The Ultimate ATP Tournament: Second Round (Fourth Quarter)
The epic first round of the Ultimate ATP Tournament has finished, and the 32 remaining combatants now prepare to face the second round gauntlet.
The top eight seeds will see their first action of the tournament and some of the lucky first round winners are rewarded with playing a great.
Sound the horns and fasten your seat belts because the stakes have been raised yet again.
Here are the results of the second round, second quarter, which includes Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg.
Match No. 45: No. 7 Jimmy Connors (USA) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Result: Connors in four. 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.
Connors has virtually no weaknesses. His game is complete, and it shows through his ATP-record 108 career titles in the Open Era.
Hewitt has the dishonor of blossoming too early and then fading later in his career. But when Hewitt is on top of his game, he is GOOD. Connors sure doesn't care.
Let's rock the hard courts. Connors, fresh as a peach, comes out swinging for the fences. Hewitt, plays suffocating defense. Connors, although he is frustrated inside, doesn't show it and just keeps coming.
Hewitt doesn't break in the slightest, and the painful set goes to a tiebreak. Despite 12 break chances each, no breaks were issued.
Connors takes the tiebreak after a couple run-and-gun points.
To the sands! Of all Hewitt's strengths, clay wasn't at the top. But that doesn't mean he's a poor player. Different surface, and nearly the same results.
Connors was still in all-out-attack mode, and Hewitt is playing a protect the net game. Hewitt's defense still shines and forces yet another tiebreaker. Same result again, Connors up 2-0.
Hewitt decides to come out of his shell a little on grass. He opens up his play, but still incorporating solid defense. He gains the first break of the match off the first game, but unlucky for him, he double faults it right back in the next game. Connors now is playing more defensively, while Hewitt is on the attack.
Guess what? Another tiebreaker. This time, Hewitt gets a bit of luck and takes one, shrugging off a match point.
Already over three hours in length, the match begins to get a little sloppy. Four straight breaks open the play on carpet. Hewitt tries to make a push, but Connors is able to counter everything.
Tiebreak? Absolutely. Once more, with feeling. Connors get his chance at a match point and doesn't let this one get past him.
He will take on the winner of Nadal/Orantes.
Match No. 46: Manuel Orantes (ESP) vs. No. 10 Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Result: Nadal by retirement. 6-2, 6-3, 4-0 RET.
You can figure good things will happen when the two best Spanish players in history meet up. Both are known for extremely solid clay court play, but recently Nadal has branched out and advanced his game. He took down Andy Murray in a somewhat routine four sets, while Orantes slugged it out with Vitas Gerulaitis for five excruciating sets.
Unfortunately, only one player showed up to play on the hard courts. Nadal was dominating every aspect of play from the first serve.
Orantes couldn't get anything past the Raging Bull. Nadal didn't even play as well as he was capable of, but he did enough to make it a laugher.
Orantes had to do better on clay, right? Not really. Nadal was in his head big time already. The Bull had built up a sense of invincibility that affected Orantes.
Nadal made breaking serve look like it was a walk in the park, and he quickly had another big lead. Something clicked in Orantes' mind and he started going for everything.
He began to climb back, but Nadal realized this and put his foot down. 6-3 Nadal.
The grass was no kinder to Orantes, who was not only deflated, but now physically spent with the combination of a long five set match and then playing Nadal. Nadal built up a big lead again, breaking twice, before Orantes retired at 4-0.
Business as usual for Nadal who now moves on to face Jimmy Connors.
Match No. 47: No. 15 Arthur Ashe (USA) vs. Ilie Nastase (ROM)
Result: Nastase in four. 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6.
Nastase had the luxury of a win by retirement. Ashe had to slug it out in five sets to beat Adriano Panatta. Would it be the fatigue factor already for the American? Nastase had no plans of canceling his hotel reservations just yet.
Nastase wanted to dictate points early on the hard courts, and he did exactly that. Ashe came out a little more flat-footed than he would have liked, and it cost him a break. Although Ashe continued to fight, that break would hold up as the only one in the set.
Nastase had the same game plan on clay, and rightly so. He was one of the better clay court players in history. Ashe was not. An extremely easy set for Nastase followed, as he plowed his way out to a 5-0 lead. Ashe's only hold was far too late. 6-1 Nastase.
If Ashe was going to make a comeback, grass would be the perfect starting point. The 15th-seed was in serious danger and Nastase new it. The three-time slam champion on grass showed Nastase why he was immediately, taking a 3-0 lead. Nastase would fight back for 4-4, but Ashe's pedigree was too much. 2-1, Nastase.
At this point in Nastase's last match, Novak Djokovic was about to retire. Ashe had no such plans. An extremely hard fought set was to follow on carpet. Both players trading shots back and forth. Remarkably, no breaks all set, leading to a tiebreaker.
Ashe couldn't find his footing quickly enough, and Nastase had seemingly won before it even started.
He will take on the winner of Borg/Stich in round three.
Match No. 48: Michael Stich (GER) vs. No. 2 Bjorn Borg (SWE)
Result: Borg in three. 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.
Possibly the biggest mismatch of the second round is the last match. Adding to that, Borg is perfectly rested and ready, while Stich had to fight through Tom Okker. Stich is a jack of all trades, but a master of none, as he won a few titles on every surface. Borg is a master of basically everything.
Hard courts were most suited for Stich, who hung with Borg for the majority of the set. Borg finally decided to turn on the jets, breaking Stich easily and taking the set soon afterwards.
Stich had a better chance of no-hitting the '27 Yankees than taking a set from Borg on grass or clay. Stich was in full assault mode already, playing as though he had absolutely nothing to lose despite only being down a set.
Borg, however, took it all in stride and made ridiculously complicated shots look easy. No prayer, 6-3.
Borg might as well have had a cloud around his feet and he was wielding his racquet like a mace.
Poor mortal Michael Stich. He threw the kitchen sink and then some at Borg to no avail, but at least he tried. Borg was not broken once all match, nor did he face a break point.
He will face Ilie Nastase in the third round.
Brief rundown of the entire third round.
- No. 1 Rod Laver (AUS) vs. Jim Courier (USA)
- Andy Roddick (USA) vs. No. 8 Ivan Lendl (CZE)
- No. 5 Andre Agassi (USA) vs. No. 12 Boris Becker (GER)
- No. 13 Guillermo Vilas (ARG) vs. No. 4 Pete Sampras (USA)
- No. 3 Roger Federer (SUI) vs. No. 14 Stefan Edberg (SWE)
- Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) vs. No. 6 John McEnroe (USA)
- No. 7 Jimmy Connors (USA) vs. No. 10 Rafael Nadal (ESP)
- Ilie Nastase (ROM) vs. No. 2 Bjorn Borg (SWE)
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