The world's best players gathered at the Madison Square Garden in New York for the ATP Tour World Championship for 13 years, including the entire decade of the golden 80s. It all changed with the ATP Tour's formation in 1990, when the premium ATP event moved to Frankfurt.
The defending champion Stefan Edberg was the top favorite after winning seven titles that season. Still, many candidates wanted to replace him on the throne, with Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Emilio Sanchez, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Andres Gomez and Thomas Muster completing a stellar field on the fast indoor carpet surface.
In the Arthur Ashe Group, Edberg won all three matches. At the same time, Agassi reached the semis after beating Sampras and Sanchez in straight sets, finding his form and seeking the second notable title in 1990 after suffering Roland Garros and the US Open final losses.
After a commanding win over Sampras, Agassi lost to Edberg 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-7(5) despite being three points away from the victory, completing the round-robin stage with a rock-solid 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Sanchez in 53 minutes to secure a place in the last four and the semi-final meeting with the 1988 champion Boris Becker.
Andre proved too strong in a 6-2, 6-4 victory for an 18th ATP final at 20, only the third on an indoor court. In the Cliff Drysdale Group, Boris Becker scored all three wins. The five-time champion Ivan Lendl secured the semi-final berth before losing to Stefan Edberg 6-4, 6-2 in another one-sided clash like the one that featured Agassi and Becker.
On November 18, Andre Agassi overpowered world no. 1 and the defending champion Stefan Edberg 5-7, 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 in three hours and 15 minutes to wrap up a perfect week and claim the biggest title in a career. Agassi served well and improved his net game to keep the points on his racquet against the more accomplished and experienced serve & volley rivals.
Stefan hit 44 service winners, and Andre added 32 to his tally, an excellent addition to his booming groundstrokes that helped him survive tight opening three sets and move closer to the finish line. Agassi hit around 35 groundstroke winners, delivering fury and precision from both wings to leave Edberg far behind, having more success at the net in the volley department.
Andre faced 17 break points and fended off an impressive 13 of those to limit the damage in his games and mount the pressure on Stefan, who got broken six times to lose the title after failing to match Agassi's pace in set number four.
In 1990, Andre Agassi dethroned Stefan Edberg at the Masters Cup.
The American secured a break already in the encounter's second game after forcing Edberg's error with a powerful return and confirmed the lead with a backhand down the line winner for 3-0 after just 12 minutes.
In the seventh game, Stefan pulled the break back following Andre's terrible backhand and played against two break chances in the next one. The Swede fired four winners to get out of jail and bring the game home for 4-4 before clinching another break in the next game to move in front for the first time.
Serving for the set, Edberg got broken in the tenth game to keep Agassi in contention and forged another advantage with the third break. The Swede saved a break opportunity in game 12 and clinched the set with two service winners for 7-5 after 58 minutes.
Andre repelled three break chances at the beginning of the second set, and they both served well until 5-5 when Edberg had another opportunity to move in front. Andre stayed focused and fended it off with a volley winner, closing the game with a perfect backhand lob winner in one of the encounter's pivotal moments.
The Swede served great in the entire set but suffered three mini-breaks in the tie break that Agassi claimed 7-5 after a beautiful forehand crosscourt winner. Stefan hit a double fault to get broken at the start of the third set, and he pulled it back in game four after a terrible call from the umpire as his forehand landed wide.
Agassi worked hard in the eighth game, erasing three break points and stealing Edberg's serve in the 11th game after a return winner and his rival's two double faults. Serving for the set, Andre blasted five winners for 7-5, fogring two sets to one lead after two hours and 42 minutes and taking another big step towards the title.
At 2-2 in set number four, Agassi blasted another great return that forced Edberg's error before the Swede created four break chances in the next one. Andre saved them and moved 4-2 ahead after Stefan's unforced error, maintaining the lead and putting one hand on the trophy after another break in game seven that pushed him 5-2 up.
The American opened the eighth game with two winners, and it was all over when Edberg netted an easy backhand, allowing Andre to celebrate the biggest title of his young career.