1982 – 1983, Roland Garros

French Open, Paris
May 24, 1982; 128 Draw (16 seeded);  Surface – Clay

The first major title for Mats Wilander, a Swedish teenager at the time,  who hadn’t won a tournament prior to Roland Garros ’82, and it was his debut in Paris (a year before won the junior competition). En route to the title he outplayed four Top 10 guys in a row! The event was deprived of John McEnroe, No. 1 in the world at the time, and the defending champion Bjorn Borg, who won four previous events in Paris. The Swede decided to participate only in exhibition tournaments in 1982… Under these circumstances Ivan Lendl was a huge favorite to get his first major title.
  The compilation prepared based on articles written for the New York Times
All scorelines
First round

Ivan Lendl took 1 hour 36 minutes today to get past the first round of the French Open tennis tournament, ousting Fernando Maynetto, a 26-year-old member of the Peruvian Davis Cup team, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1. Maynetto scored often with effective drop shots and managed to hold service three times before Lendl broke through and then outlasted him in some long games. Lendl is seeded second to Jimmy Connors, despite the expectations of many that Lendl will win here. Other seeded players who advanced were Vitas Gerulaitis, Brian Gottfried, Jose-Luis Clerc, Guillermo Vilas and Jose Higueras. Gerulaitis scored a 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 triumph over Erik Iskersky, whom he beat in the first round of the Tournament of Champions at Forest Hills three weeks ago and again in the first round of the Italian Open last week. Jimmy Connors beat Bruce Manson, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1, today, and said afterward that the ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from a tournament in Hamburg, West Germany, earlier this month had given him no trouble in his first-round match at the $917,000 French Open. Connors, seeded first, dominated the 1-hour-46-minute match, although he had some trouble holding serve in the second set and went through a period during which many of his ground-strokes wound up in the net. ”The first match always takes a bit of feeling out,” he said. ”I started out well and then fluttered for about six or seven games, not really struggled, but just didn’t realize the right shots. But once I got that back I was fine.” Steve Denton became the first seeded player to be eliminated. Denton, No. 14, was upset by Danie Visser of South Africa, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3. The seeded men who advanced were Eliot Teltscher, Yannick Noah, Mel Purcell, Peter McNamara, Balazs Taroczy and Chip Hooper. McNamara, a 26-year-old Australian, was given a good workout by Henri Leconte of France before prevailing, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-5. McNamara had to save 10 set points (!) to salvage the third set. Teltscher, seeded sixth, beat Nick Saviano, who like Teltscher is a resident of Florida, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Noah defeated a fellow Frenchman, Jean-Louis Haillet, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Purcell, from Murray, Ky., advanced with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Guillermo Aubone, an Argentine who lives in Miami. Taroczy, a Hungarian who is seeded 10th, beat Hans Simonsson of Sweden, 4-6, 6-2, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4. Hooper, seeded 15th, beat David Carter of Australia, 6-0, 6-3, 6-0
Andres Gomez of Ecuador, who won the Italian Open on Sunday and is seeded ninth here, was engaged in a thrilling match with Corrado Barrazzutti of Italy when the sun finally disappeared with the players tied in the fifth set. Gomez won the first two sets, 6-4, 6-4, then squandered three match points before losing the third-set tie-breaker. Barrazzutti won the fourth set 6-3, and the match ended with the two deadlocked in the final set, 3:3. After the resumption Gomaz took three straight games. Christophe Roger-Vasselin won absolutely amazing match against Marcos Hocevar 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-0. Roger-Vasselin saved three break points at 0:3 in the 3rd set, afterwards 9 match points in two consecutive sets before Hocevar succumbed.

Second round

Jose-Luis Clerc, seeded fourth among the men, had to save four match points at 3:5 in the 4th set (including a triple match point) against a French junior player before salvaging a second-round match that lasted 4 hours 34 minutes. Clerc made numerous errors before he finally defeated Loic Courteau, 1-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. Courteau, 18 years old, entered the tournament as a wild-card player and was 352nd in the computer rankings. Courteau, the future coach of Amelie Mauresmo, led 4:1 in the 2nd set!
In the second round, Ivan Lendl completed a 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 triumph over Thierry Tulasne by sweeping the first seven points of a tiebreaker. The match had been suspended twice, first at dusk Wednesday at 3:3 in the third set, and again today because of an hour of rain. [A couple weeks later Lendl and Tulasne played a tight match again, in the Davis Cup quarterfinal, and Lendl prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 9-11, 6-4…] The best junior in the world, 17-year-old Guy Forget, playing with bushy hair (a couple years later became bald) his just second main-level tournament, stunned 19 years older Ilie Nastase, a former champion of the French Open, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, 1-6, 9-7.

Third round

Dressed in red from shoulder to thighs, Chip Hooper looked like a basketball player making a dunk as he raised his racquet above his 6-foot-6-inch (198 cm) body, jumped high off the red clay and unleashed a booming smash. The smash was among his arsenal of weapons in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 victory in the French Open over Jimmy Arias, the 5-8 teen-ager (173 cm) with whom he often practices. The two Americans, products of Nick Bollettieri’s tennis camp in Bradenton, Fla., were playing for a chance to meet Jimmy Connors in the round of 16. ”That would have been a dream,” said Arias, who won the mixed doubles title here last year with Andrea Jaeger. Hooper, despite squandering two match points in the third set, spoiled Arias’s dream with persistent intimidation. Bollettieri, who was in the stands, said: ”Chip’s ground strokes are so deep that Jimmy was trying to hit winners from the base line.” The upshot has been a tremendous improvement in Hooper’s world ranking. He started the year at No.235, and was as high as 17 before falling back to his present 27. [Looking at Hooper’s activity in ’82 it’s tough to understand how he could make such a big progress with his results, it was a time when there were fewer players than nowadays and a tremendous jump in the ATP ranking was easier to achieve; anyway it was Hooper’s only advancement to the last 16 in majors...] His game is suited more for fast courts, such as the grass at Wimbledon, than the slow clay at Roland Garros Stadium. ”We sort of had to talk him into coming into the French,” Bollettieri said. ”He tends to relax on clay. But I told him, ‘If you’re good, you should play on everything.Jimmy Connors, meanwhile, had some trouble with Guy Forget, a 17-year-old Frenchman who had beaten Ilie Nastase. Forget became the first player to win a set from Connors in the tournament as he bowed in a two and-a-half-hour struggle, 6-2, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

Fourth round

Mats Wilander, a 17-year-old Swede with a steady baseline game, eliminated Ivan Lendl from the French Open tennis tournament today by winning, 4-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a four-hour struggle and moving into the quarterfinals. Lendl led 5:4 (30/0) in the 2nd set. The victory was astonishing because Lendl, who reached the final here last year, had won 92 of his previous 95 matches and was seeded second in this tournament. ‘‘I just wasn’t hitting the ball,” Lendl explained later. ”My timing was off, especially in my forehand. That’s why he was outplaying me from the baseline. I can’t do much without my forehand.” It was the first five-set match Wilander had ever played. He next meets Vitas Gerulaitis, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Mel Purcell. Wilander, who last year won the French juniors title, met Gerulaitis in the final at Brussels earlier this year, with Gerulaitis winning in three sets. Wilander continued to draw attention through the spring by defeating Andres Gomez in Milan, Jose Higueras in Dusseldorf, West Germany, and Tomas Smid in Rome, where he lost to Gomez in the semifinals. He came to Paris ranked 18th by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Today, Lendl tried to compensate for his dead forehand by attacking at the net. But Wilander did a good job at keeping his opponent at bay. ”He was playing very deep and I didn’t have as many chances to come in as I would have liked,” Lendl said. Lendl cited Wilander’s backhand down the line as the youngster’s best shot. Another asset was Wilander’s apparent ability to remain cool under the pressure. In the final set, Wilander quickly jumped ahead, 4:0. When Lendl netted a forehand on the second match point, Wilander showed no emotion and simply walked to the net to shake hands. Wilander is repeatedly asked to compare himself with his renowned fellow Swede, Bjorn Borg. Wilander replies that Borg’s stature makes any such comparison ridiculous, but adds that, “I started with the two-handed backhand before Borg was famous.” Lendl today said of Wilander: ”One match doesn’t make a champion.” In contrast to the Lendl-Wilander match, in which many of the points were won after lengthy rallies, the match between Purcell and Gerulaitis was a duel of speed and agility. Many of the points were short and quick. Gerulaitis played what might have been his best game ever on clay, making few mistakes and volleying with precision. His backhand volley was especially effective against Purcell. When someone reminded Gerulaitis of his humiliation here two years ago, when he lost the final to Borg, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, Gerulaitis replied: ”Yeah, if I could have played on clay then like I am now, I would have won a set.” Peter McNamara, a runner-up in three tournaments this year, needed only a few minutes to put out Andres Gomez, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 (the match lasted 3 hours 31 minutes). The two, who have been strong attractions in the tournament, played Sunday night for as long as they could see, then resumed today at 9:9 in the fifth set. McNamara saved two match points in the 5th set, then couldn’t finish the contest serving at 8:7 and 9:8. McNamara with several doubles titles, and Gomez, an Ecuadorean with one of the fiercest forehands, have a sense of showmanship. Their matches, before they met, had provided lively contrasts to the general run of dreary baseline duels. “I think I have the game that people like to watch,” said Gomez, who lost to McNamara earlier this month in Hamburg (5-7, 1-6, 2-6; it were their only matches). ”It’s important to win, but it’s also important to put on a good show.”
His show with McNamara was good enough to keep thousands of spectators in the center-court stadium until the end Sunday night. Guillermo Vilas has progressed through the tournament without serious challenge. His latest victim was Andreas Maurer of West Germany, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. But Maurer was the only player to take three games of a set from the Argentine. Higueras, who beat McNamara to win the Hamburg event, defeated Eliot Teltscher, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0. Teltscher, a high-ranking American and normally a sound ground-stroker, was far off form. Jimmy Connors ended the hopes of Chip Hooper, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4. He said he had expected a longer match with the 6-foot-6-inch power hitter, to whom he lost a set at the United States Pro indoor last January in Philadelphia. Yannick Noah needed 4 hours 41 minutes to outlast Wojtek Fibak 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court.

Quarterfinals

Mats Wilander made a case for fundamentals over finesse today when he upset Vitas Gerulaitis, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and reached the semifinals of the French Open tennis tournament. Wilander’s opponent will be Jose-Luis Clerc, seeded third, who beat Peter McNamara, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Wilander, the 17-year-old Swede who had upset Ivan Lendl, used his steady baseline game in proving that the first rule of tennis is to get the ball back. Gerulaitis, seeded fifth, played his usual aggressive game, serving and volleying well. He was beaten largely because of Wilander’s ability to make the passing shot. “I played the percentages but it didn’t work,” said Gerulaitis, who beat Wilander earlier this year in Brussels. ”He played about the same today, but the clay court helped him.” Gerulaitis said he was particularly impressed by Wilander’s two-handed backhand. ”The way he rallies with it shows it’s a little more flexible than his forehand,” he said. In Gerulaitis, ranked ninth in the world, Wilander had an opponent who differed from Lendl in that he did not stay back. ”If my passing shots had not worked, it would have been difficult,” said Wilander. Jose Higueras, a 29-year-old vilas_rg82Spaniard whose bout with hepatitis two years ago made him concerned about his future in tennis, left little doubt about his recovery today as he posted a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory over top-seeded Jimmy Connors. Higueras advanced to Friday’s semifinals against Guillermo Vilas of Argentina, who defeated Yannick Noah of France, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. Vilas took a revenge for a 4-set loss to Noah a year before (in the fourth round). It was their third match on Centre Court in Paris overall, the first one occurred in 1978. Higueras, who is seeded 14th, demonstrated the classical clay-court game that won him renown in 1979, when he broke into the world’s top 10. He refused to let Connors lure him to the net, disdaining the approach shot and staying on the baseline. Connors gave up trying to volley, because Higueras was beating him with blazing passes. Also, the American’s forehand was erratic, and Higueras kept pounding the ball to that side. The tactic worked, as Connors, forcing the pace, hit many balls into the net. ”I’m in very good condition,” said Higueras, who won a five-hour final in Hamburg last month (he beat McNamara 7-6 in the fifth set – it was the longest final through the next 23 years!). ”I’ve played a lot of matches lately.” The lopsided score betrayed the amount of work done on the court. ”I didn’t think it was an easy match at all,” said Higueras, who beat Connors last year at North Conway, N.H. ”I was running a lot.” ”We were close in a lot of games,” said Connors. ”I just couldn’t put two or three points together. I wasn’t hitting the ball badly, but he didn’t miss many.”

Semifinals

Jose-Luis Clerc‘s forehand was called long by the linesman today, and the fans at Roland Garros Stadium began to cheer Mats Wilander’s third upset in the French Open tennis tournament. But the semifinal match was not over yet. Instead of going to the net to receive the congratulatory handshake, the 17-year-old Wilander stood in the back-court shaking his head. The umpire, Jacques Dorfman, had already descended from his chair and was ignoring Clerc’s strenuous protest over the call. But Wilander walked over to the umpire and said a few words. Then the players returned to their positions to replay the point. Clerc sent a backhand into the net, and Wilander had won cleanly, 7-5, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. The young Swede, the sensation of the tournament, plays for the championship Sunday against Guillermo Vilas, who defeated Jose Higueras, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(3). About his conversation with the umpire, Wilander said: ”I told him I can’t win like this. The ball was good. We should play two balls.” [It was a time when chair umpires didn’t bother to check the mark…] A member of the Swedish Davis Cup team, with a Bjorn Borg-like coolness, Wilander has defeated three top-10 players, including Ivan Lendl and Vitas Gerulaitis. He opened the match with a service break, then played near-flawless tennis. Clerc, a base-line player like Wilander, had to change tactics and go to the net in an effort to break his opponent’s rhythm. The hallmark of Wilander’s game throughout the tournament has been his consistency in returning every type of shot. Indicative of that consistency were the ways he won the first two sets. At set point in the first set, he waited patiently through 48 exchanges, until Clerc hit a forehand long. To reach set point in the second set, he got back three smashes on the slow clay and was prepared to send back a fourth, but Clerc dumped the ball into the net. Wilander then won the point with a crisp cross-court forehand volley. Clerc, who won six titles last year and one this spring, mixed his game from the start. But until the third set, his unfamiliarity with the forecourt resulted in many missed smashes and errant volleys. Wilander rebounded in the fourth set and was quickly ahead, 5:1, but squandered a match point when he sent a forehand wide. Of the 17 subsequent points, he was able to win only 2, and suddenly the score was 5:5. ‘‘I wasn’t nervous but I thought he was going to win the fourth set,” he said later. But Clerc made four consecutive unforced errors to give Wilander the 11th game at love. Moments later, the third-seeded Clerc was serving at 30/40. Then Wilander made the sporting gesture. Dorfman said he was convinced that the ball had been out, but he allowed the point to be replayed, he said, because both players agreed to it. But he added: “In all my experience, I have never known a gesture of sportsmanship like that on a match point.” It was not the first time Wilander had given back a match point. He did it before, he said, in a junior tournament in Italy. The final presents a good contrast. Wilander could become the youngest player ever to win the men’s title. Borg, a countryman, was 18 when he won in 1974. Wilander will not be 18 until Aug. 22. Vilas, 30, won in 1977 and was runner-up in 1975 and 1978. Vilas, who has won five tournaments this year, has seldom played better than now. His repertory is bigger and his style more aggressive than Wilander’s. No longer can he be considered strictly a base-line player. He beat Wilander earlier this year in Madrid (6-3, 6-4), and has not lost a set in this tournament. Against Higueras, he faced a rejuvenated clay expert who had eliminated Jimmy Connors. But it was another routine victory for Vilas, although he did lose some concentration when serving for the match at 5:4 in the third set.

Final

With cracks of thunder accenting the most dramatic moments, Mats Wilander completed a memorable performance in the French Open tennis championships today by emerging as the youngest player ever to win the men’s title. The 17-year-old Swede defeated Guillermo Vilas, 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-0, 6-4, in a match that went 4 hours 47 minutes on the slow clay. The time was five minutes longer than the previous record for a final set in 1929, when Rene Lacoste beat Jean Borotra (6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 2-6, 8-6… both players visible in the picture, behind Vilas). Simultaneously it was the longest match at the Roland Garros at the time, the record was surpassed 8 years later by Haarhuis and Pugh. Wilander, ranked 18th in his first full year as a professional, received $66,000. He beat four players in the world’s top 10 – Vilas, Ivan Lendl, Vitas Gerulaitis and Jose-Luis Clerc. The temperature on center court was 96 degrees (36 Celsius) when the men’s final started. Wilander, suffering from a cold, kept his poise after an embarrassing first set, and turned the match to his favor by winning the second-set tiebreaker, 8 points to 6. With long exchanges, the match became a test of nerves and patience. The pace was set in the first game, which lasted seven minutes. Eight of the first 9 points were decided on unforced errors. After 17 minutes of play, Vilas made the first venture to the net, scoring with a volley. The fourth game lasted 18 minutes, going to deuce six times. Vilas won it for a 4:0 lead. Wilander needed only the next three minutes to take his first game, getting all his points on unforced errors. But Vilas clinched the set soon afterward with a forehand cross-court winner on the line. ”I thought that this is what the match would end like, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1,” Wilander said later. “I thought I didn’t have a chance. He was playing so well.” Then he got a lucky break, winning the first game of the second set with a net-cord shot that flew beyond Vilas’s reach. Both players were showing a little less caution now, which might have contributed to the six consecutive service breaks that followed. Vilas broke the pattern when he served to pull even, 4:4. Both then held serve to force the tiebreaker. Wilander took the first 2 points, and Vilas the next 3. Then each player made a mistake before Wilander scored with a lob when Vilas thought he had made a winning volley. The score was now 4:4, with the sun not in sight and the thunder booming. Wilander sent a forehand wide, but Vilas double-faulted. When Vilas scored on a smash, he was at set point on Wilander’s serve. But the Argentine drove a forehand barely long. ”If that shot had stayed in, I wouldn’t have had a chance,” Wilander said. With a second chance, the youngster drew even and then went ahead, 7:6, with a perfect lob. He hit another towering lob, for which Vilas got into position for a smash. But he clubbed the ball straight into the net and thus surrendered his first set since the $917,000 tournament began two weeks ago. Wilander broke serve to open the third set and, typically, all 10 points of the game were scored on unforced errors. Neither player was ready yet to resume taking chances. The potential storm had blown over now, and the sun was again baking the clay. Vilas’s frustration at having lost the tiebreaker became evident. He won only 12 points in the set, giving it up when the score reached 4:0. ”He hits a very slow ball,” Vilas said afterward. ”It takes a lot of time to come down, and he always has time to get back into position. I didn’t know how to deal with that.” The Argentine began the fourth set with renewed determination, breaking to 2:0, although the baseline attrition continued. Then Wilander became more aggressive, taking the ball on the rise and pounding shots to the corners. especially with his two-handed backhand. He got back to 2:2, then, with Vilas serving, they engaged in a rally that might have been the record for the match. There were about 80 exchanges before Wilander unloaded another backhand winner. Vilas, however, took the game, but Wilander broke back in the seventh and ninth games. Serving for the match, he went to 40/0, then squandered one match point when his backhand sailed long. Then he snapped a backhand cross-court winner for the victory. Bjorn Borg, Wilander’s countryman, had been the youngest French men’s champion at 18. Wilander turns 18 on Aug. 22. Asked how it felt to be the youngest champion, he replied in his usual soft voice: ”It really doesn’t matter to me being the youngest. It’s just important for me to win.” Vilas said: ”You fight for a title and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I won in 1977. But he played better. I don’t have any complaints.” This extraordinary match remained the longest 4-setter through the next 24 years (!) until an encounter between Nadal and Mathieu at the French Open ’06. Wilander became the first unseeded Roland Garros champion since 1947 when had triumphed Joszef Asboth of Hungary.

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 French Open, Paris
May 23, 1983; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $625,000; Surface – Clay

It was a tournament of a great hope for the American tennis. Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe were seeded with two highest numbers, and one of them was expected to get the first title for Americans since 1955. Both left-handed Yankees had very bad day in quarterfinals (McEnroe actually was struggling the whole tournament with his temper), especially Connors’ loss to Christophe Roger-Vasselin (father of the current player Edouard) was sensational. Roger-Vasselin has been since then one of very few players to get a major semifinal not winning a tournament during his career. After the elimination of the Americans, Mats Wilander (he was threatened of kidnap by an Armenian citizen in the first week of the tournament) was the main title contender but was stunned in the final by Yannick Noah, who became the first French champion in 37 years. Noah up to this day remains the last French Open champion who got the title with attacking attitude.
All scorelines
First round: Herald Wire Services

Jimmy Connors got off to an impressive start Monday in his bid to become the first American in 28 years to win the French Open, crushing Craig Miller of Australia, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Defending champion Mats Wilander, the 18-year-old Swede who is seeded fifth, survived a slow start to win by default over Juan Avendano of Spain. Wilander was leading, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, 2-1, when Avendano withdrew with a shoulder injury. Two seeded Americans, No. 10 Eliot Teltscher and No. 12 Brian Gottfried, rallied for victories. Teltscher defeated South African Derek Tarn, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-1, and Gottfried edged Dutchman Michael Schapers, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3. One seeded player was beaten in the first round of the men’s singles. Bernard Fritz, another local favorite, eliminated 13th- seeded Wojtek Fibak of Poland, 7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. Third-seeded Ivan Lendl, chasing his first title of the Grand Slam of Tennis, overcame a hesitant start Tuesday to score a straight-sets victory over Chilean Pedro Robolledo in the first round of the $1.1 million French Open Tennis Championships. Lendl, who has suffered three embarrassing first round exits this season (I assume the author thought about Lendl’s defeats at Delray Beach, Munich and Monte Carl0), dropped his opening service before running out a comfortable 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory after two hours on the red clay Roland Garros center court. Fourth-seeded Guillermo Vilas, the 1977 champion who lost last year’s final against Sweden’s Mats Wilander, also came through safely, beating Romanian Davis Cup player Florin Segarceanu, 6-1, 7-5, 6-1. Lendl, making a string of unforced early errors, started his comeback by breaking Robolledo’s service to level at 4:4 in the opening set and went on to complete a run of six winning games to take a 2:0 lead in the second. Rebolledo managed to halt the slide by breaking Lendl’s service in the third game, but it was only a brief advantage and the 23-year-old Czechoslovakian regained the initiative.
Second-seeded John McEnroe, trying to keep his temper in check and his tennis on tap, failed on both counts yesterday, but managed to scramble his way to victory over fellow American Ben Testerman in the first round of the $1.1 million French Open championships. The world’s No. 2 player, ranked 147 places higher than his opponent, struggled for four hours and four minutes in an ill-tempered display before winning, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2, on the No. 1 court of the Roland Garros Stadium. McEnroe was so annoyed at one stage that he kicked a camera into the face of a baseline photographer, who later lodged a complaint. McEnroe, who has not played on slow European clay courts for two years, plainly was frustrated at his poor form. At one stage during the match, he shouted, “I have never played as badly as this before in my life. Everyone can leave.” Philippe Boivin, the French umpire, admitted he twice had warned McEnroe, once for ball abuse and the other for wasting time, but claimed he had not heard any insults or swearing. “It could have been worse,” he added. “Four or five arguments in a match lasting more than four hours is not that bad.” McEnroe, who was fined $350 for his indiscretions, was annoyed by the penalty, saying later, “I don’t think I deserved it.” McEnroee said he was angered at the photographer for changing cameras between points. “It shouldn’t be allowed, they should do it at changeovers,” he said. McEnroe refused to comment on whether he disliked the French, replying, “It would be undiplomatic to answer that.”
Francois Errard at the age of 15 years 8 months 13 days became the youngest player to participate at Roland Garros. The Frenchman lost to Joakim Nystrom 1-6, 4-6, 5-7. It was just 1 out of his 2 matches at the main level. The following year he got a chance in Paris again, and lost after a similar scoreline to Francesco Cancellotti.

Second round: AP

American title favorite Jimmy Connors, who had opened his campaign two days before McEnroe, had no problems in advancing to the last 32, taking only an hour and 32 minutes to dispatch Australian Paul McNamee, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, in their second-round center-court clash. Connors’s clear-cut win was in stark contrast to McEnroe’s stormy passage. It was a day on which the curses flowed more freely than the strokes for the feisty 24-year-old New York southpaw, who punctuated his game with insults aimed at himself, officials, photographers and spectators alike.
Fernando Luna of Spain scored a runaway 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 second-round victory over seventh-seeded Argentinian Jose-Luis Clerc in the biggest upset of the day among the men, and 15th-seeded Czechoslovak Tomas Smid fell, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, to Peruvian Pedro Arraya. Clerc played semifinals in two previous editions of French Open.
John McEnroe moved like a storm cloud into the third round of the French Open tennis championships yesterday after more rowdy scenes at Roland Garros stadium. Still striving to adjust his game to the slow clay surface, McEnroe defeated Alberto Tous, a Spaniard with a whip-like forehand, 6-3, 7-6(8), 6-3. During the match, McEnroe argued over line calls and asked unsuccessfully for the umpire to be changed. At one point, he shouted obscenities at the French fans when they whistled and shouted at him. Besides McEnroe, other top men to advance yesterday included defending champion Mats Wilander of Sweden, Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, Yannick Noah of France, Guillermo Vilas of Argentina and Jimmy Arias, an 18-year-old American. McEnroe was in trouble for the second straight day. On Wednesday, while playing against fellow American Ben Testerman, he called an umpire obscene names and kicked a photographer’s camera. Against Tous, the storm began when McEnroe disagreed with a line call. McEnroe moved across the court for the next point but still was arguing. The French umpire, Patrick Flodrops, told him to get on with the match. “What do you mean, ‘Get on with the match?’ ” McEnroe replied. “I’m talking to you. Aren’t I allowed to talk?” At the end of that game, McEnroe went over to tournament supervisor Roy Dance and demanded that Flodrops be removed. The request was refused. Dance said at a news conference later: “I told him I thought the match was being conducted fairly for both players.” McEnroe received a warning, but only for taking too much time between points. He said he had had problems with Flodrops for the last five years and had a bad relationship with him. Asked about press reports of his behavior against Testerman in the previous round, McEnroe replied: “It gets a bit boring reading all these lies.” Jimmy Connors and McEnroe are seeded to meet in the final for a title no American has won since Tony Trabert in 1955. Connors did not play yesterday. Wilander, 18, a master of the slow, red, European clay, reached the third round by out-stroking Christophe Bernelle of France, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3; third- seeded Lendl stopped Sergio Casal of Spain, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 Vilas eliminated South Africa’s Mike Myburg, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1; Noah defeated Victor Pecci of Paraguay, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, and Arias, who captured the Italian Open last week, ousted John Fitzgerald of Australia, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

Third round: Herald Wire Services

Jimmy Connors, seeking the only Grand Slam title to elude him, and Chris Evert Lloyd, aiming for her third straight Grand Slam tournament victory, followed each other on center court Friday and then into the fourth round of the $1.1-million French Open championships. Connors roared past clay-court specialist Hans Gildemeister, 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, and Evert swept past Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 6-2, 6-2, in just 77 minutes. While the two Americans were making their way into the round of 16, French police were providing extra security for Swedish players, including defending champion Mats Wilander, after a kidnap threat from an Armenian terrorist group. Tournament Director Christian Duxin said the French interior ministry had been contacted about the threat. A spokesman at the Swedish embassy confirmed a player had received a telephone call saying one of the Swedes at Roland Garros would be kidnapped because an Armenian terrorist had been tried on drug charges in Stockholm. On court, Gildemeister looked as if he was in need of protection as Connors raced through the first two sets in devastating style. Connors, who played in his first French Open 10 years ago, seemed to lose his concentration in the third set, but he finished off Gildemeister with a flourish in the next set. In one stretch Connors reeled off 15 straight points to take a 4:1 lead. “I am playing much better on clay now,” he said. “I am not trying to go so close to the lines. I am happy to keep the ball in play, and I don’t mind hitting 15 to 20 balls before winning a point.” In other top men’s matches, third-seeded Ivan Lendl beat Mario Martinez, 6-0, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0; sixth-seeded Yannick Noah beat Pat Dupre, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2, and 12th-seeded Brian Gottfried beat Magnus Tideman, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. Meanwhile, John McEnroe was slapped with a $3,000 fine for his behavior during a first-round match with Ben Testerman last week. The New Yorker seemed subdued later yesterday when he beat Drew Gitlin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, in a third-round match and advanced to the final 16. McEnroe was brilliant in the last two sets of his match against Gitlin. He behaved faultlessly and gave only a puzzled look when he got a questionable line call. After an inquiry that involved videotapes and testimony from witnesses, McEnroe was fined $1,500 for physical abuse – kicking a photographer’s camera – and $1,500 for verbal abuse of linesmen. The fines brought the total penalties against McEnroe in the last year to $5,750. If he exceeds the limit of $7,500, he would be automatically suspended from Grand Prix tournaments for six weeks – a ban that would mean missing Wimbledon. Sweden’s Mats Wilander, the No. 5 seed, was his usual cool self despite kidnapping threats and beat France’s Dominique Bedel, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Threats were made to a Swedish newspaper that a Swedish player in Paris would be kidnapped as hostage for an Armenian being held in Sweden on narcotics charges.

Fourth round: AP

Top-seeded Jimmy Connors, playing an aggressive game not normally seen on clay, raced past Eric Fromm, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, yesterday into the quarterfinals of the French Open tennis championships. Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, seeded third behind Connors and McEnroe in the men’s singles, wore down Brian Gottfried, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3, in a baseline battle lasting 2 1/2 hours. Against Lendl, Gottfried had a set point at 6:5 in the first set. At the end, he saved four match points before going under. Yannick Noah, bidding to be the first French winner of the title in 37 years, downed John Alexander of Australia, 6-2, 7-6, 6-1, as an excited crowd at Roland Garros Stadium shouted encouragement. “I have never felt as comfortable as this on clay before,” Connors said. “I don’t know why I am feeling so good and why I am playing so well. Last year, I decided to improve my serve, to attack more and go to the net more. Maybe that’s what’s helping me here.” Lendl and Noah will face each other in the quarterfinals, while Connors meets another Frenchman, Christophe Roger-Vasselin, the only unseeded player left in the lineup. He beat Fernando Luna of Spain, 6-2, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. In the men’s final-16 matches, second-seeeded John McEnroe, stung by $3,000 in fines for his behavior in last week’s first rounds, was in a subdued mood as he dumped fellow American Eliot Teltscher, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Fourth-seeded Guillermo Vilas, one of the best clay court players in the world, beat 18-year-old Italian Open champ Jimmy Arias, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 (Arias’ first loss after 12-match winning streak). Also, Jose Higueras of Spain topped Ecuador’s Andres Gomez, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6. In the quarterfinals, McEnroe will play defending champion Mats Wilander, who beat fellow Swede Hendrik Sundstrom, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. In the other quarterfinals, Vilas will face Higueras, top-seeded Jimmy Connors will play Frenchman Christophe Roger-Vasselin and third-seeded Ivan Lendl will meet sixth-seeded Yannick Noah. McEnroe was virtually silent throughout his three-hour, nine minute match against Teltscher. But McEnroe didn’t play his best tennis, either. “I am capable of playing better on clay than I was two years ago when I lost in the quarterfinals,” McEnroe said. “I guess it is taking a little longer to get into the rhythm which I like to play at.”

Quarterfinals: Carolyn Lesh

Defending champion Mats Wilander of Sweden won 23 points in a row yesterday as he bounced John McEnroe out of the French Open Tennis Championships, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0, and ended America’s bid for the men’s singles title in this clay-court event. After a brilliant first set in which he played a serve-and-volley game on the slow clay of Roland Garros stadium, McEnroe folded. And, in the end, he was humiliated as he won only seven of the last 47 points. Wilander, the 18-year-old baseliner, next will play the winner of the remaining quarterfinal match, which pitted fourth-seeded Guillermo Vilas of Argentina, the 1977 champion, against eighth-seeded Jose Higueras of Spain. The match was halted by darkness and rain with Higueras leading, 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-1, 4-6, and 2:1 (15/0) in the final set. Higueras took just 17 minutes to win the last four games to complete after the resumption. Despite two lopsided sets the match lasted 4 hours 30 minutes. 
Christophe Roger-Vasselin, an unseeded 25-year-old, upset the top-seeded Jimmy Connors, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5), to move into the semifinals, where he will play fellow Frenchman Yannick Noah, a surprise 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 winner over third-seeded Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia. The semifinal pairing guarantees that a Frenchman will reach the final of the French Open, an event a Frenchman hasn’t won since 1946, when Marcel Bernard took the title. Wilander’s phenomenal run of 23 winning points turned the match just when he seemed about to lose the 3rd set. McEnroe led, 4:2, and was at 40/15 in the seventh game. He had an easy forehand for at ‘deuce’, but missed – and that started it. Wilander took the next point to win that game. Then he won four love games in succession. That took him to 1:0 in the 4th, and he went to 40-love in the next game before McEnroe finally broke the spell. “It was terrible, the way I played,” McEnroe said. “I should have won the third set, but I just missed the shots and lost my concentration.” McEnroe argued over one or two line calls. Wilander thought this disturbed the American’s concentration. “I think he should do this a bit less, and then he would play a bit better,” the Swede said. At the start of the match, McEnroe threatened to wipe Wilander off the court. The Swede played his usual cautious game from his baseline, and McEnroe played a series of drop-shots that left him flat-footed at the back of the court. “It surprised me,” Wilander said. “Other players have tried to drop-shot me, but I had never seen John play shots like that and I didn’t know he could do it.  John showed in the first set and again in the early part of the third that he is a very good clay-court player. Later he lost his concentration and did not seem able to get it back.” McEnroe has played Wilander three times before and always won – in a six 1/2-hour marathon in a Davis Cup match in St. Louis last year and in two exhibitions. “But this was the first time we had met on clay, which is my surface,” Wilander said. “It is very different from the faster courts.
Noah and Roger-Vasselin will face each other in the semifinals. It is the first time since 1946 that two Frenchmen have reached the semifinals. The fans stood and cheered as Noah almost closed out his match against Lendl in straight sets. But he lost two match points at 5:4 in the third and dropped the set.
Connors’ defeat by a player ranked far below him was the kind of fate suffered by many top Americans in Roland Garros stadium through the years. Roger-Vasselin, a Frenchman with an English mother, was born in London but long has been a resident in Paris. He played the classic European clay court game from the back of the court, stroking the ball patiently while Connors tried to step up the pace by going to the net and attacking. In the attempt, Connors made a flood of forehand errors. His forehands spattered the net and the dusty area behind the far baseline. In the third set, Connors led 4:0 and Roger-Vasselin appeared to be losing steam. But he came back to force a tiebreaker, and then Connors’ error-prone forehand let him down again. Roger-Vasselin won the tiebreaker, 7-5, as Connors made six backhand errors. Down 3:6, Connors saved two match points, then rushed the net, only to put a forehand volley into the net. “That’s tennis,” Roger-Vasselin said. “Sometimes you lose to someone who is worse than you are, and sometimes you win against someone who is better.” Connors said: “There are guys who are specialists on slow surfaces and come out only to play on this stuff. Some of them don’t come to Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.” It wasn’t a particular statement about Roger-Vasselin, because the Frenchman had played a couple majors in London and New York before.

Semifinals: Geoffrey Miller

Yannick Noah, who is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the French Open Tennis Championship in 37 years, and defending champion Mats Wilander took contrasting routes Friday to the singles final of the $1.1-million tournament. Wilander, the 18-year-old No. 5 seed, toiled 3 hours 44 minutes in the sun before outlasting No. 8 Jose Higueras, 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-0. The second set took only one minute less than the one hour 22 minutes Noah needed to breeze past Frenchman Christophe Roger-Vasselin, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. Noah is the first Frenchman to reach the final since his brother-in-law, Patrick Proisy, got there 11 years ago. Noah can become the first Frenchman to win the title since Marcel Bernard in 1946. Wilander will be trying to keep the title in Sweden for the fifth consecutive year, after Bjorn Borg‘s four victories and Wilander’s one. Roger-Vasselin, 25, ranked 130th in the world on the Association of Tennis Professionals computer, said he was mentally tired after a straight-set victory over top-seeded Jimmy Connors three days earlier. “For two days, I have been unable to relax because I was getting calls all the time from reporters and television people,” Roger-Vasselin said. “When I went to practice, there were reporters and photographers everywhere. Next time, I hope I will know how to say ‘no’.” Higueras matched Wilander from the baseline for two long sets, but then wilted as Roger-Vasselin had done. In Higueras’ case, it was due to age (30-year-old at the time) plus a recurrence of tennis elbow, which has troubled him over the last two months. Higueras, was conceding 12 years to Wilander. By the third set he was visibly tiring in the heat, while Wilander went on stroking the ball from his baseline with nagging accuracy, never letting up and seldom venturing toward the net. Wilander, however, said he never felt confident of winning until he led, 4:0, in the fourth set. “I was playing against a very good clay-court player, and it takes time to beat him,” Wilander said.

Final: United Press International

Yannick Noah showed it is possible to attack and win on the slow red clay surface of Roland Garros Stadium, scoring a 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(3) victory over Sweden’s Mats Wilander, the defending champion, yesterday to become the first Frenchman in 37 years to capture the French Open Tennis Championship. Noah, succeeding where the likes of Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe have failed in their bid to end the U.S. drought here – Tony Trabert was the last American winner in 1955 – secured the $90,000 first prize with a dazzling, aggressive display. Wilander, who had scored 23 consecutive points on his way to his quarterfinal elimination of McEnroe two days earlier, could not counter Noah ‘s superb volleying in the 2-hour, 24-minute battle. The 18-year-old Swede’s favorite weapon, the double-fisted backhand passing shot, was off and this allowed his 23-year-old opponent to attack at the net. Although Noah, the son of a Cameroon national and French mother, was brought up on slow clay, he is essentially a serve-and-volley player, much the same as the two world-leading Americans. But Noah, an athletic 6’4 (193 cm) with a Rastafarian hairstyle, can play from the baseline if forced to, and even managed to beat Wilander at his own game for long stretches during yesterday’s clash. The Frenchman, discovered playing with a homemade racket 13 years ago by former U.S. Davis Cupper Arthur Ashe during a goodwill tour in Africa, is on a hot streak now, having won a third successive Grand Prix tournament (in the meantime he lost two matches at World Team Cup). But Noah will not be going for the Wimbledon title. “I will be on holiday,” he explained. “I think Wimbledon is the biggest and most important tournament in the world, but during the past four to five years, I have won only two matches on grass. I don’t like playing grass, not just Wimbledon.” But the Frenchman intends to compete in the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadow. Noah, whose victory ended Sweden’s five-year hold on the title – Bjorn Borg won the four previous years before Wilander’s 1982 triumph – was embraced by his father Zaccherie as soon as Wilander lost the match with a wayward forehand. “I thought, ‘Who is this guy and what is happening?‘” Noah said. “Then I realized it was my dad. For him, it is very hard. Every time he returns to Cameroon after being here he has more white hair – this time maybe he won’t get so many, as I won. My family has helped me a lot, especially when I left them when I was very young. It was hard for me to leave them and they helped me a lot. I always wanted to be a tennis player. I am very happy to show them that all we did together paid off in the end. When I won today, it was for my dad, my mother and my coach (Patrice Hagleur). That is why everyone is crying.” Noah thought the fate of the match hinged on the third set, in which he was serving for the title at 6:5, but missed his chance, before winning the tie-breaking 13th game. “The key to the match was the third set,” he said. “I got cramps in my legs. I was very tight and nervous. It was the dream of a lifetime to win this match.” He admitted he had problems with his serve – although he produced five aces and 11 service winners. “But generally speaking my game was better from the baseline than it had been for a long time,” he said. “My backhand was good and so was my volley.” The beaten champion said his passing shot had let him down. “My passing shots were not good today, so I had to come to the net more in the third set to try and put some pressure on him – it was my only chance. I tried it, but I lost out.” Stats of the final.

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