Court 2 claims No. 5 Ivanisevic for list of upsets

June 27, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- Court 2, famous for claiming top-seeded Wimbledon players before their time, snatched fifth seed Goran Ivanisevic yesterday.

Only a year ago, the hard-serving native of Split, Croatia, was making his way to the final of this Grand Slam tournament. Then he ran into Andre Agassi, who prevailed at Centre Court.

But yesterday, Ivanisevic, like former top seeds Arthur Ashe, Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe and Jimmy Conners before him, was beaten on Court 2.

This time it was Lansing, Mich., resident Todd Martin who ousted the short-tempered Ivanisevic, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (7-4), 7-5, 6-0.

Ivanisevic declined to be interviewed after the match and left the grounds. He was subsequently fined $2,000 for his silence and an additional $500 for throwing his racket during the match.

Losing for Ivanisevic was even worse than the 6-0 score in the fifth set would seem.

He had a 4-2 lead in the fourth set and three break points that would have put him up 5-2 and serving for the match.

"I was down 0-40 in that game on my serve in the fourth set," Martin said. "If he wins that game, then I lose that match. But I was patient, and I fought back. I didn't expect to win. I was just lucky."

When this 6-foot-6 former Northwestern University student of linguistics managed to win not only the fourth set, but also the key fourth game of the fifth, he opened his mouth as wide as he could and let go a primal scream that likely was heard all over Wimbledon. Certainly it sent shivers down Ivanisevic's spine.

"I tried very hard to keep my emotions to myself," Martin said, his face turning pink behind a wiry red beard and mustache. "But that was a big game. A lot of relief, a lot of excitement came out of me all at once. That's probably as loud as anyone ever gets. I needed to take a minute after that and compose myself. I knew I had too much adrenalin pumping."

Martin is 23 and looks more like a mountain man than a tennis player. Tomorrow, he will play David Wheaton, a good grass-court player who also took out a seeded player yesterday, No. 12 Michael Chang in five sets, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

A year ago, it was Wheaton who eliminated Martin from his first Wimbledon in the second round. But this is a rapidly improving Todd Martin who has advanced to the fourth round. He has been leapfrogging the rankings since turning pro in 1990. Last November he broke into the top 100. Now he is No. 30.

When Martin went to Court 2 to face Ivanisevic, he had a plan. Win his own service, study and take advantage of Ivanisevic's tendencies and hold on. He said he had watched all of his opponent's match with Jonathan Stark and parts of the marathon duel with Chris Bailey, in which Ivanisevic had to dig deep to come up with a 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 9-7 victory.

"I think I must have had similar feelings to Bailey's," Martin said. "Early in the match, on every big point he was coming up with some kind of unexpected shot, and I realized that Chris was only a point away from winning the match. That's why it was so important to me to win that fourth game in the fifth set. Because Chris was also up a break in the fifth and Goran played a really good game to break him.

"My thought was if I could get one more break, he might loosen up a bit mentally. And I think when I did it, his spirit broke a little bit."

Court 2 had claimed another victim.

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