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  Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Crème de la crème
Andre Agassi at Roland Garros
Agassi is no stranger to the red courts of Roland Garros
BBC Sport Online looks back at the ten greatest moments in the history of the French Open.

1. 1926 final: Suzanne Lenglen v Mark K Browne

Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen was regarded by many as the best female player of all time, and her 1926 French Open final victory was her crowning glory.

She shocked the world with her dresses cut just above the calf, and always entertained the galleries.

Suzanne Lenglen
Suzanne Lenglen: The good old days

Never more so than against American Mark K. Browne in Paris. The match remains the second quickest ever grand slam final, for Lenglen won 6-1 6-0 in 27 minutes.

Lenglen's tennis was supreme as she clinched her second successive French title, but not without a fuss.

She broke down in tears after just four games, and then sipped brandy between sets before taking the acclaim of a bewildered public.


2. 1935 final: Fred Perry v Baron Gottfried von Cramm

Britain's greatest ever tennis player used to introduce himself as the "rotter who stole the Davis Cup from France".

He was the scourge of Parisians again in 1935, as his French Open triumph further underlined the demise of the Four Musketeers of Lacoste, Cochet, Brugnon and Borotra.

Gottfried von Cramm (l) loses to Fred Perry
Joy at last: British hero Fred Perry
In some ways, it was a year late, but it was still momentous.

In 1934, defeat at Roland Garros had prevented him from becoming the first player to capture a Grand Slam, but his 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-3 win over Baron Gottfried von Cramm 12 months later made Perry the first man ever to have won all four Majors.

He was hailed as "the complete master" after excelling on the clay.


3. 1956 final: Althea Gibson v Angela Mortimer

Tennis was barely ready to cope with the seismic change in culture and attitude brought about by Gibson, a rebellious child from New York's Harlem borough.

She was the first black player to compete in United States grass court tournaments, but her major breakthrough came at Roland Garros in 1956.

Althea Gibson
Courting controversy: Trail-blazing Althea Gibson
Several benefactors, such as boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson, had helped pay for her air fare to Europe, and Gibson's 'thank you' was a 6-0 12-10 win over Britain's Angela Mortimer in front of a hostile French crowd.

She was the first black athlete to win a major tennis singles title.


4. 1974 King and Queen of Paris

The 'Lovebirds double' captivated Wimbledon in 1974, when Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors, then engaged, won the singles titles.

Weeks before, however, a more significant marriage occurred for tennis when Evert, 19, and Bjorn Borg, 18, won the French Open singles titles at Roland Garros.

Chris Evert
Love match: record-breaking Chris Evert
The glamour kittens ushered in a new era.

Borg won the first of his record six French crowns (including a stunning four-year run between 1978-81) by coming back from two sets down to beat Manuel Ornates.

Evert dismissed Russian Olga Morozova 6-1 6-2 before securing another six wins on the Paris clay - a record yet to be surpassed in women's tennis.


5. 1984 final: John McEnroe v Ivan Lendl

Those critics who felt John McEnroe was his own worst enemy had a field day during this match.

McEnroe had blazed his way through the tournament by swearing, arguing, driving balls at the photographers' pit, claiming he was on a "Haagen-Dazs" diet, and requesting on-court repairs mid-match.

Brilliantly, he took a two-sets-to-love lead against Lendl in final, but then he indulged his temper once too often.

John McEnroe in a sit-down protest
Czech-mate? Not after this final
At 1-1 in the third, McEnroe objected to a cameraman's headset that was emitting the director's instructions and cast it aside.

Lendl held serve and then saved three break points later in the decisive third set when McEnroe berated photographers.

McEnroe, who succumbed 5-7 in the fifth to Lendl, would never win the French Open, and he never had a better chance than that year.

Alas, he became one of the greatest players to miss out on at least one grand slam title.


6. 1988: Steffi Graf v Natasha Zvereva

Graf was at the height of her considerable powers in 1988.

Her French Open victory was crucial to her completion of what became known as the 'golden' Grand Slam: a haul of the four majors augmented by the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics.

Graf refused to acknowledge the enormity of her achievement, but it has since become clear.

Her final win over Russia's Natasha Zvereva was memorable for the scoreline. Graf won 6-0 6-0 in 34 minutes.

It was embarrassing to watch.

"It was worse to play in," said Zvereva. "I wanted to do well, but Graf was so awesome that after the first set I began to think about what I would have to eat for dinner later."


7. 1989: Michael Chang

The son of Taiwanese emigrants, American Michael Chang burst on to the world scene at Roland Garros.

Small and lightweight, he was given little chance.

He was only seeded 15th because of the withdrawals of McEnroe and Thomas Muster, but he was to become the youngest winner of a Grand Slam men's singles title at 17 years and three months, beating Boris Becker's Wimbledon feat in 1985.

Michael Chang
Michael Chang sees the light
Chang toiled for a total of 21 hours, 18 minutes to triumph on the Paris clay.

He beat Stefan Edberg in the final, but the defining moment came in his epic fourth round win over Lendl.

Chang trailed two sets to love against the top seed, but battled back for a remarkable five-set success.

He battled cramp, remained standing at changeovers, munched on bananas, served underarm at the start of the decider to a startled Lendl.

Then, by receiving serve inches outside the service box, psyched the former champion into producing a double fault on match point.

Chang had progressed after four hours, 39 minutes. Lendl looked even more grumpy than usual.


8. 1995 third round: Jana Novotna v Chanda Rubin

Jana Novotna could stage her own competition for "choking" matches, but this occasion - and not the more infamous 1993 Wimbledon final against Steffi Graf - would prove unbeatable.

In a third round match at the 1995 French Open, Novotna, a genuine and decent competitor, met American Chanda Rubin.

Novotna struggled to establish a 6-7 (8-10) 6-4 5-0 lead in an already-intriguing match. With Rubin serving at 0-5, the Czech then secured three match points at 0-40 on Rubin's serve.

Novotna could have played all day and night and she still would not have been able to close out the match.

Rubin saved the match points, then saved another six before emerging victorious 8-6. Novotna cried out in anguish and cried tears of desperation.

It made for unpleasant viewing but, from 0-5 0-40 down, Rubin had achieved the ultimate comeback.


9. 1999: Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf fell in love in Paris in 1999. It was fitting that their careers should also merge at Roland Garros.

Agassi had been beaten by Andres Gomez and Jim Courier in the 1990 and '91 French Open finals respectively.

Critics said he would never add the French honour to those he had already secured at Melbourne Park, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadow in the 1990s.

Andre Agassi
Agassi's global domination is on track
Losing 1-6 2-6 and down a break in the third set to Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev in the 1999 final, Agassi's career looked over.

His desperation to complete the Grand Slam 'set' sparked an unlikely, but thrilling, comeback.

Agassi took the next three sets 6-4 6-3 6-4 and became only the fifth player to ever win the four Majors.

The others are Fred Perry, Donald Budge, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.

Far from carrying out his threat to retire, Agassi was re-born and has assured himself legendary status.


10. 1999 final: Steffi Graf v Martina Hingis

An emotional year at Roland Garros got the better of most on the final Saturday.

Graf had not won a Grand Slam title since 1996, and, after overcoming a number of personal and health problems, she had stated her desire to win one more before retiring.

Hingis wanted the French after losing to Iva Majoli in the final two years previously.

Steffi Graf
My brilliant career: Graf wraps it up
Hingis took a one set lead but Graf secured a dramatic second set 7-5.

Hingis tried all she could, even copying Chang's under-arm serve of a decade ago, but the German closed out a fraught match 6-2 in the decider.

Hingis broke down in tears and stormed off court at the end, only to be hauled out by her mother.

Graf was serene throughout, even capturing the hearts of the Roland Garros audience. They had booed Hingis and cheered Graf.

"I feel French," said Graf.

She retired weeks later with a staggering 22 Grand Slam singles titles, and her romance with Agassi emerged shortly afterwards.

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