If there were any doubts that the competition among the members of the 35-and-over set in the $40,000 Prudential-Bache Securities Grand Champions Tournament was for real, there are none now.
Cliff Richey and Andrew Pattison put any questions to rest as Richey won the singles title by defeating Pattison, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, yesterday in a grueling 2-hour 18-minute match on a 95-degree court surface at Rock Creek Tennis Stadium.
Twenty minutes after the match, Richey had to be treated for dehydration when he began cramping up. He was given saline solution intravenously by emergency medical personnel, but recovered and was not hospitalized.
"I wouldn't change anything -- except the weather," said Pattison when asked how he would play the match differently.
"When you play in the heat like that, the game seems to ebb and flow," Richey said. "Those long, long service games and service losses take it out of you. You have points where you dig to get a drop shot then go back to hit an overhead and then race to the sideline trying to get air in your lungs."
Richey, 38, earned $8,000 for the victory, his first since May 1984. Pattison, 36, won $4,000.
"I've played well in the last two or three years," Richey said. "But I haven't played well my last two or three tournaments. I've been coaching Barbara Potter and I've been racing everywhere. It affected my game, but now I've adjusted well to my responsibilities."
Richey and Pattison traded breaks in the first set before Richey went up, 3-1, breaking his opponent's serve in the fourth game after it had gone to deuce.
Pattison took Richey to deuce in the next game before Richey won it on a service winner. With the score 5-2 in his favor, Richey broke Pattison to win the set on a cross-court volley at the net.
Richey again lost his service in the opening game of the second set. He got the game back in the fourth game, but Pattison broke him in the seventh to go ahead, 4-3. Pattison held and then Richey took the next game, winning it with an ace after Pattison's return after 30-30 went just wide of the sideline.
The final game of the second set went to deuce before Richey netted a return and missed a shot wide to drop the set.
In the final set, the players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games, but Richey broke again in the sixth to go up, 4-2. Each held, setting up the marathon ninth game with Richey leading, 5-3, and serving for the match.
The game went to deuce five times and Richey had two match points before Pattison finally came to the net and caught Richey going the other way.
Richey won the match in the next game, which went to deuce three times. Richey got the advantage when Pattison netted a return and won the title when Pattison's return went just long.
"That was a little like being locked up in a cage with a savage animal," Pattison told the crowd of 2,200 over the public address system after the match.
Marty Riessen and Sherwood Stewart defeated Jaime Fillol and Colin Dibley, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), in the doubles final.