Wimbledon going well; Connors and Evert Lloyd just gone in major upsets

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Several new reputations had been made and one enormously enhanced as this much happier Wimbledon tournament entered its second and final week of tennis. On the women's side, Chris Evert Lloyd was stunned 6-1, 7-6 by unseeded Kathy Jordan. But even in defeat, Evert Lloyd showed her championship qualities by the manner in which she behaved when her dream of a Grand Slam -- a Wimbledon title to add to her United States, Australian, and French Open championships -- was shattered.

No excuses were made, and no word was said before, during, or after the match that might detract from the performance of her conqueror, though it was later learned that the three-time champion had not felt herself the night before and had slept hardly at all.

''I met her on a good day, when I was a little bit off,'' was all Chris said after the upset loss that broke her incredible string of having reached at least the semifinals of all 34 Grand Slam tournaments in which she had played since 1971.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Indeed Jordan had played splendidly, better perhaps than Wimbledon had ever seen her play before. But it was a victory also for Evert Lloyd. And for the game of tennis itself.

The women's draw also produced an enchanting new star in Carling Bassett, a precocious 15-year-old from Canada who delighted the crowds with her spirited tennis and the press with her personality and composure.Carling fought back from an 0-2 deficit in each set in her third-round match against Hungarian Andrea Temesvari and battled through six match points before she won 6-3, 7-6.

Meanwhile two grande damesm, if one may be forgiven the term, Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade, also made it through to the second week. Billie Jean reached the brink in a second round match before pulling out a 6-7, 6-2, 8-6 decision over Beth Herr, then walloped her friend and frequent doubles partner, Rosie Casals. Virginia came from behind to defeat Maryland's Andrea Leand 3-6, 7-6, 6 -2.

In the background defending champion Martina Navratilova, of course, continued on her way toward the final - powerful, dominant, intelligent, and imperturbable. If any other woman raises her game enough to trouble Navratilova it will be as much of a surprise as Evert Lloyd's loss.

Her path to the title is all the clearer, too, because fourth-seeded Tracy Austin was forced to withdraw and fifth-seeded Pam Shriver lost to Iva Budarova, leaving No. 3 Andrea Jaeger as her chief challenger.

The greatest crowd-puller among the men in the early rounds was ''The Duke of Nigeria,'' Nduka Odizor, a courteous, dignified, powerful, and graceful player who sprang on the tennis public one of the biggest surprises in years when he soundly defeated Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in the first round, and then disposed of Peter Fleming.

The ''Duke'' was discovered in Lagos, a ballboy who could play excellent tennis with a slab of wood, and taken to Houston at age 15. He became a college player of repute, but came here as a complete unknown so far as the British were concerned. He charmed the crowds with both his play and his manner, though, until he was eventually beaten 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 by Chris Lewis in a fourth round match.

The young Swede Mats Wilander went out to a top-form Roscoe Tanner, many of whose serves came off the fast grass surface at quite unplayable speed. But Mats had earlier provided the crowd with a wonderful few hours in his match with Australian John Fitzgerald. Afterward Fitzgerald said he would like to see Wilander the world's No. 1: ''It would be good to have a nice guy back at the top.''

Australian Pat Cash is another young man who has impressed, as has American Tim Mayotte. The latter is nearer the very top than many people realize. He has previously reached first the quarterfinals and then the semis. One day soon he could go all the way.

Mayotte's match with Mark Dickson was marred by some bad line calls, but neither man allowed himself to be disturbed.Tim considered giving away a point after two calls seemed to have favored him unfairly, but, as he explained later, decided against it. ''When you start overruling wrong calls,'' he remarked, ''the match turns into chaos. Nobody knows who is in charge.''

The big upset among the men, of course, was Kevin Curren's fourth-round shocker over defending champion Jimmy Connors Monday. The 12th seeded South African overwhelmed the top-seeded titleholder with a 33-ace assault for a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 triumph.

Ivan Lendl, meanwhile, has rapidly dispolsed of the theory that he can't play on grass.He crushed Bernie Mitton 7-6, 6-1, 6-0. then beat Pat Cash en route to a probable clash with 1981 champion John McEnroe.

McEnroe, whom some Britons now call McEnrow, defeated fellow American Bill Scanlon, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 in the fourth round.

John has been trying to play the nice guy on the courts, but with such little success that he was fined $500 over the weekend for swearing at a woman spectator. In an earlier match he had abused the ball, a line judge, and an umpire, and twice called for the referee and a supvervisor over quite trivial points.

His odd behavior stands out all the more because of the very fact that this has been so far a delightful Wimbledon - good players giving their best on superb grass in warm and often sunny weather to record crowds.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...