Australian tennis continues it's full domination of the early Open Era. Soon after Roland Garros, Aussies dispute the final at the Queen's event. More than that, there's three of them in the semis. On one side, Newcombe defeats Laver and on the other side, Fred Stolle defeats Ralston. In the end, Stolle will claim the title, helping himself to a better rankings position. All is set for Wimbledon 1969, with Laver defending for the title.
Laver and Roche are top seeds once again. Roche takes a perilous road to the quarters, as he has to battle Queen's semifinalist Dennis Ralston. The 5 set match eventually ends up with Roche winning. On his quarter comes Clark Graebner, one could call a lucky player, benefiting from 2 retirements (one by Gimeno) and winning against inexperienced Nastase for his spot. Although he looks like easy prey, Clark will be tough meat against Roche, as the Australian will again be forced to end a match after 5 sets, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 11-9, coming from 2-0 down. One another quarter, Okker will be facing the winner of the Queen's final re-edition, decided by another match between Stolle and Newcombe, this time won by the younger Australian. Okker can't stop Newcombe either, and one semifinal is set to be all-Australian after 8-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
On the other half of the draw, Ashe defeats veteran Pancho Gonzales to claim his quarters position, and he will be facing another American, who, surprisingly, defeated Ken Rosewall, and won his previous match in 5 sets. Probably to tired to continue in the same manner, this surprise quarter-finalist, Robert Lutz, is defeated by Ashe in 4 sets, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, although it still was not as easy as it looked. His toughest match though was against Stilwell, which surprisingly has a few highlights:
Ashe breaks the all-Australian deal in the semis, as the last one is obviously Laver, having easily obtained the spot against Cliff Drysdale (6-4, 6-2, 6-3). Laver had two tough matches though, one against Stan Smith (ended in 5 sets), and one against Premjit Lall, an anonymous Indian, where he had to come back from 2-0 down, 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0
Newcombe continues his splendid form for this year and defeats Roche, 3-6, 6-1, 14-12, 6-4. This victory, no matter the outcome of the final will be placing John on the second spot in the rankings. In the other semifinal, Ashe manages to get the first set, but is powerless to stop the Rod from shining in the end, 2-6, 6-2, 9-7, 6-0. It has been throughout this tournament that, whenever Laver had a comeback, he eventually won sets at 0. Well, it was not a rule, he only done it 3 times.
Although the final's outcome is probably predictable, Newcombe provided a tougher challenge, but was eventually forced to admit Laver's superiority. Highlights:Rod Laver vs. John Newcombe (1 of 2)
(The video's owner prevents external embedding)Rod Laver vs. John Newcombe (2 of 2)
(The video's owner prevents external embedding)
The new rankings for after this event can be checked here (direct link): RANKINGS 07/07/1969