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  Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Flushing Meadows men's memories
John McEnroe
John McEnroe takes a break at Flushing Meadows
A look back at five memorable men's US Open matches.


1980 Final: John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg 7-6 6-1 6-7 7-5 6-4.

Less than two months after their epic final at Wimbledon - where the Swede had picked up his fifth and final title - McEnroe gained revenge in the most thrilling fashion.

It was such a physical battle that the American later said he thought his body was going to fall apart in the fifth set.

But it was Borg's serve that went to pieces when it mattered and McEnroe retained the title he won for the first time the year before.

In 1981 they met again in the final with the same outcome, a result that led Borg to realise he was yesterday's man and retire aged just 27.


1981 Third Round: Jimmy Connors beat Andres Gomez 6-7 6-3 6-1 4-6 7-6.

Connors had already won three of his five US crowns but had one of his toughest battles against Ecuador's Gomez, who went on to win the French Open in 1990.

A double fault from the American left Gomez serving for the match at 6-5 in the fifth set and he came within two points of victory at 30-30.

But showing the sort of spirit that typified his game, Connors put him under such pressure that he forced two errors to break back.

Andres Gomez
Andres Gomez gave Jimmy Connors a fright

The temperature rose even more in the tie-break when Connors squandered two mini-breaks, but in his second match point he served an ace.

Despite this thrilling win, Connors lost in the semi-final to Bjorn Borg and had to wait another year for his fourth title.


1996 Quarter-final: Pete Sampras beat Alex Corretja 7-6 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-6.

Those who describe Sampras as boring and having no personality would do well to watch a video of this match.

As it reached its latter stages, it was clear the American was ill with what was later diagnosed as dehydration.

Between points in the fifth set tie-break he would go to the back of the court and lean on his racket, wracked in agony from stomach pains.

As the tie-break reached its climax, he was physically sick on court.

What did he do?

He hit a second service ace. Corretja was so stunned he handed Sampras the match with a double fault.

Afterwards, the Spaniard slumped into his seat, his head in his hands. Few were surprised when Sampras went on to win his fourth championship.


1997 Final: Pat Rafter beat Greg Rusedski 6-3 6-2 4-6 7-5.

Pat Rafter
Pat Rafter wins in 1997

It may not have been the greatest match ever, but five years ago Greg Rusedski became the first British man to reach the final of a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936.

During the match, Rusedski hit a then world record service speed of 143mph, but it was Rafter's canny serve and volley tactics that were decisive.

After dropping the first two sets, Rusedski showed enormous courage and determination to take the third.

A comeback was on the cards when the unseeded British player won three games in a row to level at 4-4 in the fourth set, but it was not to be.


1999 Fourth Round: Todd Martin beat Greg Rusedski 5-7 0-6 7-6 6-4 6-4.

With Pete Sampras and Pat Rafter sidelined by injuries, the winner of this match looked to have a clear run through to the final.

Todd Martin
Todd Martin celebrates beating Greg Rusedski

And so it turned out, but the winner was Martin and not ninth seed and favourite Rusedski.

From a point where he served for a comfortable win in the third set, Rusedski somehow managed to fashion a defeat against a man whose leg was encased in a huge knee support and was also suffering from an arm injury.

It was one of the worst defeats of Rusedski's career - but also one of the most dramatic ever played at Flushing Meadows.

Rusedski even led 4-1 in the fifth set before Martin, himself no stranger to choking, came back to take 20 of the last 21 points.

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