Aussies at Roland Garros – Margaret Smith 1962
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.
Margaret Smith reigned as the Australian Open women’s singles champion for three consecutive years before winning her first Grand Slam title away from home.
A Roland Garros quarterfinalist in 1961, Smith returned to Paris in 1962 as the second seed behind Great Britain’s Ann Haydon. This time around, Smith was more relaxed – she had changed her travelling arrangements from the previous year and was better prepared.
Smith cruised through the early rounds and wasn’t pressed until the semifinals when sixth seed Rene Schuurman provided some resistance, but not enough that Smith couldn’t overcome. Smith won 8-6 6-3 to move into the final without having dropped a set. Her opponent would be countrywoman and 13th seed Lesley Turner. Turner, in comparison, had had a more difficult route to the final, including a three-set stoush with top seed Haydon.
The outright favourite going into the final, Smith took the opening set 6-3 before Turner stunned her hard-hitting opponent by levelling at a set apiece. Not content with just taking a set off Smith, Turner put herself in a match-winning position, bringing up a match point. But Smith, as was her trademark, refused to lie down. She saved the match point and clawed her way back from the brink to snatch the deciding third set 7-5.
The women’s singles title of 1962 was Smith’s first in Paris, but it would by no means be her last. In fact it was just the beginning of a record-setting winning spree for this Australian in Paris.
Profiles: Margaret (Smith) Court
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
1962 Margaret Smith wins her first major on foreign soil