Will Nadal emulate Santana and Orantes and win the US Open title?

Manuel Santana, Andres Gimeno, Manuel Orantes, Sergi Bruguera, Carlos Moya, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero: all of those spanish players won at least one Grand Slam tournament.
But without a doubt 8 times Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal tops them all. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, Olympics, Davis Cup, he won it all.
The only one trophy missing is the US Open, a major won by two fellow countrymen: Manuel Santana in 1965 and Manuel Orantes in 1975.

Manuel Santana, now director of Madrid Masters Series, was the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam title: in 1961 he defeated Nicola Pietrangeli in 5 sets to capture his first Roland Garros title. Three years later the two met again in final and Manolo needed only 4 sets to regain the trophy.

In 1965, in a game totally dominated by Americans and Australians, Santana became the first European to win the US title since Henri Cochet in 1928! He defeated South African Cliff Drysdale in final, one of the first players in the game to use the two-handed backhand.

The ever charming Santana became a national hero in Spain one year later when he won Wimbledon against doubles specialist Dennis Ralston.

Manuel Santana - Wimbledon 1966

– the US Open was originally played on grass until Forest Hills switched to Har-Tru clay courts in 1975 for three years
– Santana once said: “The grass is just for cows” but nonetheless managed to win Wimbledon and the US Open on grass
– Cliff Drysdale is a co-founder and the first president of the ATP
– Drysdale serves now as tennis commentator on ESPN

Ten years after Santana’s triumph in Flushing, Orantes defeated Connors quite easily 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Connors, the number one seed and defending champion was the clear favorite: Orantes had battled through five exhausting sets against Vilas the night before and had to call a plumber at 2am when he came back to his hotel, to fix a bathtub. Not the best way to prepare yourself for a Grand Slam final.

I watched the game recently and it’s quite boring: Orantes didn’t give his opponent any pace and Connors made errors after errors after errors.

Jimmy Connors - US Open 1975 Manuel Orantes - US Open 1975

Jimbo’s girlfriend, Chris Evert:

Chris Evert - US Open 1975Chris Evert - US Open 1975

Orantes’ big grin:

Manuel Orantes - US Open 1975

Connors’ path to the final was relatively easy: he beat Geoff Masters, Roger Taylor, Georges Goven, Andrew Pattison and Bjorn Borg in straight sets. He lost only one set to fellow American Harold Solomon in semies.

Orantes’ path was much more theatrical as he completed one of the most memorable comeback in tennis history in semies against Guillermo Vilas.
The Argentinian won the first two sets easily, Orantes made a bit of a comeback winning the third set. But he completely collapsed in the fourth set, and had to face 3 match points at 0-5 in the fourth. His back against the wall, he saved 5 match points, won 7 games in a row and evened the match at 2 sets apiece.
Orantes broke at 4-4 in the final set and held serve to win 4-6 1-6 6-2 7-5 6-4.

After such a dramatic match, Orantes victory against Connors the next day was an easy ride.

Manuel Orantes - US Open 1975Manuel Orantes - US Open 1975

– the last Spaniard to reach the US Open final was Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003
– Nadal reached the semies twice, in 2008 and 2009
– like Orantes, Nadal plays lefty
– left handed players won 11 consecutive titles from 1974 to 1984. Since then righties are 25-0.

Will Rafael Nadal win the 2010 US Open?

  • Yes (100%, 3 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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6 Responses
  1. ludmilla says:

    Rafa did manage to win the title and complete the career grand Slam, congrats to Rafa! http://tennis-buzz.com/rafa-captures-first-us-open-title-completes-career-grand-slam/

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