NEW YORK. It looked like being watching the Swedish National Championship final. It was the Us Open semifinal, instead. Stefan Edberg was given favorite because he had won the last two matches easily against the player who is considered the Swedish leader and the first real Bjorn Borg's heir. Instead Wilander won, after a battle lasted three hours and a quarter. 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 the score for Mats.
It looks as if he's the real Borg's heir, and actually Bjorn was the last Viking to reach the final in this Championship, in 1981. He lost that time as well, and it was his fourth defeat in a bewitched tournament for him. Wilander fully deserved to win. He looked improved on forehand, regular as always, but most of all perfect from a tactical point of view.
He did nothing wrong. He tried to prevent Edberg from too frequent attacks, returned very well for all the match. He has taken advantage of a good start, in which he broke Edberg's serve at the first two opportunities he had.
Leading 4-0 he comfortably ended the first set 6-3. In the second set he could have broken Edberg on 2-2, but he missed the break point and was punished in the eight game. 6-3 for Edberg in the second set but the tall Swede who seemed to promise a more engaging duel in an eventual final against Lendl was broken after an incredible game, lasted twenty minutes and 28 points.
Wilander could win it only on the tenth break point, after that Edberg had had two chances to level up at 1 all. Thanks to that only break, and also thanks to a series of smashes unusually missed by Edberg, Wilander won the third set as well in 54 minutes.
Also in the fourth set Edberg was broken in the very early games, in the third. He could have got back into the match, had he managed to exploit one of the five break points he had on 2-3, but he missed at least four decisive forehands and a smash really as a beginner. Nevertheless, he took the break in the eight game. But it was useless. Yesterday Wilander really never missed.
On the other hand, it's Wilander's year, winner of five tournaments: (Bruxelles, Montecarlo, Rome, Boston and Indianapolis, the last four on clay) he had a really remarkable '87. He could have already won in Paris, hadn't rain interrupted his final against Lendl allowing the Czech to rest when he looked exhausted.
Yesterday at a stage of the match it looked as if the same thing could happen again to him. New York's sky covered by enormous black clouds. The last stages of the semifinal against Edberg were continuously threatened by rain: Wilander closed the match just in time.
- Book on history of Swedish tennis available in English
- Legends shine in Båstad
- The 1996 US Open draw controversy
- Sweden, knock if you are there
- Book on glory days of Swedish tennis is out in Italy
- Seles and Edberg win, but Connors steals the show
- Volkov's hit, Edberg out
- What a comedy, Jimmy
- In a Word, Boring: Edberg Cultivates Classic Low-Key Swedish Personality
- At the Us Open Edberg beaten by Krickstein