When you have power, finesse and confidence, such as Stefan Edberg posseses, you can beat even the biggest hitters and avoid beating
yourself. The top seed needed every little touch - and overcame a little tightness in the throat - to beat American Jim Courier at the Australian Open.The two-time champion reached the quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive year with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 victory Monday in a center court meeting that sometimes more resembled a shootout than a tennis match.
Both these guys are slammers, with Courier perhaps the hardest hitter in the game. But Edberg, last year's runner-up here and champion at Wimbledon, had more to his game when it counted to oust the 16th seeded despite mammoth errors on the final points of Courier's two winning sets.
"I think I'm a much better tennis player than I was a few years ago and playing in a fifth set is a matter of experience," Edberg said. "Today I was able to bring out that advantage in the fifth set. It is a matter of confidence."
Edberg raised his five-set record to 18-10. Courier now is 1-5, with the only victory a 7-6, 3-6, 2-6, 6-0, 7-5 win over Edberg in the final of the 1989 Swiss Indoors.
Breezing into the quarters for the sixth year in a row was defending-champion Ivan Lendl.
The third seeded took command with a string of seven games in a row at the end of the first set and the beginning of the second, losing just seven points in that span, and beat 13th-seeded American Aaron Krickstein 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, his third straight-set win in four rounds.
"He plays his best tennis in the Grand Slam events, so I expected him to be tough tonight and he was," Krickstein said. "He was on top of his game and I wasn't."
Lendl said he was hitting the ball well, but when asked if he was playing as well as he would like, the perfectionist replied: "I am never as good as I would like to be."
Edberg will go in Wednesday's quarterfinals against Jaime Yzaga of Peru, who eliminated three-time champion Mats Wilander in another five-setter, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
It was the first time in the open era of tennis that a Peruvian player reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Alex Olmeda of Peru won the Australian Open in 1959.
Wilander, now 47th in the world after taking some time off from tennis, made too many errors and Yzaga took advantage with a devastating forehand.
In another fourth-round match between unseeded players, Yugoslavia's Goran Prpic beat Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands 7-6, 6-7, 6-0, 7-6.
Prpic meets Lendl next.