But it also was then, at almost the last possible moment, that the Americans broke Bengston's service. Though the Swedes pushed to four heart-stopping set points, Smith and Lutz took it 7-5. In the fifth set, the Americans, composed and unassailable, won going away, 6-3.
"The pros, under pressure, produced," said Trabert alliteratively.
Gerulaitis didn't pop a pill all Sunday afternoon. He did, however, douse Ashe with champagne as he came into the locker room after his match with Johansson. In champagne terms, there had been just one hiccup in that encounter, as far as U.S. hopes were concerned. In the first two sets, which Ashe won 6-2, 6-0, Johansson wilted against Ashe's play, which was aggressive and cerebral at the same time. In the second set, he broke Johansson's serve in the first game, and it stayed broken. In the third set, Ashe was up 3-1, and the afternoon seemed to hold little beyond what would now be an exhibition between Borg and Gerulaitis—and due celebration of the fact that after five years the U.S. again had made the Cup final and would host the British in December. But then, in the sixth game, the Ashe machine started to sputter. The crowd, whose chanting had been subdued, came back to life. From 2-3 down, Johansson was suddenly 4-3 up and Ashe was struggling. In the end though, it did prove to be a hiccup. The American came back and wrapped it up at 7-5.
So all that was left to come was Gerulaitis' moment on stage. There was something left for him personally, if not for his already victorious country. His record against Borg was 0-8 and, with Borg having given so much already and being, in all probability, a little down-spirited, this might have been his chance to make it 1-8. Remorselessly, Borg put him down 6-3, 6-1 in a shortened match 0-9.