Year-by-Year history of the U.S. Open
Posted: Fri August 28, 1998 at 4:28 p.m. EDT
1968 -- Arthur Ashe, a 25-year-old lieutenant in the U.S.
Army, defeats Tom Okker in five sets in the men's
final to become the first American since 1955 to
win the U.S. Open men's singles title. Ashe also
becomes the first African-American man to win a
Grand Slam singles title. Virginia Wade of Britian
knocks off defending champion Billie Jean King in the
1969 -- Rod Laver completes his second Grand Slam by defeating
fellow Australian Tony Roche in the rain-delayed men's
final. The match was pushed back until Monday and a
helicopter was brought in to help dry off the court.
Margaret Court captured the third of her five women's
singles titles and teamed with Marty Riessen to win
the mixed doubles crown.
1970 -- Margaret Court becomes only the second woman to complete
the Grand Slam by defeating Rosie Casals in the women's
final. Court also won the women's doubles and mixed
doubles titles. Ken Rosewall, at the age of 35, wins
his second U.S. Open title 14 years after claiming his
first. The tournament also marks the Grand Slam debut of
the tiebreak and Rosewall wins the first tiebreak in
a Grand Slam final in his victory over Tony Roche.
1971 -- Billie Jean King and Stan Smith give the United States
a sweep of the women's and men's singles titles for the
first time in 16 years. King's semifinal opponent is
16-year-old American Chris Evert, who makes her U.S.
Open debut. Evert will go on to win the U.S. Open six
times and make the semifinals each of the next 15 years.
Men's top seed John Newcombe is stunned in the first
round by Jan Kodes, becoming the first top seed to lose
in the opening round since 1928.
1972 -- Ilie Nastase of Romania battles from a set down to
defeat Arthur Ashe in the dramatic five-set men's
final and Billie Jean King beats Kerry Melville in
straight sets to become the first player in the Open
Era to repeat as singles champion at the U.S. Open.
1973 -- John Newcombe avenges his first-round loss to Jan Kodes
two year earlier by defeating Kodes for his his second
singles title at the U.S. Championships. Margaret Court
outlasts fellow Australian Evonne Goolagong in three
sets for her fourth U.S. Championships singles title.
Newcombe and Court each receive $25,000 for their
victories, marking the first time in tennis history that
men and woman players receive equal prize money.
1974 -- At the age of 22, Jimmy Connors wins the first of his
five U.S. Open titles, defeating 39-year-old Ken Rosewall
6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the most lopsided final in the tournament's
history. Billie Jean King records her fourth singles title,
rallying to beat Evonne Goolagong in the final. The
tournament marks the last time the U.S. Open is played on
1975 -- Night tennis makes its debut at the U.S. Open, the
tournament surface switches to clay and Martina
Navratilova, a 18-year-old from Czechoslovakia, announces
her defection to the United States. Spaniard Manuel
Orantes rallies from 0-5 down in the fourth set and
withholds five match points to defeat Guillermo Vilas
in the semifinals and comes back to beat Jimmy Connors
in the final the following day. Chris Evert wins the
first of her six U.S. Open titles by defeating Evonne
Goolagong. The victory is the 85th in Evert's 125-match
winning streak on clay.
1976 -- Americans Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert celebrate the
bicentennial by claiming their second singles titles.
In the finals, Connors survives a memorable third-set
marathon and defeats Bjorn Borg in four sets and Evert
tops Evonne Goolagong for the second straight year.
1977 -- John McEnroe and Tracy Austin make their U.S. Open
debuts and the U.S. Open bids farewell to the West Side
Tennis Club in Forest Hills. McEnroe loses to Manuel
Orantes in the fourth round and Austin upsets Sue Barker
en route to the quarterfinals. Guillermo Vilas knocks
off Jimmy Connors in the men's final, while Chris Evert
notches her third straight title with a victory over
Wendy Turnbull. Evert is the only woman to win a U.S.
Open singles title on clay.
1978 -- The U.S. Open moves to the newly constructed National
Tennis Center and the surface switches from clay to
hard courts. Sixteen-year-old American Pam Shriver
reaches the women's final, only to lose to Chris Evert,
who ties the record shared by Molla Mallory and Helen
Jacobs by winning her fourth straight U.S. Open title.
Jimmy Connors advances to his fifth straight men's final
and earns his third title by defeating Bjorn Borg. The
victory gives Connors the distinction of being the only
man to win U.S. Open titles on three different surfaces.
1979 -- At the age of 16 years, eight months and 28 days, Tracy
Austin defeats four-time defending champion Chris
Evert to become the youngest champion in U.S. Open history.
Four American men reach the semifinals and two New Yorkers,
John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis, advance to the final.
McEnroe claims his first Grand Slam title and the first
of his four U.S. Open titles with a straight-set victory.
1980 -- John McEnroe wins his second straight U.S. Open title
by defeating Bjorn Borg in a classic five-set final.
Chris Evert captures the women's title for the fifth
time in six years despite taking three months off
earlier in the year. Fifteen-year-old Andrea Jaeger
becomes the youngest semifinalist in U.S. Open history.
1981 -- John McEnroe makes it three in a row, a feat last
achieved by Bill Tilden in 1920-25, by beating Bjorn
Borg in the Swede's final Grand Slam appearance. McEnroe
also teams with Peter Fleming to win the men's doubles
title for the second time. Martina Navratilova,
appearing in her first U.S. Open final, double-faults on
match point in the third set tiebreak to give Tracy
Austin her second U.S. Open title.
1982 -- Ivan Lendl ends John McEnroe's 26-match winning streak
at the U.S. Open in the semifinals, but falls to Jimmy
Connors in the final. Chris Evert wins her sixth and
final U.S. Open title with a straight sets victory over
Hana Mandlikova. Billie Jean King makes her final
singles appearance at the U.S. Open, losing to Susan
Mascarin in the opening round.
1983 -- Jimmy Connors becomes the first male player to win five
U.S. Open titles since Bill Tilden won six straight from
1920-1925. Connors records the historic victory with a
four-set win over Ivan Lendl. Martina Navratilova,
playing in her 11th U.S. Open, earns her first title by
defeating Chris Evert in straight sets.
1984 -- On Saturday, September 8th, in one of the greatest
single-day sessions ever, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe
win five-set semifinals and Martina Navratilova claims
her second straight title with a three-set victory over
Chris Evert. Lendl holds off Pat Cash in an afternoon
match and McEnroe eliminates Jimmy Connors in a match
that ends at 11:13 p.m. McEnroe returns the next day to
defeat Lendl in straight sets for his fourth U.S. Open
1985 -- Ivan Lendl, playing in his fourth straight U.S. Open
final, wins the men's title for the first time with a
straight-set victory over John McEnroe in a rematch of
the 1984 final. Two-time champion Martina Navratilova
falls to Hana Mandlikova in the women's final. At the
age of 14, Mary Joe Fernandez becomes the youngest player
to win a match at the U.S. Open. Fernandez defeats Sara
Gomer of Britain in the opening round.
1986 -- Americans John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, winners of
nine U.S. Open singles titles, are eliminated early
and men's and women's finals feature four players born
in Czechoslovakia. McEnroe falls to Paul Annacone in
the opening round and Connors is upset by Todd Witsken
in the third round. Ivan Lendl defeats Miroslav Mecir
for his second straight title and Martina Navratilova
captures her third U.S. Open crown by defeating Helena
1987 -- Martina Navratilova celebrates the 100th anniversary
of the first women's championships by sweeping all
three titles. She defeats Steffi Graf for her second
straight singles title, wins the women's doubles with
Pam Shriver and teams with Emilio Sanchez to capture
the mixed doubles crown. Ivan Lendl three-peats as
the men's champion, defeating Mats Wilander in a final
pushed back to Monday due to rain.
1988 -- Steffi Graf completes the first Grand Slam in tennis
since Margaret Court in 1970 by beating Gabriela
Sabatini in the women's final. Mats Wilanders avenges
a loss to Ivan Lendl in the 1987 final by dethroning
the three-time champion in a four hour and 55 minute
final -- the longest final in U.S. Open history.
1989 -- Chris Evert's U.S. Open career comes to an end with
a quarterfinal loss to Zina Garrison. Evert's final
victory at the Open is a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Monica
Seles. Steffi Graf defeats Martina Navratilova for her
second straight women's singles title and fellow German
Boris Becker captures the men's title. Becker defeats
Ivan Lendl, who ties Bill Tilden's record by appearing
in his eighth straight U.S. Open final.
1990 -- Pete Sampras becomes the youngest U.S. Open men's
singles champion and Gabriela Sabatini wins her first
Grand Slam title. At the age of 19 years and 28 days,
Sampras defeats Andre Agassi in set straights in the
first All-American final since 1979. Seeded 12th,
Sampras is the lowest men's seed to win the men's title
in the Open Era. Stefan Edberg becomes only the second
number one seed in the Open Era to lose in the first
round as he falls to Russian Alexander Volkov. Sabatini
upsets Steffi Graf in straight sets in the women's final.
1991 -- At the age of 39, wildcard entry Jimmy Connors stages a
remarkable run to the semifinals. Connors rallies from
two sets down to defeat Patrick McEnroe in a four-hour,
35-minute marathon in the first round and comes back
from a two sets to one deficit to knock off Aaron
Krickstein in the fourth round. Connors' quest for a
sixth U.S. Open title comes to an end against Jim Courier,
who wins their semifinal match in straight sets. Courier
is then beaten by in the final by Stefan Edberg, who
becomes the first player in over 30 years to win the
title one year after losing in the first round. Monica
Seles claims the women's singles title with a straight
sets win over Martina Navratilova.
1992 -- Stefan Edberg rallies from a service break down in the
fifth set in consecutive matches against Richard
Krajicek, Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang and defeats
Pete Sampras in the final for his second straight U.S.
Open title. The Edberg-Chang match lasts five hours
and 26 minutes and is believed to be the longest match
in the tournament's history. Monica Seles repeats
as the women's champion, winning seven matches without
dropping a set.
1993 -- Pete Sampras wins his second U.S. Open title and Steffi
Graf notches her third in relatively easy fashion.
Sampras sweeps Cedric Pioline, the first Frenchman to
make the U.S. Open final since Henri Cochet in 1932, and
Graf does the same to Helena Sukova, denying Sukova a
rare U.S. Open "triple". Sukova teams with Arantxa
Sanchez Vicario to win the women's doubles title and
with Todd Woodbridge to capture the mixed doubles crown.
1994 -- Andre Agassi, ranked 20th in the world entering the
tournament, defeats five seeded players en route to
becoming the first unseeded player in the Open Era
to win the men's title. Agassi knocks off Wayne
Ferreira, Michael Chang, Thomas Muster and Todd
Martin before sweeping Michael Stich in the final.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario rallies after dropping the
first set in 25 minutes to defeat Steffi Graf in the
women's final. Sanchez Vicario becomes the first
Spanish woman to win the U.S. Open title.
1995 -- Monica Seles advances to the women's final in her second
tournament since returning from a 2 1/2 year absence,
but is defeated by Steffi Graf, who earns her fourth
U.S. Open title. Graf becomes the first player, male or
female, to win each of the four Grand Slam events at
least four times. Pete Sampras defeats defending
champion and top seed Andre Agassi for his third U.S.
Open title. Boris Becker and Jim Courier join Sampras
and Agassi in the semifinals, marking the first time
ever that four former or current number one players in
the world reach the semis of the U.S. Open.
1996 -- Pete Sampras captured his fourth U.S. Open title and
eighth career Grand Slam title, defeating Michael Chang
in the final. The win was even more special as it would
have been the 45th birthday of his coach Tim Gullikson,
who died four months earlier of brain cancer. Steffi Graf
earned her fifth U.S. Open title by defeating Monica Seles
for the second straight year. The men's and women's
singles finals were the last to be played at Louis
Armstrong Stadium. Two-time champion Stefan Edberg reached
the quarterfinals in his last U.S. Open appearance.
1997 -- The new Arthur Ashe Stadium saw two new U.S. Open singles
champions crowned. Sixteen-year-old Martina Hingis defeated
17-year-old Venus Williams in the youngest Grand Slam
women's final in the Open Era. Hingis became the
second-youngest U.S. Open women's champion with her victory.
Williams was the first unseeded female to reach the U.S.
Open final since Pam Shriver in 1978 and the first
African-American to play in a U.S. Open final since Ashe
in 1972. She also was the first African-American female
to reach the women's singles final since Althea Gibson
in 1958. Williams earned a berth in the final by fighting
off two match points in the third set to defeat Irina Spirlea,
a match that featured a memorable bumping incident during a
changeover. Patrick Rafter became the first Australian male
to win the U.S. Open since John Newcombe in 1973 by defeating
Greg Rusedski, the first Brit to play in a U.S. Open men's
final since Fred Perry in 1934. His performance gave Britain
something to cheer about as Princess Diana died during the
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