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  Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 18:56 GMT
Five classic matches
Andre Agassi with the Australian Open trophy he won in 2000
2000: Agassi's semi-final against Sampras was a classic
BBC Sport Online looks back at some of the best matches from the Australian Open over the years.


1969 semi-final: Rod Laver beat Tony Roche 7-5, 22-20, 9-11, 1-6, 6-3.

With the start of the Open era came the face everyone in Australia wanted to see - Rod Laver.

This match against his countryman lasted four hours, 35 minutes.

The second set alone, in the days before tie-breaks, lasted more than two hours.

The match was so close it turned on a tight call in the fifth set.

Roche was serving at 3-4 when a shot from Laver was given in, although it looked out. It gave Laver two break points.

Roche saved them, but still lost the game and Laver served out to take the match.


1975 final: John Newcombe beat Jimmy Connors 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6.

"He should do more talking with his racket than his mouth. Every time I reach a final, Newcombe is missing." So said Jimmy Connors in the run-up to the tournament.

Feelings were so high in the fourth set the American deliberately threw away a point with a double fault in frustration after a series of bad calls.

But at the end, Newcombe said: "Today, Jimmy Connors proved to me that a champion has to know how to win - and how to lose.

"He's proved to me that he is a true champion."


1990 fourth round: Mikael Pernfors beat John McEnroe 1-6, 6-4, 5-7, 4-2 default

John McEnroe confronts the Umpire
1990: John McEnroe was thrown out
The result that many people had wanted for more than a decade - foul-mouthed McEnroe was thrown out for swearing at the umpire, supervisor and referee.

The American had already been warned for intimidating a lineswoman and docked a point for smashing a racket.

He thought he had one 'life' left - the deduction of a game - but he miscalculated.

The new Code of Conduct had just been introduced and his volley of abuse led British umpire Gerry Armstrong to default him out there and then.

"I can't say I'm surprised," said McEnroe. "It was bound to happen."


1995 quarter final: Pete Sampras beat Jim Courier 6-7, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

With Sampras's coach Tim Gullikson having just been diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually kill him, Sampras broke down in tears early in the first set.

Courier offered to play the match against his friend the next day, but Sampras carried on to complete a win that had commentators comparing it with John McEnroe's 1980 Wimbledon final against Bjorn Borg.

Afterwards, Sampras said, with typical understatement: "That was one of the better matches I've ever taken part in. I'm proud I didn't quit."


2000 semi-final: Andre Agassi beat Pete Sampras 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1.

While John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl seemed to play each other every other week, matches between the two stars of the next generation have been rare.

When they do come together it has often been an anti-climax, usually because Agassi is in a slump.

But two years ago they produced the classic fans had been waiting for.

Sampras could have won in the fourth set tie-break, but Agassi levelled, and after the former injured his hip in the fifth set, the latter completed the come back with some of the best tennis of his life.

Links to more Australian Open stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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