Nikola Spear, first player to achieve triple career bagel in a Slam, dies

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Nikola Spear, first player to achieve triple career bagel in a Slam, dies

The 73-year-old Serbian former tennis player Nikola Spear died in Subotica, his native city. He was the first Yugoslavian player coming from Serbia to break in the top 100 ATP Rankings, he achieved his best singles ranking in 1977 at No.

78. On the professional tour, he reached three semifinals: Houston (1970), Madrid (1975) and Zurich (1977), while in other six tournaments he reached quarters. He also reached the fourth round at 1966 and 1967 Roland Garros. Always in the Parisian Grand Slam, which opened the Open Era in tennis, in 1968, Spear defeated the French Daniel Contet in the first round without dropping off even a game across three sets, achieving the first triple bagel in the Open Era in Majors.

After that, only four players did it: Karel Novacek at 1987 Roland Garros (against Bengocheca), Stefan Edberg at Wimbledon (against Eriksson), Ivan Lendl at US Open (against Moir) and Sergi Bruguera at 1993 Roland Garros (against Thierry Champion).

One of the few players who got very close to do it was a 19-year-old Andy Murray, who was leading 6-0 6-0 5-0 against Alberto Matin, before dropping a game, at 2007 Australian Open. Spear achieved good results in Davis Cup too.

In the 1970 Europe Zone B, he and Zeljko Franulovic's Yugoslavia defeated Nastase and Tiriac's Romania on clay in Maribor. Spear had upset the then World No. 1 Ilie Nastase to tie the meeting on 2-2. After that, Franulovic came back from two sets down against Tiriac to bring the win.

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