MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, JAN. 23 (WEDNESDAY) -- Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg brushed aside outclassed opponents to set up a rematch in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Lendl served 10 aces but lost his ground stroke range at times and had a tougher time today beating unseeded Goran Prpic 6-0, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-2) than Edberg did beating another unseeded player, Jaime Yzaga, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Prpic, ranked No. 56, plays with a huge, complicated brace on his right knee, but kept up long rallies with Lendl in the second and third sets before caving in during the tiebreakers.
The only point Lendl lost in the second-set tiebreaker was a double fault, and he won the last six points of the third-set tiebreaker. An ace set up match point, and he won it on the Yugoslav's forehand into the net.
"Any time I play Ivan, especially in a Grand Slam, he's a tough player to beat," said Edberg, who won the first set of their final here last year before quitting in the third set because of a torn stomach muscle. "He's hitting the ball very well, and I'm playing well. It'll be whoever's the best man on the day. When you reach the semis, the pressure is gone. You've done what you were supposed to do. Now you can have fun."
The closed retractable roof blocked out the sun, turning day to dark, as Edberg sleepwalked through his match. Top-ranked and top-seeded, Edberg sometimes appeared to be playing in a mental fog, yet beat Yzaga in just under 1 1/2 hours to reach the semifinals for the fifth time in six years.
Officials decided before the start of play to slide the roof shut because of the threat of rain, but the morning showers never reappeared and the match proceeded under artificial lights despite sunshine outside.
"This is an outdoor tournament, and I can't see why it's played indoors," Edberg said. "I knew it was going to happen when I looked out the window this morning. But it hasn't rained in hours. If it's going to be an outdoor tournament, we should play all matches outdoors."
Yzaga, the first Peruvian to reach the quarterfinals here since the start of the open era in 1968, is ranked No. 86 and had nothing to stop Edberg's constant net forays.
Even when Edberg lapsed into a semi-trance, double-faulting and falling behind 0-40 in the seventh game of the third set, Yzaga couldn't put him away. Yzaga had an easy break point opportunity at the net with Edberg far behind the baseline, but tapped a backhand volley into the tape. He hit errors on the next four points, and was broken at love in the final game.
"I couldn't get into my game at all in the match. I gave up really early mentally," said the 23-year-old Yzaga, who had hoped to become the first Peruvian to win the Australian since Alex Olmedo in 1959. "I couldn't pressure him because he kept pressing me."
On Tuesday, along with top-seeded Steffi Graf's loss to Jana Novotna, No. 4 Gabriela Sabatini fell to sixth-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the 1989 French Open champion who supposedly couldn't win on these hard courts, 6-1, 6-3.
Novotna and Sanchez Vicario, who have played six times, with Novotna winning all but their match at the '89 French, now meet in a semifinal.
In the other, No. 2 Monica Seles, a 6-3, 6-1 victor over rising German Anke Huber, plays No. 3 Mary Joe Fernandez, last year's runner-up who beat No. 5 Katerina Maleeva, 6-3, 6-2. Seles holds a 2-1 lead in that series.
Sanchez Vicario broke all four of Sabatini's serves in the first set, and three of four in the second. The first three games of the match took only nine minutes, with Sabatini broken twice and winning only two points.
"I didn't want to miss this opportunity," Sanchez Vicario said. "I fought all the time and didn't give her any chance to hit back volleys. My passing shots were great." SEEDED PLAYERS' RESULTS Men's Quarterfinals
Stefan Edberg (1), Sweden, def. Jaime Yzaga, Peru, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; Ivan Lendl (3), Greenwich, Conn., def. Goran Prpic, Yugoslavia, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-2).Women's Quarterfinals
Jana Novotna (10), Czechoslovakia, def. Steffi Graf (1), Germany, 5-7, 6-4, 8-6; Monica Seles (2), Yugoslavia, def. Anke Huber, Germany, 6-3, 6-1; Mary Joe Fernandez (3), Miami, def. Katerina Maleeva (5), Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-2; Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (6), Spain, def. Gabriela Sabatini (4), Argentina, 6-1, 6-3.