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Reaching for the Davis Cup
Kim Chapin
November 18, 1968
By beating India this week, the U.S. has qualified to play Australia, which may use youngsters John Alexander (above) and Phillip Dent
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November 18, 1968

Reaching For The Davis Cup

By beating India this week, the U.S. has qualified to play Australia, which may use youngsters John Alexander (above) and Phillip Dent

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Likewise, the doubles team of Lutz and Stan Smith is finally set after a slight bit of hesitation on Dell's part earlier in the year. The two Southern California students this year won the National Intercollegiate, the National Clay Court, the U.S. amateur and the U.S. Open doubles titles and are challenged for world supremacy only by the professional pair of Newcombe and Roche. They easily defeated the India doubles team of Krishnan and Jaidip Mukerjea, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

That leaves the No. 2 singles slot—the fourth place on the squad—available to either Graebner or Pasarell. Earlier in the year there was little doubt that Graebner was the superior player. In fact, at Wimbledon, where Graebner—like Ashe—was a semifinalist, a few people thought Graebner was better even than Ashe. But Graebner depends entirely too much on his first service. If it is working well, he is almost unbeatable, but if he has to temper it in the least, nearly anybody's return of service can give him trouble. He lost a key first-day match to Manuel Santana in the tie with Spain and was completely befuddled by the junk-balling tactics of Krishnan last week, losing decisively.

Pasarell was superb early in the year but has fallen off considerably in the past two months. Dell will probably choose Graebner, but could be wrong whichever way he ultimately decides to go. That problem is still a month off. Meanwhile the U.S. team will tour—in England for two tournaments, in France for a week-long series of exhibitions, in Chicago for a two-day benefit, in California for another tournament and in Australia for the New South Wales Championships in Sydney—before finally showing up in Adelaide on Dec. 16 for its final days of preparation before the Challenge Round.

In recent years the regular monotony of Australian victory in the Challenge Round has bored the Australian public and caused a severe drop in ticket sales. But not this year. "A challenge round against the U.S. never fails to attract interest," Hopman said. "This time, because we will be the underdogs, it will have much more interest than usual. Somebody is going to have a whopping New Year's Eve party about three days early."

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