The 19-year-old McEnroe has been the youngest ‘Masters’ champion since that triumph. His 35-year-old opponent, participated in the event due to withdrawal of five higher ranked players (Borg – 2, Vilas – 3, Gerulaitis – 5, Tanner – 11, Orantes – 12). The tournament was played in January 1979 – it was the last year of Ashe’s career. After ‘Masters ’78’ he was competing in two other finals (Philadelphia, Memphis – lost both to Connors). Even though Ashe had professionally stopped playing in July ’79 (suffered a heart attack then), he finished the year as No. 7 in the world (record: 30-15). McEnroe committed three double faults in a row having a triple set point in the 1st set (!), he also wasted a fourth set point missing an overhead; in the 3rd set he trailed *1:4, afterwards he saved a double match point on serve in the 10th game. Facing the first match point, Ashe played a return winner, but on the second one, McEnroe’s sliced service was too good to handle…
McEnroe’s route to his 5th title:
rr. Arthur Ashe 6-3, 6-1
rr. Jimmy Connors 7-5, 3-0 ret.
rr. Harold Solomon 6-3, 6-2
S Eddie Dibbs 6-1, 6-4
W Arthur Ashe 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 – 2 m.p.
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