United States' tennis star Arthur Ashe began his warm-up for the Wimbledon tournament in fine style on Saturday (14 June) when he decisively defeated fellow-U.
United States' tennis star Arthur Ashe began his warm-up for the Wimbledon tournament in fine style on Saturday (14 June) when he decisively defeated fellow-U.S. player Roscoe Tanner in the finals of the Men's Singles of the Beckenham Lawn Tennis Tournament in kent, U.K.
Ashe had lost the last two of his seven recent clashes with Tanner -- ranked number four in the United States, one place above Ashe --but dominated the match throughout with secure and vigorous play. 31-year-old Ashe has missed this year's major hardcourt championships in order to be fully adjusted to grass before the coming Wimbledon tennis bonanza.
The match swiftly developed into a serve-and-volley battle, with Tanner's powerful forehand drives more than matched by Ashe's accurate serving and breathtaking backhand returns. Serving first in the match, Ashe retained his lead throughout the set, with Tanner a finely matched opponent. But the 23-year-old left-hander's volleying touch left him with the score at 6-5, and he lost his service to give Ashe the set 7-5.
Tanner's best chance came when he broke Ashe's service in the fifth game of the second set. But his experienced opponent broke back immediately and it was all Tanner could do to hand on to even the score at 4-4. Two games later,he dropped his service for the title and the 1,000-pound-sterling (2,300-U.S.-dollars) prize money.
SYNOPSIS: Tennis...and United States number four, Roscoe Tanner, serving to fellow-American Arthur Ashe in the finals of the Mens's Singles in Beckenham, kent, on Saturday...and a point to Ashe.
Tanner had won the last two of his seven recent matches against Ashe, but--despite some fine serving--his returns and volleys weren't always good enough to match the accuracy of the elder player's speed and placing...And Ashe took the first set seven-five.
In the second set, Tanner lost his best chance when he dropped his service immediately after breaking Ashe's in the fifth game. The twenty-three year-old lefthander is ranked one place above thirty-one Ashe in the U.S.A. and won through to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year.
But in the end it was his erratic serving--in a match which turned out serving--in a match which turned out to be a serve-and-volley battle--that brought Tanner's downfall. With the score five-four to Ashe--and match-point--Tanner could produce only an indifferent double fault to give Ashe the game, set and match...seven-five, six-four.
For Ashe, victory signalled more than simply the Kent title and the one-thousand-pounds prize money. He's missed all this year's major hardcourt tournaments to become properly attuned for Wimbledon's historic grass. Victory at beckenham--last grass tournament before Wimbledon--makes his chances at the major title look even better.