It was a farewell to remember at Forest Hills yesterday as Guillermo Vilas beat Jimmy Connors in four thrilling set for the men’s singles title at the United States Open tennis championship. Vilas extended his amazing summer winning streak to 29 matches and 46 on clay or hard surfaces. He also appeared to assure himself of being named the world’s number one player.
The match had all the dramatic ingredients of a heavyweight title fight, even a bomb scare earlier in the day and a protest demonstration against South Africa.
Vilas did it the hard way, dethroning a determined defending champion who felt that he owned a piece of the concrete horseshoe, and continually coming back just when it seemed as if he might be counted out. But this was a tougher, more disciplined player than the cerebral artist who was knocked out in straight sets by Connors in the semifinals here last year. “His biggest improvement was his mental attitude.”
The final mob scene at center court with Vilas riding on the shoulders of his joyous supporters. A controversial late tentative call on the last point had Connors and the cebrating infuriated Connors. He skipped the ceremony and news conference.