Tennis, and Arthur Ashe of the United States, who was Wimbledon champion and world number one in 1975, finished a disappointing 1976 with a defeat in Australia.
Tennis, and Arthur Ashe of the United States, who was Wimbledon champion and world number one in 1975, finished a disappointing 1976 with a defeat in Australia. Ashe, who says he has been off form since a finger injury earlier this year, was overwhelmed by powerful Australian John Alexander in the Telecom Challenge Match in Melbourne.
SYNOPSIS: Alexander to serve in the final set, but with two sets all it was no walkover victory for the 25-year-old Australian. Ashe, who at 32 was at a disadvantage in terms of staying power, still managed to show some of his old class.
Ashe again made his opponent pay with an unanswerable return to this short second service.
And although it was the black American who crashed 6-1 by the end of the set, Alexander was literally brought to his knees as he tried to salvage this service point.
Alexander to serve again, and this time there was no hope for Ashe. Alexander's strong finish in the three-hour contest clinched the GBP 25,000 (40,000 Australian dollars) challenge match for Australia.
Alexander serving for the match. His victory - 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 - gave Australia an invincible 3-0 lead in the match against the visitors at the Kooyong courts. Ken Rosewall later made it a 4-0 whitewash result with a straight sets win over Guillermo Vilas of the Argentine.