July 21, 2000
By J. Fred Sidhu
Rancho Bernardo On a warm,
sun-drenched afternoon last Saturday, Pat Cash of Australia defeated
defending champion John McEnroe 6-3, 7-5 before a crowd of 2,562
at the Rancho Bernardo Inn to capture the 2000 Quality Challenge
Title. McEnroe, who won last year's title, failed to find his
rhythm as Cash, a former Wimbledon champion, kept him off balance
throughout the match with solid groundstrokes and pinpoint volleys.
Down 2-3 in the first set, Cash broke McEnroe's serve twice and reeled off four straight games, to secure the first set, 6-3. In the second set, each player held serve until 5-6 when Cash broke serve to win the match. How good was Cash serving? McEnroe never broke serve and held only one break point all afternoon.
"I was surprised how well he covered the court. His serve had a lot of zip to it," McEnroe said following the match. "He mixed it up well. He did what you're supposed to do, keep your opponent off balance."
Cash, who won his second Champions Tour senior title and first in the United States, said, "I didn't expect it at all. John didn't play that well...and it was very hot out on court."
McEnroe, who is the current United States Davis Cup captain, gave his Australian opponent credit for winning the match. "It was so close, I had a chance to win it and I felt like it was going to happen, but I could not get over the hump," he said. "He played really well and didn't let me do the things I wanted to do. I was just outplayed."
The match was the second meeting on the Senior Tour between McEnroe and Cash. They faced each other in Italy in 1997 as McEnroe won when Cash retired at 4-5 in the first set. Cash was nearly eliminated in the semifinals as he just got past Jimmy Connors, a finalist last year and three-time Quality Challenge champion, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (9), 10-6.
"Jimmy played unbelievable," Cash said. "It is so hard to believe that he still plays so well."
Cash earned $150,000 for winning the tournament. Mc-Enroe won $100,000 for his runner-up finish.
Andres Gomez of Ecuador defeated Jimmy Connors 6-4, 6-4 to win third place.
In doubles action, Jimmy Arias and Scott Davis teamed to defeat qualifiers Mike Fedderly of Palm Desert and Piet Aldrich of La Jolla, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to win the doubles title.
Tim Wilkison and John Lloyd defeated Mel Purcell and Vince Van Patten, 6-4, 6-0 for third place.