Masur comeback should go down in Open history U.S. OPEN

September 09, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Although statistics are not kept on comebacks at the U.S. Open, Wally Masur's return from the brink of elimination Tuesday night against fellow Australian Jamie Morgan had to be among the best at a Grand Slam event.

After losing the first two sets, Masur came back to even their fourth-round match, only to fall behind 5-0 in the fifth set. What happened after that was difficult for even Masur to imagine, and apparently hard for Morgan to digest.

Masur won the last seven games of the match, a stretch that began with 16 straight points and ended with the 30-year-old journeyman advancing to his first Open quarterfinal and his first Grand Slam quarter since the 1983 Australian Open.

"I cannot believe that I won that match," said Masur, who will play Sweden's Magnus Larsson, an upset winner over No. 4 seed Boris Becker, in the quarterfinals. "It was just ridiculous. I was gone. He got a little tight and I didn't miss a ball for about six games."

When he fell behind early and then again in the fifth set, Masur thought about the fact that he hadn't been home in nearly four months, and was planning out the itinerary for a return trip to Sydney when all of a sudden he started climbing back into the match.

One game at love.

Another.

And another.

And one more.

"I knew I won 12 points in a row, but not 16," said Masur, who also won 18 of 19 during one stretch.

Asked what happened to Morgan, Masur said, "I suspect that he is only 23 years old. This is his first chance at a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam tournament. I just suspect that he was two sets to love, all of a sudden 5-love. I have been there in the past [losing with a big lead]."

Masur admitted he was "an obnoxious winner" who didn't know exactly what to say to Morgan. Meanwhile, Morgan went back to the locker room and, according to witnesses, trashed his rackets as some baseball players do with their bats after striking out.

"Whether it's 5-1 or 5-all, you can't afford to make those stupid mistakes," said Morgan.

Hand it to big sister

One of the most surprising players at this year's U.S. Open is women's semifinalist Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere of Switzerland, the No. 11 seed. The oldest of the three sisters, she broke a finger earlier in the tournament. She also plans to retire after the current season.

She will play top seed Steffi Graf in the semifinals tomorrow and could wind up facing her sister, unseeded Katerina, in the final.

"Every match I have won here has been a dream," said Maleeva-Fragniere. "I never thought this would be possible. It seems so incredible that I am in the semifinals."

Women don't escape upsets

While much attention has been focused on the number of upsets among the men's seeds, this also will mark the first time in 17 years that three unseeded women's players have reached the quarterfinals.

UNSEEDED SUCCESS

With Magnus Larsson and Wally Masur meeting in the quarterfinals, the U.S. Open men's singles tournament is assured of having an unseeded player in the semifinals for the 22nd time in history. Here are the most recent ones:

Year.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Player(s)

1991 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Jimmy Connors

1990 .. .. .. .. .. .. . ... .John McEnroe

1988 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Darren Cahill

1980 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Johan Kriek

1977 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Corrado Barazzuti

1974 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Roscoe Tanner

1972 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Tom Gorman

1971 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..x-Jan Kodes

x-won semifinal

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