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"I'm still having fun playing. But it's not my job. I don't miss competition" - Stefan Edberg on his life after tennis. Read the article

Edberg Derailed by Medvedev

from New York Times
by Robin Finn

Stefan Edberg referred to himself as being on the right track here at the French Open, where all he needed was the title in order to become the first man to collect all four Grand Slam crowns since Rod Laver mastered that elusive quad in 1969.

But in Andrei Medvedev, an upstart teen-ager from Ukraine, Edberg today ran smack into a runaway train in their rain-delayed quarterfinal on the stadium court. In the best tradition of the local fountainry, Edberg's hairline was spouting rivulets of water from the effort of trying to counteract the grim power of Medvedev. And the youngster's seemingly automated service returns pressured the Swede to be perfect. Which he wasn't.

A near-anonymous qualifier last year, Medvedev is now a fearsome semifinalist. He treated the third-seeded Edberg mercilessly, mowing him down in four sets, 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 6-4.

"I was on the right track," insisted Edberg, whose best result here remains a final loss to Michael Chang in 1989. "It's just that Medvedev stopped me today. I did what I could, but it wasn't enough."

Edberg's serve proved painfully exploitable. He committed seven double-faults, dropped seven service games, and allowed Medvedev 22 break points while earning just four for himself. And when Edberg did manage to make a break for the net, instead of gaining territorial control there, he rendered himself a target and was passed 15 times.

Edberg conceded that at 27 his chances of outwitting the latest crop of teen-age clay-court attritionists like Medvedev, are dwindling.

"I give myself another year or two where I actually have a chance, and maybe one of these years it can happen," said Edberg, who has picked up two titles at each of the other three Grand Slam tournaments. "But I never had that semifinal touch today."

Medvedev, an 18-year-old juggernaut stamped like a Roman coin with an eagle-nosed patrician profile, showed his opponent little deference. He had, after all, started the match Wednesday evening by administering a 6-0 stomping in the first set.

"I give myself another year or two where I actually have a chance, and maybe one of these years it can happen, but I never had that semifinal touch today"

Today, under threatening skies, Edberg redeemed himself by claiming the second set tie breaker only to struggle again with his serve in the third, where the dark clouds seemed as sinister as Medvedev's rocket returns. In the fourth set, Medvedev was in control.

"I hit many lucky shots," said Medvedev, who will meet Sergi Bruguera in the first Slam semifinal for each player.

The other semifinal on Friday will match second-seeded Jim Courier, who has won here the last two years, against 12th-seeded Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands.

Uncharacteristic Errors at Net
Medvedev was well aware of Edberg's lack of composure in the latter stages of the match.

"He was missing so many volleys, especially the overheads, at the time when he shouldn't have missed, and when he didn't want to miss," he said.

Three of those major misses occurred in the ninth game of the final set, as Edberg, serving to deadlock things at 5-5, instead missed two overheads, was fooled by another of Medvedev's lobs, and put a forehand volley into the net that put Medvedev into position to serve for the match.

As the rounds have progressed, the blithe-spirited Medvedev has grown more somber.

But he still gets advice from Sasha, the 4-year-old son of his coach, Aleksandr Dolgopolov. "He told me at breakfast that we have already beaten Stefan in Stuttgart, so we will win today," said Medvedev. "And I said, 'Yeah, sure.' And then he says, 'Don't worry about Bruguera, you beat him three times.' And the last thing he said is 'Courier is tough, but it is possible.' And I said, 'Thank you.'"

Edberg Derailed by Medvedev

 

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