After most of Philadelphia's seeds had been eliminated, who should emerge into one semifinal but the enigmatic Jeff Borowiak, who followed his victories over Tom Okker, Vitas Gerulaitis, Solomon and Vijay Amritraj by greeting the press in various hooded garb and by staring at the wall for minutes on end.
Borowiak, who has been known to play the flute and quote from flower children, did not disappoint anybody who enjoys smoking his racket strings now and then. He attributed his fine run to "zoning in" on tennis. He said he got his last haircut in "1472, April, but what does it matter?" He said he didn't know "when meditation begins or ends." He was asked whom he would prefer to meet in the final and he answered " Nancy Richey."
Stockton dezoned Borowiak 6-3, 6-4, 7-6, after which Stockton rifled a ball into the stands toward his wife and speculated on his final with Connors. "I haven't beaten Jimmy since before the war," he said.
Whichever war Stockton meant, he seemed to be waging a battle against anonymity for several days. It took the muscular blond four match points to escape a second-round tie break with John Alexander, but then he blitzed his way through Brian Gottfried, Ken Rosewall and Borowiak without the loss of a set. Nevertheless, his victories were accompanied by thunderous yawning. "I don't see my name in the papers much," Stockton said. "Maybe nobody knows me."
Was Connors taking him too lightly or was he dreaming of his own imminent immortality, courtesy of Tony Roche? Whatever, after taking a 2-1 lead in sets, Jimbo fell behind 3-1 in the fourth, looking bored with it all. Suddenly he came to 0-40 against Stockton's serve with three chances to break back, tie the match and then, of course, run it out. Inexplicably, he blew the next three points—one with a terrible lob only you and I hit on bad days—and lost the game.
That was enough for Stockton. If Connors didn't want it, he would take it. Instantly Stockton resumed serving one-bouncers into the seats, volleying to the corners and actually dominating the indomitable James Scott Connors.
After Stockton won the fourth set, he broke Connors in the first and third games of the fifth as the errors came in bunches for Jimbo. Soon the shocking outcome was inevitable, and Stockton—whose angular features and blank stare have earned him the underground nickname of "Equus"—was obliged to announce the obvious.
"I'm not used to this position," he said, accepting the tournament trophy. "But I've never played better for five days in my life."
One day was all Dick Stockton needed to demonstrate that in tennis the horse can sometimes ride the man.