Unflappable Harold Solomon stunned top-seeded Jimmy Connors, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, today to advance to the semifinal round of the $125,000 Volvo International tennis tournament.
The upset came hours after Solomon's doubles partner, Eddie Dibbs pulled another upset, upending second-seeded Brian Gottfried, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6.
Connors needed only 18 minutes to dust off Solomon in the first set, playing virtually flawless tennis and allowing Solomon only seven points.
Solomon then jumped to a 2-1 lead in the second set before the match was delayed 75 minutes by rain. When play resumed, Solomon took to a 5-1 lead, held off a Connors charge and won, 6-4, with a blistering two-fisted backhand passing shot.
In the third set, the volleys and ground strokes with which Connors dazzled Solomon in the first set deserted him. Solomon stayed at the baseline to ward off Connor's advances.
A disappointed and angry Connors snapped, "I can't win every time I go out on the court. This tournament was a stepping stone because I haven't played much in the last three weeks. Now I can get ready for my next match," Connors said.
Solomon said he changed his strategy after the disastrous first set.
"I was trying to hit angle shots but he hits those balls so well I felt like a spectator. So I changed my trategy and hit the ball up the middle.
"Jimmy has a low amargin of error on his ground strokes and he gets angry when he starts hitting them out. So I just kept hitting them down the middle and it worked."
It was Solomon's first victory over Connors since the opening round of the 1972 French Open. Connors was playing in his first tourney since Wimbledon, having had an injured right thumb.