Jimmy Connors burst onto the scene as one of the most promising youngsters in the late 60's and early 70's and he won his first ATP crown at Roanoke in January 1972. No less than 11 titles followed in 1973 and by the 1974 Jimmy was already one of the best players in the world, claiming 15 trophies in what has been one of the greatest seasons of the Open era. The American played 97 matches that year and compiled a 93-4 score, conquering all three grass-court Majors.
He took down Phil Dent in the final of the Australian Open for his first Grand Slam crown and had a great run at Wimbledon as well, beating the Australian veteran Ken Rosewall in the title match. Two months later we saw those rivals in the final of the US Open as well and on that September 9, Ken was 39 years and 10 months old, standing as the oldest player in the Grand Slam final in the Open era.
Competing in his first home Major final Jimmy had no mercy at Forest Hills Stadium, demolishing the legend 6-1 6-0 6-1 in what has been the most one-sided Grand Slam final in the history of tennis! Despite his age Rosewall was still among the world's finest players, which he confirmed with his results at Wimbledon and US Open, and he was the fifth seed in New York while Connors was seeded first.
Besides this unique result on the scoreboard, Jimmy will also be remembered as the last US Open champion on the original grass surface, since they had to switch to Har-Tru clay in 1975 due to the terrible shape of the courts.
Rosewall was hoping to make a good start and repel the initial assault from Connors but he was powerless in the entire match in front of the crowd of 15000, dropping 11 games in a row at one point and taking miserable 42 points overall.
He held only twice in the entire match and both players approved that Jimmy was on another level, playing his career-best tennis. Also, Ken spoke some words of wisdom by saying that Connors could last for a very long with his game style and that proved to be very true, as the American reached the semi-final of the US Open in 1991 at the age of 39! Another anecdote is linked with this match and this time it proves Rosewall's longevity since he played in the quarter-final of the US Open in 1952 at the age of 17, on the day Jimmy Connors was born! Jimmy won 82 out of 124 points and he dominated from start to finish, converting eight out of 12 break points and saving all three he had to play against to keep his game intact and bring the match home in no time at all.
Connors served at 67% and he played better on his second serve, winning 15 out of 23 points after missing the first. Rosewall struggled in his games up to a degree that he won more points on Connors' serve (19 on serve and 23 on return), never finding a rhythm behind his initial shot against one of the best returners in the world.
Ken had just five service winners while Jimmy fired 20, which made a huge difference. Also, the American was the dominant figure from the field as well, striking 33 winners and keeping the veteran on just eight. We saw 27 serve&volley combos from Jimmy, winning 17 points while Rosewall stood on just eight from 21, unable to penetrate his rival and impose his shots.
The ball was on Connors' racquet all the time and he made more errors than Rosewall, 29 to 24, but that could change nothing when we know he had a huge 53-13 advantage in the winners department. There were 42 crucial points (game point, break point or a deuce) and Jimmy was 27-15 in front, including 11-4 on break points on both sides.
It was a very fast match with quick points and a minimal number of strokes, with 77% ending in the shortest range up to four shots. Jimmy ruled them 62-34 and he was 19-7 ahead in the mid-range points with five to eight shots.
Only two exchanges in the entire match reached the 9th stroke and they split them. They needed 423 strokes to complete the match and the average number of shots in the point was just 3,41 which is in the rank with some of the fastest Wimbledon finals in the Open era.
Point by point result and the number of shots in the rallies: