Ivan Lendl overpowered Miroslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 Sunday to win his first Australian Open and regain the No. 1 ranking in men's tennis.
Lendl took only two hours to defeat Mecir for the second time in a Grand Slam final. He also defeated his countryman in straight sets at the 1986 U.S. Open.Mecir, ranked 13th in the world, broke to take a 2-1 lead in the first set, but that was his high point of the match. Lendl broke right back at love and never trailed again on another 100-degree day at the National Tennis Center.
Mecir, known as the "Big Cat" for his quickness and court coverage, was a step slower throughout the match. He tried to keep Lendl off balance by hitting short offspeed shots, but Lendl teed off on them like a home-run hitter taking batting practice.
Both players wore caps to shade themselves from the searing heat on Center Court, where the temperture on the cushioned-hardcourt surface reached 135 degrees.
With the victory, Lendl regained the No. 1 ranking he lost to Mats Wilander at the U.S. Open last September. Lendl held the top spot for three years before that.
The Australian Open was one of two major titles that had eluded Lendl. He has won three French Opens and three U.S. Opens, but is still seeking his first Wimbledon championship.
"I can't tell you how badly I wanted to win this tournament," Lendl said after his victory. "It's one of the four greatest."
Both players remained on the baseline most of the match, but Lendl's groundstrokes were more reliable. Lendl also had the superior serve, blasting 14 aces while the ninth-seeded Mecir double-faulted 10 times.
Mecir's serve crumpled whenever Lendl put on pressure.
"I was surprised at how easy it was," Lendl said. "I haven't seen him serve that badly for a long, long time."