from La Gazzetta dello Sport
by Rino Tommasi
contributed by Martina Frammartino
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
The German gets back into the match after a poor start, flies 1-0 and 40-15 on his serve in the fifth. But the Swede «rises up», takes the required risks and turns the match over.
Stefan Edberg won and so the Swede will go to the final as a favourite against the more and more outstanding and surprising Michael Chang.
Edberg won the long awaited challenge against Boris Becker, after threatening to dominate it and after giving the impression to have lost it. The match struggled to take off because it was clear that both rivals had entered the court aware of the great opportunity they had.
But, from the third set on, the match went up and, in spite of some drops by either player, remained enthralling and spectacular until the end.
It's useless to remark the winner's fighting skills, widely shown in the past and only hidden behind a mask of politeness and coldness typical of his people. Hadn't Edberg had guts and personality, he would have been overwhelmed by the rageous reaction of Becker, who had to lose two sets before finding a decent strategy.
Between the end of the third and the start of the fourth Edberg lost three out of five rounds of serve, saving - in the two he managed to hold - four break points. That loss of intensity, that also his opponent had known, costed Edberg the third and the fourth set, in which the Swede had still had positive moments.
Actually Edberg had wasted three break points on 1 all in the third and had had four chances for 3-1 in the fourth. For this reason, when Becker levelled the score after three hours and 9 minutes of play and broke Edberg's serve at the start of the fifth, going 40-15 on his own, the match seemed closed.
Here Becker, though, made a psycological mystake that was as big as the tactical one made at the beginning. The German gave Edberg a two set lead only because he had the crazy ambition to play from the baseline, or however, to attack less than usual.
Such a waiting strategy Becker could afford against baseliners, not against one like Edberg, who rushed to the net as soon as he had the chance.
Edberg won the first set easily and could comfortably recover also a 3-0 deficit in the second, a set in which Becker dropped two serves but saved five break points in the other three.
After having miraculously held his serve to go 2-1 up in the third, (saving three more break points) Becker realized that he could not stay behind and the match inevitably changed, also because Edberg started to suffer a bit from fatigue.
As easily predicted, Becker hit harder, but Edberg went to the net more often. At the end Edberg had gone to the net 120 times making 69 points (57%), Becker 60 times winning 37 points (61%). Becker's better percentage was determined by the fact that he chose the moments to go forward better, but Edberg's higher aggressiveness allowed the Swede to hold the reins of the match.
Becker didn't fail his Roland Garros exam. I'm convinced that sooner or later he will win it, he would have already won it this year, hadn't he met an opponent who was able to prove that it's possible to win on clay even rushing to the net.
Now Edberg doesn't have to betray the attackers' cause, but must be careful: Little Michael Chang, who already beat him in Indian Wells, is much weaker but probably more intelligent than Becker.
The Swede: «That break at the start of the 5th set was decisive»
What does a happy man look like? Probably like yesterday Stefan Edberg did, after his thriumph on Boris Becker. «I didn't think about last year's Wimbledon final, but about the one at the 1987 Australian Open, when I won at the fifth against Cash. Also there I had won the first two sets, then he started to return and serve very well and I lost aggressiveness. My fortune was the break I did straightaway in the fifth set»