The Grand Slam has given us some classics over the years.

The French Open is currently going on in Paris and has already produced some classic tennis matches. Be it the all-German affair of Alexander Zverev versus Oscar Otte or the Austrian and Spanish encounter between Dominic Thiem and Pablo Andujar. The women’s matches also have had their moments, as Barbora Krejcikova upset Elina Svitolina in the third round on Saturday.

The clay court of Roland Garros has always entertained tennis fans with some masterpieces. So, let’s take a look at some of the most riveting matches that the French Open has provided us:

5. Arantxa Vicario Vs Steffi Graf (1989)

The 17-year-old Arantxa Vicario Sanchez beat Steffi Graf to lift her first Grand Slam title. The victory made Sanchez the first Spanish woman tennis player to win the French Open. She won the first set even though she was trailing in the tiebreaker. Graf responded by taking the second and pushed it to a thrilling final set.

Despite the odds being stacked against her Sanchez did not give up. In the end, it was the teenager’s strong determination that saw her through. Sanchez broke Graf to love and then ultimately clinched the match with a 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 scoreline. This was the win that put the Spaniard’s name on the map and marked the beginning of a great rivalry.

4. Rafael Nadal Vs Roger Federer (2005)

Nadal won his first Grand Slam title in 2005

The match that kick-started the Federer-Nadal rivalry was played at Roland Garros. Moreover, it was the first meeting between the two at a Grand Slam tournament. Both the players had met each other twice before and stood even at 1-1.

Nadal was already deemed the favourite to win the tournament keeping in mind his spectacular record till then. Federer, on the other hand, was the No. 1 seed looking for the elusive French Open title. The Spaniard utilized his form, while the Swiss succumbed to unforced errors. Nadal broke Federer’s serve nine times in a very exciting semi-final clash.

The match was so intense that it also had Federer having some emotional outbursts on the court, something that is very uncharacteristic of the multi-time Grand Slam champion. Nadal got his victory when Federer overshot his forehand. The match ended 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Nadal giving him his first success at the Garros. Moreover, the victory coincided with his birthday week and made it the perfect birthday present.

3. Maria Sharapova Vs Simona Halep (2014)

Maria Sharapova had a hard-fought match against Romania’s Simona Halep in the French Open final in 2014. The seventh seeded Sharapova won her second French Open and fifth Grand Slam title overall in the process. The Russian was more experienced than her Romanian foe, who was making her first Grand Slam appearance.

Sharapova had a rough start to the match and conceded a break-point in the first game. However, she overcame that to equal the points at 2-2. She then had some rallies to take the opening set. Halep answered back strongly and snatched a match point out of the Russian’s grasp to take the second set into a tie-breaker. Halep won the tiebreak and setup a decider.

Finally, it was Sharapova’s experience that got her through. The Russian managed to overpower Halep and ran towards her camp in joy after the victory. The match ended with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 scoreline.

2. Novak Djokovic Vs Marco Cecchinato (2018)

Cecchinato registered his most famous win against Djokovic

The quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Marco Cecchinato is the true epitome of a Grand Slam Cinderella story. The 72nd ranked Italian triumphed over the then 12-time Grand Slam champion in a four set classic and has truly earned his place in tennis history. It was surprising as the Italian had never won a match at the Grand Slam before this event.

The match had it all. From one player taking the lead to the other equaling it. It was laced with superb winners from both ends, drop shots, unforced errors and 25-shot rallies. In the end, it was the Italian who pulled it off. As Djokovic rushed to the net to congratulate his opponent the scoreboard read 6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 in favour of Cecchinato.

1. Novak Djokovic Vs Rafael Nadal (2013)

Dubbed as one of the best clay court matches of all-time, the semi-final of the 2013 French Open was as engrossing as it gets. The pulsating 4 hour and 37 minute match had all the intensity and drama.

Like for instance, Djokovic losing his balance in an adrenaline rush smash while he was 4-3 up in the first set and ultimately losing the point and game to give Nadal a chance to level at 4-4. The Serb also asked the chair umpire if the ends of the court could be watered, as he was struggling with his footing. The request was denied.

Both the players were not willing to give an inch. With Nadal leading 2-1, Djokovic took the fourth set to a tiebreak eventually winning it. But finally, it was the Spaniard who triumphed after a hard-fought final set. The match finished 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 to Nadal in the blistering cockpit of Court Philippe Chatrier.

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