Best women's French Open matches since 1980
Comebacks and controversy highlight the top women's matches from the French Open. From Chanda Rubin's comeback to Justine Henin-Hardenne's denial, here are ESPN.com's top five women's French Open matches since 1980 (listed chronologically).
Mary Joe Fernandez vs. Gabriela Sabatini -- 1993 quarterfinals
Imagine being up 6-1, 5-1 and having chance after chance to finish off the match and not being able to do so. Unfortunately for Gabriela Sabatini, this scenario was all too true in 1993. In all, the Argentine had five match points, none of which she capitalized on. Fernandez finally prevailed 10-8 in the third set of a match that lasted 3 hours, 36 minutes.
Chanda Rubin vs. Jana Novotna -- 1995 third round
Novotna had experienced this before. In the 1993 Wimbledon final, she lost a 4-1 lead in the third set to Steffi Graf and ultimately lost the championship. Two years later, history would repeat itself.
Leading 5-0, 40-love in the final set, Novotna could not close out Rubin. Novotna had nine match points in all, none of which she capitalized on. Rubin came all the way back, winning the third set 8-6. At Wimbledon in '93, knowing the pressure had gotten the better of her, Novotna cried on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent. This time, however, she blamed only herself, saying, "This happens to everybody."
Steffi Graf vs. Martina Hingis -- 1999 final
It was a classic case of old school vs. new school. Graf had not won a Grand Slam title in more than two years while Hingis was seeking the only slam that has eluded her.
Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images
Martina Hingis needed help from her mom after her loss in the 1999 final.
Hingis won the first set 6-4 and was within three points of the championship in the second before dropping the set and eventually the match. Hingis -- trying anything to rally a comeback in the final set, even took a page out of Michael Chang's book and served underhanded. It did not work. At the conclusion of the match, Hingis left the court in tears and had to be hauled back in by her mother for the awards ceremony. For Graf, it was her 22nd and final Grand Slam title.
Jennifer Capriati vs. Kim Clijsters -- 2001 final
Just a few months earlier, Capriati had shocked the tennis world by capturing her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open -- 12 years after making her pro debut. In Paris, the American was looking to become the fifth woman to win the first two legs of the Grand Slam in the same season.
It didn't start off well for Capriati, who dropped the first set 6-1. However, after winning the second set, Capriati went nose-to-nose with Clijsters in the final set before finally putting it away, 12-10. It was the longest third set (in terms of games played) for any Grand Slam final in the Open era. More important, the win resurrected Capriati, whose career had been derailed by drugs and personal problems. And, for the time being, Capriati was the
dominant player in women's tennis.
Justine Henin-Hardenne vs. Serena Williams -- 2003 semifinals
Williams had just captured the "Serena Slam" in January at the Australian Open. As Williams chased her fifth consecutive Grand Slam title, she and Henin-Hardenne were in the midst of a tight third set. In the latter stages of the set, with Williams serving at 4-2, the Belgian raised her hand to call time. Williams should have been awarded a first serve, but her opponent denied making the gesture. Rarely rattled, Williams lost the set 7-5 -- and with it her 33-match Grand Slam win streak.