LONDON, JUNE 26 -- Boris Becker knew this moment would come. He knew that some day he would face a match point at Wimbledon. He knew he would lose here because everyone loses and because, as he put it today, "I am not immortal."
But he never expected to feel mortal against Peter Doohan, a 26-year-old Australian ranked No. 70 in the world. Becker walked out to Court 1 today having no idea that he was about to be the victim of one of the most shocking upsets in the 101 years this tournament has been played. Three remarkable hours later, Doohan had become a part of Wimbledon history, stunning the two-time defending champion, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Becker's loss marked the earliest departure by a defending champion in the 20 years of open tennis here, since Charlie Pasarell beat Manuel Santana in the first round in 1967.
"Before the tournament, I was thinking that I know some day I must lose here," Becker said. "I don't think I know yet how much this hurts. I'm disappointed now, but I think it will hurt me more when I wake up in the morning. I knew I had to lose, but I never expected it would be in the second round to a Doohan."
Becker was not alone. Last year, playing a first-round match here against Jakob Hlasek, Doohan pulled a pectoral muscle on his right side that was so painful he served underhanded the rest of the match.
He missed three months after that loss and his ranking plummeted so far he was playing satellite tournaments last November. In the first round here he barely survived against Alex Antonitsch, winning, 9-7, in the fifth set. That was his first win at Wimbledon. No one thought for a moment today would be his second.
"I never even looked past this round in the draw," said Doohan, who lost to Becker in the first round at Queen's two weeks ago. "I just figured it was another bad draw and thought about making a plane reservation out of here."
Instead, Becker will fly home Saturday, a fact that completely overshadowed the sun and a spate of upsets showing up all at once at Wimbledon. After four days with little tennis and not one upset involving a seed, they fell all over the place today.
Three women's seeds lost, including both Maleeva sisters, Manuela (No. 7) to Diane Balestrat and Katerina (No. 13) to Gigi Fernandez. No. 11 Lori McNeil was upset by 16-year-old Soviet Natalia Zvereva, 6-4, 6-4.
The seeded winners on the women's side today were led by Steffi Graf, who destroyed Tina Scheuer-Larsen, 6-0, 6-0, and Chris Evert, who had to save a set point against Laura Golarsa before winning the last 10 games for a 7-5, 6-0 victory. Pam Shriver also had an easy time, beating Anne Minter, 6-2, 6-2.
On the men's side, sixth-seeded Yannick Noah, who has always played horrifically here, never making it past the third round, lost to his doubles partner, Guy Forget, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 6-4, 9-7. In a much milder upset, Slobodan Zivojinovic, a semifinalist here last year, beat No. 15 David Pate, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-1. And, just before dusk, Johan Kriek beat No. 16 Kevin Curren, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
No other male seed lost, but Henri Leconte had to go five sets to beat Amos Mansdorf; Jimmy Connors needed four against Stephen Shaw, and Ivan Lendl once again made everything look hard.
In truth, early in the day, it looked like Lendl would be the big star making his exit. He gave Paolo Cane every chance to take him out, but Cane was incapable of finishing him. Their match had been stopped by rain Thursday with Cane leading, 6-3, 5-5. Today, Lendl won a second set tie breaker, but lost a third set tie breaker, Cane finishing with an ace.
At this point, Becker and Doohan were just starting and the roars were coming from Centre Court. When Cane, after blowing two break points, broke Lendl with a backhand return at his feet for a 4-3 lead in the fourth set, the tension was palpable.
But Cane, a hyped-up, emotional player, did not have what it takes to close Lendl out. Two games from the match, he double faulted to 30-all. He got to 40-30, but Lendl responded with a running forehand winner down the line after Cane nicked the net with a volley. That made the ball sit up just enough for Lendl to get to it.
Cane had one more game point to reach 5-3, but Lendl came up with a good forehand return to get to deuce. Cane missed a drop volley and Lendl came up with a backhand winner for the break and 4-all. That was the match. Lendl broke at 6-5 with the help of two more double faults, then reeled off the first five games of the last set.
The final was 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (7-2), 7-5, 6-1, and Lendl, relieved and happy, left little doubt how he feels about Cane. "When I was down, 3-4, in the fourth set I thought maybe Cane would choke and he did," Lendl said. "He seemed to totally disappear after I broke him in that game . . . . I do not especially like him. He tries to cheat as he did in Italy. You saw it here -- every time a ball is close he goes up and argues. At the end of the first set, I said to him stop crying and play some tennis.
"Every match here is dangerous for me. I am known for making people famous in this place."
Not today, though. Today was Becker's day to make someone famous. He began the match by reeling off the first three points to put Doohan in a 0-40 hole. Routine stuff. But Doohan saved that game and Becker never got on top of him.
"The guy didn't get to deuce once on my serve the first two sets," Becker said. "And I thought I was returning well. But it was like magic or something the way he was always guessing right on my shots. Every time I had a break point, he came up with a big shot. It was unbelievable."
Before the match was over, Becker had 11 break points. He converted one. That came at the end of the second set. Doohan had won the first in a tie breaker and kept finding ways out of trouble in the second. But when Becker blasted a backhand past him to take the second set and even the match, it looked like Doohan had had his brief moment.
Both players agreed the next game was the key to the match. Leading, 30-0, Becker missed a volley, then double faulted. At 40-30, he double faulted again. Doohan then came up with two good returns and had the break. He never looked back.
"I think I let down a little after I finally broke him to win the second set," Becker said. "That next game was the key. I really didn't think there was any way he could keep playing like that for four or five sets. When I broke him to win the second set, I thought I was okay."
Doohan began chipping and charging against Becker's serve, especially the second, and Becker, usually so dominant, was in constant trouble. Doohan ripped through the third set, breaking again at love before it was over. By now, people in the stands were wondering if Doohan was capable of finishing what Cane could not.
He was. At 3-all in the fourth he had two break points. Becker saved them. But after Becker got the advantage, Doohan came up with three straight backhand returns, the first terrific, the second wonderful, the third extraordinary. Each was a winner. And he had the break he needed.
"I kept thinking he would crack, he would have to crack," Becker said. "I just didn't think he was a good enough player to carry it through to the end."
He was, though. From 15-30 down, Doohan held to go up, 5-3, and then served out the match. Becker saved one match point with a sprinting forehand, but Doohan came in behind another serve and, after a backhand volley, watched Becker's backhand sail wide. He threw his arms into the air then headed to the net where Becker put out his hand and offered congratulations.
Doohan almost threw his racket into the stands but thought better of it. "I remembered that I might need it for my next match," he said, laughing.
"I didn't think the match was ever going to end. It was just so intense out there, every point seemed so big. I think I surprised Boris by keeping up the level of play the way I did."
Stunned. Amazed. Pick a word. Becker is certainly right when he says he had to lose here sometime. But no one thought it would happen this way.TODAY'S MATCHES Center Court
Tim Mayotte (10), Bradenton, Fla., vs. Tim Wilkison, Asheville, N.C.; Laura Gildemeister, Peru, vs. Steffi Graf (2), West Germany.Court No. 1
Jo Durie, Britain, vs. Helena Sukova (4), Czechoslovakia; Richey Reneberg, Houston, vs. Ivan Lendl (2), Czechoslovakia.Court No. 2
Pat Cash (11), Australia, vs. Paul McNamee, Australia; Annabel Croft, Britain, vs. Liz Smylie, Australia.Court No. 3
Raffaella Reggi (15), Italy, vs. Catherine Tanvier, France; Andres Gomez (8), Ecuador, vs. Ken Flach, Sebring, Fla.Court No. 5
Gilad Bloom, Israel, vs. Henri Leconte (9), France.Court No. 7
Alexander Volkov, Soviet Union, vs. Brad Gilbert (12), Piedmont, Calif. Court No. 13
Joakim Nystrom (13), Sweden, vs. Jakob Hlasek, Switzerland; Gabriela Sabatini (6), Argentina, vs. Isabelle Demongeot, France.Court No. 14
Barbara Potter (13), Woodbury, Conn., vs. Mary Joe Fernandez, Miami.
Matt Anger, Aptos, Calif., vs. Stefan Edberg (4), Sweden. Court No. 15
Louise Field, Australia, vs. Claudia Kohde-Kilsch (8), West Germany; Iwona Kuczynska, Poland, vs. Sylvia Hanika (16), West Germany.