Only player to defeat mcenroe and conners in same major?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ttwarrior1, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    i know the answer . I figure most here do. Its only happened once. I'll let someone guess first.

    Just read his bio and i was impressed
     
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  2. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    must have been ivan lendl at the 1985 US Open :)
     
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  3. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    not lendl,
     
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  4. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    hmm confused with this then

    In 1985, Curren reached the final at Wimbledon with the help of coaching from Tony Roche. After defeating future champion Stefan Edberg in the fourth round in straight sets, 7–6, 6–3, 7-6, he comprehensively eliminated the then-World No. 1 John McEnroe in the quarter-finals 6–2, 6–2, 6-4 and World No. 3 Jimmy Connors in the semi-finals 6–2, 6–2, 6–1. In fact, Curren is the only player to have beaten both legends in the same Grand Slam event.


    I just checked and lendl did beat both at 85 us open
     
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  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    that article probably was written before lendl managed to repeat the same feat (to beat both connors and mcenroe) at another grand slam tournament :)
     
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  6. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lendl beat both McEnroe and Connors at the 1985 and 1987 US Opens.
     
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's Curren's wikipedia page. I've gone in and corrected it now.
     
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  8. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    still impressed by curren, underrated and could probaly hang with some guys today
     
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  9. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    I remember that year well; Curren was phenomenal that year; if only he had not run into a certain 17 year-old "wunderkind" by the name of Boris Becker :)
     
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  10. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Wiki was made in 1985? lol
     
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  11. CStennis11

    CStennis11 New User

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    He means the article used as a reference for the wiki page
     
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  12. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    correct....it was just shocking the way Curren did it in 1985...he was no Ivan Lendl and few thought he could dismantle both Mac & Connors the way he did. It was pretty incredible. Lendl '87 was quite impressive, I thought....John and Jimmy were playing pretty well, even though Connors was 35yrs old. Lendl was just dominant that year.
     
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  13. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    I really thought Connors was going to win Wimbledon in 1985 after Lendl and Mcenroe were knocked out. Curren had beaten him in 83, but it was on court 2, then known as the upset court.
    Plus, that was 4 close sets. But Curren just destroyed him.

    Beating Mcenroe and Connors in straight sets, I said Curren has to win the title. Wrong again.
     
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  14. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I believe Curren is the only player to have beaten both McEnroe and Connors in the same slam event and not gone on to win the title.
     
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  15. billsgwn

    billsgwn Banned

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    Can you imagine how many aces he would get if he could play with todays racquets? His serve was awesome for several years
     
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  16. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Curren was playing ridiculously well that tournament. I still don't know how he lost that final.
     
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  17. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    He was just tight. He didn't play that poorly, but he was nervous from the first game on....Boris has even said he could see that immediately. Boris has said that he was essentialy thinking: "why is he nervous? He's a veteran and been in many big matches?".....it was a tribute to Boris' own precocious ignorance that he wasn't nervous....of course, he had little to lose....Curren knew well that this was his big chance.

    Anyways, Curren's serve was quantifiably worse according to Vic Braden in the final, and Curren himself has said that his serve dependent on the finest timing.

    One thing that always stands out about the Becker's, Sampras' etc....is that in their first big slam final, they came out firing with their A game. Very unusual, and very special.
     
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  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The main reason is that Becker got off to a strong start, whereas Curren looked nervous and edgy at the start. I think people expected it to be the other way round when you consider that the final had an inexperienced 17 year old, who had to fight hard in a lot of his matches to get to the final, taking on an older, more experienced, in-form player who had just beaten both McEnroe and Connors in straight sets. Becker's strong start and Curren's poor start, set the tone for the match.

    Although Curren came back strong in the middle of the match, and was even looking the more likely winner for a brief time in the third set, Becker was bold when it mattered and played like an experienced guy. Those delaying tactics of Becker's when Curren was about to serve was the sort of bold gamesmanship that one wouldn't expect of an inexperienced 17 year old in a slam final.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1979 Masters 2 players beat Mac and Jimmy during the same week: Borg and Gerulaitis.Borg repeated in 1980.
     
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  20. Ludwig von Mises

    Ludwig von Mises Banned

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    You know the funny thing is that no body mentioned that not only did Curren defeat McEnroe and Conners in the 1985 Wimby, he also defeated a young Edberg in previous round before he faced Mcenroe!

    Think of that, Curren faced, in succession:
    Edberg, Mcenroe, Connors,Becker in 85. That's a cumulative 10 Wimbledon titles between the 4 of them (although at the time, in '85, it was only 5 as Stefan and Boris had not won one yet). What a tough draw!
     
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  21. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I was at that Curren-JMac match. I recall having to suffer through some boring Women's QF because JMac was the second match on (I think it may have been Shriver playing with her awful slice only backhand. Who can forget witnessing that thing at such close range).

    Do you know who played on the same court later that day (Center Court). Leconte v. Becker. Leconte was the favorite. Suffice to say, he lost. No one really saw Becker going all the way. Curren should be a W champ but instead he's a trivia question.

    Anyone else remember Curren used to hit a two handed forehand sometimes ?
     
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  22. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yup, Curren's groundies were quite unusual!
    But, his serve was his big money maker....deadly stuff..
    I agree w/you, it really was Curren's match to lose....
     
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  23. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    Does curren still play
     
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  24. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    His body language was always so negative, he makes Murray look happy.
     
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  25. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

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    I do recall watching both Curren's matches (McEnroe/Connors) and he served unbelievably well, esp against Connors. But Connors (who I think was favourite to win the tournament once Mac was ousted) seemed so flat.

    Then come the final, Curren's bullet serve deserted him and Becker deservedly became champion.

    I always did think, mind you, that if you took away Curren's serve, he'd have not much left to offer. Pretty ordinary game, bar the serve.
     
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  26. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yes, Curren was not very scary w/out that serve. Past 30yrs old, Connors seemed to have more of those "flat" matches...particularly if you look at his GS semis from 85 and 87. Some terrific play leading up to that point, then not much to show in the big semi-match. As if all the air went out of the balloon. Got to attribute that to the aging process, I suppose.
     
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  27. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

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    Yes... in 1985 and '87 (leaving aside 86, which was a disaster for him), Connors reached five GS semis and one QF. In each case he lost in straights, sometimes pretty badly. Still, pretty consistent GS form for a 30-something.
     
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  28. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    The combination of fast courts and guys like Curren with big serves is a major reason why there were far more upsets in those days than now. Also, having 16 seeds instead of 32. It's possible that the top guys don't go out and party as much, too.
     
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  29. Tilden1893

    Tilden1893 New User

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    I remember Curren saying they should drop an A-Bomb on the US Open crowds one time!
     
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  30. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Curren also appeared to have a big case of the nerves in the final, as if the enormity of the event overwhelmed him. Becker wasn't awed in the least.
     
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  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I thought Becker's win over Anders Jarryd in the semifinal was better quality tennis. Although the 4 set score was somewhat routine, they were both playing confidently. I think Jarryd truly believed he was the better player and didn't expect Becker to maintain that level of play throughout the match.
     
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  32. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    In his match against Connors, Curren hit an unheard-of number of aces and service winners, I think above 70 or something like that. Particularly impressive against a returner like Connors. Shortest toss I've ever seen, hitting the ball on the rise. The ball seem to leave the racquet as soon as it left his had. There was no way to read that serve.

    However, it was not just his serve. He broke Connor's serve about 7 times in 3 sets.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
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  33. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    It was exactly as you said. He had so much to lose because he was supposed to win and he was very tight. The finals of Wimbledon can do that.
     
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  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Some articles about Curren's defeat of Connors in '85, with service stats:

    UPI:

    Dallas Morning News:

    Washington Post:

    Toledo Blade:

     
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  35. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Looks like the huge number of aces and service winners was in the 83 match.

    From LA Times, August 3, 1987

    http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-03/sports/sp-365_1_pat-cash
     
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  36. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Who knows how that match would have turned out had there not been the rain delay. Jarryd did not play at the same level the next day when the match resumed. He also had two set points in the second set to go up two sets to love before the rain delay but couldn't convert. So day two started with them even at a set a piece and 1-1 in the third. I'm not sure how confident Jarryd was as it was the first time he'd made it past the first round of Wimbledon, and he was surly aware of what Becker had been pulling out against all his previous opponents (winning a 5-setter against Mayotte, winning 9-7 in the 5th against Nystrom who served for the match, etc.).
     
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  37. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's the match, yes. I was wondering whether or not the 70 service winners included the 33 aces. The LA Times writer seems to interpret the stat as 70 service winners on top of 33 aces, but some other articles from '83 don't seem to interpret it that way. And I don't think it's likely, mathematically, for the 70 service winners to be separate from the 33 aces.

    Shout-out to SLICE SERVE ACE if he's reading this post, since I'm using his stats here.

    Curren served in 22 games against Connors, plus two tiebreaks. I would roughly estimate that he served around 130-150 points. But if 103 of his serves did not come back (33 aces + 70 additional service winners), that's about 75% of his serves that were unreturned.

    But even Sampras in his best performances had rates just above 50%, with McEnroe and Becker right around 50%, according to stats we compiled with Slice Serve Ace. Zivojinovic, in a match from '87, was at 49%.

    So for Curren to have as many as 75% of his serves go unreturned, seems unlikely to say the least.

    But if the total number of unreturned serves was 70 (including 33 aces), then that's about 50% of his serves that went unreturned. Exactly in the range for the best servers of all time.
     
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  38. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    NBC had Jarryd with 30 winners, 5 unforced errors after 2 sets
     
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  39. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I don't know. I saw the 83 match (I am not sure if I also saw the one in 85). What I remember is being completely amazed by what Curren was doing with his serve, thinking I've never seen anything like this, Connors unable to return hardly anything. I am not much of a fan of big serve matches, but I hadn't seen much of Curren before and was fascinated by his serve motion. It was really an amazing performance, but you are right, it may have looked that way even if it was "only" 50% of serves unreturned. It also might depend on what was counted as a "service winner" because it is not a very well defined notion.
     
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  40. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^I have a partial recording of the '83 match(about 90 min from hbo's coverage) & I think its very unlikely(to say the least) that Curren had 33 aces(hbo said he finished with 30) & 70 unreturnables in that match. I saw maybe 10 service games from Curren & Connors was actually returning pretty well, lots of break points in those games, it was very close to going 5, seemed like a very high quality match, wish I could see the entirety some day. Can't believe this was put on Court 2, Connors was defending champion.

    50% 'free points' on serve seems like a lot to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
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  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    For the '83 match.

    Sports Illustrated:

    New York Times:

    Per UPI Curren won by:

    Montreal Gazette:

     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
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  42. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The problem is definitely with the term "service winner." I've seen instances from this period where the term included aces and others where the aces were excluded.

    Curren's unreturned rate in the '85 match was reported to be just a little higher than 50%, according to one of the '85 articles I excerpted above.

    The quote was: "Of all the times Curren served (65), Connors was able to get the ball in play fewer than half (30)." That's an unreturned rate of 54%, though it might be lower if the author did not subtract Curren's double-faults (presuming there were any) from his total number of serves.

    Anyway, that's a rate of around 50%, in a blowout. The '83 match was much closer and Curren was pushed in at least some service games (the Times mentions a 6-deuce game near the end). So I wouldn't expect Curren's unreturned rate to be higher in '83 than in '85.

    Of course all that is based on my estimate of how many times Curren served. That in turn is based on the data that Moose and I have compiled over the last four years. We've got over 200 matches in the database, and the median average length of a tennis game in these matches is 6.4. It's very common for a tennis match to have games about that long. Even a set of 87 matches that I have from before the Open Era (data taken from boxscores) comes out with a median average of 6.4

    So none of this is 100% certain since it's based on estimates. But that's my numbers.
     
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  43. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    That's one problem with "service winner". Another one is that the line that separates a service winner from a missed return (forced or unforced) may change a lot depending on who is doing the counting. If a missed return is deemed forced, is that always a service winner? Or is it only when the returner barely gets his racquet on the ball, and the ball does not even reach the net? Or could you count every missed return as a service winner?

    I am starting to think I may have watched both matches and have the memories of them mixed up in my mind. But the overall impression that has remained is being so much in awe of Curren's serve.
     
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  44. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    my stats for the '85 Curren-Connors SF

    Curren served at 65%(43 of 66)
    won 38 of 43 pts on 1st serve(88%)
    won 12 of 23 on 2nd(52%)

    had 17 aces, 21 unreturned serves(6 I judged service winners) 4 df's

    had 21 non service winners: 2 fh, 7 bh, 2 fhv, 5 bhv, 5 ov

    2 fh passing shot winners, 5 bh

    was 6 of 12 on bp's(Connors made 1st serves on 8 of them)

    NBC had him with 18 aces, 13 service winners

    Connors served at 61% (49 of 80)
    won 23 of 49 pts on 1st serve(47%)
    won 16 of 31 on 2nd(52%)

    had 2 aces, 1 df, 18 unreturned serves

    14 non service winners: 1 fh, 5 bh, 2 fhv, 4 bhv, 2 ov
    1 passing shot fh, 4 bh

    0-1 on bp's

    at 3-1 in 2nd, NBC had Connors with 18 ue's, Curren 10
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
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  45. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Correct....
     
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  46. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Curren does all that, beating current and future legends, only to lose to an upstart Becker. That had to be frustrating. Could a similar player as Curren make a run today on the "new" grass?
     
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  47. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Tsonga was pretty much playing first strike tennis at W this year. Not S&V, but a ton of serve & going for the winner on the next shot. ball was hardly in play in the Fed match, very similar to a W match circa '85.

    Curren was seeded 12 in '83 W & 8 in '85 W, he wasn't that unheralded a player. #12 seeds making a run in a major isn't that uncommon.

    But I agree about the 32 seed thing, I don't think fans realize how dramatic a change that was. Just looking at older draws seems like there were a lot of ridiculously hard 1st or 2nd round matches compared to today(Mac vs #20 Annacone 1st round of '86 USO for example)

    draws could open up a lot more back then with only 16 seeds, & you could have some pretty big surprises in the 2nd week.

    I wonder if some past majors would have had the same results with 32 seed system (Becker just missed being seeded in '85)
     
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  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    So Curren served 66 points, and he had 38 serves that Connors was unable to touch or return. That's an unreturned rate of 58%, the highest I can recall.

    And it looks like Curren's service games were quick -- an average of 5.5 points per game. He faced break point only once so that makes sense.

    His service games in '83 appear to have been somewhat longer, so again you'd expect his unreturned rate to be somewhat lower than it was in '85.
     
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  49. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Yet still won it by knocking off #7 seed Nystrom, #16 seed Mayotte and (strangely) unseeded Leconte before meeting #6 seed Jarryd in the semi-finals. Presumably, had Becker been seeded he would have had an easier draw, at least theoretically.
     
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  50. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    A report in The Sun:

    "Curren has lost his serve only four times in the tournament and not at all on his last 44 service games. Against Connors, he was successful on 43 of 66 first serves. Connors put only 10 of Curren’s first serves in play, winning only five points in the process."

    That appears to mean that he served at 65%, and that he won 38 of 43 points on first serve – with 33 unreturned first serves (including aces).
     
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