In the second round of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London on Wednesday (22 June) the man who was invincible on the centre court in the 1960's -- 38 year old Australian Rod Laver -- toppled to ninth-seeded American Dick Stockton after an enthralling 2 and 3/4 hour match.
SV Rod Laver (Australia) and Dick Stockton (USA) walking onto centre court at Wimbledon, England
SV Laver tossing for service
GV Stockton (far end) serving to Laver and winning point
SV Stockton serving and winning point
SV PAN Crowd
GV Stockton serving and winning match point PAN TO players walking off court
SV Crowd applauding
SV Laver and Stockton walking off court
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Background: In the second round of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London on Wednesday (22 June) the man who was invincible on the centre court in the 1960's -- 38 year old Australian Rod Laver -- toppled to ninth-seeded American Dick Stockton after an enthralling 2 and 3/4 hour match.
While Laver perished on Wednesday another former Wimbledon Champion, Stan Smith, the winner in 1972 and seeded 11th this time, overcame a potentially dangerous opponent in his compatriot Charlie Pasarell to reach the last 32. Smith won 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, clinching victory with a superb backhand pass on his third match point.
SYNOPSIS: Laver, known as the Rockhampton Rocket, won the men's singles title four times at the peak of his career and suggested at the start of this year's Wimbledon that this might be his last challenge for the biggest title in the game.
25-year old Stockton plays a muscular game and was the beaten finalist in last month's World Championship match in Dallas, Texas. In the first set on Wednesday he was outclassed by the veteran Australian, who took three service breaks in just over half an hour and eventually win the set 6-3.
Laver swept into a 4-1 lead at the start of the second set, but his superiority was short-lived.
When serving for a 5-2 lead Laver completely missed a straightforward overhead smash and his game did nit recover. He lost the second set 9-7, pulled back to take a 3-1 lead in the third but was again pegged by the determined Stockton, who broke the Australian to love in the ninth game before holding his service to take the rest of the match with case.
A disappointed Laver said afterwards "I had a lot of chances. Maybe I was bot aggressive enough". The final score -- 3-6, 9-7, 6-4, 7-5.