* I’ve written a fair amount about Jimmy Connors as well as his 1991 US Open run so I won’t use any Jimmy Connors matches.
1987 John McEnroe d. Slobodan Zivojinovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3
McEnroe went bonkers during the match. “Bobo” was a player I liked to watch due to his crushing serve. At the time, I wanted Zivojinovic to win the match, but the match sticks out in my memory despite not being thrilled with the final 2 sets. It was not a great match, but it made a lasting impression on me.
5. 1990 Pete Sampras d. Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
I had liked what I saw from Sampras when he beat Mats Wilander in 1989 at the US Open. I saw Sampras beat Muster in the round of 16 and told someone, “He could beat Lendl. Edberg killed Lendl at Wimbledon and this guy plays a lot like Edberg.” That was my 14-year-old attempt at analysis, and it came out okay. His clean win over McEnroe in the semis was exciting as well. Still, I thought Agassi would win the final and that Sampras would be a future champion. Instead, Pete was unbreakable and clobbered Agassi. It was one of the most impressive championship performances I had ever seen.
4. 1988 Mats Wilander d. Ivan Lendl 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
By today’s standards, this match might seem to be a bit dull. I started playing and following tennis in the summer of 1985. Ivan Lendl was largely #1 the entire time I had been watching the sport. I was not a huge Lendl fan at the time. The entire year seemed to build to this match. Lendl beat Wilander in 2 1987 major finals. Tennis Magazine ended 1987 asking if anyone could stop Lendl. Wilander came out and won the Australian and French Opens to start 1988. Wilander also won Miami and Cincinnati. He still trailed Lendl in the rankings entering the US Open. The two men met and fought for over 4 hours. Wilander dethroned Lendl even if his stay at #1 would not last long. I was excited to see a changing of the guard as it was the first I really understood as I was too new to the sport to understand what Lendl’s 1985 US Open win over John McEnroe meant.
My 3rd-1st Memories Will Be Up Tomorrow!