Stefan Edberg at the Lagardère Trophy
(picture by François-David Lemierre)
Michael Chang defeated Stefan Edberg in Paris in what was a re-match of the 1989 Roland Garros final. 4-6 6-1 10-2 the score. It's the first defeat in two years for Edberg at the Trophée Lagardere.
Chang Downs Edberg In Epic Paris Rematch
from ATP Champions Tour.com
History repeated itself in Paris on Friday as Michael Chang went the distance to defeat old adversary Stefan Edberg 20 years on from the American's momentous five-set victory over the Swede in the 1989 French Open final.
Chang won 4-6, 6-1 10-2 (Champions' Tie-Break). The first set was a nervy affair, with both players exchanging service breaks early on. Edberg’s glorious backhand and volleying finesse told at the end of the set, and the Swede seized the crucial break to take it 6-4. The momentum shifted dramatically at the beginning of the second set. Chang used his heavy topspin to great effect, twice breaking the Edberg serve to lead 4-0. The American served out the set with ease to set up a deciding Champions’ Tie Break. Edberg was unable to recover his form, and Chang eventually clinched victory in audacious fashion with a lucky net-cord that only added to Edberg’s misery.
“It was a tough match, and of course I’m happy to come through it as the winner,” said Chang. “In the first set he was playing very well and I couldn’t get a rhythm going. Then I got a couple of breaks in the second set and he lost a bit of momentum and really wasn’t able to get it back. So I’m really pleased to be able to come through a tough match like this.”
For Edberg, who won the ATP Champions Tour title in Paris last year, it was a disappointment, particularly after such a great start.
"In the first set I felt good but then suddenly in the second set I lost momentum totally," he said. "I just didn’t have the rhythm and got myself into trouble. In the Champions’ Tie Break he played a little bit too well and I didn’t quite find the rhythm that I had in the beginning. That sometimes happens in tennis, matches can turn very quickly.”
It was an enthralling match that lived up to its headline billing on day two of the Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy. “Stefan’s not a very easy player to play against and we always have close matches like we did at Roland Garros in 1989,” said Chang. “To have the opportunity to play against such a great champion as Stefan again after all these years is really a treat, and winning feels great.”
It was a measure of Chang's excellence that Edberg felt he had played well, even in defeat. “Even though I lost I felt like I was playing a lot better today than I was yesterday,” said Edberg, who had beaten Arnaud Boetsch on day one. “There was some really good tennis out there."
Chang now tops Group A, with Edberg forced down into second position with only one round-robin match left to play.
In the day's other matches, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov notched up his first victory of the tournament by beating Thomas Muster 7-5, 2-6, 10-7 (Champions’ Tie Break), and Thomas Enqvist defeated C. Pioline 7-6(6), 6-4 in the last match of the day to keep his place at the top of Group B.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday's final.
After Paris, the ATP Champions Tour will move on to Chengdu for the inaugural Chengdu Open (November 5-9), and after that will arrive in Turin, Italy for the city’s first ever ATP Champions Tour event (November 11-14). The Tour culminates in London at the AEGON Masters Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall, 1-6 December.
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