Manuel Orantes


Born: 6/2/1949

US Open 1975

Manuel Orantes was a clay court specialist who was a master of spin and placement. He was still only 18 when he lost to Barry Phillips-Moore in the quarter finals of the last Amateur Grand Slam event, the 1968 Australian. At the first Open Wimbledon Orantes went out in the opening round. At the French Open in 1972, Orantes beat former champion Nicola Pietrangeli in the last 16 and Harold Solomon in the quarters before losing in the semis to Patrick Proisy in straight sets. At Wimbledon Orantes survived an epic fourth rounder against Ion Tiriac and then dropped just four games in his quarter final match against Colin Dibley before losing in the semis to Ilie Nastase in straight sets. At the 1974 French Open Orantes thrashed Ashe in the fourth round, beat Patricio Cornejo in the quarters and Francois Jauffret in the semis. In the final he led Borg by two sets to love but faded badly as he managed to win just two games in the remaining three sets. At the 1975 US Open, which was being played on clay for the first time, Orantes beat Jauffret in the fourth round and Nastase in the quarters to set up a semi final meeting with Guillermo Vilas. Orantes began badly, dropping the first two sets, but he fought back to take the third. In the fourth set Vilas reasserted himself and stood at three match points at 5-0 and 40-0. However, Orantes fought back, saved the three match points, broke serve and saved two more match points before eventually taking the set 7-5. With the momentum behind him, Orantes took the fifth set 6-4 for an amazing triumph. In the final he thrashed defending champion Jimmy Connors in straight sets to take his first Grand Slam title. At the 1976 French Open Orantes lost to Eddie Dibbs in four sets in the quarters. At the US Open he came from two sets to love down to beat Stan Smith in the fourth round before losing to Borg in the quarters in five sets. At the 1977 US Open Orantes beat John McEnroe in the fourth round before losing to Connors in the quarters. At the 1978 French Open Orantes lost in the quarters to Dick Stockton in straight sets. He made his final Grand Slam appearance at the French Open in 1983, when he lost in the second round to Mike Tideman in four sets.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Ashe 1-1, B.Borg 0-2, J.Connors 1-2, R.Emerson 0-1, N.Fraser 1-0, P.Gonzales 1-1, J.McEnroe 1-0, I.Nastase 2-1, J.Newcombe 0-1, A.Panatta 0-1, N.Pietrangeli 2-0, T.Roche 1-0, S.Smith 1-1, F.Stolle 1-0, G.Vilas 2-0

Manuel Orantes' Grand Slam record