The youngest will play the fastest on Sunday for the men's singles title.

The youngest is Boris Becker, 17, the West German prodigy. Today, he became the youngest male finalist in Wimbledon history, completing a rain-delayed 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Anders Jarryd.

Now Becker faces Kevin Curren, the South African expatriate turned Texan, who already has obliterated John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors with his rocketlike serve.

"He should be the favorite," Becker said today. "He has already beaten McEnroe and Connors."

Perhaps. But Becker, who would be the first unseeded player to win Wimbledon, has made the final because of an uncanny knack of winning big points. He appears capable of beating anyone right now.

Today, starting from a set all and 1-1 in the third, he overpowered Jarryd. The Swede is one of the game's best returners of serve, but each time he got Becker into trouble, Becker found a way out.

"His serve puts so much pressure on you," Jarryd said. "Every time you get to deuce or break point you know he may just serve it past you."

Becker did that on several occasions today. He broke Jarryd in the third set to reach 5-3 with a ripped forehand, then held for the set by getting in two big serves at 30-all.

The fourth set began with three straight service breaks. The last one went to Becker when he ran down a backhand, followed it and knocked off an easy forehand volley as Jarryd shrugged helplessly.

At that point, Becker was warned because his coach, Ion Tiriac, was giving him hand signals from the friend's box. "I have no idea what that was about," Becker said innocently.

"He was doing it yesterday, too," Jarryd said. "It was good that they warned him. But it didn't affect the outcome of the match."

What probably did affect it were the two set points Becker saved before rain stopped the match on Friday. Just as he had done in the second round against another Swede, Joakim Nystrom, Becker won a second-set tie breaker to avert a two-set deficit.

"Winning that set gave Boris a lot of confidence, I think," Jarryd said. "If we had kept on playing Friday, I don't know if anything would have been different than it was today."

Maybe it would not have been, but Jarryd played differently today. His returns weren't as sharp as Friday and he didn't look as quick covering the court. Becker was in command from the start, breaking serve five times in eight games before the match was over.

Jarryd's trip to the semifinals was almost as startling as Becker's. He came here never having won a singles match in four attempts at Wimbledon, a player with no taste for the fast grass here. But after coming from two sets and a break down to win a two-day opening-round match against Claudio Panatta, he got better and better on his way to this round.

Today, though, defeat came swiftly as Becker grew stronger as the sun baked the court, making it faster and faster.

It ended, on the last service break, when Becker's backhand return hit the net cord and ricocheted into Jarryd's face. Startled, Jarryd volleyed the ball into the net and Becker turned toward Tiriac, arms upraised in victory.

Becker has become something of a hero here because he is a gutty and flamboyant player. He blows on his racket hand, as Tracy Austin does, and shakes his fist at his opponent after an important shot.

"To reach the Wimbledon final at 17, it's everything," he said. "I know it will change my life and I will have more responsibility, especially if I win tomorrow. But either way, it has been a good effort."

Theirs will be a battle of power, two big servers, each trying to get to the net on every point. It will be the first time in 10 years that someone not named Borg, McEnroe or Connors has won this title. At the very least, it will be different.