Erratic McEnroe Beats Wilander in Marathon; Lendl Fends Off Goldie
John McEnroe’s bobbing, weaving run through Wimbledon took him to his first Grand Slam semifinal in almost four years today as he kept his temper and beat Mats Wilander in a Center Court marathon.
Another American--normally mild-mannered Tim Mayotte--lost his cool over an umpire’s decision as he was eliminated by defending champion Stefan Edberg.
Reaching the final four at Wimbledon for the seventh time and the first since his third title in 1984, McEnroe won 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a three-hour, 52-minute match featuring missed opportunities and golden moments from both players.
“I knew after the first set it was going to be one of those matches,” McEnroe said. “We were both onto each other’s serve. You had to hang in there mentally. You couldn’t get a lot of rhythm.”
McEnroe’s last Grand Slam semifinal was at the 1985 U.S. Open.
McEnroe vs. Edberg
Next, he will play Edberg, who outraced the dusk to beat Mayotte 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.
In the other half of the men’s draw, top-seeded Ivan Lendl claimed the first semifinal spot with a 7-6, 7-6, 6-0 victory over unseeded American Dan Goldie, who limped through the last two sets with an apparent leg injury.
Lendl’s opponent in his fourth consecutive Wimbledon semifinal will be Boris Becker. The two-time champion from West Germany beat another unseeded American, Paul Chamberlin, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.
The women’s semifinals are Thursday, with Steffi Graf against Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova against Catarina Lindqvist.
Mayotte, who has earned the nickname “Gentleman Tim” for his good behavior on court, exploded in the second-set tie-breaker when Scottish umpire John Frame overruled a line call on a serve and gave Edberg set point.
“How can you be possibly do that? How can you be so sure?” Mayotte screamed at Frame. “I don’t believe it!”
Edberg lost that set point but finally won the tie-breaker 12-10, and Mayotte smashed his racket so hard on the changeover that it crumpled the metal frame.
McEnroe’s best Wimbledon performance in five years has been marked by play that is sometimes brilliant and sometimes bad and glimpses of the temper that earned the American nicknames such as “McBrat” and “Mac the Mouth” from the British tabloids.
It was most evident in his fourth-round victory over Australian John Fitzgerald, when he argued over line calls, was warned about slow play and complained that the courtside refrigerator was making too much noise.
Against Wilander, who has won the other three Grand Slam tournaments but never gone past the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, McEnroe limited his outbursts to infrequent chirping at umpire Richard Kaufman, an old nemesis.
But if the tantrums were gone, the up-and-down play continued. And McEnroe was lucky that Wilander, the fourth seed, was playing the same way. There were 17 service breaks and dozens of break points that never were converted.
“He played better on the big points,” Wilander said. “I think I had a lead in every set . . . and maybe I got a little too loose. He produced some great shots at times, and I played well at times, too.”
Becker needed just 93 minutes to overwhelm Chamberlin, serving nine aces and many more service winners that the unseeded American barely touched.
The West German lost just five points on his serve in the first set and two in the second set before dropping nine points on serve in the last set--including two consecutive double faults on his first two match points. He closed out the match with a second-serve winner.
Lendl, who needs Wimbledon to complete his Grand Slam title set, served 21 aces, and Goldie had to limp through the final two sets after injuring his left leg.
Neither player lost serve through the first two sets, with Lendl overpowering the American with his serve.
“That’s grass for you,” Lendl said. “On grass, you can’t do anything about it.”