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IT WAS A GRAVE ENDING FOR ARTHUR
E. M. Swift
February 05, 1979
Much to Ashe's disgust, the talk at the U.S. Pro Indoor in the Spectrum at Philadelphia was all about how he had risen from the ashes—but he had come back and oh so splendidly, until Jimmy Connors laid him to rest in the finals
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February 05, 1979

It Was A Grave Ending For Arthur

Much to Ashe's disgust, the talk at the U.S. Pro Indoor in the Spectrum at Philadelphia was all about how he had risen from the ashes—but he had come back and oh so splendidly, until Jimmy Connors laid him to rest in the finals

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"I thought the gods owed me this one," Ashe said afterward, thinking of the two match points he held against McEnroe two weeks ago before losing.

The other semifinal match pitted last year's finalists, Connors and Tanner, who both spent much of the match at the baseline. In sharp contrast to Ashe-Gerulaitis, there were no cat-and-mouse tactics here. "There's no one else on the circuit who will stand there and slug it out with you like Jimmy," Tanner said with no small measure of admiration. There is also no one who will beat you more surely at that particular game. Connors returned Tanner's serves with incredible force and regularity in coasting to a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win, setting up Sunday's finals.

And there, with more than 15,000 fans in his corner, Ashe looked like something he had not resembled all week—a 35-year-old tennis player. Asked again, yet again, what his reaction was to the stories being written about his returning from the dead, Ashe sat back, smiled and shrugged his shoulders resignedly. "Everyone keeps bringing it up, so I decided this morning I'm just going to go along with it. There's nothing else I can do."

Welcome back to the living then, Arthur. Do tennis another in a long series of favors and keep your foot out of the grave for a while.

As for Connors, who so seldom shows insight into another player's talents, he had this to say after Sunday's finals: "I played well today, but I had to, because of what Arthur did yesterday. It's always in the back of your mind that he'll do it again."

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