A meeting between back-to-back US Open champions (Edberg 1991-92 and Rafter 1997-98), the best serve-and-volleyers of the 90s (Edberg in the first half, Rafter in the second half of the decade). Therefore symbolically it would have been better if Rafter had won the semifinal, in retrospect it could be perceived as changing of the guard. Many could expect his victory at the end of the 2nd set when Edberg  was exhausted. It had been his problem already since 1994, constant attacking the net, on every surface for many years finally took its toll when he was approaching his 30th year of life. The conditions in the US capital were punishing that day, around 30 degrees Celsius and humidity over 80%. Edberg modified his tactic at the end of the 2nd set, occasionally staying on the baseline even behind his 1st serve (one rally consisted of 30 strokes on his serve!) as well as risking more with his backhands, and it paid off. Almost 7 years younger, fitter Rafter  didn’t know what to expect, and lost the first four games of the decider being two points away to win each of those games (7 deuces in game no. 3). Edberg finished the contest with a volley winner on match point no. 4, and celebrated lying on his back, so emotional he wasn’t at any of his six major triumphs! Edberg had survived almost 3-hour match against Caratti 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 a night before, trailing *2:5 in the decider.
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