Ivanisevic hoping to atone for past Specter of finals losses have damaged his game


WIMBLEDON, England -- Poor Goran Ivanisevic. He's still haunted by his two defeats in the Wimbledon finals.

During a rain delay Thursday, he walked into the locker room, turned on the television set and discovered that the British Broadcasting Corporation was showing his 1992 final loss to Andre Agassi.

"I was watching the whole last set, and I thought, 'Maybe I'm going to win,' " Ivanisevic said. "But I didn't. Same result. I was still nervous. I thought maybe I could do something different. But nothing."

However, at this year's Wimbledon, Ivanisevic is trying to make up for lost time.

Yesterday, he completed his second-round match against Andre Medvedev, swept the final set and won, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-0.

The No. 14 seed said he was feeling good and back on a roll.

"If I play like this, then anything is possible," Ivanisevic said. "This is a very high quality of tennis that I played."

Ivanisevic has just survived the toughest patch of his career, plummeting in the rankings after six miserable months.

"I said, 'OK, the first half of the year is gone, you cannot play worse than the first half of the year,' " he said. "Now, it's the second part of the year. I'm happier to play. I have more fun on the court and more fun practicing."

It was yet another frustrating day at Wimbledon, as most of the matches were delayed by a series of brief showers.

No. 6 seed Patrick Rafter was the first man to complete his third-round match by defeating Magnus Gustafsson, 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 6-1. He awaits the winner of the Tim Henman-Byron Black clash.

Rafter is prepared to face either player in the round of 16, but realizes that Henman, the home crowd favorite, would pose difficult problems.

"You have to block out the noise," Rafter said. "It's going to be a bit difficult, but sometimes that can work against him as well. It is all about me blocking that out, if I do happen to play him [Henman]."

In the women's third round, No. 2 Lindsay Davenport defeated Maria Alejandra Vento, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

No. 14 Sandrine Testud defeated wild-card entry Lori McNeil, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

Pub Date: 6/27/98

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