American Todd Martin, usually as composed as a professor with his fluffy brown beard and quiet demeanor, let loose a primal scream Saturday that shattered the sleepy silence of Wimbledon.
Just when it seemed that nearly all the big names would march jauntily and tediously into the second week, Martin's howl punctuated a 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (7-4), 7-5, 6-0 upset of last year's runner-up, Goran Ivanisevic.It came after two improbable winners: a scooping backhand lob over the towering Ivanisevic, and a lunging clunker off the frame that spun crosscourt as if in slow motion before touching down inches from the sideline.
Those two shots broke Ivanisevic's service for the second time in the final set, gave the unseeded Martin a 4-0 lead and demoralized the No. 5 seed.
"That was probably as loud as anybody gets," said Martin, 22, a former All-American at Northwestern who is tall and lanky like a young Abe Lincoln from Illinois.
"I had to take some extra time, actually, after that point to regain my composure because I got just too much adrenaline pumping at once."
Martin, playing in only his second Wimbledon, settled down to hold serve at love with the help of his 16th ace, then watched Ivanisevic double-fault for the 15th time to lose the match.
Ivanisevic, who had 34 aces in his previous match but "only" 23
this time, stormed away and was fined $2,000 for spurning the post-match interview. He lost another $500 for throwing his racket and cracking it during the match.
Martin's victory was "certainly his biggest moment in tennis," said his coach, Tom Gullikson. A pro since 1990, Martin won his first tournament last month at Coral Springs, Fla., but even that doesn't measure up to this achievement.
At 30-30 in the fourth game, Ivanisevic followed up his serve with a half-volley that sat up for Martin, who had plenty of time to think about what to do. With Ivanisevic standing in the middle of the court, Martin could have driven a backhand to either side and risked a volley by Ivanisevic. Instead, Martin flicked a lob that the 6-foot-4 Ivanisevic couldn't touch and could scarcely believe. The crowd delighted in the surprise, but there was more to come.
Ivanisevic hit two good volleys trying to get to deuce and seemed to have Martin out of position as he ran forward. The 6-6 Martin lunged with a forehand and the ball caromed off the frame behind Ivanisevic across the court, ever so slowly, and fell in by about six inches.
That's when Martin bent back, pumped both arms repeatedly and bellowed above the crowd's roar.
"It was the only shot he had and it was made in desperation," Gullikson said. "He just fluked it in. Once he was up those two breaks, he had Goran."
Martin goes into the round of 16 next week against fellow American David Wheaton, a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 winner over No. 12 Michael Chang in a dramatic 4-hour, 22-minute marathon.
The only other upset Saturday hit the women's No. 5 seed, Mary Joe Fernandez, who lost to her doubles partner, Zina Garrison-Jackson, 6-0, 6-1.
The No. 2 seeds in both draws, Martina Navratilova and Stefan Edberg, advanced in straight sets. No. 3 Jim Courier had a tougher time before overcoming inspired play by Jason Stoltenberg of Australia to win 6-4, 7-6 (11-9), 3-6, 6-4.