the rain starts coming, and I felt like I beared down and executed the right shot.” Agassi and Krickstein went at each other from the baseline, venturing to the net only on short balls. Against Todd Martin, Agassi will face a pure serve-and-volleyer who reached the quarterfinals last year and beat Sampras in the final of the Queen’s Club tournament on grass two weeks ago. “Todd’s game is tough, really, on any surface,” Agassi said. “I think really the only weakness that Todd shows is maybe a little bit in his movement. But he hits everything well. He serves big. He volleys well. He can hit great returns. And he can hit winners off both sides of the court. He’s a dangerous player and one that has earned a lot of respect.” Martin, the No. 6 seed, served 29 aces to beat  Martin Damm 6-2, 6-7(1), 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 in 4 hours. Martin needed a bit of luck in the final set, to keep Damm under wraps. He later said he wasn’t sure it was appropriate to anoint him a favorite here just yet. “If I were making the odds, which I think I could, I certainly wouldn’t put myself at No. 2,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys with more experience in big situations, and a lot of guys who have spent more time on the grass courts than I have. I’m flattered by the favoritism, but I don’t know if it’s really just.” French Open champion Sergi Bruguera, the eighth seed, beat Jean-Philippe Fleurian 7-6(4), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 to advance to the fourth round against former French Open champion and No. 10 seed Michael Chang, a 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-2 winner over Grant Connell. Kenneth Carlsen fell ill and defaulted a day after upsetting Edberg. Carlsen began vomiting during his third-round match with Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and withdrew while trailing 6-4, 6-4, 1-0. “It’s a huge disappointment for me,” Carlsen said. “I was playing well and beat the No. 3 seed here, the first time I beat a top-10 guy.” The only seeded man to lose was No. 15 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who succumbed to 27 aces by Daniel Vacek and went out 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Vacek converted just 3 of 23 break points. The 102-degree midday heat took a toll more on the fans than the players, as more than 100 spectators fainted and another 150 were treated for heat exhaustion.
Fourth round: Gene Wojciechowski
Pete rolled merrily along, Martina showed some clout. But there is no joy in England, mighty Andre has crashed out. Andre Agassi, the darling of Center Court crowds and the British press, tiptoed to the edge of a magnificent comeback Monday, only to have a stake driven through his heart by Todd Martin, who played a near-flawless fifth set to beat him 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(0), 4-6, 6-1 in the fourth round at Wimbledon. Though the opening game suggested a protracted contest – Martin saved three break points before holding serve after nine minutes – the first two sets seemed to confirm that his serves, volleys and returns were too consistent for the 1992 champion. A break in the 4th game was sufficient in the 1st set, and Agassi appeared to capitulate after Martin produced an ace to save himself from trailing 0:4* in the 2nd set. As Martin opened up, even the Duchess of Kent saw reason to duck, the mis-hit smash landing safely wide of the Royal Box, the perpetrator waving an embarrassed apology. When Agassi hit three double-faults from 40/15 to lose the opening game of the 3rd set, he seemed to shrink even further into his baggy clothing and spectators sighed and sagged into their seats. The sense of anti-climax was premature. The Las Vegan immediately recovered the break, and took a 4:1 lead as Martin tumbled, literally and figuratively. Broken when serving for the set at 5:3, Agassi again confounded doubters by winning the tie-break 7/0. He broke for 4:3 in the 4th set, only to take his supporters through further agonies before leveling the match on his sixth set point. Martin proceeded to bludgeon Agassi, allowing him only two points in the opening two games of the final set and threatening a whitewash after his bemused opponent directed a backhand volley wide at 0:5, 15/30. Agassi saved those two consecutive match points to salvage a game, but Martin then served out to love, securing the third match point with a half-volley. Martin-mania? “Certainly the sound of it doesn’t add to the flair,” Martin said. “It’s nice to have people rooting for you, but it’s also actually nice to play a match once in a while when the crowd is not on your side. It’s exciting to be challenged. That happened today and win or lose, I enjoyed myself.” It helps when you win the first two sets, which Martin did. The margin allowed him to withstand the inevitable Agassi comeback. Agassi blitzed Martin in the third-set tiebreaker and evened the match in the fourth. “I’m not confused about what happened,” said Agassi, “In the fifth set he hit incredible serves, returns and groundstrokes. He took huge chances and hit lines, winners, aces. I don’t know what more I could have done. He just played too well.” Defending titlist Pete Sampras, exiled to the supposedly jinxed Court 2 for the second straight match, ignored the ghosts and obliterated big-serving Daniel Vacek 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(5), the world No. 1’s fourth straight-sets victory. He’ll next face Michael Chang, a friend and rival from their junior days in Southern California who beat French Open champion Sergi Bruguera 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-0. The Spaniard after blowing two set points in the tie-break, collapsed, and lost the 3rd set in just 17 minutes. ”You probably never heard of him, but he’s extremely dangerous,” Sampras said of Vacek. “I’ve played him before. I’m playing a guy who hit 30 aces. A couple of swings of the bat and you could be out. I’m going to have to be ready.” Vacek, ranked No. 51, owns a heavyweight serve that has produced 63 aces in three matches. Sampras, whose fastest measured serve in the first week reached 128 mph, has 61 aces so far. Bryan Shelton , playing his third consecutive five-setter, finally ran out of magic and lost to  Christian Bergstrom, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 10-8. Bergstrom advanced to his third Grand Slam quarterfinal not having won an ATP title! Shelton’s only easy match was his first, a straight-sets upset of second-seeded Michael Stich. Boris Becker is through to the last eight at Wimbledon but his progress is being marked by an escalating series of accusations. He must dread opening his cupboard in the All England Club dressing-room at the moment for fear an avalanche of skeletons might tumble down on him. In the completion of a suspended match, seventh-seeded Becker defeated ninth-seeded Andrei Medvedev Tuesday, 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 7-5 in 4 hours 53 minutes. Unlike the other men’s quarter-finalists, Becker was forced to play on his day off. He returns again today, this time to face Sweden’s Bergstrom. Actually, Becker might want to consider himself lucky to still be here. He would have been kicked out of the tournament for a breach of conduct. It all goes back to Saturday night’s match against Frana. Ahead, 2:1, in the fourth set, Becker left the court for a lavatory break. During the break, however, he received treatment-leg-stretching manipulations from his trainer. That is not allowed under tournament rules. Bathroom breaks are to be nothing more than bathroom breaks. Becker later was fined $1,000, but that wasn’t the end of the controversy. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., Becker acknowledged he is “not up to date on the rules.” And after his match Tuesday, Becker found himself peppered with questions about the incident. “I don’t think I did anything wrong,” he said. “I don’t think I was cheating anybody. That is all I have to say.” Fresh from being fined the German lurched into another controversy yesterday when Medvedev accused him of gamesmanship. John McEnroe, the former champion, has already said that Becker should have been thrown out of the tournament for receiving off-court treatment during a toilet break in his match against Javier Frana and yesterday Medvedev was upset by his opponent’s delaying tactics. Twice the Ukrainian was held up as he was about to serve – the second time when he was 40/0 down in the decisive game of the match – and it obviously upset him. Medvedev, who did not wait for Becker when he left the court, said: “It’s not the right thing to do, especially at his level. If you are good enough you should win without cheating. That’s what I say. I don’t think it’s gentleman-like. He steps in to return, he looks in your eyes and then, just before you make a serve, he steps back and then goes through the routine again. It really disturbs any player.” Resuming at 1:1 in the 5th set yesterday, the contest had been simplified to a shoot-out. Medvedev broke Becker in the first game after the resumption and at 3:4 (0/30), even Becker assumed he was about to be beaten. “I thought the end is not far,” he said. Becker used his delaying antics, and broke back to make the score 4:4 and, with his serve improving as the set progressed, he was able to switch from defense to offense. In the 12th game a series of blistering passing shots gave him a 40/0 lead and, after squandering one match point he sealed it with a backhand volley. “It was almost like each set we played was a fifth set,” Becker said (the second match in the Wimbledon history that all five sets went to 5-all at least), attributing his victory to his willingness to leave the baseline for the net, where he produced 45 volley winners to just 9 from Medvedev. The spiritual well-being of Britain took another jolt later in the day when Jeremy Bates, bidding to become the first British man in the final eight in 21 years, folded like a road map, losing to Guy Forget 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Bates is No. 85 in the world, 32 years old, and British. Strike three. But the fans held out hope for Jeremy, because they couldn’t bear to lose their heartthrob and their homeboy in the same afternoon. Nobody ever said Wimbledon was fair. Forget eliminated Bates also in the fourth round at Wimbledon ’92, then saving a match point. The Frenchman  became the lowest ranked player to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Goran Ivanisevic couldn’t break Alexander Volkov through three sets but 36 aces helped him considerably to win in four, 7-6(3), 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-2. In four sets triumphed also Wayne Ferreira beating Jonas Bjorkman 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3.
Quarterfinals: Steve Wilstein
After futilely chasing Pete Sampras‘ full repertoire of shots, after watching him bludgeon overheads ruthlessly and drop volleys effortlessly, after losing to him and praising him, Michael Chang considered whether his longtime friend has any flaws. ”He doesn’t cook well, I can tell you that,” Chang said. Fortunately for Sampras, cooking doesn’t count in tennis, and there are plenty of fine restaurants near Wimbledon. What does count is the way Sampras is punishing balls on serves and in rallies, and the way he had Chang scrambling from corner to corner and baseline to net in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory Wednesday to reach the semifinals in defense of his title. “There was a moment there where everything just really clicked, which is the most fun for a player,” Sampras said. “I didn’t feel like I was in a ‘zone,’ but I was getting there. I mean, there were times where I felt anything I hit was going to be a drop volley winner or a good volley winner. If there’s one thing I didn’t do well today, it was serve, which is my best shot. That’s kind of nit-picking a little bit. But today’s tennis was pretty much flawless on my side.” Sampras next faces fellow American Todd Martin, who overcame 10 double faults to win his fourth five-setter (three with a 2-0 lead in sets) of the tournament 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 against Wayne Ferreira. After taking a two-sets-to-none lead, Martin performed a two-set fade to force a fifth set. At that point, Ferreira’s comeback waned to a 4:1* deficit, waxed to a 4:4 deadlock, and then fell just short when Martin’s forehand return skimmed the sideline at match point of the 3-hour-4-minute match. Martin, who beat Sampras in the final of the Queen’s Cup tuneup tournament on grass three weeks ago, isn’t worried about being worn down by his grueling path to the semis. “I’m disappointed with myself for not putting the first four or five matches away,” said Martin, the only man to win four five-setters in a single year at Wimbledon in the Open era. “I’m not going to be tired when it comes to Friday. I’m going to be ready to play. But I don’t think it’s an advantage to be on court an obscene amount of time. I’m going to be playing the defending champion here, who is number one in the world, and on Centre Court at Wimbledon. That’s like my second favorite dream come true. Maybe a few days after that I’ll have my first one come true.”In the Open era before Martin, only Steve Denton won four five-setter in a Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open ’81). For three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker of Germany, it was another victory, and another day of controversy after his 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Christian Bergstrom of Sweden. Becker, the seventh seed, will face Croatia’s Goran Ivanisevic, a 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 6-4 winner over fellow left-handed serve-and-volley specialist Guy Forget of France in the other semifinal. Ivanisevic, the fourth seed, had 29 aces, and his serve was clocked at 136 miles an hour, believed to be a record speed since the men’s tour began keeping statistics in 1990. Bergstrom was upset that Becker had raised his arm and called one of Bergstrom’s shots out at set point in the 1st set, causing Bergstrom to hit his own forehand volley into the net. The ball had not been called out by the chair or the linesman and Becker actually returned it, raising his arm after he hit the shot back. Bergstrom said he instinctively stopped playing when he heard Becker cry out. Becker won the point and the first set, and Bergstrom argued to no avail with the umpire. “He said it was allowed,” Bergstrom said. “I was a little bit disturbed.” Bergstrom also was not happy later in the match with Becker’s delaying tactics while the Swede was trying to serve. This came a day after Becker’s fourth-round foe, Andrei Medvedev of the Ukraine, had complained that Becker had used a similar tactic against him as Medveded was serving with a 4:3 lead in the fifth set. After the ball left Medvedev’s racket, Becker raised his hand to signal he was not ready, and the chair ordered Medvedev to serve again. Becker also has been fined $1,000 this week for having his personal trainer give him treatment after he left the court for a toilet break in Saturday’s match against Javier Frana of Argentina. Becker said he has a clear conscience and dismissed what he described as “all these silly questions.” Instead he wanted to talk about what he considered to be the grand accomplishment of advancing to the semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Semifinals: Mike Davis
Peter Perfect showed a flaw, though it was hardly fatal. Pete Sampras, the defending Wimbledon champion and the world’s top-ranked player, actually lost a set Friday in his semifinal match against Todd Martin. Not that this in any way deterred him from a return engagement in the final. He polished off the sixth-seeded Martin 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and advanced to Sunday’s title match against Goran Ivanisevic, who body-slammed three-time champion Boris Becker 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4. But dropping a set at least provided a ripple of variety to break up Sampras’ predictable progression through the men’s draw. He was bidding to become the first man to win Wimbledon without surrendering a set since Bjorn Borg went 21-0 in 1976. His streak was stopped at 17, so he’ll have to settle for the opportunity to become only the third American man in the modern era of Wimbledon to win back-to-back singles titles. The others were John McEnroe (1983-84) and Don Budge (1937-38). After his match Friday, Sampras was talkin’ dynasty. “I’d like to win this tournament as many times as I can,” he said. “You get this close, you want to hold up that trophy.” Martin did his best to hold up Sampras’ march to the final. But in a match that typified grass-court tennis in the ’90s, the Lansing native too often was unable to answer when opportunity knocked. Unlike Sampras’ quarterfinal against baseliner Michael Chang, when he staged a virtuoso performance of all-court tennis, this match was mainly given over to the slam-bam exchanges that have dominated the men’s play in recent Wimbledons. It was all about rapid-fire serving and returning, and taking advantage of rare openings. Sampras served a little better, Martin was superior on return. The difference: Sampras was more opportunistic. He had seven break points and converted four. Martin was 2-for-11. “Neither one of us played great by any means,” said Sampras, whose first-serve percentage was a sub-normal 66-of-119 (55 percent). “I didn’t serve well the entire match. But I did on big points.” “I certainly had a chance to win,” said Martin, who beat Sampras in the Queen’s Club grass-court final three weeks ago. “I wish I would have played better.” One of his best chances was in the 8th game of the 1st set, right after Sampras had achieved the first service break. He had three break points and converted none. With Sampras serving for the match, Martin got five break points and Sampras saved them all – with two aces and three service winners – before finally closing it out. Sampras had only one break point in the last set, and he won it – with help from Martin. At 30/40 in the 4th game, a high, floating service return by Sampras left Martin with an easy-looking forehand volley. But it came at him like a knuckleball, and he struck it awkwardly, pushing it long to give Sampras the break he needed. “I got a funny ball and just missed it,” Martin said. “If I’d let it go, it probably would have gone out”. Ivanisevic also has lost just one set in six matches. On Friday he simply blew Becker off Center Court with 22 aces – the last one on match point – to reach the final for the second time in three years. “What could I do?” Becker said. “He gave me no chance.” “If I play like that in the final, I wouldn’t mind,” said Ivanisevic, a five-set loser to Andre Agassi in the 1992 final. “I’m playing the best tennis of my life, much better than two years ago.” Ivanisevic leads the tournament with 140 aces. Sampras is third with 100, two behind Martin. What does this say about Sunday? “The first one to serve 40 aces wins,” Becker said. An ominous sign for Sampras: in eight of the previous nine Wimbledons, Becker has either won or lost to the man who became the champion.
Final: Dave Hyde
The match was finally over. The tournament was finally won. Now the man who shows no emotion could show the greatest of all Sunday, throwing two rackets, then two shirts into the Centre Court crowd in honor of his second Wimbledon victory. Re-Pete Sampras, everyone’s favorite to win Wimbledon, did so in convincing fashion by beating fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic, 7-6(2), 7-6(5), 6-0. The victory made him the first player since Boris Becker in 1986 to capture the title two years in a row and gave him four of the past five Grand Slam tournament titles. ”It feels that I’m getting closer to gaining a place in history. I’m getting there,” said Sampras, 22. ”The Grand Slam wins that I’ve had in the last couple of years are something that’s proven to people and to myself that, hopefully, I can go down in the history books. ‘I really couldn’t play any better today. I returned (serve) as well as I could return. I served as well as I have all the past two weeks.” There are billboards around London with Sampras in mid-serve, with his head looking up and his racket back. Only in place of a tennis ball, he is tossing up a grenade. This could have been the explosive picture from Sunday’s match. Sampras had 17 aces (35 service winners), Ivanisevic had 25 (18 service winners), to give him 165 for the tournament, along with a 136-mph serve that set a tour speed record. The longest rally was six shots. Ivanisevic had 16 aces in the 1st set (!), 8 in the 2nd and a meaningless 1 in the 3rd, when his game fell apart. However, at the start, there was no doubt of their importance to Ivanisevic’s game. Up 5:4, Sampras had triple set point before Ivanisevic served four aces in the next five points to even it up at 5:5. Eventually, the set went into a tiebreaker. In fact, the first two sets eventually did as neither player could break the other’s serve. That should have boded well for Ivanisevic, who had a 6-3 lead against Sampras in career tie-breakers and had won all six he faced at Wimbledon this year. Instead, both tiebreakers showed Sampras’ strength of heart as well as depth of talent. In the first, Ivanisevic served an ace to go up, 2:1, but could not gain another point. Sampras took over, winning the final six points to take the set. ”I just told myself to make him play,” Sampras said. ”I wasn’t going to get upset over how many ever aces he hit at me. I was thinking, ‘If he misses his first serve, try to get the second serve back, and make him volley.’ That’s what I did. I made him play as much as I could and didn’t get down on myself.’‘ In the second set Ivanisevic was closer, he led 5:4 (30-all) when Sampras fired two consecutive aces, in the tie-break the Croat was two points away again – Sampras made a volley winner and converted his first set point after Ivanisevic’s volley error. ”When you lose two sets, 7-6, you don’t feel so great,” Ivanisevic said. ”And then you know that the guy is playing very good, and you have to hit all your first serves in, hit all good volleys. That is not easy to keep at that level. Then you crack a little bit.” ”I felt, if Goran was going to win, it was going to be a long road for him,” Sampras said. ”I felt I was getting on his serve more and more as the match went on, and the serve probably came down about 10 miles an hour in the third.” Now, too, there will be questions of Ivanisevic’s character: both what came out in the third set and what did not throughout the tournament. No temper. No racket-flinging. Ivanisevic, who also lost in the men’s final in 1992 to Andre Agassi, was cool the whole tournament, unlike his usual volatile disposition, and manager Ion Tiriac, for one, felt it hurt him. ”He’s not a phlegmatic Englishman,” Tiriac said. ”He’s an erratic, explosive, volatile Mediterranean. If he wants to throw his racket, he should throw his racket. Being that square, it is like putting him in a cage.” Still, Tiriac said, his student’s only chance was ”to hope Sampras was well off his game, because right now, he’s the best player in the world.” Sampras’ 29th title. Stats of the final
Wimbledon, London June 26, 1995; 128 Draw (16 seeds) – $2,837,830; Surface – Grass
Ninth-seeded Michael Stich, who captured his first and only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1991, reprized last year’s role as opening-round dunce. Outhustled in every department by 30th-ranked Jacco Eltingh, Stich succumbed Tuesday after he stuttered through the second-set tie-breaker bereft of his mandatory weapon, the first serve. The German was thoroughly disgusted by his 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-1 exit on Centre Court. ”You have to play with instinct and with inspiration, and I have done nothing of those two things today,” said Stich, who lost to Bryan Shelton in the opening round last year. ”I played without a first serve, and it makes it very difficult. Mentally it’s very tough if you know you have to come up with something really good on the volley on the second serve.” Further handcuffed by Eltingh’s exuberance, Stich felt incapable of coming up with anything good in this match. ”I mean, I didn’t do anything right today,” Stich said. ”I think I didn’t hit one return winner in three sets in 1 1/2 hours. That, for my game on grass, is very untypical. That just shows I have no timing and no feel for the ball or for anything.” According to Eltingh, Stich simply got worse, and more disengaged, as the match wore on. ”Obviously to win a first-round match against a former winner on Centre Court at Wimbledon is something you can only dream about,” said Eltingh, who faced and saved just one break point. “Although you would expect the longer the match would go, the better he would start returning, it wasn’t like that.” It was the second year in a row that Stich lost his opening match at Wimbledon, and the sixth time in his career he bowed out in the first round of a Grand Slam event. Meanwhile No. 10 Marc Rosset lost to American Michael Joyce, 6-0, 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-2. Rosset was fresh after capturing his first grass-court title (Halle), and established an infamous Wimbledon record against Joyce – committed 26 double faults. After losing a first-set tie-breaker 6/8 to 176th-ranked Dick Norman, Pat Cash retired because of an ankle injury. Cash, ranked 213th, won his only Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1987… Henri Leconte, 31, lost to Javier Frana 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, then indicated this would be his last Wimbledon singles appearance. ”The surface here is mythical and the crowds have always been behind me,” he said. ”I just wish I’d been able to finish in a positive tone, to get to the quarters or semis, but it wasn’t to be.” Two former champions notched wins after identical scorelines: Boris Becker pounded Emilio Alvarez of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Stefan Edberg was at his slippery best in a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Oscar Martinez. Becker, the No. 3 seed, is here again, on the 10th anniversary of his first Wimbledon victory. He is so much different from the bodacious 17-year-old who gave himself grass burns from all his diving and sliding. Now Becker is regal, almost looking gaunt with his crewcut and goatee, and he has three Wimbledon titles but none since 1989. Becker could be playful like a puppy Tuesday because he was winning so easily, so he tried that between-the-legs shot and never touched the ball, but the Court 1 crowd laughed and loved it. Edberg won two Wimbledon titles, in 1988 and 1990, but he’s 29 now, and his game, based so much on his wonderful reflexes and his speed from baseline to net, has become slower and more attackable. So Edberg came here seeded only No. 13 (and that only because the seeding committee ignored Edberg’s ranking of No. 16 and moved him up). The sky was cloudless, the lawns flawless, and since postcard conditions prevailed Monday at Wimbledon, it seemed fitting Pete Sampras should start his campaign for a third consecutive title in similarly picturesque form. The only trouble was the lack of cooperation he initially received from his German opponent, Karsten Braasch, a player more picaresque than picturesque. “Everybody who plays me, they always play bad,” Braasch said after losing 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1 on the shadow-striped Center Court, “It just has to have something to do with my game.” Braasch, who’s never minded his game smacks more of the ridiculous than the sublime, managed to downgrade Sampras’ form on his favorite surface from magical to mundane. Nonetheless, Braasch said he “was a little bit scared” heading into the match against the world’s former No. 1 player, who tuned up for Wimbledon by winning the singles and doubles events at Queen’s Club. But after the German claimed the second-set tiebreaker by forcing Sampras to hit a backhand long, it was the defending champion’s turn for concern. After all, Sampras is trying to become the first American to win three straight Wimbledons – and the first player since Bjorn Borg won five in a row – but the combination of the slick surface and Braasch’s quirky serves nearly led to a different niche in Wimbledon history. Not since Manuel Santana lost to Charlie Pasarell 28 years ago had the champion gone out before tea on the first day. Braasch threatened to equal that upset with a serving motion that had Sampras confused. Besides the three stages of swatting Braasch performed before he served, he hopped along the baseline at the same time and alternately grunted, howled and berated himself throughout. “There were times when I felt I had handcuffs on returns of serves,” said Sampras , who did some handcuffing with 20 aces as fast as 127 mph. “I felt like I really didn’t get into a great rhythm today. I was struggling a little bit to find the form I really wanted to be in.” Calling Braasch a crafty player, Sampras summed up his frustration with a terse assessment: “He’s a pain in the… to play.” To which the No. 120-ranked Braasch responded: “Thank you. If everybody would think so, I’ll be happy. If nobody wants to play me and goes on the court and is already afraid of losing, then it’s not bad for me. I know my game is a little bit unusual, but there’s nothing I can do. I am not going to change it.” As odd as he seemed, Braasch had eight aces in the first two sets and came up with spectacular angled shots to win the second-set tiebreaker. “After I lost that second set, I wasn’t exactly a happy camper,” Sampras said. “I needed to regain my composure and, hopefully, start to string in a couple of returns. I didn’t get a good rhythm out there until I broke him in the third (at 5:4). Then I relaxed a bit and started to play a bit better.” And for the second consecutive year, unassuming American Bryan Shelton knocked off a seeded player in the opening round, beating No. 12 Richard Krajicek 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-3. “It doesn’t quite rank with last year’s victory, but I’m happy with the way I played,” said Shelton, who eventually lost in the fourth round last year. “I feel like I could do some damage here.” Shelton would have probably praised more that win if he’d known that Krajicek would triumph at Wimbledon the following year. Last year’s upset of 1991 champion Michael Stich in the first round made the Atlanta resident one of the most celebrated upstarts of the first week. Shelton next plays Tomas Carbonell, who came back from a break down three times in the final set to beat Shelton earlier this year in Barcelona (6-3, 4-6, 6-7). “It was one of those matches where you’re astonished at how it got away,” Shelton said. “And it’s one you want to have back.” Stat of the day: Aaron Krickstein, with his 4-6, 0-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2 victory over Christian Bergstrom, came from two sets down to win for the 10th time in his career – first man to win 10 matches of this kind, four years later Becker joins him. He is unbeaten in four career five-setters at Wimbledon. Top seed Andre Agassi dismissed a skinny teenager. Agassi, the 1992 champion, benefited from 17 double-faults by 19-year-old Andrew Painter in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 rout that took 77 minutes, barely enough time for them to get red in the broiling Wimbledon sun on another blue-sky day. “You don’t really have sympathy when you’re out there,” Agassi said after watching Painter, ranked No. 530, double-fault six times in one game and four straight times in another before shriveling away in embarrassment. Playing a match for the first time since straining a hip muscle in the French Open earlier this month, Agassi showed how ready he was on the second match point. He drilled a backhand return up the middle that Painter lunged for and missed while skidding to the ground. From that moment, it was as if Agassi were out there to take target practice in his new all-white outfit: knee-length shorts, baggy shirt and a bandana to protect his closely-cropped head from the sun. On match point, with Painter stranded at the net, Agassi rushed in on a short ball and mercilessly drilled a forehand passing shot close to Painter’s body for a winner. “I’ve grown to love it here,” Agassi said after bowing to the cheering crowd and waving to all corners of the Court One stadium. “I enjoy being a part of history here. Every time I come back here, the emotion and the excitement seems to bring out some great tennis.’‘ Agassi expects more resistance from his next opponent, Patrick McEnroe, who eliminated Richey Reneberg 7-6(7), 6-2, 6-3. ”He’s a very classical kind of grass-court player,” Agassi said. ”A good, calculating player.” The new king of British tennis is a kid from… just outside Montreal? The player’s name is Greg Rusedski. He’s 21. He has a serve like thunder. And unlike the rest of the players in his adopted country, he’s actually not afraid to talk about winning. So yesterday, Rusedski showed up at Wimbledon, took over Court No. 3, clocked some lucky loser named Stephane Simian of France in the first round, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, and signed so many autographs it looked as if his hand would fall off. The only thing missing was a sea of Union Jacks. And to think, none of this would have happened had Rusedski not fallen in love 2 1/2 years ago with a former Wimbledon ballgirl, Lucy Connor. The two now live together. And Rusedski, born and raised in Canada, is able to play for Britain courtesy of his mother, a native of north England. “It was so spectacular out there. The public is really behind you. They would like to have someone get to the quarterfinals and semifinals. They want it so bad,” said Rusedski in an accent that all but screamed hockey and Molson beer. There were two marathon fifth sets, Alexander Volkov ousted MaliVai Washington 12-10 in the 5th set despite winning 16 points fewer whilst in a German duel of 42 double faults (each player committed 21), Mark-Kevin Goellner prevailed 13-11 against his doubles partner David Prinosil.
Second round: Robin Finn
England For one, the defeat could be traced to a case of lost magic; he failed to weave his trademark web of surging serves and stinging volleys. For another, it was a case of lost meanness; like a mower with a blunt blade, he lacked the proper cutting edge to leave his mark on the grass. For the third, it was a case where height meant might; his short stature and lack of reach compromised his efforts to the point that he never had a chance to play his signature trump card, the comeback from the point of no return. Whatever the case, Wimbledon cast a bright but jaundiced eye on Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier and Michael Chang on Thursday. All three seeded players wilted in straight sets, humbled by challengers who didn’t lose any time crafting the upsets that vaulted them into the third round. Edberg voiced a suspicion that a slow leak in his killer instinct could be the source of his own 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 defeat to 24-year-old “lucky loser” Dick Norman , who stands 6-foot-8. “He’s like a giant; I never had a chance,” said Edberg, 29, who likened the match to a slingshot contest between David and Goliath. Norman, 24, who had never played a Grand Slam event prior to Wimbledon ’95, has competed in only a handful of tour-level events (four to be precise). After losing in the third round of Wimbledon qualifying to Sandon Stolle, Norman made it into the main draw because of the late withdrawal of Oliver Gross of Germany. The 11th-seeded Courier, a former world No. 1, was throttled 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by 58th-ranked Cedric Pioline. The flashy Frenchman, used 18 aces and a defiant attitude to subdue Courier. The day’s third and final artisan of an upset, 56th-ranked Petr Korda, disposed of Chang 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 and finally showed signs of reaping the benefits of his new liaison with Edberg’s former coach Tony Pickard. Eight of the men’s seeded players have been eliminated. Edberg, a two-time champion here who fashioned his most ethereal tennis atop this surface, didn’t cope at all well with the problem of being seeded 13th on his 13th visit to Wimbledon. Besides Chang, Courier and Edberg, 15th-seeded Andre Medvedev, the excitable Russian who hates being called Ukrainian, was eliminated by 80th-ranked Jeff Tarango, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. It was the greatest day in English history since, well, who knows, maybe that smoky afternoon in 1588 when they sunk the Spanish Armada. Greg Rusedski – the Maple Jack, the long tall lefty who quit Montreal for London – upset No. 16 Guy Forget at Wimbledon to send the crowd at Centre Court into a riot of pip pips. The score was 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 7-5. Oh, and for the record, 28 aces from the man who holds the ATP Tour record for speed-serving at 137 mph. Rusedski has been called Canadian turncoat, alleged Brit and Davis Cup interloper. Wednesday, he was a national hero. They give great tennis tournament here every June. The queue for a one-day ticket at Wimbledon is about a half-mile long. But the Brits haven’t played a decent game of tennis at least since 1936, when the late Fred Perry became the last English gentleman to win this tournament. No one, probably including Rusedski, expects he’ll end the drought. Still, this is more excitement over a Brit tennis player, converted or otherwise, since the days of Virginia Wade and Roger Taylor in the 1970s. When it was over, Rusedski threw his racket, three wrist bands, a shirt and a bandana into the audience. If he had his old Canadian passport he might have tossed that, too. “Maybe that was a little too much gear,” he admitted, wearing his usual half-moon grin. “But my emotions just came out.”Goran Ivanisevic speaks English with a heavy Slavic accent, in a cadence that amplifies his wit and humor. The 23-year-old from Split, doesn’t fish for laughs, though he often leaves the media more than mildly amused. No. 4 seed Ivanisevic defeated Jonathan Stark 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(5), advancing to the Wimbledon third round Wednesday, then explained to the media, in a rather entertaining session, why Wimbledon fans shouldn’t expect to be entertained by him. “I come here to win a tournament. I don’t care if people are happy or not happy,” Ivanisevic said. “If you try to entertain people, you don’t go so far.” Ivanisevic served 28 aces Wednesday and 21 aces in his first-round victory Monday. Stark, ranked No. 71, was up 4:3 in the 3rd set and had three break points at 0/40 on Ivanisevic’s serve. But the Croatian served his way out of trouble and proceeded to close out the match in a tiebreaker. He gives a you-cannot-be-serious-look when asked if the soft Slazenger balls are causing him problems. “They can put water (in the) ball or whatever they want to do; they can’t slow the game here,” he said. “Wimbledon is grass; it’s always going to be fast (he wasn’t right). If you want slow tennis, go to the French Open, watch women’s tennis, but men’s tennis, you can’t slow the game.”Boris Becker easily dispatched Jan Apell 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in 2 hours. Andre Agassi soared to another lopsided victory at Wimbledon today. The top-seeded Agassi dismantled Patrick McEnroe 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in just 94 minutes on Centre Court. After McEnroe held serve to open the match, Agassi won 11 straight games to win the first and go up 5:0 in the second. He finished the second with an ace, then cruised in the third set. After closing with a cross-court forehand pass, Agassi bowed and held up his racket to salute the crowd. Pete Sampras was very careful not to annoy English fans on Court 1 while defeating Tim Henman , a 21-year-old player from Oxford, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(3). Two years ago, after beating another of England’s mediocre talents, Andrew Foster, Sampras bade a rude goodbye, then said, “Hasta la vista, baby.” This time, the crowd grew a bit impatient with Sampras in the third set when he questioned line calls. But he began playing before creating a stir. “I’ve had my run-in a couple of years ago,” Sampras said. “Everything was fine for 2 1/2 sets. Then he (the chair umpire) suddenly wanted to get involved in the match. What can I say?'” Sampras won over the crowd during another moment when he gave Henman a point after Henman’s obvious ace was called long. “Another time, another score, who knows if I do that?” Sampras said. “But it felt right then.” Instead of Sampras, it was Henman who committed the faux pas this time. Later in the day, playing doubles with Jeremy Bates, Henman slammed a ball in anger toward the net and it smacked the face of a ballgirl, who required treatment. Henman was issued a gross code violation and the doubles team was disqualified becoming the first player disqualified from Wimbledon in the Open era. The incident took place during a tiebreaker in the fourth set of the first-round match against Tarango and Sweden’s Henrik Holm. After Tarango hit a return winner, Henman whacked a ball in anger. The ball hit the girl, Caroline Hall, 16, in the side of the head as she ran to retrieve another ball. “With the speed of the ball, it could have killed the girl,” Tarango said. Hall fell to the ground, then got up and walked back to her position in tears. A doctor and tournament referee Alan Mills were summoned by Australian umpire Wayne McKewen, who announced that Henman had been defaulted for a code violation. Hall, who was not seriously hurt, returned to Wimbledon today to receive an apology from Henman, who learned he had been fined $3,000. Henman presented her with a bouquet of flowers, put his arm around her and kissed her several times for the benefit of photographers. Hall said her head still was sore and a doctor had advised her to rest for a few days.
Third round: Diane Pucin, Stephen Wilson
Jeff Tarango called chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh “the most corrupt official in the game.” And then Tarango bounced two balls high in the air and walked off the court, quitting his third-round Wimbledon match. Then things got a little wild. Tarango ‘s wife, Benedicte, who married Tarango on the Fourth of July one year ago, slapped the chair umpire and, later, explained why: “He speaks French, I speak French. I just try to slap him once. I don’t think it’s bad. I think it’s good.” There was more. Tarango came to an interview room and accused Rebeuh of fixing matches, of trying to make friends with players – at least one player, anyway – by helping the player with favorable calls. And then Tarango and Benedicte, who was wearing all white, walked away from Wimbledon. No one could ever remember a more bizarre happening at Wimbledon and this story is nowhere near an end. You do not turn your back on the most hallowed of tennis tournaments without suffering the consequences. John McEnroe never quit Wimbledon, Jimmy Connors never quit Wimbledon, Ilie Nastase never quit Wimbledon. But Tarango, a balding 26-year-old from Manhattan Beach, exploded like a defective bomb and he left shrapnel all over the grounds of the All England Club. Tarango, who had been zero for six in his previous Wimbledon appearances, had reached the third round, upsetting No. 15 seed Andrei Medvedev on his way to this match Saturday on Court 13 against Alexander Mronz. Understand that Mronz, a 30-year-old from Germany who is ranked No. 115 in the world, has been a player of little distinction and he is known mostly as the first boyfriend of Steffi Graf. So Tarango, who is ranked No. 79, came into this match with every reason to think he could move on to the fourth round and more glory than he’s ever had in his own, undistinguished career. “This was,” Tarango said, “the biggest match of my life.” In this biggest match, Tarango had lost the 1st set in a tie-break (8/6) and was behind 2:1 and 15/40 on his own serve in the 2nd set. When Tarango ‘s serve was called long by a linesman, Rebeuh, who was the chair umpire, overruled and said the serve was good. What Tarango wanted was to be awarded the point. Rebeuh’s ruling was that Tarango would have to serve again because the linesman’s “out” call had distracted Mronz. This was not to Tarango’s liking. Tarango said, “No, no, no,” and began arguing with Rebeuh. The crowd was haranguing Tarango, shouting for him to play on and some were shouting other things, obscene things. Tarango turned and shouted, “Shut up.” Rebeuh gave him a conduct warning for uttering an “audible obscenity.” Tarango disagreed again. “For `shut up’?” Tarango shouted when Rebeuh called out the warning and then Tarango said, “Can you call the supervisor please? I have a big beef.” Gilbert Ysern, the supervisor Tarango wanted, wasn’t called and Tarango had a particular reason for asking for Ysern, as it turns out. Instead, Stefan Fransson came out. Tarango asked for Ysern again. Fransson told Tarango there was no reason to ask for Ysern and told Tarango to play. Tarango said down in his chair and, with the crowd clapping rhythmically, Rebeuh assessed Tarango a point penalty. At that, Tarango threw down two tennis balls, shouted, “No way, that’s it.” He picked up his equipment bag and walked off the court. He quit. And when Rebeuh climbed down off the chair, Benedicte Tarango got up in the face of Rebeuh and began shouting, according to several French reporters. She slapped Rebeuh at least once before walking away. About an hour later, Tarango came to a press conference and told his story. He said that in the fall of 1993, at a tournament in Toulouse, Tarango was told by two women that Rebeuh had used a most curious pickup line on them at a hotel bar. The women told Tarango that Rebeuh had said, “Marc Rosset is a very, very good personal friend of mine, ever since I have given him matches.” And they said that Rebeuh had told them: “Other players are also my friends because of the same reason.” Tarango said he went to Ysern, who is a supervisor of officials for the International Tennis Federation, which governs the four Grand Slam tournaments, and told Ysern of these statements. Ysern, Tarango said, told him that if Tarango would not pursue this any further, that Rebeuh would never be in the chair for a Tarango match. The end of the story: Tarango was only banned by the ITF from the 1996 Wimbledon tournament, initially he had been suspended for several months, but returned on tour after Wimbledon ’95. Fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic powered into the fourth round at Wimbledon with a straight-set victory today over Arnaud Boetsch on one of the hottest days in tournament history. Ivanisevic served 22 aces to win 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in 1 hour, 24 minutes. The two time Wimbledon finalist, who has 71 aces in his first three matches, won 96 percent of the points in which he put in his huge first serve. He served at an average speed of 113 mph, with a fastest delivery of 129 mph, and had two games with four aces. It was the hottest day of the year in London, with the Centre Court temperature at 2 p.m. measured at 103.2 degrees (39 Celsius) – close to the record of 106 set in 1976. Ivanisevic will next face another big-server, 14th seeded Todd Martin, who rallied from a break down in the final set to outlast fellow American Derrick Rostagno, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Martin won the first set and then led 4:2* in the 2nd before Rostagno, who took last year off the tour to attend UCLA and recover from elbow surgery, rallied to win two straight sets. “Things went away for a while,” said Martin. “That’s sort of the way the year has been going. Fortunately, I showed some guts and recaptured some of my better tennis.” Rostagno was leading *2:0 in the 5th set but double-faulted in the third game to lose serve. After getting the decisive break to make it 5:4, Martin needed four match points to end the contest. Two other Americans reached the fourth round: Aaron Krickstein won another five-setter, beating Thomas Carbonell, 6-7(2), 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. That lifted his five-set record to a brilliant 27-7. “‘I don’t purposely prolong my matches,” said Krickstein. “That certainly won’t extend my career. I’m 27, but a young 27. I’ve been around 12-13 years but I still feel I have three good years left.”[ He wasn’t right, retired the following year after a nightmarish streak of defeats. ] Years that surely will aggravate many an opponent. Do the players know about Krickstein’s forte, his five-set mystique. “I think they know, the players talk in the locker room and most of them would bet on me if a match came down to a fifth set,” said Krickstein. “A lot of guys get tired in the fifth set. That’s when I just get started. I give it all I have… I know how important body language can be.” He’s well aware of his extraordinary five-set record. He remembers the first ones, the opening-round victory over Edberg and the third-round success against Vitas Gerulaitis at his first U.S. Open in 1983 – “‘I’d still trade 15 of those 27 for that one against (Jimmy) Connors.” referring to a 6-7 fifth set loss in the fourth round at US Open ’91; Michael Joyce, the 1991 USTA boys national champion, beat Britain’s Chris Wilkinson, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4. At one point in the match as Joyce  prepared to hit an overhead smash, a woman in the crowd yelled, “Miss it!” “I seem to get pumped up a lot of times when I have a lot of people rooting against me,” said Joyce, making his first Wimbledon appearance. “When I watch other sports, I like to cheer. I’d rather play with 50,000 people cheering against me than in my backyard with four people watching me.”Greg Rusedski, who changed tennis affiliations from Canada to England in May and has quickly become a crowd favorite here, ripped 36 aces in a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over Olivier Delaitre. And barring drastic change in the weather during the weekend, the big servers figure to extend their dominance into the second week – softer balls or not. Five straight days of warm, cloudless weather has the courts playing like a lunar landscape. Rusedski, who didn’t get past the second round in two Wimbledons as a Canadian, said he likes the short grass. “The shorter the better.” He also likes the idea of a fourth-round showdown with Sampras – probably on Center Court, where he would enjoy the frenzied support of a crowd whipped into a patriot lather. “It would be a great moment for me,” said Rusedski, who wore a Union Jack headband Friday. “If there are 13,000 people out there doing what they’ve been doing for me, who knows what could happen?”Andre Agassi finally got into some heavy bag work Saturday after cruising through a couple of easy rounds at Wimbledon and, though he lost his first set of the tournament, he never buckled. He defeated David Wheaton 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 and he wasn’t far from going down two sets to one after 1 1/2 hours of scintillating tennis. Wheaton was serving to go up 5:3 in the 3rd when Agassi’s service return clicked in. After he regained his touch, Wheaton fell fast. Afterward, Agassi gave girlfriend Brooke Shields a thumbs-up sign and blew a kiss to British rugby players in the royal box. Against Wheaton, a fellow American with a big serve, the top-ranked Agassi was glad just to escape with a win. “I got through a relatively tough opponent,” Agassi said. “I can’t think of a more dangerous player than David on a surface like this. We played six times before today, and we were 3-3. So I had my hands full, and I got through it.” Also reaching the round of 16 were No. 3 Boris Becker, who defeated Jan Siemerink, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and Pete Sampras, the two-time defending champion, showed some vulnerability to a big server when he dropped a set Friday against Jared Palmer, but then rallied to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 with 18 aces to offset nine double-faults. “I just played one loose game, and you can’t afford to do that at this level,” Sampras said of his first-set loss. “My serve wasn’t that great today. I can play better than this.”Shuzo Matsuoka , the first Japanese man to reach the fourth round here since Jiro Yamagishi in 1934, has been cheered on by noisy legions of Japanese fans, prompting several complaints from his opponent, Javier Frana , whom Matsuoka overcame 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-3 after 3 hours, 45 minutes despite not being able to break him through four sets.
Fourth round: (AP)
Two-time defending champion Pete Sampras and top-seeded Andre Agassi swept into the Wimbledon quarterfinals with straight-set victories today. Sampras ended the run of Britain’s new tennis hero, Greg Rusedski, with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win on Centre Court. The Canadian-born Rusedski, who changed his allegiance to Britain in May, had become the darling of the British public by reaching the round of 16. Rusedski did his best to entertain the fans – many with faces painted in the color of the Union flag – with his go-for-broke style and perpetual smile. Sampras stayed cool and never let the atmosphere rattle him. While Rusedski had 13 aces and hit one serve at 131 mph, Sampras managed to break four times without ever losing his serve. The match ended with Rusedski serving his seventh double fault. Despite the defeat, he continued to smile and wave to the crowd. “I’ve always felt Goran had the biggest serve but Greg is definitely at the same level,” said Sampras , who beat Ivanisevic in a much-criticized 1994 final. “It should be the exact same type of match as last year’s final – not a lot of openings, and a few key points deciding it. I’ll just try to get it back and make him volley as much as possible.” Unlike Rusedski, who gamboled around the lawn like an overgrown puppy and lit the place up with his jack-o-lantern grin, Sampras wore his poker face into and out of the 94-minute match. Out-aced, 13-9, by the lanky 21-year-old gadabout with the world’s fastest serve, Sampras faced just three break points, all in the 2nd set’s 2nd game, and never dropped serve. ”Now I know how it feels to play probably the best grass-courter in our generation,” said Rusedski, who also found out, for the third time since he jumped aboard last month as the British No. 1, how it feels to lose a match on grass in front of what Sampras glibly referred to as Rusedski’s ”hometown crowd.” Win or lose, the 60th-ranked Rusedski was jubilant about his Wimbledon debut on the side of a home cause that, ever since Fred Perry won in 1936, has been a losing cause. ”It makes my dream of winning Wimbledon one day more realistic for me, and having the crowd behind you, anything can happen,” said Rusedski. ”So it’s a steppingstone towards my ultimate goal one day.” Earlier, Andre Agassi ripped 23 baseline winners in overwhelming Alexander Mronz 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Mronz tried to attack with his big serve and volley, but Agassi responded with three return winners and eight passing shot winners. “I was on top of my game today,” Agassi said. “I controlled the backcourt well. I could afford to wait for the right opportunity. I didn’t have to take too many chances. I’m passing and lobbing really well.” In other men’s matches, third-seeded Boris Becker saved a set point in the first set and went on to beat Belgian “lucky loser” Dick Norman 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4. Norman, the tallest player in the tournament at 6-foot-8, had a set point with Becker serving at 4:5 in the 1st set, but the German saved it with a service winner. Becker also had to come from behind in the tiebreaker. Down *3:0, he won eight of the next 11 points to take the set. Becker then dominated in the next two sets. The first man to reach the quarterfinals was sixth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia. He overpowered Aaron Krickstein 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Seventh-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa was upset by Dutch doubles specialist Jacco Eltingh 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Eltingh for the second time in 1995 advanced to the Grand Slam quarterfinals (previously in Melbourne).Shuzo Matsuoka became the first Japanese man since Jiro Sato in 1933 to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event, beating American Michael Joyce 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Court No. 13,in 91 minutes, facing just one break point. Cedric Pioline of France beat Petr Korda 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-2. In other matches, No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic held off No. 14 Todd Martin, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 7-6(3), in a slug-fest that featured 55 aces. It was also the first time in this tournament Ivanisevic lost a set. His victory makes this just the 15th time since seeding began in 1927 that the top four men’s seeds reached the quarterfinals. The Croat avenged a dramatic loss to Martin two years before in the third round. In aces: Ivanisevic 31-24 Martin.
Quarterfinals: Robin Finn
The man says he was born at Wimbledon when he surfaced as this Grand Slam’s 17-year-old champion 10 years ago, but he now confesses to being in the sunset of his career. Wednesday, Boris Becker played almost until the sun went down – and in England at this time of year, sundown takes forever. So did this match. After a day of humdrum men’s quarterfinals – top-seeded Andre Agassi romped in straight sets and two-time defending champion Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic also advanced on cue – it was left to Becker, a three-time champion who considers himself the keeper of these lawns, to feel the heat of imminent defeat. Bellowing, sweating and girding himself with banana-induced potassium fixes at every opportunity, Becker definitely felt himself in danger of being dismissed from his 10th Wimbledon quarterfinal by 58th-ranked Cedric Pioline. The German fumbled away a two-sets-to-none lead over the dashing but erratic underdog before he finally extricated himself 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-7(10), 9-7 in 4 hours 14 minutes. Becker’s victory guaranteed that all four of the top-seeded men reached the semifinal round, and that made for a bit of positive history at this star-crossed Grand Slam, which has been stung by defaults (Jeff Tarango’s walkout and Tim Henman’s shot at a ball girl) and disappearances (Murphy Jensen). Becker attributed Pioline’s comeback to an improbable upswing of adrenaline rather than any downswing of his own. “I actually did enjoy it,” he said. “It was the best test I’ve had. I’m not going to give up. I’m thinking that this guy has to play another 15 minutes of great tennis if he’s going to beat me.”Pioline needed six set points to win the 3rd set (already led 6:1), and eight to win the 4th! Pioline produced a service winner to save a match point at 9:10, and leveled the match. He then broke Becker for the first and last time to take a 2:1 lead in the deciding set and also had a game point for 5:3, and was relatively close to pass Becker then. The German hauled himself back, breaking to 4:4. In the 10th game the Frenchman saved another match point winning three points in a row to make 5-all. The two rivals held serve until Pioline served with Becker leading, 8:7. Pioline saved a third and fourth match point, but on the fifth match point his backhand sailed long. “I thought it was an excellent tennis match,” Becker said. “Throughout the whole match, I didn’t think I had a really bad period, and it was more a question of Pioline of raising his game to a very, very high level for the last three sets. For the past 10 years I have had just one match like that. Last year it was in the round before when I was down 4:2 in the fifth set. The year before it was the quarter- final. That’s what the game is all about, and what the Championship is all about.” As if to lighten his load, Becker immediately after winning the match tossed his racket into the riveted crowd that kept him company on Court 1 from the match’s routine start to its epic finish. Goran Ivanisevic didn’t mean to break his racket Wednesday. But, it made a big difference to his game and now he’s in the Wimbledon semifinals for the fourth time. He was a set up and in a tiebreaker with Yevgeny Kafelnikov but the Russian had just grabbed a set point at 10:9 on serve. Furious for losing the point, Ivanisevic hurled his racket down and smashed it on the turf. To add to his frustration, he received a code violation for racket abuse. Kafelnikov blew the set point with an easy volley: “If I had won the second set, it might be totally opposite. Just unlucky, unfortunate. It was a Goran day today.”Ivanisevic saved another set point (fourth in total: 6:7, 8:9, 9:10*, 10:11) and things started going his way.“Actually, I took the new racket, I won the point and I won the set,” said Ivanisevic, who also hit 33 aces on the way to a 7-5, 7-6(11), 6-3 victory. “In the last couple of months, every time I break a racket I win a game or points. So, if that’s the case, I’m going to break a racket every time, if it’s going to bring me luck,” Ivanisevic said. “I know it’s not nice for the Head company but they have to understand.”“It was a Goran day today,” said Kafelnikov, who converted none of the four break points he earned against the Croat’s punishing serve. At the beginning, it didn’t look as if it was going to be a Pete Sampras day. But after a haggard and laggard opening set against 108th-ranked Shuzo Matsuoka, Sampras rediscovered his resolve, got reacquainted with his return of service and survived being out-aced 21 to 5 by putting together a polished 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 comeback in 2 hours, 24 minutes – Sampras saved a triple break point at 3-all in the 2nd set and broke Matusoka for the first time in the following game.“He’s a big guy and he has a huge serve and his second serve is just as big,” Sampras said of Matsuoka, who was the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals here since Jiro Sato went to the semifinals in 1933. “He has the proper ingredients for a pretty solid grass-court player.” But Sampras, who has defeated Ivanisevic in their last four meetings but was beaten by him in the 1992 semifinals, admitted that his serve has to improve by Friday. “I think my serve throughout the last week and a half hasn’t been great, and that’s my best shot,” he said. “I’m going to have to play much better if I want to continue in their tournament.” One player who can’t play much better is Andre Agassi, who has given himself a grade of 10 on a scale of 10 for psychological and technical well-being. After trouncing the 27th-ranked Jacco Eltingh 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, Agassi pronounced himself more than ready to take on Becker. And no wonder. The Las Vegan is now ahead 8-3 in their career match-up with eight consecutive victories since the German defeated him in 1989. “Today was the best I hit the ball yet, bar none,” Agassi enthused. “I’m just striking it cleanly and taking it early, playing offensive, and not making many errors. Whenever you can piece those things together, good things happen.”
On the 10th anniversary of his first Wimbledon triumph, Boris Becker pulled off one of his biggest victories today by beating top-seeded Andre Agassi to reach the final against Pete Sampras. Down one set and 1:4* in the second, the third-seeded Becker raised his game and rallied for a 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-4, 7-6(1) victory in 2 hours, 55 minutes. “With him being on top of his game and being No. 1 in the world, this was probably the best tennis match I’ve ever had at Wimbledon,” Becker said. The result set up a championship match Sunday against Sampras, the two-time defending champion who survived a barrage of aces today to beat Goran Ivanisevic, 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Sampras said he was “ravenous” for a third title. Said Becker: “Two very hungry boys will play on Sunday.” Becker’s victory today came 10 years to the day since he defeated Kevin Curren in the 1985 final to become Wimbledon’s youngest champion at the age of 17. Becker, who also won the title in 1986 and 1989, beat Agassi for the first time in six years after eight straight defeats. It was the Becker of old, serving with authority, hitting stinging groundstrokes, diving for volleys. Becker was dominant in the conclusive tiebreaker, serving two aces, ripping a return winner and a backhand stab volley. On match point, Agassi sailed a forehand long. Becker held up his index finger in a “No. 1” sign and tossed a bunch of towels into the stands. Becker mounted a remarkable comeback after Agassi had raced through the first set and gone up two breaks, 4:1, in the second. After Becker broke for 4:2 and held up his arms in mock triumph, he was in control the rest of the way. Agassi never broke again. “I never felt right after that,” Agassi said. “I felt like I was always fighting uphill. He picked up his level and I never managed to pick up mine. After that second set, I never quite emotionally rose to the occasion. My confidence wasn’t there. Boris started playing aggressive tennis. He served big on a few crucial points. By the end of the match, you have to say he deserved to win.” Earlier, in a replay of last year’s final, Sampras moved into his third straight championship match by beating Ivanisevic in 2 hours, 34 minutes (what a short match for a 5-setter!). Sampras is seeking to become the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the title in three consecutive years. Like last year’s final, today’s Sampras-Ivanisevic match was dominated by huge serves and power hitting. The fourth-seeded Ivanisevic slammed 36 aces, six short of the Wimbledon record, while Sampras had 21 aces. Sampras took the 1st set on his third set point. In the 2nd set, Ivanisevic didn’t lose a single point on serve as he held at love five times. “When you’re playing Goran, it’s like riding a roller coaster,” Sampras said. “It’s scary. He’s got probably the biggest serve in the history of the game. It’s just a monster of a serve. I was just trying to get back as many as possible and not get too discouraged.” Ivansevic hit his first serves at an average speed of 116 mph, while Sampras was timed at an average of 115 mph. Sampras hit the fastest serve of the day at 129 mph, while Ivanisevic’s fastest was 127 mph – on a second serve. But Sampras won the biggest points. Ivanisevic had eight break opportunities, three more than Sampras, but failed to capitalize. After winning the second and fourth sets, Ivanisevic played loosely at the start of the following sets and let Sampras regain the momentum. “Two careless games cost me the whole match,” Ivanisevic said. “All the match. I was unlucky. Probably I was born unlucky. I could have won this match in three sets. I had so many chances, but I was really unlucky today. Most of the time, he hit a lucky shot.” “Sometimes,” said Sampras, “it takes a little bit of luck to win. It definitely went my way today. It could have gone either way. I just got a little bit lucky in the end.” The decisive break came in the second game of the fifth set. After Sampras hit a stretch forehand volley to reach break point, Ivanisevic gave the game away when he pushed an easy forehand volley wide. “I had the whole court open and missed everything,” he said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when he missed it,” Sampras said.
Final: Robin Finn
He was unusually animated: soon after losing the first set of this Wimbledon final to the initially marauding Boris Becker, Pete Sampras incited the Center Court crowd to riot right along with him as he attempted to break Becker’s serve in the 3rd game of the 2nd set. He was unusually motivated: Sampras dearly wanted to use this championship as a get-well gift for his ailing coach, Tim Gullikson, who is back home in Chicago undergoing chemotherapy in an attempt to battle brain cancer. And he was unusually accurate from the service line: Sampras was, in fact, so deadly perfect with his delivery that Becker never managed to sneak in a break point against the defending champion’s serve, much less convert one. All of this led to an unusual accomplishment today for the 23-year-old Californian with the classic strokes and classy temperament. He not only won Wimbledon again, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, he thoroughly outclassed Becker, the 27-year-old German who made history here exactly 10 years ago when he rose from the unsung ranks of the unseeded and captured the first of his three Wimbledon titles. “Unfortunately, he owns the Center Court now,” Becker said after being rendered a runner-up here for the fourth time in seven finals. “I used to own it a few years back.” Already Wimbledon’s two-time defending champion, Sampras transformed himself into this Grand Slam tournament’s first three-time defending champion in 15 years. “To make this a three-peat is something I’m pretty proud of,” said Sampras, who raced off to a telephone to celebrate long distance with Gullikson after receiving the silver chalice from the Duke and Duchess of Kent and sending a brief bow in the direction of Princess Diana. “People don’t really care who comes in second, and to be able to be the first American to win three in a row, I mean, this was a big, big moment for me,” Sampras said. Not since Bjorn Borg reigned on these lawns from 1976-80 has any player so dominated at Wimbledon, the crown jewel of the four Grand Slams and the event for which this unassuming high school dropout was groomed since he was 9 years old. “If there’s one role model in tennis, it’s Pete Sampras; he’s behaving perfectly on the court, he’s a real nice fellow off the court, and he doesn’t have a bad shot in his game,” said Becker, who discovered that firsthand. “You have to somehow scramble to get into a tie breaker, or basically convert your first break point you have in the set because you don’t get any more.” Or, in this case, any at all. As Sampras tossed his shirt, a glass of water, and then, to help dry the fans he had drenched, a towel into the stands, Becker was urged to take a non-victory lap by his fans and, since the Princess was prominent among them, acquiesced. “Of all the four finals I lost, this was probably the best feeling I ever had here after a loss,” said Becker, who insisted that he will be around, and remain a threat, at least until he’s 30. During the match, Becker stopped feeling good as soon as Sampras tightened up his swing on his return games and beefed up his serves, which reached 129 miles an hour. “Once I broke him in the second set, my game kind of elevated to a new level,” Sampras said of the inspired performance that earned him a sixth career Grand Slam title. The second-seeded Sampras smoked 23 aces past Becker, who later repeated the disparaging statistics he heard from his coach, Nick Bollettieri, regarding his inability to put a dent in the winner’s serve. “I think I won just 20 points against his serve, and 7 of them came from double faults, so you can imagine how many chances I had to actually hit a few tennis balls out there,” said the bearded Becker, who called Sampras a fearsome front-runner. “Once he’s up in the second set, he hits those bombs and you hope for rain.” Becker added, “After the first set I kind of lost power in my whole game.” Becker wound up with 15 double faults, most of them because he was over-hitting his second serve in an attempt to undermine Sampras’s ever-improving returns. Flushed from the heat, which reached 110 degrees on the court today, Becker plopped a white cap on his head after falling behind by 4:1 in the second set. But the extra touch of shade failed to rejuvenate his playmaking. A bulldog when the match began, he was clearly the underdog the longer it wore on. Meanwhile, a shade of a Mona Lisa grin began to brighten the normally impassive features of Sampras. “I just started to connect on my returns,” Sampras said, “and my serve didn’t let me down, and I could tell he was more tired, and put it all together and I felt pretty great about my game out there.” The American’s three previous Grand Slam events had been a disappointment to him. A foot injury had prevented him from making an adequate defense of his 1993 United States Open title, he fell to Andre Agassi in the Australian Open final, and last month at the French Open, he folded in the first round. He ended the second set with an ace. In the 3rd set he embarked on a four-game service tear in which he didn’t yield a single point against his serve. The third set ended as the second had, with an ace; the only difference was that he used a second-serve ace to reach set point. Once Becker double-faulted at break point in the 4th set’s opening game, Sampras had his opening; ahead, 5:2, after breaking Becker again in the 7th game, Sampras used an ace to set the stage for his match point, which Becker converted for him with a floppy return that veered wide. In keeping with his image, there were no additional theatrics from the champion: he raised his arms, sprinted across the frazzled lawn to console Becker, and then slumped into his chair. “It just felt good to get the job done,” said Sampras, who has beaten Jim Courier, Goran Ivanisevic, and now, in Becker, the three-time champion who ruled this regal roost before he arrived. “Winning here is what it’s all about,” Sampras said. “It’s the biggest thing we’ve got in our sport. It’s all a blur right now, but I know I’m feeling pretty relieved about everything.” After that success, Sampras had won 34 titles, including six majors.