McEnroe-Stich win marathon, 19-17

July 07, 1992|By New York Times News Service

WIMBLEDON, England -- Their match took up two days and required five hours to play, but John McEnroe and Michael Stich won the Wimbledon doubles championship yesterday afternoon by defeating the fourth-seeded duo of Jim Grabb and Richey Reneberg, 5-7, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 19-17.

This was McEnroe's fifth Wimbledon doubles title -- the first four all won with Peter Fleming -- and a first for Stich, last year's singles champion.

"Winning the doubles is the best way possible to get over losing the singles," said McEnroe, who lost to Andre Agassi in the semifinals. "This is not what I had in mind. But to win a Grand Slam title is incredible. I'm very happy."

McEnroe suggested that he and Stich should go for two straight Grand Slam titles by playing together at the U.S. Open. "To stop now would be crazy," he said.

Yesterday's final was completed in front of 7,500 spectators, who got in free. The night before, three of the players had wanted to overlook protocol and finish things off with a sudden-death tiebreaker in the dark, but Grabb and referee Alan Mills disagreed, and the suspended match resumed yesterday with matters deadlocked, 13-13, in the fifth set.

The unseeded McEnroe and Stich, who saved two match points against Stich's serve at 6-7 of the final set, got the vital break on a pair of lobs as Reneberg served in the 35th game.

It was the longest Wimbledon final ever in terms of games, surpassing by 13 the 70-game match in 1968 when John Newcombe and Tony Roche downed Ken Rosewall and Fred Stolle, 3-6, 8-6, 5-7, 14-12, 6-3.

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