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On This Date in Sports July 5, 1980: Bjorn Again

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Bjorn Borg of Sweden wins his fifth straight Wimbledon Singles title, beating American John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6. The highlight of the match is the fourth set, when McEnroe battles through seven match points, before winning the tiebreaker 18-16. Borg is finally able to dispatch McEnroe 8-6 in the final set becoming the first man to win five straight Wimbledon titles since Lawrence Doherty 1902-1906.

Born June 6, 1956, in Stockholm, Sweden, Bjorn Borg became the most dominant tennis star in Europe, rising to number one in the world. He was especially strong on the grass at Wimbledon and the Clay Courts of Roland Garros as he won five straight tiles at the All-England Club and won the French Open six times in seven years. However, his failures in the U.S. Open prevented him from getting the true respect of the entire tennis world.

John McEnroe, born in New York City on February 16, 1959, was the brash rising star as 1980 began. After winning the U.S. Open in 1979 McEnroe rose and supplanted Borg as the number one player in the world. The two were on a collision course in 1980 and their rival came to ahead at the finals in London in the Gentleman’s Final.

John McEnroe dominated the first set, winning 6-1. Borg battled back in the second and won 7-5 to even the match and took control in the third set with a dominant 6-3 win. The fourth set would help the match become neither star was willing to give an inch as a tiebreaker was needed. Back and forth they battled, as McEnroe fought off match point seven times, before winning 18-16 in a tiebreak that itself lasted 20 minutes. Eventually, Bjorn Borg would emerge victorious as McEnroe was unable to break his serve. Borg would win the final set 8-6 for the final of his five straight Wimbledon Titles.

The five straight Wimbledon titles and previously only been accomplished by Lawrence Doherty 1902-1906. After Borg, Roger Federer became the third man to win a singles title five straight years at Wimbledon. Bjorn Borg’s reign came to an end in 1981, as John McEnroe won the rematch in four sets 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.