It will be a bit like the Lido without chorus girls, the Left Bank without artists or the Arc de Triomphe without tourists. When the men's singles semifinals of the French Open tennis championships are played Saturday, there will be no Europeans on the slow red courts of Stade Roland Garros.
Raul Ramirez of Mexico today toppled the defending champion Adriano Panatta of Italy, and Argentinian Guillermo Vilas eliminated Wojtek Fibak of Poland, leaving the most prestigious clay-court championship of Europe without a continental semifinalist for the first time since 1965.
Ramirez, prudently awaiting opportunities to come to the next except when he became overanxious while serving for the match at 5-1 and 5-3 in the third set, ended Panatta's reign and 11-match winning streak here, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Vilas, who lost the first three games and the won 13 of the next 14, buried Fibak in an avalanche of lefthanded topspin passing shots, 6-4, 6-0, 6-4.
Ramirez plays Vilas, whom he has never beaten in seven meetings, and Floridian Brian Gottfried opposes Phil Dent of Australia in the semis. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
Panatta and Fibak were the last prospects for maintaining the European domination of the men's title that lasted seven years.
The last nonEuropean champ was Australian Rod Laver in 1969, the year he swept the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles for his second grand slamm.
Vilas, who grew up on slow day, and Ramirez, whose early tennis was on cement courts, both played patiently today and dominated opponents who were not nearly as sharp as usual at the net.
Ramirez had one set point against him in the first set, at 5-6 in the tie breaker, but got to the net and put away a forehand volley.
Panatta knocked a backhand long on the next point and,M when he steered a forehand half-volley wide to lose the set, he angrily bashed a ball against the backstop at his end of the windblown court.
The match was interrupted briefly with Panatta serving at 5-6, 15-15, in the first set when a woman in the front row of stands to his left ignited her skirt with a cigarette.
The flames were extinguished by spectators who flailed at her with coats and sweaters and bottles of water rushed over by ballboys. The woman, half her skirt charred, was led across the court to the infirmery. She was taken to a hospital, but a doctor said her burns were not serious and she was more frightened than hurt.
Panatta, who again seemed unable to find the rhythm of his punishing serve because his toss was troubled by the wind, never had any consistency to his game.
His groundstrokes were erratic off both wings. His touch was unsure. He was sometimes a whirling dervish at the net, sometimes a dud.
He broke Ramirez in the first game of the match and then could not do it again until the quick, agile Mexican served for the match the first tie at 5-1 in the third.
With the sun-drenched crowd exhorting him to make a last stand with chants of "Adriano, Adriano," Panatta held his own serve at 15, then broke again for 4-5, Ramirez netting a knee-high backhand volley and sailing a forehand long after three times being within tow points of the match at 30-all and two deuces.
Panatta held at 15 again for 5-5, but Ramirez halted the four-game slide and then broke at 15 to end the two-hour 13-minute match. Panatta made errors on the last four points, two of them forced.
Pam Teeguarden and Regina Marsikova, a makeshift team playing together for the first time in this tournament, won the women's doubles title over Rayni Fox and Helen Gourlay, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Teeguarden, a 26-year-old from Los Angeles who is unranked in the U.S. in doubles, was playing only her third doubles event of the year. She teamed up with the partnerless Marsikova in Rome two weeks ago, she said, "because I thought it would help my singles." He only previous title of note was the 1974 U.S. Open mixed doubles, with Australian Geoff Masters.