MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, JAN. 20 (SUNDAY) -- Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash put on a blazing show of hyperspeed tennis -- rat-a-tat volleys too quick to count -- as the first week of the Australian Open drew to a close.
Top-ranked Edberg squirmed out of every tough situation by taking the big points in the nearly three-hour, third-round match Saturday night, registering a stirring 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, 6-2 triumph on his 25th birthday.
Cash, fully recovered from the torn Achilles' tendon that threatened his career two years ago, played with the quickness and acrobatic skill he displayed when he won Wimbledon in 1987.
This was a charged-up, X-rated match -- Cash picked up a code violation for an audible obscenity -- that pitted two serve-and-volley specialists in top form in front of a packed, roaring crowd of Aussies and Swedes.
"It was very high-standard tennis," Cash said. "There were hardly any mistakes. I honestly can't remember a match that I've played against him that hasn't been of a very high standard. We're both very athletic. It makes exciting tennis. I just couldn't get the ball past him sometimes."
In an early match today at the National Tennis Center, Patrick McEnroe, in only his second Grand Slam singles competition, shocked the home crowd and Australian Mark Woodforde, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals. Coincidentally, it is the one-year anniversary of the fourth-round match in which McEnroe's older brother, John, became the first player thrown out of this tournament for misconduct.
Patrick, 24, is among the world's top doubles players but came to the tournament ranked No. 114 in singles. John, 31, a seven-time Grand Slam titlist ranked No. 14, withdrew because of a shoulder strain.
The younger McEnroe has an outstanding shot to reach the semifinals as he next plays another dark horse, Cristiano Caratti, a 20-year-old Italian.
On the women's side, three-time defending champion Steffi Graf breezed into the quarterfinals in 37 minutes against Karina Habsudova, 6-0, 6-1. Graf has lost only 11 games so far in the fortnight. No. 2 Monica Seles whipped Catherine Tanvier, 6-1, 6-2; No. 6 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario cruised past No. 13 Amy Frazier, 6-3, 6-2; and No. 8 Zina Garrison fell to No. 10 Jana Novotna, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.
Edberg and Cash sprinted all over the court on virtually every point. Their serves kissed the corners of the lines. Their returns sizzled down the lines or cross court, neither player yielding.
After losing the tense first-set tiebreaker, Cash didn't slow down a bit in the second set, and he raced to a 4-1 edge. But then Edberg shifted the match back in his favor by winning four straight games. He broke Cash in the eighth game with a sizzling, cross-court backhand that Cash dived after but flicked just long with his backhand.
While the crowd cheered the effort, Cash got up and went to his chair for a bandana to replace the soaked one on his forehead. It wasn't a changeover, and as he walked back on court the umpire gave him a time violation warning.
"It annoyed me," Cash said. "I ran and got my headband. If I didn't go and get my headband, I would be sitting there for 20 seconds anyway, waiting for the crowd to settle down. There was no reason for him to do that."
Cash didn't argue much, and he claimed the incident didn't get to him enough to throw off his game.
But after losing the first point on Edberg's ensuing serve, Cash uttered an obscenity and was issued a code violation. He complained a bit, but then resumed the match, dropping the game to fall behind by 5-4.
Cash finally held to even the match. But after Edberg held at love, Cash was broken again for the set.
The match stayed intensely competitive in the third set, with frequent duels at the net, but Edberg remained in control and won the final four games.
SEEDED PLAYERS' RESULTS Men Third Round
Stefan Edberg (1), Sweden, def. Pat Cash, Australia, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, 6-2; Ivan Lendl (3), Greenwich, Conn., def. Magnus Gustafsson, Sweden, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; Goran Prpic, Yugoslavia, def. Goran Ivanisevic (5), Yugoslavia, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; Mats Wilander, Sweden, def. Brad Gilbert (7), Oakland, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 6-4; Aaron Krickstein (13), Grosse Pointe, Mich., def. Patrick Kuhnen, Germany, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1; Jim Courier (16), Dade City, Fla., def. Jaime Oncins, Brazil, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Women Fourth Round
Steffi Graf (1), Germany, def. Karina Habsudova, 6-0, 6-1; Monica Seles (2), Yugoslavia, def. Catherine Tanvier, France, 6-2, 6-1; Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (6), Spain, def. Amy Frazier (13), Rochester Hills, Mich., 6-3, 6-2; Jana Novotna (10), Czechoslovakia, def., Zina Garrison (8), Houston, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.
Complete Results, Page C19