NEW YORK, DEC. 3 -- Boris Becker outlasted Jimmy Connors in a gruelling, bitterly contested battle of ailing warriors, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, tonight in the $500,000 Nabisco Masters.
Becker served 17 aces, the final one setting up his first match point, and also had 10 double faults in the 2 hour 34 minute struggle.
After breaking service to open the final set in a game that went to six deuces, Connors finally yielded to his years and a nagging cold, dropping the next four games.
The loss was the second in as many nights for the 35-year-old left-hander in this round-robin competition, and all but ended his chances of qualifying for the semifinals. Becker, troubled with tendinitis in his left knee, is 1-0.
In the opening match, defending champion Ivan Lendl overcame an early attack of nerves and won seven games in a row for a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Brad Gilbert.
Lendl, a four-time champion and seven-time finalist in the Masters, was making his first appearance of the tournament. Gilbert, who beat Connors Wednesday, dropped to 1-1.
Stefan Edberg brought his record in the round robin to 2-0 by beating Miloslav Mecir, 6-3, 6-3, to conclude tonight's program. Mecir dropped to 0-2.
Becker, who relies on his powerful serve, double faulted four times in the opening game of the third set. Two of the double faults gave Connors break points, and on the third break point, Becker sent a backhand wide.
Becker got the break back in the next game and broke again in the fourth as Connors double faulted on the final point.
From 1-2 in the opening set, Lendl put together a string of seven games, carrying him to 2-0 in the second set. Gilbert got to 2-2 as he broke Lendl for the only time, in the fourth game.
In the next game, Gilbert double faulted to give Lendl break point, and the world's No. 1 player completed the break with a smash. Lendl swept the next three games to end the match in 68 minutes.