1ST SEED MCENROE MEETS HIS MATCH AS SCANLON OUSTS HIM FROM OPEN
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Tuesday, September 6, 1983
Steve Goldstein, Inquirer Staff Writer
No one in tennis has ever denied that Bill Scanlon had talent. All he lacked, they said, was motivation. Yesterday, Scanlon had both.
Scanlon , 26, of Dallas, took top-seeded John McEnroe out of the U.S. Open, a tournament that McEnroe , who was born and raised in nearby Douglaston, Queens, has come to regard as his own. Not since the New Yorker lost in the fourth round to Manuel Orantes on synthetic clay at Forest Hills in 1977 had he failed to reach the semifinals. He has won the Open three times.
The 16th-seeded Scanlon won, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-3, in 3 hours, 44 minutes of controlled bedlam. Adding fuel to the fire on the stadium court was the fact that the combatants have had a longstanding feud, and they made their feelings evident in a series of glares and stares. On one point, McEnroe whacked a ball at Scanlon, who wagged a finger in return.
And when his last backhand service return landed behind McEnroe for a winner, Scanlon triumphantly raised both fists in the air.
"If you are going to have a big win, what more could it be than to beat the No. 1 player in New York City at the U.S. Open?" Scanlon said. "The crowd was unbelievable, and just the whole setting made it awfully satisfying."
The crowd was for Scanlon from the outset, taunting McEnroe when he complained about line calls and making even more noise after McEnroe asked umpire Ken Slye to request quiet during the final set. During the second set, two noise-makers were ejected by security guards.
"Being brought up 15 minutes from here and getting . . . on every time I play here is a little discouraging," said McEnroe.
Asked whether he thought the crowd got the result it wanted, McEnroe , 24, snapped, "Absolutely."
Nevertheless, he refused to say the crowd was a factor. And, though he mentioned that he would have preferred not to play a second singles match in less than 24 hours - a situation dictated by television - McEnroe said that, too, was not the reason he lost.
"I'm not going to blame anybody - the scheduling committee, the umpires or anybody. I've got no one to blame but myself," McEnroe said. "I thought he played a good match. He put a lot of pressure on me."
McEnroe said he never was able to "get on track," adding, "I expected a tough match and I got it."
Scanlon now moves into the quarterfinals against Mark Dickson of Tampa, Fla., who ended the valiant run of Englishman John Lloyd, 6-7 (8-10), 7-6 (9-7), 6-0, 7-6 (7-3). The unseeded Dickson saved four set points in the second set that would have put him in an 0-2 hole.
Joining Dickson and Scanlon in the quarters was third-seeded Jimmy Connors, who romped to a 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 decision over Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland. Connors will play 14th-seeded Eliot Teltscher, who last night beat amateur collegian Greg Holmes 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
The women completed their quarterfinal pairings last night as top-seeded Martina Navratilova easily defeated Pilar Vasquez of Peru, 6-0, 6-1. Navratilova, who needed only 43 minutes to complete her match, will next meet Sylvia Hanika.
Earlier yesterday, second-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd avenged her Wimbledon loss to 16th-seeded Kathy Jordan, beating the native of King of Prussia, Pa., 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), and advancing to meet Hana Mandlikova, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Zina Garrison. Jo Durie of England, the 14th seed, will meet the unseeded Ivanna Madruga-Osses of Argentina. And in perhaps the most interesting pairing, third-seeded Andrea Jaeger, who defeated Bonnie Gadusek, 6-2, 6-1, will play fifth-seeded Pam Shriver.
McEnroe's loss to Scanlon brought to mind Connors' unexpected departure from Wimbledon at the hands of Kevin Curren, also in the fourth round. Both matches injected excitement into tournament play but left gaping holes in the draw.
Scanlon simply played better on the important points. McEnroe has always been brilliant in tie-breakers, but Scanlon outplayed him in sudden death. The real turning point came in the fourth game of the last set, as Scanlon fell behind 0-40 on his serve, giving McEnroe three chances to move ahead to 3-1 and serving. Scanlon saved all three points and won the game.
What's more, he broke McEnroe 's serve in the ensuing game, in which McEnroe acknowledged that he got "careless." Scanlon turned a potential 1-4 deficit into a 3-2 advantage, and that, essentially, clinched the match. Few players can beat McEnroe in a fifth set.
Big points. That's how Scanlon lost a five-setter to McEnroe in Dallas 18 months ago when he squandered four match points. And that's how Scanlon lost to McEnroe at Wimbledon by 7-5, 7-6, 7-6.
"I especially realized it at Wimbledon because I really think that match came down to five or six points in the tie-breakers," Scanlon said of his strategy. "This time I played really well in the tie-breakers by remembering what you are supposed to do - making sure you step into the ball and get your momentum going. I stepped into his serve and put them where I wanted to. I didn't play reactive tennis and let him dictate."
Scanlon, curiously, beat a man he both admires and despises. He admires McEnroe for his pure tennis genius, his competitiveness and his willingness to do whatever it takes to win. But Scanlon also despises McEnroe, his friends say, because he sees something of himself in the New Yorker. He sees what might have been had he the same motivation, and the resemblance is painful.
Talent? Scanlon has talent galore. Earlier this year he recorded the first known "golden set" in big-time tennis, winning a set without losing a single point to Marcos Hocevar of Brazil at Delray Beach, Fla.
But the former NCAA singles champion, who played at Trinity University in Texas, has always had difficulty getting motivated. There were other things in his life, like music or friends, and "Scaz" never worked very hard on his tennis. For a time he battled a drinking problem.
This year, Scanlon has been working with Warren Jacques, the Australian coach who has also had great success with Curren and Steve Denton. Jacques has given Scanlon a program, a plan, a course of action. Scanlon no longer feels alone on court.
But he does not need anything special to get up for McEnroe.
"In the past, he was always No. 1 and someone who I'd get really determined and psyched up to play against," Scanlon said after the match. ''There's nothing physical that means we match up well against each other. I'm always very attentive and eager to play him."
The origin of the feud? McEnroe says that they were friends once, when they were growing up in junior tennis, but that Scanlon developed a chip on his shoulder. Scanlon says it developed through some close matches the two have had and some words they exchanged during those matches. "I think it has made for a little more determination on both our parts," said Scanlon.
The irony is that McEnroe , of all people, may have helped solve Scanlon's motivation crisis.
"He just seems to have a security problem," said the loser, "but he shouldn't, because he's such a good player. Maybe something like this will help him get over it."