The Rumanian tennis player, Ilie Nastase, who won last year's French Championships without losing a set, was knocked out in the quarter finals in Paris on Thursday (13 June), after a three-hour battle with the United States number 15 seed, Harold Solomon.
The Rumanian tennis player, Ilie Nastase, who won last year's French Championships without losing a set, was knocked out in the quarter finals in Paris on Thursday (13 June), after a three-hour battle with the United States number 15 seed, Harold Solomon. The final score was 6-4, 6-4, 0-6, 3-6, 6-4 to Solomon.
The French Championships are played on clay -- a slow surface suited to Solomon's patient and accurate, if uninspired, style of play. Nastase -- although considered to be the most brilliant of modern players -- could not find his usual imaginative touch to combat the endless resilience of his opponent. Furthermore, his concentration lapsed so badly at times that he even misjudged whether a shot was going in or out of the court.
There was evidence that Nastase did not care that much whether he won or not. But he said afterwards that he wanted to "start winning" especially since the Wimbledon Championships -- the major event on the international circuit -- start in London in July.
SYNOPSIS: Ranked number fifteen in the United States, Harold Solomon serves form the near end against the Rumanian player Ilis Nastase in the quarter finals of the French Championships in Paris on Thursday. As befits the reigning champion, Nastase takes the point.
Nastase lost the first two sets, and it soon, became clear that he could not always find his delicate touch against Solomon's relentless accuracy and patience.
At one point, Nastase even appeared to misjudge the length of a drive.
Then, in the sultry heat of the Roland Garros Stadium, Nastass broke back to win the third and fourth sets.
With the score at four-all in the final set, Solomon started to show that he, too, could make some artistic shots.
After three and a quarter hours Nastase -- who for all his brilliance has always had a fragile temperament -- seemed to lose patience. Solomon (now in a red shirt) was the winner and Nastase went out of the championship, hoping that he will regain his form before the Wimbledon tournament -- the most important on the international circuit -- which stats in July.