Jaime Fillol's drop shot dropped on his side of the net more often than not, and Dick Stockton took advantage of that lack of touch with aggressive play for a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the Prudential-Bache Securities Grand Champions final at Rock Creek Tennis Stadium last night.
"I've never seen Jaime miss that shot so often," said Stockton, one of the youngsters on the Grand Champions tour at 35. "He hit a good one on the second point of the match, and then he must have missed it about 10 times. That was really the key."
Fillol's final miss came on match point. At 40-30, Stockton lunged backward and sky-hooked Fillol's lob gently into the court. With his opponent well out of position, Fillol tried a backhand drop shot, but it hit the tape and rolled back.
Seven thousand fans, the largest crowd in the three-year-old Grand Champions tour history, saw Stockton use the same serve-and-volley game and aggressive tactics that propelled him to 20 national junior titles and five years in the top 10 in the United States.
"He was just better," said Fillol, 40, who two years ago was still playing Davis Cup for Chile. "I was not very peppy, not very quick and not very consistent at the net."
The match was a rather friendly affair, each player asking for replays of points when he thought the other had gotten a bad call. Stockton looked hard at a couple of line calls, and Fillol once circled a mark, but the play otherwise resembled a competitive bout for a beer.
Stockton won $8,000 for his second victory in three Grand Champions tournaments this season. Fillol got $4,000.
Stockton added to his take by teaming with Sherwood Stewart to win the doubles over Andrew Pattison and Ray Moore, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Fillol was favored going into the singles match. He won the Wimbledon 35-and-over singles title this month, and had beaten Stockton every time the two had met on clay.
The heat -- which had made Stockton's semifinal opponent Colin Dibley retire after two sets and caused several players' removal on stretchers for cramps during the tournament -- was not a factor. Stockton joked: "There was no heat here at all. I thought it was one of the coolest and driest places in my life."
Fillol said he didn't tire during the match. "It was nice to play out here tonight," he said. "I just wish I could have volleyed more consistently."
Stockton got an early break in the first set and made it stand up. In the third game, Fillol mis-hit a drop volley attempt and then double-faulted to give Stockton a 2-1 lead.
Stockton, playing serve-and-volley almost exclusively on his first serve, then held for four straight service games.
His only problem came in putting away Fillol at 5-4. Stockton lost two set points, the second on a double fault, before nailing an overhead and a service winner to clinch the first set.
Stockton broke Fillol at love to open the second set. But Fillol rebounded with strong returns. His half-volley winner on his second break point tied the set at 1-1.
They held for the next six games, before Stockton ripped a couple of forehands and topspinned a lob over Fillol to go up, 15-40. On break point, Fillol double-faulted again.
"Double-faulting twice on break point, what can you do?" said Fillol, who now raises his five children in Aspen, Colo.
Stockton took quick advantage. His backhand volley winner and service winner made it 30-0. Fillol came back with a lob and passing shot to tie at deuce, but Stockton's forehand winner set the stage for finis.