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Davis Cup Tennis Final : West Germany Wins Title Behind Becker-Jelen

December 18, 1988|From Reuters

GOTEBORG, Sweden — For Boris Becker, it was bigger than his two Wimbledon championships.

Becker teammed with Eric Jelen Saturday to overcome a 2-set deficit in their doubles match and help West Germany win the Davis Cup championship from Sweden with an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the 5-match final.

Becker and Jelen defeated Stefan Edberg and Anders Jarryd, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, and together with Friday's two singles victories, the result gave West Germany its first Davis Cup.

"We beat Sweden away, on clay, by 3-0, and that makes it very special," Becker said. "For me to win the Davis Cup is an all-time high. It even beats Wimbledon because in this event it is a full year of play."

West German captain Nikki Pilic attributed his team's success to the rapport among the players.

"Our team spirit has been one-for-all, all-for-one," he said.

Sweden, the defending champion, was playing in its sixth successive final and had been expected to retain the Cup with a record fourth victory in 5 years.

As host, Sweden had picked Goteborg, where it had won two previous finals, and had laid its favorite indoor clay court especially for the event.

But after Carl-Uwe Steeb, ranked 74th in the world, upset No. 1 Mats Wilander from two sets down in the opening singles, and Becker then defeated Wimbledon champion Edberg in straight sets, Sweden's defense was in jeopardy.

Edberg and Anders began well, breaking Jelen twice and Becker once--on a double fault--in the opening 2 sets. The Swedes had pressured the less-experienced Jelen, and Becker's frustration at being repeatedly shut out of the action spilled over in the third set when a disputed call allowed Edberg and Jarryd to tie, 30-30, after being down, 30-0, on serve.

Becker lunged at the ground with his racket, receiving a warning.

But Becker shrugged off the incident and concentrated on coaxing errors from the Swedes, who were broken at love to give the West Germans a 5-3 lead when Jarryd hit a volley into the net.

Sweden then broke West Germany, but Jarryd lost his serve again on another error to give West Germany the third set.

Edberg, who beat Becker in this year's Wimbledon final, was the only player to hold serve throughout the match. But Jarryd struggled more and more, failing to hold a service game in the last two sets.

At match point, Becker produced a superb backhand volley that sealed the victory.

West Germany's victory avenged a 3-2 loss to Sweden at Munich in the final 3 years ago.

West Germany's only other appearance in a final ended in a 5-0 defeat by the United States in 1970, but this year West Germany, spearheaded by Becker, has been invincible.

They won their three matches before the final by 5-0 scores.

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