Jimmy Connors beat Martina Navratilova in a quasi-tennis match Friday night and her defeat was mostly her fault.
Or mostly her double-fault, to be exact.Connors, a 6-1 favorite in man-to-woman betting, won 7-5, 6-2 before a sellout crowd of 13,832 outdoors at Caesars Palace. Both stars came to play and not to create an event, like Bobby Riggs' infamous "Battle of the Sexes" with Billie Jean King at the Astrodome in Houston 19 years ago.
"Jimmy played great," Navratilova said. "I was really impressed with how he handled the pressure. I guess I'm glad it's over."
There were few exchanges among the players and hardly any between them and the fans during the struggle for a winner's prize of $500,000.
Navratilova committed eight double faults and two of them were key.
With Connors up 6-5 in the first set, Navratilova double-faulted away set point.
Connors was leading 3-2 in the second set and was ahead 15-30 with Navratilova serving in the sixth game when she double-faulted again. Connors then broke service, held his own and broke service again to close out the match.
Connors, on the other hand, had only six double faults, although he was allowed just one serve. This meant if he faulted, it was automatically a double fault.
Another bend of the rules allowed Navratilova to serve to a wider court. She had 2 feet, 3 inches extra on each side, or half of the doubles alley. She, however, scored only six points on shots into the doubles lane.
"I didn't take advantage of the alleys," Navratilova said. "I served poorly today.
"I was more nervous today than any match I've ever been in," said the 35-year-old Navratilova, who has won 160 women's single titles, including nine Wimbledons and four U.S. Opens.
She said she took the match because "at my age, it's difficult to do something different."