NEW YORK -- In the past, a foot fault on match point in a third-set tiebreaker would have been enough to send Goran Ivanisevicscreaming out of the U.S. Open.
But yesterday, the tortured Croatian only looked like a man about to lose his head. He was up 6-3, 6-2, and 11-10 in the third-set tiebreaker when an ace on his third match-point opportunity was disallowed for a foot fault.
The corners of Ivanisevic's mouth turned so far down they were in danger of running off his chin. Across the net, Hendrik Dreekmann put his hand over his mouth, trying to hide his laughter.
"I was laughing," said Dreekmann, who eventually lost the tiebreaker, 13-11, and the match. "There he was serving an ace for the match point and the [linesman] calls a foot fault. That's tough for him, very bad luck.
"But Goran was serving so many aces today, it was very tough. Serving like that, two or three aces a game, one mistake, one foot fault, isn't going to matter. You can't do anything against serving like that. . . . Tell me something I could do."
As long as Ivanisevic kept his cool, there was nothing for Dreekmann to do but wait.
"I didn't want to lose my mind then," said Ivanisevic. "[But] it's not so nice when the guy calls me foot fault on the match point. I [had] hit an ace and I was so happy to hit an ace, and [he calls] a foot fault from nowhere."
Ivanisevic stood and glared at the linesman. Then, after telling himself, "Don't double-fault," he double-faulted before hitting another ace. He secured the victory on Dreekmann's next serve, when the German hit a forehand wide.
And suddenly, Ivanisevic was through to the fourth round, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (13-11).
"Maybe, maybe I would lose before, but today, I just wanted to achieve my goal so bad, to play Tuesday for first time ever," he said. "I was so focused. I said, 'No, no, no. You're still in there. You have to keep cool, then maybe after the match you deal with the guy.' "
The guy was the linesman and when the match was complete, Ivanisevic turned and made a lengthy speech to the man who had dared to call the fault.
"I told him a lot of things," said Ivanisevic, who declined to repeat his words.
This is only the second time in eight Opens that Ivanisevic has made it into the round of 16 here and the first since 1991.
"Last time, fourth round was over before this Tuesday," Ivanisevic said. "Usually, by second Tuesday I am home in Croatia watching TV. Now I am here second week. Now anything is possible."
And that, evidently is a delight to the boisterous crowd that rooted for him with passion on the Grandstand Court yesterday.
"I think the crowd likes a little action," Ivanisevic said. "They like action movies, so they like me. Always something interesting is going with me when I play, some aces, a little talking to the people, a little fighting, a little throwing the rackets. They like this. Yes, I think they really do."
And finally, Ivanisevic appears to like the Open well enough to stick around for a while.
Edberg's long farewell
If Stefan Edberg keeps this up, he'll be back inside the Top 20 before he's through.
"A lot of people are trying to convince me not to retire," said Edberg, after his 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 victory. "But my intention in this is to go away on a high note. I know that I can't keep going forever, it's just not physically and mentally possible.
But yesterday's opponent, Paul Haarhuis wasn't one of those hoping to encourage Edberg to stay. Haarhuis said neither he nor Edberg was on his game and that he didn't feel any special intensity from the six-time Grand Slam champion who will retire at the end of this season.
"I mean, that one break I got in the second set, he missed four backhand volleys on top of the net," said Haarhuis, who is one-month older than Edberg, 30. "I mean, he was making mistakes on his service game. A couple times, we had a rally like three hits over the net, it was like, 'Hey, we did it!'
"I would have liked to beat him and finish his Grand Slam career here. It would be a nice thing for me and him. He could tell his friends back home he lost to me."
Eventually, Haarhuis relented, saying Edberg deserves this farewell run.
"I listened to the introductions during warm-ups," Haarhuis said. "When the announcer tells this little bit of what you've done in your career and then he starts with what Stefan has done, then you know that's the reason he's Stefan Edberg and why he's been No. 1 and why it's a big deal. It makes you feel a little bit small."
Mark Philippoussis dispatched No. 16 seed Cedric Pioline, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, with so many fastball serves, Pioline actually lined up at the baseline and shouldered his racket like a baseball bat.
"I learned baseball watching TV in New York," said Pioline, the Frenchman who was a finalist here in 1993 but didn't have a single break-point opportunity against the big-serving
Philippoussis is the man who upset Pete Sampras in straight sets at the Australian Open and lost to him in straight sets at Wimbledon.
The 25-ace performance moved the Aussie into the Top 20 and he now will get another shot at Sampras here in the fourth round.
"It's dangerous playing Mark," said No. 1 Sampras, after advancing with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Alexander Volkov. "He's got a big serve. It's like playing a right-handed Goran. You've got to hang with him, because he's going to pop his aces."
Pub Date: 9/02/96