Tennis Birthdays: Feb. 6, 2016

A Spanish legend celebrates.

Manuel Orantes (ESP), 67

The legendary Spanish lefty reached No. 2 in the rankings in 1973 (the first year of the computer rankings), at age 24.

He won 33 tournaments, including the 1975 U.S. Open over the seemingly invincible Jimmy Connors – less than 24 hours after a late-night semifinal against Guillermo Vilas. He was down 0-5 in the fourth set against Vilas before he came back to win, and trounced Connors in straight sets.

Orantes was a finalist 35 other times. He won 22 doubles titles and was finalist in another 20. One of those singles finals was the 1974 French Open, where he won the first two sets against Bjorn Borg before losing the next three 6-0, 6-1, 6-1.

Orantes also kicked butt in Canada. He won the Canadian Open in 1975 (beating Ilie Nastase 7-6, 6-0, 6-1), was a finalist in 1973 (Tom Okker) and 1974 (Vilas). He also won the doubles in 1974 (with Vilas) and was a finalist again in 1976.

He also was a Davis Cup stalwart for 13 years.

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