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Lendl Defeats Leconte in Exhibition Match

October 13, 1985|CHRIS ELLO

SAN DIEGO — The last time Ivan Lendl played Henri Leconte, the 22nd-ranked player in the world from Paris, France, had a surprise waiting.

With a semifinal date against Boris Becker at this year's Wimbledon hanging in the balance, Leconte stormed past the world's No. 1-ranked player in straight sets.

But that match was last June, and now Lendl is the U.S. champion having defeated John McEnroe in three straight sets to win the U.S. Open in September. Enjoying the most popularity in this country in his career, Lendl took some time out Saturday night to help the San Diego State men's tennis program.

And, under considerably less-important circumstances as those in London, Lendl beat Leconte, 6-4, 6-4, in an exhibition match at Morely Field.

"My life hasn't really changed since the U.S. Open, but it has just been sweeter," Lendl said. "I think I'm enjoying the most popularity I've ever had here since I won in New York."

Before the match, both players insisted that even in an exhibition match such as this, they would be playing at full bore. Both still showed signs of losing concentration, however. In the opening set, both players swung and missed forehand attempts, and Leconte spent a lot of the evening clowning on the court.

But Lendl, idle for the past three weeks while he nursed an ulnar nerve injury in his right arm, pulled himself together enough to break Leconte in the seventh game of the first set and the ninth game of the second.

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