from The New York Times
by Barnaby J. Feder
Sweden clinched the 1984 Davis Cup tennis title before an ecstatic home crowd tonight as Anders Jarryd and Stefan Edberg handed John McEnroe and Peter Fleming their first doubles loss in 15 cup matches.
The Americans fought ferociously for the victory that would have kept them alive. But, with better balance and more consistency, the Swedes won, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, for an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the three-of- five-match final.
"We played badly, so we lost," said McEnroe. ''But they have a great team on any surface, and they are the best on clay,'' which was the surface chosen by the host team for the series. Most experts here agreed with the Americans that the current Swedish team was unequaled on clay. That surface is slower than a hard or synthetic surface, which the Americans prefer.
The triumph made irrelevant the outcome of the controversy over Jimmy Connors's behavior in his loss Sunday to Mats Wilander. Alan Mills of Britain, the referee, had said that he would consider ordering a forfeit for Connors's match on Tuesday against Henrik Sundstrom. But when the ruling was announced this morning, Connors had escaped with a $2,000 fine for three incidents during his loss to Mats Wilander, and no penalty for insulting the chair umpire, George Grime, afterward.
Mills said that Connors had apologized to Grime, and that, as Mills now understood the rules, there was no way to order a forfeit for post-match behavior.
This was the 54th time, the first against Sweden, that the United States had appeared in a cup final. The Americans have won the cup 28 times. Sweden took it for the second time; the first was in 1975, when Bjorn Borg led it to victory over Czechoslovakia.
The Swedes occasionally bent before the serving power of McEnroe, who recovered that aspect of his game after missing it desperately in his three-set loss Sunday to Sundstrom. But McEnroe's 10 aces and the numerous other serves that Jarryd and Edberg barely got their racquets on could not make up for Fleming's inconsistent serving and errors on crucial points by both Americans. Also, the Swedes were able to shrug off their less-frequent mistakes.
"We played great," said Edberg, at age 18 the youngest of the four, who was playing in only his third cup doubles match. ''This was my best match ever.''
Jarryd, his 23-year-old partner, was less consistent but played more inspiredly in tough situations. Both won key points with hard returns to Fleming's ankles, shots that the 6-foot-5-inch American had trouble with throughout.
The Swedes won the closely fought opening set by breaking Fleming at 5-6. Nearly three hours later, the frustrated Fleming gave the Swedes the point they needed to win the match on a double fault.
In the second set, the only one the United States won in the series, Fleming served strongly and put away returns at the net. However, in a series in which nothing came easily for the Americans, this set, too, did not come easily. The Americans failed on 3 set points with Edberg serving at 3-5, then McEnroe's serve was broken for the first time. Erratic play by Jarryd in the next game gave Fleming the opportunity to serve out the set.
But hopes that the tide had finally turned did not last long. McEnroe tied the third set at 1-all with three aces, but Jarryd held, despite several hustling recoveries by McEnroe, and then the Swedes broke through Fleming for 3-1.
The Americans lost the next game after being ahead by 0-40. McEnroe held again, but Fleming was broken after a 40-15 lead. The crowd roared as Jarryd won the game with a brilliant return of serve past Fleming's backhand.
The fourth set was even more frustrating for the Americans. McEnroe missed several shots, and the crowd became hostile when he complained about noise during play, which led to the replaying of a point. The Americans won the replayed point and the next 2 points to even the set at 2-2, but McEnroe faltered and Edberg put the Swedes back on track.
Perhaps the most dramatic point came with the Americans trailing, 4-5 and down triple match point. McEnroe served two aces against Jarryd and almost got another against Edberg, eventually saving the game. But that was the Americans' last recovery.
On Tuesday McEnroe is scheduled to play Wilander and Connors to face Sundstrom. However, it appeared likely that Connors would fly home to be with his wife, who is due to give birth soon. He would be replaced by Jimmy Arias.
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- Legends shine in Båstad
- Edberg: "Swedish tennis is still behind"
- Tennis Magazine, an unlikely ranking of the best grasscourt players
- Book on glory days of Swedish tennis is out in Italy
- This time Edberg doesn't pair
- In a sea of grass Cash, Cash, Cash...
- Is Cash enough for the Davis?
- The team in blond
- For a day Becker is enough