Rumania's Ilie Nastase took the Jean Becker Indoor Tennis Championship from Stan Smith, of the Unites States, in a five-set match of both brilliant and indifferent play from both men.
GV EXTERIOR Stadium
SCU Smith serving ZOOM OUT TO GV with Smith winning point
GV Smith serving but rally ends with Nastase hitting ball into net
GV Smith serving. Smith knocks ball into net and Nastase wins (4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2) ZOOM INTO players leaving court and being congratulated
Initials BB/1604 AS/AH/BB/1613
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Background: Rumania's Ilie Nastase took the Jean Becker Indoor Tennis Championship from Stan Smith, of the Unites States, in a five-set match of both brilliant and indifferent play from both men.
The Rumanian's victory in Paris on Sunday (November 4) increased his lead at the top of the tennis Grand Prix table. Nastase now has 573 points, almost 200 more than his nearest rival, Tom Okker of Holland.
Throughout the match, Smith seemed unable to master his first service, while Nastase was able to demonstrate his wide range of shots that make him possibly the world's greatest tennis player today.
Despite the sometimes indifferent play from both men, there were many lengthy rallies, with the initiative changing sides many times.
Smith seemed to be suffering from a lack of confidence in the final two sets. Only once, in the fifth set, did he fight back, converting a 0-2 deficit to a 2-2 tie. But he lost the chance to put himself in the lead. Holding two points for a 3-2 lead, he stopped playing when he thought Nastase's serve had clipped the net. The incident unnerved Smith, and he only took one point in the next three games.
The final score was 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 to Nastase. Nastase's victory came the day after he had decided, finally, to pay a 5,000 dollar (2,000 sterling) fine for playing at this year's Wimbledon tennis championships. Paying the fine saved Nastase from being suspended from the Association of Tennis Professionals, who had banned their members from playing at Wimbledon this year.