FULL VERSION Borg vs Lendl 1981 Roland Garros

Copyrights - INA - Institut National de l'Audiovisuel

Thank you for your gracious use of this classic match!

PertSnergleman's Review:

The 1981 edition of Roland Garros produced nothing new in terms of the last man standing, with Bjorn Borg winning his record-breaking sixth crown in Paris to become the most successful player in the history of this Major.

The great Swede had overcome the challenge from a young Ivan Lendl, junior champion here a few years ago, and he needed three hours and 13 minutes to score a 6-1 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-1 victory in what turned out to be his last match in Paris, never returning to play the French Open despite the fact he just turned 25.

Lendl made his professional debut at this event three years earlier and he was already one of the finest clay courters in the world, scoring two wins in six previous matches against Bjorn and hoping to win his first Grand Slam crown.

He failed to emerge as a winner in this one, though, unable to follow Bjorn's pace in the deciding set, and he would have to wait for another three years before he finally broke the spell and became a Grand Slam champion here in 1984.

It was a gruelling baseline battle but Borg found the way to impose his shots in a more efficient way, preserving more energy for a decider and proving his spirit of a champion for the one last time, as he never won another Major title again, losing in the final to John McEnroe at Wimbledon and the US Open.

It was a great battle right from the start, but it was Bjorn who drew first blood with a forehand down the line winner two games later, opening a 3-1 advantage and gaining the momentum in set one.

The Czech needed a much better start in set number two and he broke Bjorn for the first time in game two to forge a lead, making another quick hold in game three with a service winner for a solid 3-0 advantage.

Nonetheless, Borg bounced back and he erased the deficit when Ivan double faulted in the fifth game and the result was levelled at 3-3 after a forehand error from the Czech in game six. A smash winner ended Lendl's poor run to move him 4-3 ahead and he earned a break in a marathon game 10 when Borg's volley found the net to grab the set 6-4 and level the overall score to one set apiece.

After four good holds, the Swede was the dominant figure on court wrapping up the third.

Ivan had to raise his level and he did that in set number four, jumping into a 3-1 lead when Borg double faulted in game four and they were off towards the deciding set, the first in Roland Garros final since 1974 when Bjorn lifted his first trophy in Paris

Lendl managed to pull one break back in game five after an unforced error from Borg but the mountain he had to climb in order to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard was just too big for him at that moment. He sprayed a forehand long in game six to suffer another break and Bjorn held in game seven following another error from his opponent to cross the finish line and lift what turned out to be his 11th and last Major title.

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