Classic Rivalries – Becker vs. Ivanisevic
In the early nineties, Boris Becker vs. Goran Ivanisevic was one of the most hard-hitting rivalries on the ATP Tour. Goran, who at 6’ 4’’ was one inch taller than Boris, broke into the scene in the early nineties with a bomb of a serve. Meanwhile, Boris had been bombing his way out of trouble with his serve since 1985. It was only natural that these two would forge an extremely competitive rivalry. In all, they would meet 19 times, with Boris winning 10 and Goran winning 9.
Here are the top four matches these two disputed:
1990 French Open First Round
1990 was Goran’s break-out year on the tour, where he would establish himself as a top 10 player. The year prior, he’d finished ranked 40 in the world and reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. At the French Open, he’d be playing the number 2 seed, Boris Becker, in what turned out to be a huge upset and massive win for Goran. Boris was arguably going through his best moment, having just finished #2 in the world after claiming the 1989 Wimbledon and US Open. A star would be born in 1990 though, and Goran would beat Becker in four sets, and then proceed to make it all the way to the quarterfinals. 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
1990 Wimbledon Semifinals
Boris would not be shocked again by Goran a month later at Wimbledon. After all, he owned Centre Court around this time. In 1990 Boris was the defending champion and had already won three Wimbledon titles. It would be a tough and contested four-set semifinal, which would include two tie breaks. Becker would move on to the finals, whereas Goran would have to wait a couple of more years. 4-6, 7-6, 6-0, 7-6.
1994 Wimbledon Semifinals
Fast forward to four years later, and by this time Boris had not won a Wimbledon title since 1989. Meanwhile, Goran had established himself in the top 5. Goran came in as the fourth seed while Boris was the seventh seed. Boris would go down in three straight sets to an inspired Goran. Unlucky for Goran, he would lose his second Wimbledon final in three years to Pete Sampras. It would take Goran another seven years to finally taste victory at Wimbledon. As for big Boris, he would suffer the same fate as Goran the following year, losing in the final to Pete Sampras. Final score: 6-2, 7-6, 6-4.
1994 ATP Masters Stockholm Final
This tournament will forever be associated with the fact that Boris Becker beat the top three players in the world on the way to the title. He beat world #3, Michael Stich, in the quarters, world #1 Pete Sampras in the Semis, and world #2 Goran Ivanisevic in the final. This would be sweet revenge for the Wimbledon semifinal loss for Boris and would re-establish Boris as still a force to be reckoned with on the ATP tour. Final score: 5-7, 6-5, 7-5, 6-2.
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