1984 – 1985, Roland Garros
French Open, Paris
May 28, 1984; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $875,000; Surface – Clay
One of the most memorable finals of the Open era. Prior to that final, John McEnroe had been playing unreal tennis from the beginning of the season, he was on a 42-match winning streak, including five wins over his final opponent – Ivan Lendl, who had failed to win his four previous major finals. In Paris ’84, McEnroe led 2-0 in sets against Lendl displaying brilliant offensive tennis, and everyone could expect he would overcome a theory that serve-and-volley guys cannot triumph at Roland Garros. However, he lost his composure in the 3rd game of the 3rd set and his magic touch as well, allowing the Czech to get a second wind. McEnroe was two games away in three consecutive sets from taking the title, but couldn’t break his biggest rival in those most important moments, couldn’t also hold his serve under pressure.
First round: (AP)
A frustrated center court crowd whistled and jeered but saw little tennis yesterday as rain washed out most of the second day’s play in the $1.8 million French Open tennis championships. The center court crowd of more than 7,000 whistled its annoyance when officials refused to uncover the courts whenever the rain showed signs of subsiding. The fans eventually got their way when defending champion Yannick Noah, who last year became the first Frenchman in 37 years to capture this prestigious title, emerged to loud cheers from his patriotic fans (no match was concluded on Tuesday, the temperature dropped to barely 12 degrees). On Monday top-seed John McEnroe toyed with 18-year-old Horacio de la Pena of Argentina. Players at the first Grand Slam event of the 1984 season were treated to sunny skies but gusting winds that blew the red clay at Roland Garros Stadium into their eyes – a marked contrast to Tuesday’s rain that forced the halting or postponement of all but one match. McEnroe, who has won his last 37 matches and is ranked No. 1 in the world, beat De la Pena, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, with little effort. Noah, though, needed five sets to beat American Mark Dickson in a match carried over from Tuesday, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. “There’s not a whole lot of players who have anything to lose playing against me,” McEnroe said. “What worried me out there was the conditions. It was pretty windy. I thought the conditions would be ideal because they’ve had some rain, but it was tough with the clay blowing around. I found it hard to make the shots I wanted to make.” McEnroe, who has never won a French Open, said it was his winning streak that prompted organizers to name him the No. 1 seed. “I don’t know if people are calling me the favorite, but I know I have a good chance,” he said. “Some of the players aren’t having as good a year as they had hoped, and I’m the only one coming in who is playing well.” Second-seed Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia defeated American Matt Mitchell, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, in another first-round match. Fourth-seeded Mats Wilander of Sweden, the runner-up at Roland Garros in 1983, also won his match with Australian Wally Masur 6-3 6-2 6-3. Fifth-seed Jimmy Arias of the United States beat Frenchman Dominique Bedel, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4; 11th-seed Anders Jarryd of Sweden defeated Jerome Vanier of France, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, and 13th-seeded Juan Aguilera of Spain beat Miroslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-1. Jimmy Connors, the No. 3 seed in men’s singles, crushed fellow countryman Eric Fromm, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in under two hours on the center court. One seeded player was ousted in the men’s singles. In a late match on an outside court, No. 15 Tim Mayotte of the United States lost to Rolf Gehring of West Germany, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(6).
Second round: (AP)
John McEnroe leads the parade, the top-seeded player in the French Open tennis championships Thursday marched easily into the third round before a record crowd of 24,297. The parade, however, will go on without Jose-Luis Clerc and Tomas Smid, who were upset by 19-year-old players. And the road to the third round was exhausting for John Frawley of Australia, who struggled for 5 hours 15 minutes before eliminating West Germany’s Hans-Jorgen Schwaier, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(2), 8-6 – it will be the longest matches at Roland Garros until 1998. Yannick Noah, the defending men’s champion, defeated Belgium’s Bernard Boileau, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. But teen-ager Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia (second main-level tournament), ranked 356th in the world, shocked the eighth-seeded Clerc, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6, and Emilio Sanchez of Spain upset No. 14 Smid, 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4. Sanchez (fourth main level tournament) before his match said: “I am sure that I will win”. Close to make another upset was 16-year-old Aaron Krickstein playing against 15 years older Wojtek Fibak. The experienced Pole prevailed though, 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-5, 10-8… 61 games – the most since the tie-break introduction in 1973, this record will be overcome eight years later by three games. McEnroe was warned for abuse of equipment when he smashed and broke his racket in the third set while beating fellow American Ben Testerman, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4. No. 2 Ivan Lendl crushed Mario Martinez of Bolivia, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1, and No. 3 Jimmy Connors romped past John Lloyd, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 (repeating of McEnroe’s scoreline). Despite their victories, both McEnroe and Connors complained about the soft surface. “I had a lot of bad bounces,” McEnroe said. Connors was equally critical. others favorites, Yannick Noah and Mats Wilander, also won their matches easily. In a battle of doubles partners, higher ranked at the time, Anders Jarryd defeated Stefan Edberg 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4).
Third round: (AP)
Top-seeded John McEnroe yelled at photographers, shouted at the crowd and argued with officials but still eliminated fellow American Mel Purcell in a stormy third-round match Friday at the French Open tennis championships. McEnroe was warned and penalized for his antics on Court One during a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Purcell as he moved into the final 16 in the men’s singles. McEnroe’s match, played on the same court where he had so many problems in his opening match against Ben Testerman last year, was marked by a confusing, at times hilarious, incident midway through the opening set. At McEnroe’s request, four groundsmen came on to sweep the court. One gestured to the umpire and threw his arms in the air, while the others attempted to brush away uneven sections of the red clay court. When the work was completed, McEnroe continued to argue with the umpire. The balls were changed, then changed again, and it was 30 minutes before play finally resumed. McEnroe went on to take the set, but more trouble was to follow. Claude Richard, the umpire, had asked the photographers behind McEnroe not to take photographs while the 25-year-old New Yorker was serving. But McEnroe doesn’t speak French. “This is a disgraceful exhibition of humanity,” he shouted. And when he again asked Richard to speak to the photographers, he was warned for delay of game. As McEnroe lost concentration and continued to get angry with the court and the photographers, Purcell got back into the match until the men’s No. 1 seed and tournament favorite broke the Kentuckian for a 5:4 lead. Then there were more antics. McEnroe asked for the supervisor because of all the problems and was handed a penalty point, which put him behind 0/15. Under the Volvo Grand Prix rules, another infraction would call for him to be disqualified. But McEnroe served and volleyed his way out of trouble, sending the match into a third set. With the last 16 in his sights, McEnroe swept into a 4:1 lead. He still had time to challenge the cameramen one last time, and shouted, “I can’t concentrate in this zoo,” before taking his place in today’s fourth round. Purcell and Grand Prix supervisor Ken Farrar agreed with McEnroe that the court conditions were poor. Farrar’s assessment was the least damning. But he said: “I think he had a legitimate gripe about the condition of the court, but it was playable in my opinion.” Purcell and McEnroe, however, both called the court “unplayable.” McEnroe went further. “I think it’s the worst court I’ve ever played on,” the volatile left-hander said. “It wasn’t even level – forget about the 50 holes that were all around there.” Also advancing to the round of 16 was America’s top-rated clay court player, fifth-seeded Jimmy Arias, who defeated Italy’s Claudio Panatta, 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-3, in an erratic match on the wind-swept Center Court. Panatta, whose 10 years older brother Adriano won the title here in 1976, was up two set points at 6:5 in the first set before Arias battled back to win the game and send the set into a tiebreaker. Unseeded Brian Gottfried won his third-round battle, downing Rolf Gehring of West Germany, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4. Defending champion Yannick Noah of France and No. 2 seed Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia swept into the final 16 of the French Open tennis championships Saturday. Noah blew out Australia’s John Frawley, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. At one stage during the match, Noah won 24 of 25 points on his service, which never was threatened by his opponent. But Noah, whose concentration is often suspect, says he can do even better. “I need a tough match,” he said. “When you play a good player, your game improves. I feel better and better.” Lendl, bidding to win his first Grand Slam tournament, although he has been in four finals, posted a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Australia’s Paul McNamee. McNamee played a suicidal grass-court game in the opening set but then changed his strategy, stayed back, and slugged out the rallies from the baseline of the red clay courts. Still, Lendl won most of the big points and was a comfortable winner. But Jimmy Connors, trying to win the only Grand Slam tournament that has eluded him, had more than a few problems overcoming Argentine qualifier Martin Jaite. Connors, seeded third, dropped the first set playing tentative tennis and was surprised by the tenacity and court speed of his 19-year-old opponent. Connors had to save a series of break points early in the second set before finally winning, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Ninth-seeded Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden also had a tough match. But it was even tougher for Hans Gildemeister of Chile. Sundstrom, 20, was down 2-6, 0-6, 1:5 and 0/30 on his serve when Gildemeister suddenly fell apart, committing 12 unforced errors in a row. Sundstrom won the next six games to take the third set, 7-5, then cruised through the last two sets, 6-3, 6-4. “That was the first miracle of my life,” said Sundstrom. “I had almost accepted that he was playing me out of the match. Then, at 1:5, everything changed, and he started to choke. It was incredible.”
Fourth round: (UPI)
John McEnroe growled his way to a four-set victory over Spain’s Jose Higueras yesterday and advanced to the quarterfinals of the $1 million French Open tennis championships. The fiery New Yorker, upset with the officiating throughout, took 3 hours 51 minutes to complete his 6-4, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 victory in a match twice interrupted by rain. McEnroe, looking to become the first American man to win the French Open since 1955, next faces No. 5 Jimmy Arias. Arias, 19, was taken the distance by Brian Gottfried before winning, 6-4, 2-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. No. 9 Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden outlasted Italian Francesco Cancellotti, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2. McEnroe and Higueras repeatedly were upset by line calls. But while the Spaniard kept a low profile, McEnroe expressed his frustration. He questioned linesmen, insulted spectators, and hit two balls at photographers, earning a warning. “It’s very difficult playing here because people don’t listen,” McEnroe said. “I am out there trying to do a job but they are out there deliberately trying to upset me.” McEnroe suffered lapses of concentration and made a string of unforced errors. His service was off, allowing Higueras to attack. It looked like a routine victory for the Wimbledon champion after the opening set. In the second set, Higueras matched McEnroe shot for shot but McEnroe eventually won it, in the tiebreaker. The score was 1:1 in the next set it was interrupted 45 minutes by rain. Jimmy Connors sleepwalked through the start of his match yesterday against Emilio Sanchez before rousing himself for a straight-set victory to advance to the quarterfinals. After finding his touch late in the first set, the No. 3 seed had no problem with the 19-year-old Spaniard and posted a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 decision – just before rain delayed play 3 hours, 20 minutes. Only three of the scheduled seven singles matches were completed because of the rain. The downpour arrived when No. 2 Ivan Lendl was two sets up and 3:3 in the third against Anders Jarryd of Sweden. Lendl showed no signs of rustiness when he resumed, eliminating the No. 11 seed, 6-4, 6-0, 6-4. No. 7 Andres Gomez of Ecuador stopped Jan Gunnarsson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. Yannick Noah, seeded sixth, outlasted Hungary’s Balazs Taroczy 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3), 7-6(3), and No. 4 Mats Wilander, the 1982 French Open winner, crushed Spain’s Juan Aguilera 6-2, 6-1, 6-3. The right-hander Lendl, still seeking his first Grand Slam title after reaching four finals, has not lost a set in four rounds of the competition. He served magnificently and his forehand was deadly, but he joined the list of players who have complained about court conditions, describing the surface after a lengthy break for rain as “not playable.” In the quarterfinals, Lendl will meet Gomez, of Ecuador. “He’s a difficult player on any surface, and I’ll have to play very solidly,” Lendl said of Gomez, who also has not dropped a set so far. As on Sunday, Connors had first-set jitters. His opponent, unseeded Sanchez, who is ranked 87th in the world on the ATP computer, had three break points to take a 4:0 lead in the opening set, but missed his chance. Connors responded by taking 10 games in a row and then went on to play “as good as I have ever done on clay.”
Sweden’s Mats Wilander, getting revenge for last year’s title match, and Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, still seeking his first Grand Slam title, battled their way into the semifinals of the French Open tennis championships yesterday. Wilander, the 1982 winner here, roared from behind in the last two sets to eliminate defending champion Yannick Noah of France 7-6(4), 2-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Lendl reached the final four on the slow red clay of Roland Garros Stadium for the second time in his career by ousting Ecuador’s Andres Gomez 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3. Wilander and Noah slugged it out for 3 hours, 35 minutes and had the Center Court crowd on the edge of their seats. The 19-year-old Swede, who has not won a tournament this year, played superb tennis against Noah in front of the Frenchman’s home crowd. “I was a little bit lucky to win the opening set, and I was very tired at the end of the third,” Wilander said. “Then I got a (service) break and I wasn’t tired anymore, and I found some extra energy.” Wilander came into the match without having dropped a single set in the tournament, but was rocked back on his heels by Noah’s early aggressive play. Although the champion lost the first set in a tiebreaker, he stormed through the next two sets, rushing to the net at every opportunity and cutting off the Swede’s feared passing shots with sharp, crisp volleys. Backed by the large, patriotic crowd, Noah grabbed a 2-1 lead in sets and then had a break point on Wilander’s serve in the fifth game of the fourth set. But Wilander, finding the lines with his passing shots, pulled out the game, and suddenly the match turned his way. Tiring after all his early work, Noah dropped his serve for the first time in the match, in the sixth game. And after Wilander held his, the Swede went on to square the match at two sets all. Noah dropped his serve again at the start of the final set as Wilander’s relentless passing shots and lobs, so ineffective earlier, at last began to tell. As his title slid from his grasp, Noah launched one last assault and had two break points at 2:3 to get back into the match. But he couldn’t pull it out. Wilander held serve, and three games later the champion was out. “I spent a lot of energy in those first three sets,” Noah explained. ”Then I got a little tired and he took advantage. His main tactic was to keep the ball deep and prevent me from coming in on his first serve. I had to attack because that’s my game. But, in the end, his plan worked better than mine.” Gomez, seeded seventh, at times played exquisite tennis, but was much too erratic. It cost him dearly in the seventh game of the third set when he had three break points but could not convert any of them. Gomez changed his racket every few games, and late in the match appeared to be playing at half speed. He explained afterward that he had been suffering from cramps. “I didn’t want to give up, so I just kept playing. But it certainly affected me,” said Gomez, a clay court specialist. “This was the Grand Slam tournament I had the best chance in, and I’m very disappointed.” Playing superb tennis, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors made their way to the semifinals of the French Open championships yesterday, seeking to become the first Americans to capture the men’s singles crown since 1955. McEnroe’s 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Jimmy Arias was his 41st consecutive victory, and the first time he has gotten past the quarterfinals on the slow red clay courts of Roland Garros. Connors, seeking the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him, ousted ninth-seeded Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-4. The match lasted 2 hours 10 minutes.
John McEnroe is within one match of ending a 29-year American drought at the French Open tennis championships. McEnroe’s 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory yesterday over fellow American Jimmy Connors in the tournament semifinals was his 42nd straight match without defeat and his first victory on the slow European clay over his great rival. So closely have the two Americans been matched that McEnroe has now won 13 of their 25 matches. Connors had won their previous three encounters on clay. McEnroe was in command, slamming 12 aces and a succession of first-service winners past the game’s premier returner in a 2-hour, 11-minute contest. While it was perfect McEnroe when it came to playing, his behavior was vintage McEnroe. The fiesty New York left-hander was fined $2,000 dollars for verbal abuse after he shouted at a spectator and lost his temper with a line judge. From 4:5 in the opening set, McEnroe hit Connors with a series of dazzling winners and lost three more games in the match. Connors, failing once again in his effort to win the only Grand Slam tournament that has eluded him, returned serve well and tried to keep the ball deep. McEnroe won most of the big points, and as the match slipped away from him, Connors was forced into a stream of unforced errors on his forehand. “Maybe it’s a little overdue,” McEnroe told reporters after crushing Connors on a sun-drenched center court at Roland Garros Stadium. Ivan Lendl, the No. 2 seed, scored a convincing 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Sweden’s Mats Wilander, the 1982 champion and runner-up last year. In a long, often dour battle between two baseline specialists – one rally lasted 65 shots – Wilander was out-gunned by Lendl’s powerful forehand. The 19-year-old Swede, who beat Lendl two years ago in Paris on his way to the title, produced few of the blinding passing shots he used to such deadly affect against defending champion Noah in the quarterfinals. Instead, he was pinned behind the baseline and on the defensive by Lendl’s ruthless groundstrokes.
Final: (Herald Wire Services)
The wait is over for Ivan Lendl. The 24-year-old Czech, a loser in four previous Grand Slam finals, rallied from a two-set deficit Sunday to defeat John McEnroe, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5, and win the men’s singles title at the French Open tennis championships. “I had to work hard for it, that’s for sure,” Lendl said after his 4-hour 8-minute victory on the sun-baked Center Court at Roland Garros Stadium. Lendl, seeded second, ended McEnroe’s hopes of becoming the first American to win the French men’s singles title since Tony Trabert in 1955. McEnroe, the top seed, had won 42 consecutive matches this year. “John was playing great in the first two sets,” said Lendl. “He was hitting corners and lines all the time. Then I think he got a little tired. I was in better shape today and could run all day long.” When he left the court, however, Lendl began vomiting, apparently because of the mental and physical strain. Lendl’s four Grand Slam losses came to Jimmy Connors at the U.S. Open in 1982 and 1983, to Bjorn Borg here in 1981 and to Mats Wilander in last year’s Australian Open. “It feels great finally to answer different questions,” Lendl told reporters, referring to the “choke” label he had carried after his previous Grand Slam failures. “I guess it’s better just to win this tournament, but once you win, it’s better to win against someone like McEnroe.” It was the first time Lendl had beaten McEnroe since January 1983 in the Volvo Masters at New York. In terms of the number of games played, it was the longest final at Roland Garros since the introduction of tiebreakers in 1974. The crowd booed when McEnroe refused to take the microphone. “I had a lot of opportunities, a couple of times in the third set and three or four games in a row,” he said later. “I could have won all of them but ended up winning none.” McEnroe said the crowd’s support for Lendl undoubtedly helped his opponent. Lendl said he “saw a glimmer of hope as soon as I broke his service for the first time in the match in the middle of the third set. He broke me back, but I felt that once I had broken him once, I could do it again. I just had to hang on in there.” Three times in the opening set, McEnroe, who until this year had never gotten past the quarterfinals here, served an ace on game point. When he swept into a 4:0 lead at the start of the second set, breaking Lendl twice and serving two love games, the title looked as if it was his. In the third game of the third set with Lendl serving at 15/30, the 25-year-old McEnroe lost his patience and grabbed a television cameraman’s headset, throwing it to the ground. Although McEnroe pulled out the next game, he lost the set and suddenly looked vulnerable. His big first serve – used to such deadly effect earlier in the match – began to fail him. Lendl broke him thrice in the 4th set (McEnroe led 4:2*, deuce), and when the Czech squared the match at two-sets all, the trophy was up for grabs. At 3:3 in the final set, Lendl saved a double break point, and suddenly McEnroe was serving to save the match. He held for 5:5, only for Lendl to win another game. Again McEnroe served to stay in the match, but could not hold on a second time. Lendl won on his second match point when McEnroe sent a volley wide. Lendl was better in points too, 158-154. It was his 41st title. Stats of the final
French Open, Paris
May 27, 1985; 128 Draw (16 seeded) – $975,000; Surface – Clay
The best Americans born in the 50s (John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors) wasted their last reasonable chances to win in Paris. It was a tournament that seemed to be fully controlled by Ivan Lendl – the Czechoslovak had been winning during the fortnight set after set easily but it finally snapped in the final and he lost three straight sets to Mats Wilander. The 20-year-old Swede entered the event not having won a tournament in 1985. He captured his second Roland Garros title in a different style than he did it in 1982 when he’d based his whole game on regular ground-strokes. In 1985 it was a mix of solid baseline strokes and finesse at the net.
First round: Wire Reports
Returning to the scene of his greatest triumph, Yannick Noah  again thrilled the crowd at Roland Garros Stadium Tuesday as he led a contingent of favorites to victory in the French Open tennis championships. Two years ago, Noah became the first Frenchman in 37 years to capture the men’s singles title. With the capacity crowd cheering him on in his opening match of 1985, Noah came from behind to defeat Libor Pimek, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5, 6-4. In the day’s most popular match, Noah outlasted Pimek  in a three-hour, 20-minute battle. ”I am absolutely thrilled to be back playing this kind of tennis here at Roland Garros,” Noah said after his victory. ”It is especially good because when I was out of action for six months, I wondered whether I was going to play tennis again.” John McEnroe, who reached the final last year, only to lose to Ivan Lendl, ousted Ronald Agenor, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5; Lendl stopped Eddie Edwards, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1; Jimmy Connors battled his way past Wolfgang Popp, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5. Following his straight-set victory, McEnroe expressed surprise that he will have to play another singles match today. Normally, the top players get a day off between singles matches. “I really don’t quite understand it, and I don’t know what to say,” said McEnroe. “But it certainly doesn’t help.” Three seeded players were beaten on the second day of the two-week tournament. The Argentinian, Grand Slam deubutant Roberto Saad , who had to fight his way through qualifying to reach the 128-man main draw, upset 16th-seeded Jimmy Arias, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5. “I didn’t feel as if I had been in a match,” Arias said. “Clay is one of my favorite surfaces. I’m really disappointed.” Arias, 20, won the Italian Open on clay and the U.S. Clay Championships two years ago. Saad, who began taking tennis seriously when he started to beat the leading college players in the United States five years ago, said he since had lost two years of his career because of injury. “I’m 23 now, and I should have been doing this at 21,” he said. Another unsuccessful American was Vitas Gerulaitis . His 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-1 loss to West German teenager Boris Becker  was the fifth first-round exit for Gerualitis in seven tournaments this year. Henri Leconte whipped American Tim Wilkison in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1. But the third French player, Thierry Tulasne, fell to Mats Wilander, the 1982 champion, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, as the Swede – winner of the Australian Open last December – set out on the second leg of tennis’ Grand Slam. Wilander spoke of concentration after his victory over Tulasne. The lack of it has cost the Swede some tournaments, notably the World Young Masters at Birmingham, England, in January, when he was the favorite but was knocked out by American Sammy Giammalva. “I can concentrate better here because it’s such a big tournament,” said the 20-year-old Wilander. “In the smaller tournaments you think you are concentrating, but then you see the results and you realize you weren’t.” Darren Cahill defeated Mark Dickson 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 2-6, 14-12 in the longest Parisian 5th set in terms of games at the time (12-10 three times previously). 17-year-old Thomas Muster , a champion of the tournament 10 years later, made his debut in Paris losing to  Balazs Taroczy 5-7, 3-6, 5-7. Muster will lose two weeks later the boy’s final to Jaime Yzaga.
Second round: AP
Soviet teenager, playing his first tournament at the main level, Andrei Chesnokov, who qualified for the French Open the day before it began, upset eighth-seeded Eliot Teltscher of the United States yesterday in the tennis championship’s biggest surprise so far. Second-round winners in the men’s singles included three Swedes – No. 6 Anders Jarryd, No. 7 Joakim Nystrom and No. 14 Stefan Edberg – along with No. 10 Aaron Krickstein of Grosse Pointe, Mich., and 11th-seeded Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovaia. Chesnokov, 19, from Moscow, had to fight his way through the qualifying rounds, which were completed Sunday. The two-week tournament began on Monday. He lost the opening set to Teltscher, 26, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., before posting a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory as the member of the U.S. Davis Cup squad was unable to master the Soviet’s steady baseline play. Teltscher tried to draw his opponent to the net, but Chesnokov, the first Soviet man to play in the main draw at the French championships in eight years, stayed solidly at the back of the court and prospered at the expense of the American’s frequent errors. “Before this tournament I thought they (the international touring pros) were so strong,” Chesnokov said. “But now I realize they can be beaten.” Chesnokov, a physical education student at a special Moscow sports institute, is ranked 307th in the world on the ATP computer. In the third round, he will face 58th-ranked Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland. “In the beginning I was not very confident. But little by little in the first set, I began to feel loose and that I could play my game,” Chesnokov said through an interpreter. “I felt I was moving well and I was in charge.” Ivan Lendl, seeded second behind Americans McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors, seeded third, both eased into the third round of the men’s singles. Lendl beat Sweden’s Jan Gunnarsson, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2, and Connors stopped fellow American Blaine Willenborg, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. Joakim Nystrom finished off a five-setter that began the night before, taking only 13 minutes to complete his 3-6, 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over bearded American left-hander Mike DePalmer. Although he never had a match point against the Swede, DePalmer unsettled the baseliner with his serve-and-volley style before play ended late Wednesday with the score 3:3 in the final set. Stefan Edberg stopped Jakob Hlasek of Czechoslovakia 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Anders Jarryd downed Spain’s Jose Higueras 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, and Aaron Krickstein stopped 1977 champion Guillermo Vilas of Argentina 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. After losing to the 17-year-old American, Vilas, 32, said he had no immediate intention of retiring. But he added that if he is unable to significantly improve his ranking – currently 57th – by this time next year, ”I’ll seriously be thinking about it.” For the second time in his two matches, John McEnroe downed a qualifier, Romania’s Florin Segarceaunu, winning 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Andreas Gomez eliminated Kent Carlsson, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, and Mats Wilander crushed Boris Becker, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. Wilander, 20, won the singles championship here in 1982 and has captured the last two Australian Opens. Becker, 17, tried to pit his powerful serve and aggressive style against Wilander’s patient baseline game. Emilio Sanchez  became the first “lucky loser” to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros after beating Huub van Boeckel 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Third round: Robert Millward
Jimmy Connors‘ unrequited love affair with the French Open tennis championships was on the rocks again yesterday after he threatened to quit during a four-set triumph over Frenchman Tarik Benhabiles, then hinted that he may not return to Paris next spring. The 32-year-old American left-hander, seeded third saw a penalty point assessed against him in the third set of his 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over his 20-year-old foe. With the temperature on center court rising to 100 degrees (37 Celsius) during the 4- hour, 7-minute match, Connors boiled over and threatened to quit if the penalty was not removed. It wasn’t, but the veteran remained on court and won the match to advance to the fourth round of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. Afterwards he said: “Why should some guy in the chair cost me my last French Open.” Asked if this year’s tournament would be his final appearance at Roland Garros Stadium, Connors backtracked somewhat and said, “No decision has been made. “ But he later told The Associated Press: “This is my last French Open. I’ll come back next year to do television.” Indeed, Connors didn’t play in Paris the following year but returned in action in 1987. 17-year-old American Aaron Krickstein and two Swedes – Anders Jarryd and Stefan Edberg – were the seeded players to post third- round victories in the men’s singles yesterday. No. 11 Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia was upset by Martin Jaite of Argentina 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-4. The French Open is the only major title to elude Connors. Ivan Lendl, the No. 2 seed, had a comfortable 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jerome Potier of France and in the next round will meet Krickstein, who beat Paul McNamee of Australia 7-5, 5-7, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. Krickstein faced defeat when he trailed by two sets to one and 0:2 in the fourth. McNamee, who grew up on the clay courts of Europe, had found a way of taming Krickstein’s booming forehand. Krickstein, however, re-discovered the power of his forehand and captured 12 of the next 13 games to win the last two sets. Jarryd and Edberg set up a fourth-round Swedish showdown by winning their games in straight sets. Jarryd, seeded sixth, downed Joan Aguilera of Spain 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, and Edberg, No. 14, had a 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-0 triumph over John Frawley of Australia. Andrei Chesnokov, a qualifier from the Soviet Union who upset eighth- seeded Eliot Teltscher in the previous round, was beaten in five sets by Switzerland’s Heinz Gunthardt 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 8-6 in a match that took 4 hours 40 minutes of play. Henri Leconte of France today upset fifth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round clash with countryman Yannick Noah in the $2.2 million French Open tennis championships. Following Noah onto the center court at Roland Garros Stadium, the 21-year-old Leconte provided the crowd with a second successive French victory after Noah had beaten Jose Luis Clerc  of Argentina in a 4-hour-23-minute (17 minutes and 3 games fewer than Gundhardt-Chesnokov marathon), third-round match 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-4, 4-6, 8-6. Noah was one point away from knotting the final set at 6:6 when he smashed a shot toward the sideline. The ball was called in, but Clerc thought it was out and protested strongly. The referee stood by the linesman’s decision before Noah asked to replay the point. Clerc, still upset over the call, didn’t win another point in the match. “After that, I completely lost my concentration. I think it could really change my whole life,” Clerc said, explaining that a victory over Noah would substantially improve his ranking and would “make people believe in me.” Leconte, pressured the tall, slow-moving Gomez from the start and never allowed the Ecuadorian to settle into the rhythm of his baseline game, which is more suited to the red clay of Roland Garros Stadium. ”I got into the match very quickly, and I saw right away that he was making a lot of mistakes,” Leconte said. ‘‘It’s true that in the beginning he was kind of a big brother to me,” Leconte said on Noah. “We played doubles together, and he was a lot better than I was. But after the way I’ve been playing this week, I feel very confident, and I’m going to play him like any other player, knowing that we will still be friends off the court.”
Fourth round: Robert Millward
An inspired Henri Leconte  upset fellow Frenchman Yannick Noah 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-1 at the French Open tennis tournament yesterday in an emotion-charged, fourth-round match before a frenzied partisan crowd. Noah, winner of the 1983 French Open, came back from two sets down to set the stage for a dramatic finish. But the hard-hitting, 22-year-old Leconte, who teamed with Noah to capture the doubles title here last year, never let the No. 9 seed get started in the decisive set. The victory sends Leconte, who also eliminated fifth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador, into the quarterfinals against No. 4 Mats Wilander, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 winner over Tomas Smid of Czechoslovakia. In the other fourth-round men’s singles matches played yesterday, top-seeded John McEnroe eliminated No. 12 Henrik Sundstrom of Sweden 6-3, 7-5, 6-2, while another Swede, No. 7 Joakim Nystrom, stopped Chile’s Hans Gildemeister 7-6(8), 6-1, 6-1. Leconte broke Noah in the 4th game of the fifth set to go ahead 3:1, held serve and then broke Noah again at love to take a commanding 5:1 lead. Leconte fought off a service break point in the 7th game, slammed a cross-court backhand volley home to take the advantage and finished off the match with another winning volley off a weak service return. “I could not play the match thinking I was playing Yannick Noah,” said Leconte, who concedes that he has always thought of the 25-year-old Noah as something of a ‘big brother.’ “I just had to go out and think I was playing just another player,” he said. Leconte, who burst on the scene in 1980 by winning the French Open junior boys’ title, has long been tagged as ‘an eternal hopeful’ who looked as though he would never fulfill his promise. Initial comparisons early in his career were with another powerful left-hander, Australian Rod Laver. Coming into this $2.2 million clay court Grand Slam event, Leconte had switched coaches, shed 15 pounds (7 kg) and tamed his instinct to attack on every point. The results first became apparent a week ago in Dusseldorf, West Germany, at the World Team Cup Open when he beat Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia, the defending champion here, and Wilander, his next opponent. “The match in Dusseldorf 10 days ago lasted two sets; this time it will be (contested) over five,” Leconte said of his quarterfinal match against the Swede. “Wilander is playing well, but I think I have got a chance to beat him because now I know how to play against him.” Noah said of Leconte: “Sometimes it’s a little hard to play somebody you’re used to encouraging… I am not surprised at the way he played, because I knew he was playing so well last week. I started too slowly, and when I was losing the first two sets I was giving him the match. In the fifth match I served well, but he hit some great winners.” McEnroe had the worst possible start to his match against Sundstrom, the first of three Swedes he is expected to meet in consecutive rounds. He dropped his serve without winning a point, but then proceeded to sweep the Swede’s challenge aside by winning the next four games. He wrapped up the first set in 34 minutes, but stumbled briefly in the second when Sundstrom held a set point at 5:4 on the American’s serve (Sundstrom had break points in three different games of the 2nd set). The Swede netted a backhand and McEnroe did not allow him to have a second chance. He held serve, broke Sundstrom’s in the next game and then served out for the set. Jimmy Connors, the men’s No. 3 seed whose best performances at Roland Garros have been reaching the semifinals in 1979, 1980 and last year, dropped the first set to Francesco Cancelotti of Italy before blasting back to post a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-2 victory. Watched by his 6-year-old son Brett, the 32-year-old American left-hander said: “I would love to make the final here. Being in the quarterfinals doesn’t make my day.” Ivan Lendl, who lost just four games to Aaron Krickstein, will face Argentina’s Martin Jaite , the 20-year-old Argentinian ousted Heinz Gunthardt in straight sets to reach his only Grand Slam quarterfinal. Connors will take on Stefan Edberg in the men’s quarterfinals. Edberg, seeded 14th, upset his Swedish Davis Cup doubles teammate Anders Jarryd 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2.
Yesterday, in the 100-degree heat of Roland Garros, John McEnroe and Joakim Nystrom produced another French Open classic, scrapping and scratching through five sets before McEnroe prevailed, 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, in a 3-hour, 42-minute battle under a blazing sun to reach the semifinals. “I’m just glad I won it,” McEnroe said. “I’m disappointed that I played well for a couple of sets and then couldn’t maintain it. He changed his game and nearly came back to win it.” Nystrom, 22, was the first person to defeat McEnroe this year, two months ago at the WCT finals in Dallas. In yesterday’s match, Nystrom, went up, 3:1*, in the deciding set but McEnroe fought back to take a 5:3 lead with a match point on serve. Nystrom then broke service again and tied it, 5:5, before McEnroe swept the last two games to the delight of the 15,000 center-court fans. Among them was McEnroe’s girlfriend, actress Tatum O’Neal, who jumped up and hugged her bodyguard when Nystrom’s passing shot landed wide on match point. “I felt when I got that break to go up, 3-1, in the last set that I had a good chance to win the match,” Nystrom said. “But then he came to the net and put a lot of pressure on me.” Nystrom, ranked ninth in the world, almost didn’t make it to Paris after injuring his right hand in a car accident in Sweden 15 days ago. The injury required several stitches but Nystrom – a right-hander – was able to play when the French Open began one week later. Even though he said his backhand let him down in the battle with McEnroe, Nystrom played as well as he has ever done. As McEnroe put it, the match “had just about everything you could wish for in a clay court match.” Mats Wilander, who captured the French Open in 1982, dashed French hopes when he ousted unseeded Henri Leconte of France 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-5. Leconte, a 22-year-old, had hopes of a third scalp in a row when his powerful serve earned him the third set. But Wilander held his game together to set up the semifinal clash with McEnroe, their ninth career meeting. McEnroe holds a 5-3 edge. Jimmy Connors‘ quick reflexes and Ivan Lendl‘s strong serve carried them to straight-set victories yesterday, completing the men’s singles semifinal pairings in the French Open tennis championships with the top four seeded players going for the title. A thunderstorm that relieved nine consecutive days of blazing sunshine at Roland Garros Stadium interrupted Connors’ 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(2) triumph over Sweden’s Stefan Edberg, a victory highlighted by accurate winning passing shots against an opponent 13 years his junior. Lendl, the defending champion from Czechoslovakia, relied on his heavy, accurate serve to carve out a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 victory over the unseeded Martin Jaite of Argentina. Connors and Edberg were tied 5:5 in the third set when the storm halted play. Earlier, as lightning flashed around the stadium, the American missed four chances to break the Swede’s serve at 4:4 and possibly end the match sooner. But after the 55-minute interruption, the two players each held service to force the set into a tiebreaker, which Connors won easily, wrapping up the match. “I really enjoy playing the young guys and still grinding it out,” Connors said. “That’s what really keeps me going more than anything. It’s going out and grinding out the matches on clay against guys 18, 19 years old. It’s one of the biggest pleasures for me, when the legs are supposed to be your biggest weapons. Mine still work; how many more miles they’ve got on them, we’ll see.” For the second time in the tournament he said: “I had to slow myself down. The points were going too fast. But I came out today and played some good solid tennis.” Lendl never reached top form against Jaite, but he still had too many weapons in his armory for the 20-year-old South American. Although Jaite’s aggressive style delighted the crowd and produced some spectacular shots, he never really was in the match with Lendl after the two split the opening eight games of the match. Jaite won two of the next 13 games, and although he broke Lendl’s serve twice in the third set, the Czech rediscovered the power of his serve to close out the match. “My serve faded away in the third set a little,” Lendl said. “But it pulled me out of every kind of trouble in the first two.”
The repeat of the previous year – the same four players in the semifinals, seeded with the same numbers: 1 – McEnroe, 2 – Lendl, 3 – Connors, 4 – Wilander. The difference – various configurations of semifinal pairs: McEnroe vs. Connors, Lendl vs. Wilander ’84 & McEnroe vs. Wilander, Lendl vs. Connors ’85. The rap against Mats Wilander is that the 20-year-old has trouble getting psyched up for anything except the Grand Slam tennis events. Wilander concedes he finds some tournaments boring. The $2.2-million French Open is not one of them, and the low-key Swede says he’ll be keyed up for his meeting tomorrow with Czechoslovakia’s Ivan Lendl in the men’s singles final. “Yes, sometimes I find tennis very boring,” Wilander said yesterday after upsetting top-seeded John McEnroe, 6-1, 7-5, 7-5, in the semifinals. “I try to concentrate 100 percent all of the time, but maybe it’s just easier to concentrate during the big tournaments.” Even at 100 percent concentration, Wilander, the world’s fourth-ranked player and the 1982 French Open winner, will have his hands full with Lendl, who is playing what many consider the best tennis of his already successful career. Lendl, the No. 2 seed, reached the final by trouncing third-seeded Jimmy Connors, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. No American man has won the French, played on slow, red European clay, since Tony Trabert did it in 1955. With both McEnroe and Connors gone, it will be at least 31 years between American victories, and the 32-year-old Connors says 1985 may have been his last try at Paris’s Roland Garros Stadium. Lendl, 25, is the defending French champion, and he returned this year in better physical shape than ever, thanks to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet that trimmed 15 pounds from his already lithe frame. “I feel I’ve been in quite good shape for the last five or six months. I move much better than I used to,” Lendl said. “Once you get to the ball, it’s no big problem to hit it. Getting to it is the trick.” “Right now, Lendl is playing his best tennis,” Wilander said. “He’s at his top level and I don’t see how you can play better tennis than he’s playing right now.” Lendl holds a 7-5 career edge over Wilander , including four victories on clay in their last five meetings on that surface. Lendl ousted Wilander in the semifinals here last year on his way to the title. And Wilander has not won a tournament since successfully defending his Australian Open crown on grass in December. Wilander candidly admits that he’s not ready to give up his favorite foods or “practice eight hours a day, even if that’s what it took, to become No. 1. It’s not worth it to me.” “I think Wilander is going through a period where he doesn’t know if he wants to be No. 1,” McEnroe said. “He’s certainly capable of improving. He’s a great player. It’s really up to him mentally.” McEnroe had plenty of chances to win 2nd and 3rd sets. In the 2nd set he wasted 8 break points in four consecutive games (!); in the 3rd set he squandered a 5:1* lead, also 2 set points at 5:3. In the last game of the match he had 4 game points but lost on second match point, Wilander passed him in that game four times with forehand.
Final: John Feinstein
Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl both left Paris last night. Wilander returned home to Sweden to spend a week relaxing on the golf course. Lendl went to England to practice. That has been the pattern with these two men throughout their careers. Lendl practices a lot, Wilander doesn’t. And Wilander raises his game in Grand Slam events, while Lendl does not. Practice, it seems, doesn’t make perfect. Yesterday, in strangely quiet Roland Garros Stadium, Wilander won his second French Open championship in four years with a decisive, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lendl in 3 hours 13 minutes (the exact time of Lendl’s final loss in Paris four years before to a fellow Swede – Bjorn Borg). At the tender age of 20, he has won four Grand Slam titles. Lendl, 25, has only one Grand Slam championship (last year’s French) and now has a record of 1-6 in Grand Slam finals. “It’s very upsetting to me,” Lendl said of his Grand Slam record. “There’s no question about that.” There was no question who was the better player yesterday. Wilander’s game improved throughout the tournament, peaking in his straight set semifinal victory over John McEnroe and against Lendl. He is a different player than he was when he won here at 17. Now he is a player who attacks even on clay. His new style pays off. “Mats surprised me with how well he hit the volleys at the net,” Lendl said. “He came in at the right times and hit good shots.” Wilander had planned to come in, knowing that to stand on the baseline and slug it out with Lendl would be death. “I felt like I would be in the match because I would control the points by coming in,” he said. “I’ve been working very hard on my volleying and today it paid off.” It was drizzling when the match began, but as time went on, the wetness burned off and the final two sets were played in bright sunshine. Perhaps the weather change was an omen for Wilander. He played a dingy 1st set, breaking Lendl in the 2nd game and then watching helplessly as Lendl picked up his game, winning six of the next seven games. Since Lendl had reached the final without losing a set, it seemed he might just run through the tournament without losing one. Wilander had other ideas. “I felt like I had to keep attacking, especially on his serve,” the Swede explained. “The first set, even when I broke him, I wasn’t very comfortable. By the second, I felt better.” Wilander’s play was up a notch at the start of the second set: he broke in the first game, but Lendl broke back. He had three chances to break in the 3rd game and then broke at love in the 5th game with three winners. Frustrated, Lendl slammed a ball against the fence in disgust. Wilander served out the set, surviving a break point at 5:4 when Lendl netted an easy backhand. The Swede got the last two points of the set thanks to backhand volleys. “That set really hurt me,” Lendl said. “When you miss the kind of chances I had in that set and lose the set, you probably deserve to be punished for it.” His punishment came swiftly. Having seen that Lendl was vulnerable, Wilander began attacking more and more. And, as Lendl began to make mistakes, the normally stoic Wilander became more and more intense. Uncharacteristically, he was pumping his fists, shaking himself after good points, doing little hop-jumps after hitting winners. “I could feel he was nervous,” Wilander said. “He seemed to be feeling pressure. He just wasn’t playing so well. When I saw that, I wanted to keep myself pumped up because I knew it was good for my game to feel that way, to feel strong and confident. I could see that he was fading away and I didn’t want anything to change.” Nothing changed. In the last two sets, Wilander broke Lendl six times (the Czech won his only two games of the 3rd set breaking Wilander twice). Lendl’s ground strokes, so perfect and consistent against Connors on Friday, began to spray. His frustration showed as he swatted balls away in anger after losing points. “It seemed as if when I tried to be steady with him, he would wait and then come in and volley very well,” Lendl said. “If I tried to be aggressive, I was missing. I was looking for the easy ball, but none were easy enough.” The ending was appropriate: Wilander twisted in a serve and Lendl cracked a backhand into the bottom of the net. Wilander rejoiced as Lendl tossed his racquet in the air, caught it and then walked to the net to offer congratulations, again. “This feels very good because I wasn’t expected to win here,” Wilander said. “But I played quite OK. I didn’t feel any pressure because I didn’t even expect to win since I haven’t won since the Australian Open. But I won and I feel very glad about it.” And Lendl? “I’ll just have to work even harder,” he said. They faced each other two weeks before on clay in Dusseldorf, and Lendl won easily 6-4 6-3… Wilander’s 17th title.