WIMBLEDON, England -- Boris Becker slept fitfully Monday night, thinking about how he couldn't finish off Wayne Ferreira in the fourth set of their Round of 16 match, worrying about coming back for the fifth set the following afternoon to complete it.
When Becker woke up to rainy skies yesterday morning, he knew he might be in for a long day. When the rain grew into a more than three-hour delay, the first prolonged bad weather break during this year's Wimbledon, the three-time champion got a little more nervous.
"It helped after the match, but before the match, it wasn't so great to come out for a fifth set," Becker said after taking care of Ferreira in a 29-minute fifth set and advancing with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1 victory. "I didn't sleep well, but I had my best set of the tournament."
Becker, the fourth seed, served at 5-3 in the fourth set Monday night against Ferreira, a fast-rising 20-year-old South African who is seeded 13th. But Becker couldn't close out Ferreira then, or in the tiebreaker, when he had two serves at 6-5 and lost the last three points to force a fifth set.
"When you have a match like that in your pocket, it's not that easy [to sleep]," Becker said. "I wish I could have had a day off [for the rain]."
Ferreira could have used one, too. Instead, he took the day off. He seemed nervous in such an atmosphere as a one-set, Centre Court duel with Becker. Except for ripping off a few of his soon-to-be-talked-about backhands, Ferreira was tentative.
The victory put Becker into the quarterfinals for the seventh time innine years. He will meet 12th seed Andre Agassi, who has beaten Becker the past five times they played. They, like the rest of today's opponents, never have played each other on grass.
Burgin loses in doubles
In women's doubles yesterday, Elise Burgin of Pikesville, Md., and Mariaan de Swardt of South Africa lost their third-round match to Jo-Anne Faull of Australia and Julie Richardson of New Zealand, 6-4, 5-7, 6-0.
Burgin and de Swardt had been down 5-2 and were facing match point in the second set before staging a thrilling, though ill-fated comeback. The loss means that Burgin will not face her TTC longtime friend Pam Shriver in a potential quarterfinal matchup. Shriver and Martina Navratilova's match against Anke Huber and Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of Germany was postponed until today.