June 29, 2019
Perhaps it was fitting that the inaugural Svaneholm Open, held next to the picturesque Svaneholm Castle, came down to a thrilling battle between two of tennis’ all-time greats. And it was Mats Wilander who rallied past John McEnroe 1-6, 7-6(7), 12-10 to give Team Sweden a 2-0 win against Team USA in the final on Saturday in Skurup.
McEnroe appeared in position to level the championship match at 1-1 when he cruised through the opening set against Wilander, showing some of his best tennis with fantastic passing shots and vintage play at the net. But the crowd at Mats Wilander Court got behind its man, spurring Wilander to battle back.
Despite coming within two points of defeat, Wilander toughed out the second-set tie-break and rode an early mini-break in the Match Tie-break to victory against the legendary lefty, earning Team Sweden an insurmountable lead, even as McEnroe yelled, “You cannot be serious!”
Wilander and McEnroe played 13 times in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, with the American emerging victorious on seven of those occasions. The former World No. 1s had split their two previous meetings on grass.
Earlier in the day, Jonas Bjorkman gave Team Sweden the advantage with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph against Patrick McEnroe.
After both men held serve in their first two service games, Bjorkman broke through and won the next four games to take the opening set, carving a perfect drop volley on set point. The players rained down aces in the second set, with holds of serve through 4-4.
But Bjorkman finally found his first break of the set and served out the match to thrill his home crowd on a beautiful day for tennis.
“Great scenery, great weather, a great win. I couldn’t be happier,” Bjorkman said. “My body feels good, despite small injuries. I feel inspired by the venue and atmosphere.”
Team France Takes Third Place
Henri Leconte and Cedric Pioline earned third place for Team France on Saturday, defeating Team World’s Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Woodforde 6-4. The legends played exciting tennis throughout, hitting lots of trick shots in the match.
But ultimately Leconte and Pioline, who fell short against Team Sweden in the semi-finals, pulled through.