JOHAN KRIEK(SOUTH AFRICA / U. S. A.)
Australian Open 1981,1982
Johan Kriek became the first South African ever to win a Grand Slam men's singles title when he triumphed at the 1981 Australian Open. Kriek was a shotmaker who, when on form, could hit winners from all parts of the court but would let his head drop when things weren't going his way. Few top players entered the 1981 Australian Open and Kriek took advantage of a poor field, beating a young Tim Mayotte in the quarters and Mark Edmondson in the semis and met cannonball serving Steve Denton in the final. Kriek hit many return winners off the powerful Denton serve which put the American under pressure. Kriek won the first two sets and Denton held on to take the third set on a tiebreak after saving four match points. However, Kriek was not to be denied and took the fourth set 6-3 to win the title. Defending his title in 1982 and with another weak field, Kriek (now an American citizen) made it easily through to the semis where he faced Paul McNamee. Kriek led by two sets to love but McNamee fought back to level at two sets all and at 5-3 in the fifth set had a match point. But McNamee got tight and Kriek hit out and went on to win the set 7-5 to book his place in the final. There he faced Denton in a repeat of the previous year's final. Denton's serve was off form and without it he struggled to make any headway in the match, which Kriek won 6-3,6-3,6-2 to retain his title. Going for a hat trick of titles in 1983, Kriek lost in the quarters to Mats Wilander. At the Australian in 1984, Kriek beat Pat Cash in the quarters before losing to Wilander 6-1,6-0,6-2 in the semis. Kriek reached the semis of the French Open in 1986, beating Guillermo Vilas before losing to Ivan Lendl. He retired in 1991 and when the senior tour was formed a few years later, he was very successful.
© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Agassi 0-1, B.Borg 0-1, P.Cash 1-0, J.Connors 0-1, S.Edberg 1-1, M.Edmondson 1-0, V.Gerulaitis 0-2, I.Lendl 0-3, J.McEnroe 0-2, I.Nastase 0-1, Y.Noah 1-0, R.Tanner 1-0, B.Teacher 1-0, G.Vilas 1-0, M.Wilander 0-3
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