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July 01, 1977 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-01

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day ,Ju y 1 ,1977


Page Eleven


Connors, Borg win in semis

IVIM BLEDON, England P) - Jimmy
nors survived a brief scare yester-
cy and beat young John McEnroe to
vance to the final of the Wimbledon
nnis championships, where he will
eet defending champion Bjorn Borg.
Connors, the top-ranked player in the
orid, beat McEnroe, the youngest play-
ever to make it to the semifinals in
oe years of the All-England tourna-
ent, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Borg beat Vitas
erulaitis 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in a see-
n battle of long volleys and iron-willed
CONNORS HAD to fight for his place
the final. McEnroe who had tn play
rough a qualifying tournament before
lag accepted to play at Wimbledon,
tre Connors, playing an unaccustomed
le as the elder, a good scare.
tach of the final two sets was decided
one service break, and both times
inroe double-faulted to lose the game.

Apart from those lapses at the service
line, McEnroe matched Connors shot-for-
In the third set, Connors' forehand
took a vacation, and McEnroe broke him,
three times. A lob, pitched onto Con-
nors' baseline with finesse beyound his
years, was the key stroke in the last
service break.
BUT CONNORS came right back and
broke McEnroe's service in the first
game of the last set. McEnroe broke
back to make it 2-2.
In his most crucial test, McEnroe
fended off two break points before Cpn-
tirs got through with a running cross-
court return to take a 4-3 lead and served
out to win the set and match.
The loss was the end of a very popular
rise to fame by the lean left-hander from
Douglaston, N.Y., who beat the likes of
Sandy Mayer and Australia's Phil Dent
before running into the brick wall that

is Connors.
McENROE HAD come here intent on
the juniors competition but found him-
self in the midst of the battle for tennis'
most prestigious prize. He lost his
chance when his serve foiled him, double-
faulting three times at game point in the
first two sets.
But McEnroe said he was not disap-
pointed. "I didn't think Connors played
all that well, and I tlixight I had a
chance, 'but he won all the big points,"
said McEnroe, whose father, John Sr.,
had flown in from New York to watch.
And Connors agreed that the youngster
had no need for disappointment. "If I'd
played like that at his age, I'd be proud
of myself," Connors said. "lie tries to
make shots from impossible angles-and
sometimes they come off, like they did
in the third set."
at a sizzling pace for 3 hours, 10 minutes,

was the finest seen on the center court
in years. At the end, 15,000 fans stood to
give both men one of Wimbledon's great-
est ovations.
The two rivals ran like hares-chasing
lobs, retrieving from their baselines and
scrambling to the net. But try as they
might, neither man could find that one
volley that would signal domination.
Gerulaitis, 22, of Howard Beach, N.Y.,
las sked like Borg without a beard and
moved about the court just as fast. His
agile net play and finely angled volleys
equalled anything Borg could offer.
When the American did falter, it was
usually in the face of Borg's bounding
top-spin volleys. The sheer pace of his
driving won him a bagful of points.
First Borg and then Gerulaitis got on
top, and it was not until the very end of
the final set that the Swede broke the
New Yorker in the 14th game for the
match, which lasted just over three

Post game Bird bows back "-SHIR
DETROIT () - Everyone pay my salary so I give 'em "The Bird" makes his custo- But he cares only about one
the Motor City loves Mark what they want." What they mary appearance outside the statistic -- wins. * IS AT
Ihe Bird" Fidrych - except want is every glimpse possible Tiger dugout. "I don't care how many hits
guards at Tiger Stadium. of the 22 year old righthander "We help each other," he I give up. I don't look at walks,' T M S
tbe guards come to me and from Northboro, Mass., now in says. "When I heard everyone at home runs, at hits. I don't +
y: 'Please, Mark, we want to his second season in Detroit. yelling for me in the ninth in-, care if my earned run average * Holiday camp
Shore you've got to get out "I think I'm getting a little ning, I think I was throwing is five - actually it's 1.83, if I +
ere, says Fidrych of the more mature," he says. "I'm my fastball harder than ever. It win. PACKARD & STATE
a standard practice of taking the same pitcher I was a year gets my blood flowing. "All I want is W's."

irtain calls following his
ound appearances for the De-
sit Tigers.
The largest crowd of the
eason, 51,745, demanded Fid-
rych's reappearance on the
teld Wednesday night after
be scattered nine hits to post
7-2 victory over the Boston
ted Sox.
"If the people come to see
u and get a few autographs
d all, that's the least I can
" Fidrych says of his post-
me ritual. "After all, they

ago (when he went 19-9). I'm
throwing the same stuff. But in
your first year in the majors
you're way out there, you
know. In your second year, you
get your head together a'little
In his lagt three outings,
Fidrych has drawn an aver-
age of more than 45,000 fans
to Tiger Stadium, where peo-
ple shout and cheer and
stomp their feet during the
game and then reach new
'crescendos afterwards until

"But it does somethng for
the people in the stands, too.
They got to go home with a
win. If they have to drive for
two hours, they're still high and
talking about winning. If they
see us lose, then they think,
'Anah, let's not go all this way
"So you see, we help each
Fidrych, however, is his
own best helper. lie throws
strikes. Wednesday night, on-
ly 45 of his 126 pitches missed
the strike zone.

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