TODAY IN HISTORY

June 5, 2019

 

On this day 5 June 2016 (Exactly 3 years ago) World number one Novak Djokovic beat Britain’s Andy Murray to win his first French Open title and complete the career Grand Slam.

The Serb, then 29, won 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 to win his 12th major title and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams at once.

Murray had hoped to secure the third leg of his own career Slam, having already won Wimbledon and the US Open.

The Scot was Britain’s first male finalist in Paris since 1937.

Second seed Murray played superbly to win the first set but could not convert a break point early in the second, and Djokovic took control to win in three hours.

He became only the eighth man in history to have won all four of the sport’s major singles prizes .

On this day 5 June 2005 (Exactly 14 years ago) Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal defeated Mariano Puerta 6-7 6-3 6-1 7-5 to win the French Open at his first attempt.

It was a dramatic opening set – Nadal went 2-0 up but, after having treatment on his thigh, Puerta broke back and clinched a thrilling tie-break.

Nadal levelled the match at one-set all with a single break and strolled to the third as the Argentine visibly tired.

The pair swapped breaks twice in a fascinating fourth set but Nadal broke again in the 12th game to triumph.

The then 19-year-old walked onto Philippe Chatrier Court as overwhelming favourite after winning three tournaments on clay in the build-up to Paris.

And things seemed to be going his way when he broke Puerta in the first game of the final with his trademark thundering forehands.

At 15-40 down in the fifth game, the Argentine called for the trainer and received treatment on his right thigh.

The interruption turned the opening set on its head. Puerta saved the break-points and then forced Nadal into errors to break back at 3-3.

The left-handed opponents matched each other for pounding groundstrokes, deft drop-shots and an inevitable tie-break ensued.

Puerta clinched the tense breaker 8-6 to take a surprise one-set lead but, after such a frenetic first set, the unseeded Argentine was not able to keep up the momentum.

Nadal broke to take a 3-1 lead in the second as Puerta carelessly hit the ball long and the Spaniard served out the set to level the match.

The 19-year-old ran away with the third set, breaking a tiring Puerta three times to seal a 6-1 scoreline, which did not do credit to Puerta’s own moments of ingenuity.

As Nadal edged closer to victory in Paris, Puerta dug deep again to set up a thrilling finale.

The Argentine forced Nadal into making mistakes and was rewarded with a break in the first game of the fourth set.

Then Puerta’s own unforced errors gifted Nadal the break straight back – and a game of cat-and-mouse ensued much to the delight of the roaring Roland Garros crowd.

The Spanish teenager recovered from triple break-point down in the seventh game, but two games later he surrendered a 30-0 lead and a resurgent Puerta broke again at 5-4.

The Argentine carved out three set-points to stand on the brink of forcing a deciding fifth set.

But some dazzling footwork and reactions at the net somehow saw Nadal break straight back again.

At 6-5 up Nadal produced an array of pounding shots to move to a decisive break-point on Puerta’s serve. And the Spaniard only had to watch as his opponent skewed his shot wide to hand him the break and the match.

Nadal’s victory saw him finish the clay-court season undefeated in 24 matches – and he become the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open on his debut.

On this day 5 June 2011(Exactly 8 years ago) Rafael Nadal proved he is a class apart on clay as he won a record-equalling sixth French Open title with a dramatic win over Roger Federer.

The then 25-year-old Spaniard matched Bjorn Borg’s tally of victories at Roland Garros with a 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-1 victory in three hours and 39 minutes.

Nadal, who had won 10 Grand Slam titles in total, also ensured he will remain at the top of the rankings ahead of Novak Djokovic as world number one.

In a thrilling encounter, the Majorcan withstood a Federer fightback after failing to capitalise when two sets and a break in front.

“To win this final against one the best players in the world and in history is something which is really fantastic for me. It’s one of my most beautiful dreams,” said Nadal.

“Congratulations to Rafa for having won the tournament once again. He played a super match,” said the Swiss.

On this day 5 June 2010 (Exactly 9 years ago) Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam tennis title when she overpowered fellow first-time finalist Samantha Stosur at the French Open.

The 17th seed became only the second person from her country to win one of the sport’s four major tournaments with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory on the red clay at Roland Garros in Paris. Her compatriot Adriano Panatta won the French Open men’s title in 1976.

On this day 5 June 1982 (Exactly 37 years ago) 18- time Grand Slam Singles champion, Martina Navratilova beat American teenager Andrea Jaeger 7-6, 6-1 for her first French singles crown.

On this day 5 June 1993 (26 years ago) Germany’s Steffi Graf won her 3rd of 6 French Open singles titles; beat Mary Joe Fernandez of the US 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

With Monica Seles away on her forced leave of absence, the French Open title was claimed once again by a 23-year-old power-hitting German who proved she was still a big shot on clay.

Steffi Graf won her third French Open singles title at Roland Garros Stadium, where her appearances in the final had grown so commonplace she could list it as a temporary residence.
Graf’s sixth visit to the French Open final ended with her hoisting the Suzanne Lenglen Cup. She won a battle of attrition with 21-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez in a duel on red clay which evolved into a 2-hour 30-minute test of resolve, wits and endurance.

Graf secured the 12th Grand Slam singles title in her 11-year career with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory, her first French Open title since 1988 in the pre-Seles era.

Seles, who had won the last three French titles, two of them by defeating Graf in the final, missed her first Grand Slam event since being stabbed in the back by a fan of Graf during a match in Hamburg, Germany, nearly five weeks before the final.

Either Graf or Seles or both had been in 24 of the last 25 Grand Slam finals, the only exception being the 1990 Wimbledon final between Martina Navratilova and Zina Garrison.

Graf made no mention of Seles when she spoke during the trophy presentation, but in her post-match interview session, she said she wished she had at least passed along a get-well-soon greeting.

As for winning a Grand Slam tournament without Seles, Graf offered no apology.

On this day 5 June 1999 (Exactly 20 years ago) Steffi Graf of Germany won her 22nd and final Grand Slam title; beat Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; Graf’s 6th French singles crown.

Graf became the first player in the Open Era to defeat top three ranked players in the same Grand Slam tournament; defeating No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Seles in the semifinals and No. 1 Hingis in the final. Hingis missed a chance to complete a career Grand Slam in singles.

Graf equalled Chris Evert’s record of nine French Open final appearances, and extended her record of total Open Era Grand Slam singles victories to 22 (a record surpassed by Serena Williams in 2017). This would end up being the last Grand Slam title Graf would ever win, as well as being the last French Open she would ever appear in.

On this 5 June 1927 (Exactly 92 years ago) Hometown favourite Rene Lacoste won 2nd of his 3 French titles; beat Bill Tilden 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 11-9.

On this day 5 June 1933 (Exactly 86 years ago) Australian Jack Crawford won his first and only French title after beating home favourite Henri Cochet 8-6, 6-1, 6-3.

On this day 5 June 1966 (Exactly 23 years ago) Australian Tony Roche won his first and only Grand Slam title after beating István Gulyás of Hungary 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

On this day 5 June 1971(Exactly 48 years ago) Australian former world No. 1 tennis player, Evonne Goolagong won her first career Grand Slam singles title; beat fellow Australian Helen Gourlay 6-3, 7-5.

On this day 5 June 1977 (Exactly 42 years ago) Guillermo Vilas of Argentina won first career Grand Slam event; outclassed American Brian Gottfried 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.

On this day 5 June 1983 (Exactly 86 years ago) Home town favourite Yannick Noah won his 1st and only career Grand Slam title; beat defending champion Mats Wilander of Sweden 6-2, 7-5, 7-6.

On this day 5 June 1988 (Exactly 31 years ago) Mats Wilander of Sweden won his 3rd French title; beat home favourite Henri Leconte 7-5, 6-2, 6-1.

On this day 5 June 1994 (Exactly 25 years ago) In an all-Spanish final Sergi Bruguera beat Alberto Berasategui 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 for his second French title.

 

STORY: GEORGE MAHAMAH


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