December 17, 1989: Boris Becker secures Davis Cup title defense for Germany


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December 17, 1989: Boris Becker secures Davis Cup title defense for Germany

The six-time Grand Slam champion and a former world number 1 Boris Becker has been known as one of the most dominant Davis Cup singles players ever, winning 38 out of 41 matches he played and leading his country ever since 1985 when he was only 17.

Three years later, he produced one of the greatest displays in a single Davis Cup season, winning all 10 matches he entered to dominate against Brazil, Denmark, Yugoslavia and Sweden and wrap up the first ever Davis Cup crown for his country.

A year later, Becker was there to guide his country towards the title defense, scoring a decisive win over Czechoslovakia in the quarter-final and edging Andre Agassi in that epic semi-final clash against the USA to set another final against Sweden, this time at the Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart on beloved indoor carpet court.

Boris was on a roll in 1989, winning 64 out of 72 matches and winning Wimbledon, US Open and Paris Masters to spend almost the entire season ranked second behind Ivan Lendl (the German was the best players of the season for many, including Ivan himself).

Carried by his partisan crowd in Stuttgart, Becker defeated Stefan Edberg 6-2 6-2 6-4 on December 15, leveling the overall score after a hard-fought win for Mats Wilander over Carl-Uwe Steeb. Wilander needed four and a half fours to score a 5-7 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-3 triumph, trailing two sets to one before claiming nine of the last 12 games from 3-2 in the fourth set to secure the first point for Sweden.

Two weeks earlier, Edberg toppled Becker in the final of the ATP Masters but he stood no chance against the German in Stuttgart, with Boris clinching a 6-2 6-2 6-4 win in less than two hours to level the overall score at 1-1 before the Saturday's doubles encounter.

Becker won almost 40 points more than his rival and he fired 32 service winners to face just two break points, never losing serve to keep the pressure on Edberg all the time. Stefan had the advantage at the net but that wasn't enough for a more positive result, losing the edge from the baseline to suffer five breaks from nine chances he offered to Boris.

The Saturday's doubles clash went down to the wire and it was Becker who played on a high level with Eric Jelen to prevail against Anders Jarryd and Jan Gunnarsson 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-7 6-4. Becker got broken only once in the third set but that was enough for the Swedes to stay in touch until the very last point and they even had a chance to put Germans under more pressure, wasting two set points in the opener.

In the decider, Becker played great on the return to grab the break for Germany at 3-3 and he was the one who served out for the win at 5-4 to push Germany 2-1 up before the deciding Sunday's singles rubbers. On December 17, Boris Becker proved to be too strong for Mats Wilander as well, delivering a 6-2 6-0 6-2 win in an hour and 45 minutes that he described as the greatest victory of his career! The German had the upper hand from start to finish, barely facing troubles on serve and outplaying Mats on the return as well to send Germany over the finish line and secure title defense. Becker's booming serve was ready to rumble right from the start, hitting four service winners in the opening service game and breaking Mats in game three following a great backhand down the line pass that the Swede failed to control.

Three winners pushed Boris 3-1 up and he had another break in his pocket following a forehand winner in game five. Four winners in the next game moved Boris further in front and he had a chance to close the set a few minutes later, creating two set points on the return.

Wilander won four points in a row to bring the game home and reduce the deficit to 5-2, creating first break points in the following game after a return winner. Boris saved them and he closed the opener after a forehand error from his rival, taking a 6-2 lead after 35 minutes and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.

He broke at the start of the second set when Mats netted a backhand and he forged a 3-0 lead when the Swede sprayed aforehand error to give his serve away again in game three. Becker saved a break point in the next game with a service winner and he raced into a 5-0 lead with a deep return that Wilander failed to control, serving for the set after the break.

The German fired three service winners in that sixth game and after less than 70 minutes he was a set away from delivering the second Davis Cup crown for his country. Mats played a little bit better at the start of the third set but he got broken at 2-2, falling 4-2 down after a service winner for Becker in game six and drifting further and further away from the finish line.

Everything Boris touched had turned to gold in those moments and he placed a backhand down the line winner to earn another break in game seven, serving for the title in the game that followed. A home favorite blasted four winners in that last game to complete an astonishing win and start a huge celebration with Nikola Polic and his teammates, finishing one of his best seasons with the most important team event trophy in his hands. 1989 Davis Cup final results:

Mats Wilander (SWE) vs Carl-Uwe Steeb (GER) 5-7 7-6(0) 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3
Boris Becker (GER) vs Stefan Edberg (SWE) 6-2 6-2 6-4
Boris Becker / Eric Jelen (GER) vs Jan Gunnarsson / Anders Jarryd (SWE) 7-6(6) 6-4 3-6 6-7(4) 6-4
Boris Becker (GER) vs Mats Wilander (SWE) 6-2 6-0 6-2
Stefan Edberg (SWE) vs Carl-Uwe Steeb (GER) 6-2 6-4