But after Graf won the second set 6-3 and rallied from 1-3 down in the third to serve for the match at 5-3, Sanchez stood exactly where Seles had. But Sanchez never stopped pushing, even though the rallies had lasted 30 and 40 shots. "Arantxa is sweet," said Nunez, "but on the court she is a lion."
Who could guess what would happen next? Not a collapse but a champion beaten. Graf missed the easiest overhead imaginable, allowing Sanchez to break serve at love. Sanchez easily held and broke again at love to go up 6-5. Obviously sick, Graf now had to leave the court. Even sadder, she had to come back. After one last feeble backhand into the net on match point, she had lost 16 of the last 19 points, and Sanchez was rolling on the bronze dirt. When she got up, she hurried, crying, into Graf's arms. Nobody could remember a deposed monarch ever giving such a heartfelt hug to an opponent. "I am very joyed," said Sanchez, the first Spanish player and youngest woman to win the French Open. "I am so exciting to win Steffi."
Chang surely felt the same about winning Stefan in the men's final. But even if he wins another dozen Grand Slam titles times a dozen, he has probably already played the match of his lifetime—an astonishing 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 fourth-round victory over Lendl, in which he cramped up so badly he could barely move throughout the last anguishing set. Chang had begun moon-balling Lendl, a three-time champion at Roland Garros, late in the fourth set to conquer fatigue and to tease Lendl. "Outboring the Bore," said one wag.
But then Chang was gulping water and moving haltingly between points and eating bananas during the changeovers. Although Chang was obviously in pain—but was also somehow able to suddenly swat winners like a wounded animal—Lendl refused to swing out, to take the net, to change tactics, to do anything to end the mercy killing. "You might say Lendl was choking," said Mats Wilander. "But it is not easy to play against a guy with cramps."
In the fifth set Chang broke Lendl's serve three times, and Lendl broke back twice. Then came two ploys right off the playground that thrust the crafty Chang into French Open folklore.
At 4-3, 15-30, Chang quick-wristed an underhand serve, in French, un cruyere, which stunned Lendl. He lost the point, the game and all composure as well, screaming invectives at both the chair umpire and the crowd as he fell behind 15-40 in the next game. Match point, second serve. For my next trick....
Chang boldly hobbled to within a couple of feet of the service box to receive Lendl's second delivery. The chutzpah of "this little squirt!" as Chang called himself afterward. Lendl looked on as amazed as everyone else in the howling stadium. He paused, furious. After almost five hours of play, Lendl's serve had no chance. It ricocheted off the net cord and into ignominious oblivion. Chang fell to his knees, sobbing.
"I was trying to break his concentration," said Chang of his distracting ploy on match point. "I would do anything to stay out there. It was that mental thing."
Chang's tactics did not pass without furor, however. The question of sportsmanship was raised by old pros like Ilie Nastase—talk about the pot calling the kettle black—and Fred Stolle. Moreover, a former player was quoted in L'Equipe, the French sports daily, as doubting the severity of Chang's cramps. "I do not agree with that," said one French journalist. "But knowing the vicious Oriental mind...."
Racism continued to color the French press's reporting of Chang. One headline, which was a quote from a photographer, read LE CHINETOQUE VA NOUS FAIRE VENDRE ("The Chink Will Sell Us Some Pictures"). L'Equipe's leading columnist, Denis Lallane, referred to Chang as "notre petit bride" ("our little slant eyes").