MELBOURNE, JAN. 22 (FRIDAY) -- Mats Wilander outlasted defending champion Stefan Edberg, 6-0, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, today to move into the men's final of the Australian Open tennis championships.
Wilander, a two-time champion of this Grand Slam tournament, will face the winner of the semifinal between top-seeded Ivan Lendl and Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. (At press time, Cash was leading, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 1-1.)
The women's title match, scheduled for Saturday, will pit Steffi Graf, the No. 1 seed, against two-time Australian Open champion and third-seeded Chris Evert.
Graf, who in the last year has risen to the top of the tennis world, advanced Thursday to her first Australian Open final by defeating fellow West German Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, while Evert stunned long-time nemesis and second-seed, Martina Navratilova..
Edberg was attempting to become the first man in 20 years to win three successive Australian singles titles.
Wilander, winner of the event in 1983 and 1984, reached the final four times in the past five Opens. He did not compete last year.
The second-seeded Edberg, who turned 22 on Tuesday, had trouble with his first serve and his volley for much of the 3-hour 19-minute battle. He played from the base line more than usual, but was unable to match Wilander's accuracy.
Wilander, 23 and seeded third in the 128-man tournament, is in the ninth Grand Slam final of his career. He lost to Lendl in the title match at both the French Open and the U.S. Open last year.
"It was mostly psychological out there," Wilander said of the victory over his friend and Swedish Davis Cup practice partner. "I feel I'm psychologically stronger than Stefan.
"He didn't play well in the first set, but he got his game together in the second. Stefan certainly didn't serve as well as he usually does."
Quietly but ruthlessly efficient, Wilander has moved into the final virtually unnoticed. The sets he dropped Friday against his fellow Swede were the first he has given up in the two-week event.
While Wilander was brilliant early in the match, Edberg's game was riddled with errors. That changed in the second set, but Wilander reestablished his superiority in the third, only to drop the fourth.
Wilander then got an early break in the final set and Edberg failed to break back.