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  Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 19:00 GMT
Five of the best
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert
Navratilova and Evert share golden memories
BBC Sport Online looks back at some of the best matches from the Australian Open over the years.


1981 final: Martina Navratilova beat Chris Evert 6-7 6-4 7-5.

Back in 1981 the Open was played on grass at Kooyong and these two were in the middle of a 10-year battle to be the world's number one.

Navratilova, who had recently slipped from one to three in the rankings, lost the first set.

But the Czech-born American was made of stern stuff.

She came back to win the second set and was 5-1 up in the third.

Evert then fought back to 5-5 before finally conceding defeat.


1988 final: Steffi Graf beat Chris Evert 6-1 7-6.

Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf: New era
A new era was ushered in as the 19-year-old German took the 33-year-old Evert to the cleaners.

"At 6-1, 5-1, I felt a little bit like Holmes," said Evert afterwards - a reference to the American boxer Larry Holmes who had just been pulverised by a young Mike Tyson.

Evert then took five games in a row but Graf showed the character that would serve her so well over the next decade when she took the tie-break 7-3.

When asked about the Grand Slam, Graf said: "That's way too far ahead."

In fact, she picked it up the following September after adding the French, Wimbledon and US titles to the win in Melbourne.


1991 semi-final: Monica Seles beat Mary Joe Fernandez 6-3 0-6 9-7.

The 18-year-old Seles was on the way to what would be the first of her four Australian titles but she had a furious battle in temperatures of 134 degrees to reach the final.

"It was like playing in a sauna," said Seles of the conditions.

At 6-7, Fernandez had match point. Seles knew she had to keep the point going as long as possible because her opponent would want to end it quickly.

The tactic worked and Seles, by now totally dehydrated, saved the match point and then broke Fernandez in the next game.


1996 quarter-final: Chanda Rubin beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-4 2-6 16-14

Chanda Rubin
Chanda Rubin: Marathon effort
When the score stood at one-set all after an hour and 11 minutes it was an unmemorable, if close match.

But when Rubin converted her sixth match point it was at the end of a third set that lasted two hours and 22 minutes.

Rubin had struck 68 winners and 96 unforced errors, to reach the last four.

Sanchez Vicario was 4-1 down in the decider, saved two match points at 4-5 and served for it herself at 6-5 and 8-7.

She had four break points at 10-10 but the 19-year-old Rubin was not to be denied.


1999 final: Martina Hingis beat Amelie Mauresmo 6-2 6-3.

The score may have looked decisive but events in Melbourne three years ago are still rumbling on to the present day.

Then, unknown French teenager Mauresmo beat Lindsay Davenport in the semi-finals, after which the American said she "played like a guy".

Hingis pitched in, reportedly calling the openly-lesbian Mauresmo "half a man". Whatever, Mauresmo played like a goddess for much of the match.

She ripped powerful winners from both the forehand and backhand sides and when she broke back to love to level at 3-3 in the second set a surprise looked on the cards.

It took all Hingis' skill and seven match points to secure her third straight Australian title.

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

 

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