Young Boris Becker conquers the tennis globe in fall 1986


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Young Boris Becker conquers the tennis globe in fall 1986

Boris Becker, one of the most explosive players who ever stepped on the tennis court, had burst onto the scene in 1985 when he stunned the tennis world at Queen's and Wimbledon, still at the age of 17, and he entered 1986 season ranked just outside the Top 5 behind Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors and Stefan Edberg.

The red-haired German successfully defended his Wimbledon crown, beating Lendl in the final, and he had an amazing run in three consecutive indoor tournaments in October to make his season even better and become world number 2.

At the age of 18, Becker managed to win back-to-back titles (Sydney-Tokyo-Paris) on three different continents in just 21 days, an incredible feat for such a young player even for the fast indoor tennis of the 80's. Boris started his journey from the Australian indoor championship in Sydney and he reached the final without losing a set.

World number 1 Ivan Lendl awaited in the title match and Boris toppled the Czech 3-6 7-6 6-2 -6-0 for his seventh ATP title and his third win over Lendl in four matches that season. The encounter lasted 2 hours and 27 minutes and Boris played better and better as it progressed, hitting 17 aces and delivering only the fifth loss of the season for Lendl.

The Czech won the opening set 6-3 but he missed a chance for a more convincing result and the tables turned at the beginning of the second set when Becker broke him to open a 3-0 lead. Ivan climbed back to reach the tie break but Becker won it 7-2 and this proved to be the turning point of the entire match.

Carried by this momentum, Boris opened the third set with a break and he never looked back, losing just two games by the end of the match to celebrate the title and move to Tokyo. There, Stefan Edberg beat Lendl in the semis and he tried to stop Becker's assault in the title match.

Becker was too strong once again, beating the Swede 7-6 6-1 in an hour and 19 minutes for his second title in a row. He didn't have too much time for celebration, though, heading west towards Paris where he was the top seed at the first edition of the indoor event in the French capital.

Playing in the third consecutive week on the third different continent, Becker took advantage of the weaker draw and he ousted a qualifier Sergio Casal in the final 6-4 6-3 7-6 in 2 hours and 15 minutes to become the first player since John Newcombe in 1974 (Maui, Tokyo, Sydney) who won consecutive tournaments on three continents.

The German kicked off the match with a break and he was the dominant figure in the opening two sets before Casal broke at the start of the set to stay in contention until the tie break which Boris won 7-3. Becker broke back in the eight game and he never looked back, firing 13 aces in set number three alone and closing the match to avoid further time spent on the court, tired after covering half of the globe in the last 20 days.

Boris took a month off and he returned at the Masters Cup in December where he lost to Ivan Lendl in the final, ending the 19-match winning streak that he never repeated again during his career. ALSO READ: WTA Miami: Kenin, Petkovic, Martic, Vekic and Puig shine in the first round