1977 USO—Borg’s Best Chance to Win?

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
The 1977 USO was the last to be played on har-tru clay at Forst Hills.

Borg retired in the fourth round against Dick Stockton because of a shoulder injury.
(If Borg had defeated Stockton, he would have played Harold Solomon in the quarters. Borg was 16-0 against Solomon. Borg then would have met Vilas in the semis.)

In the final, Vilas defeated Connors in four sets: 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-0.
(Borg was much stronger than Vilas, particularly on clay. Their H2H was 18-5 in favor of Borg. Borg owned Vilas 1976-1979, beating him nine straight times.)

(Connors had beaten Borg at Forest Hills in the USO final the year before, but Connors had also easily beaten Vilas in the USO semis in straight sets in 1976.)


Connors seemed much more vulnerable in 1977.

If an uninjured Borg could have gotten to the final, would this have been Borg’s best chance to win the US Open?
 
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Xavier G

Hall of Fame
An uninjured and 100% Borg, very possibly in '77.
Bjorn played on grass, har tru and hard courts at the US Open and the clay court years at the US Open came a little early for Bjorn who was up against a prime Connors who was beating him.
If they'd been playing on clay 1978-81, I'm pretty sure Borg would have won a US Open or two.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Vilas was on fire at the time of the 1977 US Open, winning tournament after tournament.

Borg's best chance of winning the US Open was in 1976. He had 4 set points in the third set of the final against Connors to get a 2-1 sets lead, and failed. Connors won in 4 sets. Borg did say in one interview that it was the most angry he had been after a loss. Another great chance was in 1980, having fought back to 2-2 in sets against McEnroe, but then losing the fifth set.
 
D

Deleted member 512391

Guest
Borg would've won it, imo. I don't think he would have much problem with Vilas, he was never really troubled by him, even though Guillermo was competitive in their matches, but Borg simply did everything better. It wouldn't have been any different in 1977.

Regarding Connors, Borg started to dominate him on har-tru after 1976 (beating him in all those Pepsi Grand Slam finals) and was in better form in 1977, so I agree it was Bjorn's best chance. It's a pity he got injured.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Vilas had better success against Borg when he mixed up his tactics, serve and volleying etc. Getting involved in a baseline war with Borg might have been epic viewing and great for competitive rallies, but Borg usually had a one-sided scoreline in his favour by the end of the match.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
If an uninjured Borg could have gotten to the final, would this have been Borg’s best chance to win the US Open?
In comparison to 1976, '78, '80 and '81?

I'd say he had good to great chances all those years (in fact through the entirety '75-81)... '77 doesn't particularly stand out in this context

'78 he'd superceded Connors in most people's eyes as top dog, though hard court was less favourable than green clay... no guarantee even healthy he could have won that, but it was an unfortunate way for a potential Clash of the Titans affair to go down

1980... firm Top Dog Borg enters tournament with slightly declined Connors and relatively inexperienced McEnroe on other side of the draw. Starts tournament clear favourite

In final, loses in 5th after having won last 10+ such matches. And Mac had had his hands full in a brutal 5 set semi plus doubles duty

1981 co-favourite with Mac going in. He's due a win against the megabrat

Strong favourite start of '79 too. At least co-favourite in '76 and one of the favourites the year before too

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Also think assuming he'd pass Vilas in potential '77 semi is problematic... it's a 50-50 match, maybe with a slight edge to Borg

(Borg was much stronger than Vilas, particularly on clay. Their H2H was 18-5 in favor of Borg. Borg owned Vilas 1976-1979, beating him nine straight times.)

(Connors had beaten Borg at Forest Hills in the USO final the year before, but Connors had also easily beaten Vilas in the USO semis in straight sets in 1976.)
Of course he's the better player, but Vilas was on the crest of his form (for the year and the tournament) and ravaged his way to the final without losing a set

He reversed his loss to Connors from the previous year largely through net play... is that right? Perhaps he could do the same to Borg if the baseline tug of war went the usual way?

(Connors had beaten Borg at Forest Hills in the USO final the year before, but Connors had also easily beaten Vilas in the USO semis in straight sets in 1976.)

Connors seemed much more vulnerable in 1977
Connors, like Vilas, also juggernauted his way to the '77 final

He'd beaten Borg at the event 2 previous years

Owned him h2h at that point, including on green clay

Another virtual 50-50 match... maybe with a slight edge for Connors this time

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Summing up, to win in 1977, Borg would have had to go through two red hot, top level players.... which he was quite capable of

But I wouldn't say it was a better chance than all the other great ones he had

Such fine margins at the top. I can realistically imagine a scenario where Borg had 4-5 USO titles and just the 1976 Wimby.

Instead he has 0 USO and 5 Wimbledons

His Frenches by contrast seemed to have been divinely ordained

Vilas.... Getting involved in a baseline war with Borg might have been epic viewing...
If by "epic viewing" you mean a cure for insomnia, I agree
 

Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
Throw in a few more what-ifs and you can theorize The Son of Sam winning the tournament that summer.

Incidentally, Stockton’s younger brother Bobby used to play in the juniors program at a club not too far from Forst[sic] Hills and kids used to argue about who was a better tennis player Orantes or his brother. o_O Stockton actually was 2-0 head to head and beat Orantes in straights at The French in ‘78.
 
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KG1965

Legend
Such fine margins at the top. I can realistically imagine a scenario where Borg had 4-5 USO titles and just the 1976 Wimby.

Instead he has 0 USO and 5 Wimbledons
I agree with the post, especially this last point.
Bjorn had a bad luck in NY and was kissed by an incredible lucky to W.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
"Great" rallies can be snoozefests sometimes....'82 FO final of Vilas vs. Wilander....cure for insomnia
 
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