Three-time Australian Open champion Mats Wilander took a step toward resurrecting his crumbling career Saturday by beating Brad Gilbert, who muttered to himself all match about playing "brainless" tennis.
Wilander, No. 1 in the world in 1988 when he won the Australian, French and U.S. Opens, came here ranked No. 47. But the popular Swede showed some of his old quickness and stamina as he beat the seventh-seeded Gilbert 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 6-4 to reach the round of 16."I feel today that things are coming back," Wilander said. "During the tiebreaker I could see the sun coming out and I could sense he was getting tired. I knew it was more important for him. If he wins it he gets more energy and confidence."
Goran Ivanisevic, No. 5, also wilted under the broiling sun, playing with no passion in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 loss to fellow Yugoslav Goran Prpic. Ivanisevic, who aced No. 1 Stefan Edberg 21 times in beating him in a tuneup event last week, managed only five against Prpic while make 18 more errors.
No. 13 Aaron Krickstein, the highest seeded American left, beat Germany's Patrick Kuhnen 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.
In women's matches, Germany's 16-year-old Anke Huber stopped the comeback bid of Pam Shriver 6-3, 7-5, No. 5 Katerina Maleeva beat Donna Faber 6-3, 6-2, and No. 11 Natalia Zvereva beat Clare Wood 6-1, 6-3.
On Friday, Boris Becker and Omar Camporese, clean-shaven when they walked on court and sporting light beards when they left, treated fans to a match to remember on a day when they came to forget.
Five hours, 11 minutes of heavyweight-style, slugging tennis - the longest singles duel in Australian history - proved the perfect tonic for a tournament shaken by the Middle East war.
A day after players and fans stood mesmerized by the first war reports on TVs in the stadium, they packed the No. 1 court to see Becker win 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 4-6, 14-12 in a third-rounder against Camporese, a gutsy Italian playing the match of his life.
Becker, seeking his first Australian title in six attempts, barely avoided the upset.
Unseeded Patrick McEnroe, John's 24-year-old brother, beat No. 12 Jay Berger 6-1, 7-5, 7-5.