from Los Angeles Times (AP)
MELBOURNE, Australia — Todd Martin undermined Stefan Edberg's serve-and-volley game today, winning three tiebreakers to set up an all-American final at the Australian Open.
Martin, seeded ninth and playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal, defeated the fourth-seeded Swede, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-4) in 3 hours 50 minutes.
In the All-American championship match, Martin will face top-seeded Pete Sampras, who defeated third-seeded and two-time defending champion Jim Courier, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Edberg, whose right knee was treated early in the match, was overwhelmed at times by the power of Martin's backhand returns.
"Today I think I believed in myself a little bit more and I did what I had to do," said Martin, whose best previous Grand Slam performance was the quarterfinals at last summer's Wimbledon.
Martin missed several passing shots by inches in the first set, when Edberg used lobs to strand the American at the net.
But those passing shots began hitting during the second set. Martin led the second set, 5-3, but lost three consecutive games before capturing the 12th game and the tiebreaker.
Edberg saved three set points in the third-set tiebreaker, including one easy putaway at the net that Martin slammed way long. But Martin prevailed on his fourth set point, passing Edberg with a forehand shot and punching the air in triumph.
Martin also won the fourth set in a tiebreaker, though it took four match points to finish off Edberg. On the final point, he slammed an ace down the middle, then hit a ball high into the stands and raised his arms in triumph.
Until then, the 23-year-old from Lansing, Mich., never varied from his mild-mannered ways. He apologized after almost hitting a ballboy with a shot, and lifted his finger to his mouth to quiet a spectator who yelled happily after an Edberg double-fault.
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