NEW YORK, SEPT. 12 -- Mats Wilander felt genuinely sorry for his countryman, Sweden's Stefan Edberg, for having to get up so early to accommodate television.
But the third-seeded Wilander left his sympathy for Edberg in the locker room. On the court, he took advantage of a less-than-sharp Edberg to advance to the U.S. Open men's final with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Edberg.
Wilander and Edberg had to play at 10 instead of 11 a.m. because of the threat of inclement weather and CBS' desire to showcase the Ivan Lendl-Jimmy Connors match later in the day. But Wilander got his measure of revenge.
In semi-protest, Wilander and Edberg came onto the court about 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time.
But once play started, Wilander used a tough serve and some perfectly placed lobs to befuddle Edberg, beginning with a service break in the opening game of the match.
"I had 40-0 in the first game and then he won five straight points and I think that was important for him," Edberg said. "It is important with a good start when you start early."
"I think it helped me that I got a real good start. Or he actually got a real bad start. He played very badly. I played all right. And he sort of gave up three games in the beginning," said Wilander.
"But that got me going and I guess I got a bit disappointed when I lost the second set, because I felt I had chances to break him in the beginning of the second set."
No matter. Wilander assumed control in the third set, breaking Edberg in a 28-point game that featured 10 break points. "I think that might have been the most important game of the match," Wilander said. He held serve for 3-0 and won the set.
With a break of Edberg in the third game of the fourth set (on an Edberg double fault), Wilander soon closed out the match, although he began to attack less.
"I think in the end . . . when I lost my serve and I nearly lost my serve once, I think that's when I started to maybe be a bit more defensive," he said. "And I started to play my old game . . . I know that I have to come to the net to be offensive even if I don't feel sometimes 100 percent like doing that."
"I wasn't playing my best but I thought he played a very good match," Edberg said. "I didn't win the important points. He won most of them. It really wasn't my day today. He played well today. I am not that disappointed."
Wilander has only dropped two sets over his six Open matches. To beat Lendl, who has an 11-6 career advantage and has won the last four matches between the two, Wilander said he would play a cautious-but-aggressive, charge-the-net game.
"Against Lendl . . . I don't know, I guess I have to serve pretty well. But also, I have to be careful to come to net because he passes much better than the other guys I've played," he said.
Wilander insisted that he has no interest in a computer's, or anyone else's, determination of who is the top player in the world.
"I don't want to be No. 1," he said. "I want to win the U.S. Open."