Saturday, December 1, 2007

1992 US Open SF: Edberg def. Chang

Edberg def. Chang: 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4
Classic: no.
Rating: 77.

The plot:
Edberg came back to defend his US Open title in 1992. But unlike the previous year where he had dominated, this year he struggled. 20 year old Chang had struggled, too, through long matches, but it was his best showing at the Open ever. It would be Edberg's serve-volley versus Chang's returns and passes - on paper, a mouthwatering encounter.

The match: Edberg breaks serve in the opening game, but as he steps up to the line to serve he is called for a foot-fault immediately, then double faults repeatedly, loses his serve, and so our bumpy 5 1/2 hour ride starts. Chang then takes the lead, looks to be in control at 5-2, then Edberg comes storming back, but Chang wins the 1st set in a tiebreak. Edberg has 8 double faults in the first set alone.

In the 2nd set Edberg incredibly gets 8 straight first serves in and takes a 4-0 lead. Then Chang comes storming back, but Edberg wins it 7-5. The players fumble their way through sets 3 and 4 in a similar way. For a while it seems that Edberg may win the 4th set and put this awful, error-laden match out of its misery, but no, we have to endure a 5th set where Edberg seems tired, almost goes down two breaks of serve before he gathers himself and then incredibly is let back into the match by Chang, who in my opinion displays a formidable lack of mental fortitude. Edberg wins the 5th set 6-4 when Chang's return of serve sails wide.

The bottom line: I've often heard people refer to this as a classic, but it is nothing like that. It is a somewhat entertaining topsy-turvy match full of unforced errors and double faults. At times the level of play is so atrocious that you just pray that the match will end. It is a great credit to Edberg that he was able to win when playing so badly, but it reflects poorly on Chang's ability that he is not able to take advantage of Edberg's poor play. I can't recommend this match at all.

Stat of the match: Edberg served 18 double faults in the match, 8 in the first set alone.


Stefan Vasilev said...

Justed wanted to say that you did a great job on the blog. I like it.

triv said...

I definitely remember this match and you are correct. If you ever watch how the Russian women crack on their serve when they are up a break in the final set, Chang was exactly that. If he had just serve accurately to Edberg's error prone forehand, the match was Chang's. He was the Elena Dementieva of men's tennis.

tennisfan said...

In my opinion this match was not THAT bad. For instance, if you look at the stats you will find out that Edberg had "only" 67 unforced errors, which is not too much for a long five-set match that took 5 1/2 hours! Chang had about 40 UE. What also is remarkable: Edberg has been to the net 254 times in this match!! You will not find any numbers like these in today's tennis...There have also been some great shots during this match. But all in all I agree that it was a somewhat strange match with so many ups and downs. With exciting moments, but also very poor moments.