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Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Classic women's singles finals

1970
Margaret Court beat Billie Jean King
14-12 11-9


Christine McCourt played on despite injury
Christine McCourt played on despite injury
Many commentators felt the 1970 final was the greatest women's match of all time.

Even though Margaret Court won in straight sets, the match took nearly two and a half hours and the first set, at 88 minutes, was the longest played by either sex in a Wimbledon final.

It was even more amazing in that the Australian was injured. Court had an ankle strapped, something that did not go unnoticed by the ruthlessly professional Billie Jean King, who ran her ragged with drop shots.

The American held serve to stay in the first set five times, only losing in the sixth. In the second set she saved six match points before finally losing.

For Court, the pain was worth it. The victory was the third leg of the Grand Slam she completed later that summer at the US Open.


1976
Chris Evert beat Evonne Cawley
6-3, 4-6 8-6.


Christine Evert won two titles in three years
Christine Evert won two titles in three years
Chris Evert won at least one Grand Slam event in every year from 1974 to 1986.

One of the American's toughest battles came against the 1971 champion, Evonne Cawley, formerly Goolagong.

After the match, Evert admitted it had been a battle of the minds as much as talent.

Evert was probably the greatest women's baseliner of all time and Cawley, like all Australians, liked to get the net.

The climax came in the third set when Evert served for the match at 5-4. Cawley won the next eight points and suddenly Evert was serving to stay in it.

That she did, and broke serve herself in the next game. This time her nerve held out.

She won the title for the second time in three years when she lobbed the on-rushing Cawley.


1977
Virginia Wade beat Betty Stove
4-6, 6-3, 6-1.


Virginia Wade, the last British woman to lift the trophy
Virginia Wade, the last British woman to lift the trophy

For the Centenary Championships the Queen, celebrating her Silver Jubilee, attended the final and saw only the third, and to date last, British woman to lift the title since the Second World War.

At first, it seemed neither player had read the script.

Holland's Betty Stove took the first set with some explosive groundstrokes. Virginia Wade, the fourth seed, did a little better in the second and worked her way into a 3-1 lead. But Stove broke back to level at 3-3.

At this crucial part of the match, with Stove just 12 points from victory, it was Wade who stepped up a gear.

She won the next seven games and with it effectively the match.

Stove had one more brilliant game in her, which came at 0-4, 0-40, in the third set. But after taking that game she won only two more points as Britain started to celebrate.


1993
Steffi Graf beat Jana Novotna
6-7, 6-1, 6-4.


Graf came back from a losing situation
Graf came back from a losing situation

Jana Novotna was serving for a 5-1 lead in the third set against Steffi Graf in the 1993 final. Up to that point she had played brilliantly, her serve and volley tactics ideally suited to the fast courts.

But then she hit a double fault.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Graf came back to win and Novotna, forever to be dubbed a choker, was left sobbing in the arms of the Duchess of Kent.

Graf admitted: "I was happy for the first few seconds after the match. But then I saw her."

When they got to the net to shake hands, there was no polite "Well played".

All Graf could do was ask her if she was all right, as if the Czech star had been involved in a car accident.

It went down as one of the most enduring images of any Wimbledon and proved what the title means.

Novotna lost the 1997 final to Martina Hingis, but it all made her eventual victory in 1998, again against Hingis, all the sweeter.


1995
Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
4-6, 6-1, 7-5.


Graf in a class of her own in '95
Graf in a class of her own in '95

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario seemed to be heading for victory when she dropped only four points on serve in the first set.

But the German, in a class of her own in the women's game, levelled. Crunch time came at 5-5 in the final set.

At 20 minutes, it was reported to be the longest ever women's game at The Championships.

With Sanchez Vicario serving, there were 32 points, 13 deuces and it lasted 20 minutes. When Graf finally clinched it the match was effectively over.

After completing the 7-5 win, Graf said: "No game ever meant so much to me at such a stage. It felt great when I won it." The Spaniard said: "I played my best, but lost to the best in the world."

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See also:

11 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
Classic men's singles finals
10 Jun 00 | The Brits
British women to watch
09 Jun 00 | Photo Galleries
The last ten ladies' Wimbledon champions
09 Jun 00 | Photo Galleries
The last 10 men to win the Championships
09 Jun 00 | Photo Galleries
Martina Navratilova: "Queen of Centre Court"
10 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
The traditions of Wimbledon
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