from La Gazzetta dello Sport
by Rino Tommasi
contributed by Martina Frammartino
Translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Edberg-Cash. The Swede has dominated a disappointing match enlivened only by the cramps that blocked him in the decisive moment. But that was not enough for the home favorite to avoid defeat.
There was a match in yesterday's schedule at the Australian Open, which was fairly awaited with great curiosity for the prestige of the protagonists and the rough rivalry between them. Australia's Pat Cash and Sweden's Stefan Edberg had played the final of this tournament in 1987 (won by Edberg in five sets), had also won the last two editions of Wimbledon and it was quite strange that they should clash in the fourth round. This happened because Cash, inactive since August of last year, fell down in the rankings and only came here as 13th seed.
In spite of the expectations we had to attend a very disappointing, absolutely unbalanced match, dominated by Edberg who, as soon as he became aware of his opponent's disastrous day, minimized the risks.
There was much talk in recent days about the change adopted by Cash in the service motion, a change probably suggested by the need to protect his back, source of so much trouble in the past and of two long periods of inactivity, from dangerous stress. The new service had also worked quite well in the earlier rounds but it is not surprising that it jammed in a match poisoned by much controversy.
Yesterday Cash began with three double faults in the opening game, but after Edberg had risen to 3-1, he had a good moment, in which he scored nine consecutive points, taking the lead for 4-3. But, on 4-4, Cash lost his serve again with the fourth double fault and after that didn't collect a game until Edberg found himself 2-0 up in the third set after winning the second to love.
Dazed by double faults (eleven in the entire match), Cash lost his rhythm with his forehand. He still had his backhand, but it was too little to contrast a more and more confident Edberg, capable of two aces when he found himself 15-40 down in the second game of the third set.
In the third set, Cash lost his serve to love twice, so Edberg served for the match on 5-2. He went 30-15 up with two consecutive aces but here a turn of events happened: during the execution of a serve Edberg crashed, reporting severe back pain. He asked the three minutes injury time-out allowed, was massaged by Bill Norris, even gave the impression of not being able to continue, then finally returned to the court, and on the second serve (he had missed the first before the interruption), incredibly hit an ace that led him to double match point. On the first, Cash, with eyes closed, played a backhand passing on the line, but on the second the Australian's return went long.
At this point it was to discover why Cash had played so bad and what Edberg's conditions were. At the press conference Cash offered the most dramatic demonstration of bad taste and unpoliteness. He answered in monosyllables with questionable irony and much vulgarity. An example:
- What was wrong, Pat?
"It's none of your business, I don't want to talk about it and then today I had my things". The rest on the same note.
The other three second round matches of the men's singles were completed in three sets. However, Ivan Lendl risked much in the first, when Israeli Amos Mansdorf took a break of advantage twice, went 5-3 up and served on 5-4. Lendl was able to force the set to a tie-break where Mansdorf gave up. Afterwards Lendl, never playing his best tennis but finding consistency in his serve (still he accumulated four double faults in two games early in the third set), and ended up winning quite comfortably in two hours and 24 minutes.
The best performance of the day, however, was offered by John McEnroe, who defeated in three sets Aaron Krickstein, winner of the Sydney tournament two weeks ago . McEnroe won 52 of 77 points at the net, a high percentage for a guy like him, who goes forward without measuring risks.
- Courier despite Edberg
- Edberg, the damned
- The legionary through to the final
- Lendl Survives 2 Match Points To Beat Edberg and Gain Final
- Edberg nearly perfect, but Lendl is at his most
- An ill Slam
- The Australian Swedes opposed
- An unfounded reputation
- And Edberg doubles in Australia
- The last fight