Michael Chang, known for his ferocious baseline game, turned the tables on big-hitting David Wheaton on Saturday, serving 13 aces en route to a semifinal victory in the $1.72 million ATP Championship.
The defending champion was a 6-3, 6-4 winner and in the final today will play Stefan Edberg of Sweden, who defeated Michael Stich, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), rallying from a 5-1 deficit in the tiebreaker. Stich double-faulted on match point.
"Today was the best I've ever seen him serve in his life," Wheaton, a 6-foot-4, 185-pounder, said of the 5-9, 150-pound Chang. "Aces aren't really his game, but he was able to do it today. He was consistently serving as hard as I was, in the 115 m.p.h. range. If he can serve 115, I should be able to serve 140."
Wheaton, who had to play through a local qualifier to get into the main draw, said Chang's precision shots had him all over the court. Most players try to run Chang around.
"It was my seventh match in eight days, and that's pretty tough," Wheaton said. "I felt a little bit slow, maybe because I've played so many matches. But maybe it's because he's so fast he makes me look slow."
Chang, a four-time winner this year on the ATP Tour, had been averaging 3.7 aces per match. But he overwhelmed Wheaton by winning 43 of 62 service points, to Wheaton's 35 of 61.
"My serve's been working well this week," Chang said. "If I had started to miss and had given David a lot of opportunities, I would have taken something off it. I wasn't hitting as hard as I can."
Edberg lost to Chang in last year's title match.
"I don't think I need to do that much different to win (against Chang)," Edberg said. "What's important with Michael is to stay with him in the beginning."
Edberg has an 11-5 career record against Chang.