19th of January marks birthday of Stefan Edberg, one of the nicest tennis players’ ever to pick up a racquet. The Swede is not only known for his great success on the tennis courts but also admired for his commitment o fairness in gamesmanship. This is the reason why the ATP gives the Sportsmanship award each year in the name of Stefan Edberg.
On his birthday we congratulate Stefan by recapitulating his 1st Grand Slam success which came in the Australian Open of 1985. Edberg then aged only 19 was seeded 5th in the tournament. After receiving a bye in the first round Edberg faced two Americans Bud Schultz and Matt Anger in the 3rd and 4th round and breezed through them at the loss of just one set.
In the 4th round Edberg faced Australia’s Wally Masur who took the 1st and 2nd set and looked to run away with the match. Edberg, who was on the brink of ouster somehow survived and regrouped himself. He then put a heroic show to win the next 3 sets and keep himself alive in the tournament.
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In the quarter final Edberg put up a convincing performance against Michelle Schaper and won the match in 3 straight sets in quick succession. He thus booked a showdown clash with the then World Number 1 and top seeded Ivan Lendl.
Semifinal & Final
The semi-final match was a highly anticipated clash and it surely did live up to the expectations. Lendl took the 1st set in a tie breaker and then Edberg broke in the closing stages of 2nd set to put himself on level terms. The Swede would then dominate the 3rd set and win it. However the Czech star Lendl would not go down without a fight. He leveled the match by winning the 4th set.
It was now supposed to be a one set shootout for the place in the Australian Open final. The 5th set saw both players raise their game to new heights and with no tie breaker to decide the set, it began to stretch beyond the usual score. In the 16th game however Edberg broke the Lendl serve and took the match. It was the entry to a 1st Grand Slam final in the Swedish Star’s career.
In the final match Stefan Edberg faced fellow Swede Mats Wilander who was the two time defending champion at the Australian Open that year. Wilander had already won 3 Grand Slams till then and Edberg was playing his 1st ever final at that level. Though not favorite to win the match, Edberg produced a scintillating level of tennis for two hours. He never allowed Wilander to settle and took the match in 3 straight sets thus having his date with destiny. It was the 1st of 6 Grand Slam successes Edberg would have in his remarkable career.
(Repost from Original Publish)