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Memorable Wimbledon Moments: Agassi vs Ivanisevic, 1992

ramnarayanan
SENIOR ANALYST

Dubbed as the championship match between the world’s best server and the world’s best returner, the 1992 Wimbledon final proved to be more than an action packed drama. Fresh from the victories he had against the former three times Wimbledon champions – Boris Becker and John McEnroe in the quarter final and the semi final respectively, the 22-year old Andre Agassi looked to be a man with the mission as he made his fourth Grand Slam final appearance. Having failed to latch on to a Grand Slam title despite reaching the finals of majors on previous three occasions, the odds were certainly not in favour of the American, who was up against a man who served as many as 36 aces in his triumph against Pete Sampras during his semi-final outing.

It was an unbelievable Wimbledon for the 20-year old Goran Ivanisevic. His serves looked unreadable for his opponents. Add to that, his aces count of the tournament read 169 at the end of his four-setter semi-final. The 12th seed Agassi, having lost all his previous encounters against the Croat, was definitely not regarded as the favourite to win the final. As a matter of fact, neither player was holding a clear edge over the other since it was their first appearance in the final of the All England Lawn Tennis Championships. But given the types of serve in his arsenal, the Croat was believed to have a very thin advantage over his American opponent, going into Sunday’s final. Interestingly, it was also a final involving two double-handed backhanders, which was an unusual sight back then in Grand Slams.

It was Agassi who served first and the first two points of the match were exchanged on unforced errors. After a relatively easier hold for the charismatic American, it was the Croat’s turn to serve. Just before the commencement of the final, Ivanisevic sounded very confident about his chances against Agassi. Due to the fact that the American had never broken him in their head to head, he was more than convinced about history being repeated. The left-hander’s assumption was almost laid to rest as he found his serve within the touching distance of getting broken in the second game of the first set itself.

The 6 ft 4 inch server somehow managed to bail himself out of the predicament with the help of some neatly placed serves, and was thus able to survive the early wake up call. The instinctive serve and volley player again faced a break point against his name in the sixth game of the set. His fourth ace of the match, followed by a couple of unforced errors from Agassi’s forehand, tied the set with three games apiece. With neither of them able to capitalise on the break point opportunities offered by the other, the first set was all set to be decided through the tie breaker. By the virtue of being a better server than the American, Ivanisevic was able to make use of that advantage as he won the first set with the score, 7-6 (10-8).

Even as the Croat tried consolidating his victory in the first set, Agassi, who missed the previous three Wimbledons due to the strict dress code system being observed over there, came back strongly by breaking the former in the opening game of the second. In fact, that was the lone break of serve happened during the second set and it was more than enough for Andre to win it with the score, 6 4. The first serve percentages of the man from Las Vegas and the eighth seed Croat were 67 and 47 respectively, and it is needless to mention that it would have done all the difference.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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