Orantes was such a fun player to watch with the mixture of spins and pace, crazy angles, dropshots and lobs he had at his disposal. A true magician with a tennis ball.
His 1975 US Open title victory was truly well deserved. In his semi-final, Vilas was leading 6-4 6-1 2-6 5-0 and was love 40 up on Orantes's serve. He had those 3 match points on Orantes's serve, and then 2 more match points on his own serve in the next game. Many fans left the stadium early to beat the traffic, and missed Orantes's epic fightback to win 4-6 1-6 6-2 7-5 6-4. That match lasted until 2 am, and the next day he came back to destroy Connors in the final, using his variety and touch to toy with Jimbo and send him scurrying all over the court.
He is surely the best clay court player of the open era by far, never to have won the RG title. Of course he was leading an 18 year old Borg by 2 sets to love in the 1974 RG final, before Borg (who was always formidable in 5 set matches) made a strong recovery to win those last 3 sets very easily.
He won 30 official titles on clay, putting him in joint 4th place on the open era list alongside Borg and behind only Vilas, Muster and Nadal. He won big red clay titles at Monte-Carlo, Rome, Hamburg (twice) and Barcelona (3 times) during his career, together with the 1975 US Open title, Indianapolis (3 times) and Boston (twice) on green clay.
Away from clay he won the Canadian Open on hard courts in 1975 and the Masters on carpet in 1976.
Last edited by Gizo : 11-29-2012 at 05:19 PM.