from La Vanguardia
by Dagoberto Escorcia
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Today, Sergi Bruguera will play his third consecutive final, the fourth of the year after he beat Thomas Carbonell yesterday, 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and 34 minutes. Sergi, champion in Monte Carlo last Monday, will defend his title on the Center Court of Chamartin Tennis club against the Swede Stefan Edberg, world number three and considered the most technical player, who continued yesterday against Emilio Sanchez the game script he has been offering in Madrid since last Tuesday, defeating him 6-0, 7-5 in one hour and 22 minutes.
The worthy final of the 22nd edition of the Villa de Madrid Grupo Zeta Trophy will oppose a lover of the attacking game, of serve and volley, born on the hard courts of Sweden, and a real artist of clay.
Edberg is the best net player. Sergi is a great attacker from the baseline. Edberg will close the point at the net, Bruguera will try to pass him with his backhand crosscourt or down the line. The two have different weapons, but all executed almost perfectly.
Four previous meetings
The finalists have faced each other four times in the past. The only time Sergi could beat Stefan was in the 1990 Roland Garros, when he defeated him in the first round in three sets (6-4, 6-2, 6-1). The three losses suffered against the Swede have occurred on the hard of Indian Wells and carpets of Paris-Bercy and Brussels.
For Edberg, this final is the opportunity to measure his real strenght on clay against a top-class specialist. A week ago Edberg ended the run in Monte Carlo of Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev, the surprise of the claycourt season.
Today he will be opposed to a different opponent, a special one, on a winning streak and recently accustomed to get to finals.
Yesterday Edberg continued on the Center Court at the Real Club de Tenis Chamartin the tennis concert he has been offering since last Tuesday. The Swedish player issued a new lesson of his bright, attractive and charming game of attack, that cut Emilio Sanchez's recovery 6-0 7-5 in 82 minutes, and qualified to play today his second final of the year.
Edberg is for tennis what Michael Laudrup is for football. Fans in Madrid, who dream of having the Danish player in their team, are being lucky these days to enjoy the presence of the Swedish tennis player, considered the best of the world from a technical point of view.
Edberg is not only stylish as Laudrup. He is also fine, delicate with the ball, delightful in the moment to end his points with volleys taken from where the viewer can just imagine and the amazed opponent hardly expects.
Edberg returns the opponent's shots with the confidence that his own won't be returned, and launches himself quickly to the net to end the rally. In order to beat him, firstly, you need to catch him on a bad day and, secondly, on the same day you need to play the best match of your life.
None of these assumptions held for Emilio Sanchez yesterday. Quite the opposite. The Spanish player had the misfortune to play against an opponent who gave him no choice but acknowledging, with his typical simplicity, that he was playing better in Madrid than he did in Nice and Monte Carlo.
The Swede linked his good moment on clay to his excellent fitness: "In order to be fast on court it's important to have a good physical condition. I think the key to my game is the speed that I am having on these slow surfaces", the Swede said.
Given this Edberg, who has not lost a set in the Madrid tournament, Emilio had little choice. In the first game he had two advantages to win his serve, but the Swede eventually led the initiative.
In that first game, Emilio won five points. In the remaining five games, the oldest of the Sanchez Vicario brothers won only six points.
However, Emilio presented more battle in the second set. He turned his baseline game into attack, returned better and, thus, managed to break the Swede's serve for the first time in the match in the sixth game to lead 4-2. Emilio's joy didn't last long, though, because in the following game he lost his serve, forced by Edberg's game to stay at the bottom of the court.
Here ended the chances for the Spaniard who, however, was 5-4 up at the second rain delay. Edberg, accustomed to interruptions - "in Key Biscayne, this year, I broke the record because we stopped six times," he said - came back to the court ready to close the match fast. He won a blank tenth game and broke Emilio. And then took the first match point he had.
"What happened to Monica Seles is terrible"
Stefan Edberg said that the news of the attack suffered by Monica Seles caused him a tremendous impression and, at the same time, expressed concern about the physical proximity between the players and the crowd: "What happened to Monica is really terrible. I am very impressed by the images and, knowing the reason of the attack, I feel even more worried and surprised. A fact like this makes you reflect and you can not help thinking that the same thing can happen to you." The Swedish tennis player added: "You never know if you have a mad person behind you. That's what is really
Emilio Sanchez expressed similarly. The Spaniard stated that he also has received threatening letters and phone calls: "There are many crazy people," Emilio said. The eldest of the currently active Sanchez Vicario brothers expressed concern about the future: "In tennis there are not so many passions as in football, but what has happened is pretty sad and can be a dangerous precedent. I think that we as players should ask for more protection, especially when we go to and off the courts."
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