from La Vanguardia
by Dagoberto Escorcia
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg won his second Wimbledon title yesterday by defeating in the final Boris Becker, three times champion of the tournament, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 58 minutes . Edberg kissed glory for 56 minutes when, playing a dream tennis, he ran towards a victory that seemed astonishing by the clarity of the score and the demonstration of play.
However, in the same match, the Swede met hell for over two hours when the champion refused to hand over his crown so easily and managed to level the score. Only at the end, when he seemed lost, Edberg found salvation. The machine of the champion had stopped fighting. He had stood, for the second time in the last three years, on the way of the youngest Wimbledon champion.
Boris Becker celebrated yesterday the fifth anniversary of his first victory at Wimbledon. On paper he was the favorite. The last time he had met Edberg in the final of this tournament he had given him a lesson in three sets leveraging the little moral consistency of his rival.
He went on court willing to pursue the other Swede Bjorn Borg’s record, who won the title at the All England Club five times. But he found an inspired, fantastic Edberg, able to give a masterful display of his best tennis, to show how and with what weapons you can beat Becker on the Wimbledon Centre Court.
In less than an hour, the Swede changed the forecasts, at the point that more than one spectator cleaned his eyes and asked the others next to him what was really happening. It could not be that Becker was being overwhelmed and materially erased on that court that was always used to seeing him as a dominator.
But there was an explanation. To beat a champion there must be another one. And his game, precisely, was excellent, brilliant, outstanding. An exquisite quality of "five-star" restaurant, silky, in one word. Fine, as Edberg’s appearance itself invites to imagine.
It was no exaggeration. Those who saw Rod Laver win on this court remembered him seeing those great Edberg moments.
The Swede did everything right. His average on first serves was the weakest. But his volleys gave a total return. He wasn’t playing volleys, he was killing. What happened to Becker? Was he playing poorly? Or was Edberg better? Why couldn’t the champion play the way he knew? There was no excuse. In front of him was the only one who could beat him.
The way he was playing Edberg easily took the first set 6-2 in 29 minutes, after breaking Becker’s serve in the third game (2-1) and in the fifth (4- 1). The German could do nothing on the Swede’s serve and won just six points.
The second set followed the script of the first, Edberg just spent two minutes less in winning it. Then, with this 6-2. 6-2, with the kind of tennis displayed by the Swede, it was impossible to think of a comeback by Becker.
But tennis is wonderful and exciting just because of the unpredictable turns a match can take and because perfection does not exist. Edberg was no longer perfect. Becker rose his level higher.
In the first game of the third set, Edberg enjoyed a golden opportunity to get the break but "Bum bum" went to the net willing to die fighting. He saved himself and in the following game he scored three returns like those made by Edberg in the previous two sets that gave him the first opportunity to break the Swede’s consistency. The fourth return was winning. He was up 2-0. He won the set 6-3 and breathed again.
Becker controlled his serve, while Edberg had problems with his first serve. He couldn’t find a way to end what he had begun so well. He was running halfway in his best work. He was leaving it incomplete, and the worst was that his opponent knew that he could still win. Becker gave the measure of his fame and his greatness. He managed to level the match with another 6-3, this time in 39 minutes. He was not defeated.
Edberg was so good that he refused to continue in this hell, but the champion wanted to punish his initial audacity. Becker saved a 15-40, with his serve. He looked better and backed that impression when he broke Edberg’s serve and took a 3-1 lead in the fourth game, when the Swedish gave evident signs of being under pressure making two double faults due to nerves.
Edberg hit the air in anger, because nothing worse can happen to an athlete who has been winning clearly and suddenly finds himself half beaten.
Edberg escaped the hole in which he found himself on time. He broke Becker's serve in the following game, where also the German double-faulted. Edberg found his serve again and went to the net with confidence. He reached the ninth game with on fire. Becker was tired. He could not lift a low return by Edberg and then he could only stare as a "lob" by the Swede gave him the point and a 5-4 lead.
At the second match point, Edberg celebrated his victory. Becker had returned the kick serve to the sky, but yesterday the sky was Edberg’s.
For the second time the title went into Stefan Edberg’s hands. His girlfriend celebrated in the box with the family, while Becker looked lost at who knows what, perhaps looking for answers to his errors, or the meaning of this defeat: "In the first two sets I was slow and only in the third I started to feel good, " said the German.
Edberg acknowledged that this was a desired victory and that "in the fifth set, when I was 3-1 down, I felt angry and I told myself that I could not lose."
Perhaps one of the ball boys, asked for details on the match by the Dukes of Kent before the trophy ceremony, summarized the event the same way as the year before replying: "Yes Ma'am, it was swashing". For Edberg, especially, who lived another happy day at Wimbledon.
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