Boris Becker defeats Ivan Lendl to defend crown



ThrowbackTimes Wimbledon: Boris Becker defeats Ivan Lendl to defend crown

In 1985, the young German Boris Becker stunned the entire tennis world to become the youngest and the first unseeded Wimbledon champion at 17! That stands as one of the most significant achievements in the game’s history, and Boris had to face an even more challenging task a year later, having to prove that the title wasn’t a one-time miracle.

Becker passed it in style in 1986, losing just two sets in seven encounters to defend the crown and become a two-time winner of the most prestigious tennis event well before turning 19! It was the 100th edition of Wimbledon, and there were some surprising results before the semi-final, with no Americans in the last four for the first time since 1970 and with four Europeans there, something that hadn’t happen since 1909!

Jean Borotra, the oldest Wimbledon champion still alive, presented the trophy to Boris, while Don Budge and Fred Perry were also in the stands during the title encounter. In the final on July 6, Boris ousted world no. 1 Ivan Lendl 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and two minutes in a serve & volley contest that left no room for more extended exchanges.

Boris claimed 94 points, just nine more than Ivan, and they both had nine break points up for grabs. The German converted five while Lendl scored only two, losing the edge in the pivotal moments to stay empty-handed in another Major final.

Both players rushed forward on every occasion, with over 70 points at the net for each. It was a high-quality contest with under 30 unforced errors combined, mixed up with quick exchanges as almost 80% of the points ended with a maximum number of three shots and only three rallies that went beyond the sixth stroke!

Becker had to dig deep right from the start, fending off three break points in the first game before Lendl found a way to secure a break at 2-2 with a backhand down the line winner. Becker broke back instantly to gain the mental advantage and repeated that at 5-4 to clinch the opener.

Boris Becker defeated Ivan Lendl in straight sets in the 1986 Wimbledon final.

Boris hit two return winners to kick off that game and forced Lendl’s errors to wrap up the first part of the match. The Czech had some troubles on serve early in the second set before earning a break point in game five, denied with a good attack from the youngster who stayed on the positive side of the scoreboard.

Like in the rest of the encounter, Boris used his chances much better than Ivan and broke in game eight to forge a 5-3 advantage. Becker held at love in the next one to clinch the set 6-3, dropping only six points behind the initial shot and moving a set away from the title defense.

Lendl did his best to remain composed and focused, breaking in the third set’s second game to forge a 4-1 lead, dropping only two points in the first three service games. Becker raised his level to pull the break back in game seven and delivered a nice hold a few minutes later to level the score at 4-4.

The Czech had 30-30 on return in the last three games after breaking Becker but failed to take another chance and increase his advantage, with that single break proving not to be enough to keep him safe until the end of the set.

Ivan held at love in game nine, forced Becker to serve to stay in the set and earned an immense opportunity to break the German and reduce the overall deficit. Lendl went 40-0 in front with three winners before Becker fired three volley winners to get back to deuce.

He won the following two points and made a crucial hold to level the score at 5-5, sending all the pressure back to Lendl. World no. 1 couldn’t deal with it and lost serve to push Boris ahead. Ivan grabbed the first two points on the return in game 12 before Becker claimed one of the best points in the Wimbledon finals to make the result even at 30-30, sealing the deal with two service winners and celebrating back-to-back Wimbledon crowns.

It was the tenth Major final for a moody Czech, who still stood on only three titles, something he was about to change in the following few Major events.



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