Aussies at Roland Garros – Ken McGregor 1951
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros.
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.
In the days before the tiebreak was introduced, all five sets of Grand Slam tournaments were played until one player wrested a two-game advantage. It was a system that Australian Ken McGregor and South African Eric Sturgess put to the test in the Roland Garros 1951 semifinals.
Hoping to win his first singles major, the powerful McGregor traded sets with Sturgess. It was Sturgess who grabbed the early lead, taking the first set 10-8 before McGregor struck back to take the second 9-7. The pair split the next two sets but it would be Sturgess who got the edge in the final set.
After 76 sapping games Sturgess triumphed 10-8 7-9 8-6 5-7 9-7. But the win came at a cost – Sturgess lost the final in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-3 to Czechoslovakia’s Jaroslav Drobny.
Meanwhile, McGregor got some consolation winning the doubles title with countryman Frank Sedgman.
While Sturgess would never realise his dream of winning a Grand Slam singles title – he loss all three singles finals he played in – McGregor won his home major, the Australian Open, the following year in 1952.
A long match by anyone’s standards, this is not the longest ever at Roland Garros – that honour goes to an 83-game stand-off in 1957 between Robert Mark and Antal Jancso. Mark won 13-15 6-3 6-8 8-6 10-8.
Profile: Ken McGregor
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
1951 Ken McGregor plays a marathon semifinal against South African Eric Sturgess.