Boris Becker finally mastered Ivan Lendl at Madison Square Garden.
Becker, who had lost two previous Masters finals to Lendl, avenged the defeats Monday night by winning the season-ending championship in a thrilling fifth-set tiebreaker."I actually don't know what happened yet," Becker said immediately following the 4-hour, 42-minute match, longest in Masters history. "I think I'm going to realize it in the next couple of days. For the moment, I'm just very exhausted."
The final point of the 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) victory was the most memorable of the match. Becker climaxed the 37-stroke rally with a backhand that nicked the top of the net, popped straight up and landed inches away on Lendl's side of the court.
Lendl, back on the baseline poised for his next shot, could only shake his head in disbelief and watch Becker raise his arms in celebration.
It was that kind of year for Lendl, who failed to win a major title, lost his No. 1 ranking to Mats Wilander and saw his bid for a record fourth straight Masters title fall just short.
"If you don't call this unlucky, you don't call anything unlucky," Lendl said of the final point. "It's the way it's been all year. Hopefully, it's all behind me now."
Becker's emotional reaction to winning the championship brought back memories of his Wimbledon victories in 1985 and 1986. He draped a West German flag over his shoulders, threw his racket in the stands and rushed over to hug his coach and father.