by Hans-Gunther Krauth
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Edberg continues his positive run. After the US Open, he has taken Sydney and the Tokyo Seiko Open. Good tournament for Derrick Rostagno, surprising finalist.
"Now I can play without worries until the end of the season," said Edberg, happy and beaming after his victory on Rostagno in front of the whole sold out Tokyo Metropolitan Gym Sendagaya, just on the right of the Olympic Stadium where a few weeks ago Carl Lewis set a new world record on the 100 meters.
"One of my goals this year was to remain number one, and with this victory I succeeded. This makes me terribly happy and until the end of the year I can have fun playing." Of course, Edberg was pointing out to the world ranking and to the open challenge against Boris Becker for the world's first place.
510 were the points that separated Stefan from Boris before the Seiko Open final, but now the difference will be even bigger, 911.
Becker, on his return after a five-week break due to injury, lost instead valuable points with his defeat against Rostagno in the quarterfinals, since he had been a semifinalist here last year.
After the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, the blond Swede had given his world number one position to Becker, who had maintained it for three weeks, before giving it back to him again.
But after the Wimbledon final, Boris had taken back the throne. Edberg's first victory at the US Open not only returned him to the number one position, but also gave him a huge mental boost.
After New York Stefan won Sydney indoor and the Seiko Tokyo Open bringing to 17 his run of matches won in a row, the best record of the season.
And all those who have seen him play here in Tokyo can only agree. In the early rounds he beat David Pate and young French hope Frederic Fontang, before playing Michael Chang.
Edberg's following match against the unfriendly Croatian player Goran Ivanisevic had appeared one of the most interesting.
Ivanisevic had entertained the Tokyo crowd in the quarter finals: he had beaten the sparkling Agassi serving "only" 15 aces, 12 less than seven days earlier, when he had already beaten the strong American in the first round in Sydney. In the semifinal against Edberg, Goran served 20 aces in total while the Swede was patiently waiting to come into play.
In the final Stefan met Derrick Rostagno, who had been boosted by wins on Lendl and Becker. Rostagno, who turned 26 on the 25th of this month, has been up to his nickname: "the killer of giants."
After silently rising to number 22 in the world rankings he has earned a solid reputation this year by beating Jimmy Connors in Orlando and at Wimbledon, John McEnroe in Montreal, Ivan Lendl in Cincinnati and Pete Sampras always in Orlando.
In Tokyo he added two more illustrious victims to his list. In the quarters he took revenge on Becker who had defeated him at the US Open in 1989 after he had been two sets up and had had two match-points in the third set. A lucky net had not only given Becker the match at the fifth set but also the New York title.
After beating the number two seed, Rostagno had used his best weapons - a powerful and accurate serve and a large repertoire of volleys - to beat another heavyweight: Ivan
Lendl, defending champion and number 3 seed, who had requested and received a wild card by the organizers.
"When he serves and takes the net like he did today he is hard to beat, - commented a stunned Lendl. - He kept me out of the match all the time." The American, who since January of this year is happily followed by his coach and friend Mike Conroy (30 years old, former world-class player), had not yet appeased his hunger for victory.
After the second set of the final, easily won 6-2, it seemed that he could do it.
He kept his balance and serve, he broke Edberg to go up 3-2 in the third. But on the sixth game of the third set, after placing the last two of his 12 aces, Rostagno made some crucial mistakes at the net.
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