Second-seeded Mats Wilander rallied from a three-game deficit in the second set to beat defending champion Stefan Edberg, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, Sunday in the final of the Assn. of Tennis Professionals Championship at Mason, Ohio.
Wilander had his serve broken twice and fell behind, 3-0, and later, 5-3, in the second set before rallying to beat fellow Swede Edberg and win the tournament for the fourth time in its 10-year history.
Edberg, the tournament’s top seeded player and ranked No. 3 in the world behind No. 1 Ivan Lendl and No. 2 Wilander, dominated the first set and appeared headed to an easy win.
“He felt he’d won the match, and I felt like I’d lost it,” Wilander said.
Both players said the week’s play at the Jack Nicklaus Sports Center should enhance their chances in the U.S. Open. The ATP Championship is played on the same surface.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed with losing this match,” Edberg said. “I thought I had him. But it looks good for the U.S. Open. I played some very good tennis today.”
Said Wilander: “This (the ATP) is always good to win for my confidence going into the U.S. Open.”
Wilander holds a 10-5 advantage in head-to-head competition with Edberg.
Top-seeded Andre Agassi defeated Jeff Tarango, 6-2, 6-4, to win the Mennen Cup at Livingston, N.J.
Agassi, ranked fourth in the world, has won 18 straight matches and 6 Grand Prix titles this year.
“I feel good about this past week because I didn’t find the matches mentally tough and I feel ready for the U.S. Open,” Agassi said. “Whenever I was behind, I was able to lift my game to another level.
“Everytime I was either behind, 15-40 or 30-40, I was able to lift my game,” Agassi said.
Tarango, a junior from Stanford who is ranked 251st in the world, exchanged service breaks with Agassi at the start of the second set. Each held serve until Agassi broke Tarango in the ninth game.
“He was ripping the ball on every shot, Tarango said. “His level of play was different than anyone I had ever played.”
Gabriela Sabatini used her power and speed to defeat Natalia Zvereva, 6-1, 6-2, in the final of the $315,000 Player’s Challenge at Montreal.
Fourth-seeded Sabatini, 18, needed only 1 hour 7 minutes to defeat sixth-seeded Zvereva.
Sabatini combined powerful groundstrokes with occasional forays to the net to keep Zvereva off balance. Zvereva, 17, committed 31 unforced errors to 11 by Sabatini.
“She had so much speed on every point,” Zvereva said. “That disturbed me very much. She was ready for the drop shot. She was hitting a lot of them.”
The final became a showcase for the rising stars when the tournament’s top three seeded players were eliminated. Zvereva defeated No. 1-seeded Martina Navratilova and No. 3-seeded Pam Shriver to reach the final, while Sabatini beat No. 2-seeded Chris Evert in the semifinals.
Sabatini, ranked fifth in the world, is the youngest winner in the nine-year-old tournament.
Sixth-seeded Vijay Amritraj defeated fellow Indian Zeeshan Ali, 6-3, 6-1, to win the the Pilot Pen Open on the Yale University courts in New Haven, Conn.
Amritraj, 34, needed only 1 hour 15 minutes to beat the 18-year-old Ali.
Amritraj and Ali will play for India in the Olympics next month.