MELBOURNE, Australia — Sweden's Stefan Edberg, escaping from a midmatch letdown, won his second straight Australian Open men's singles title today, defeating hometown favorite Pat Cash, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3.
The hard-earned victory by the fourth-seeded Edberg ended the hopes of Cash becoming the first Australian to win the Open here since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
Saturday, Czechoslovak's Hana Mandlikova upset top-seeded Martina Navratilova, 7-5, 7-6, to win the women's singles crown.
Edberg took the opening set by breaking Cash's service at 15 in the eighth game, then holding his own serve at love and closing out the set with an ace and a sharply hit cross-court volley off the Australian's service return.
The Swede, appearing to be in complete command of the match, broke Cash's serve at 30 in the third game of the second set and eventually moved out to a 5-3 advantage en route to taking the set.
Then it was Cash's turn to shine. The 21-year-old right-hander, who defeated top-seeded Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia in the semifinals, took the next two sets as Edberg faltered.
In the sixth game of the fifth and final set, Edberg broke Cash at 30 when he hit a smash that the Australian reached but could only send a high lob cross-court that landed wide.
The Swede, who now has won two Grand Slam singles titles, both on the grass courts at Kooyong, had to fight off a break point in the seventh game before he held serve to take a 5-2 lead. Cash, scrambling around the court and fighting for every point, quickly fell behind 15-40--double match point--in the eighth game.
Edberg, obviously taut with tension, couldn't take advantage as Cash held serve after fighting through four deuces and staving off a total of three match points.
But the Swede was perfect when he served for the match. He took the first two points on service winners. And he reached his fourth match point when Cash miss-hit a backhand on a ball that took a bad hop.
The blond right-hander closed out the match with a forehand volley into an empty court, then threw his hands high in victory.