This Date in French Open History: June 6
Every morning of the French Open, we'll take a look back at a memorable match that occurred on that calendar day at Roland Garros.
June 6, 1989: Michael Chang d. Ivan Lendl, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
He was a fresh-faced teenager who looked so unimposing that he was sometimes mistaken for a ball kid, but Michael Chang made his mark on the red clay playing a starring role in tennis’ memorable David vs. Goliath saga.
Chang fought off crippling cramps and three-time French Open champion Ivan Lendl, calling on the power of perseverance and an underhanded serve he now describes as the stone that helped slay Goliath. In a stunning upset, Chang stormed back from a two-set deficit to defeat the world No. 1 in a fourth-round match that spanned four hours and 39 minutes. Chang’s legs were throbbing with cramps when he hit the serve in the fifth set, which drew Lendl to net. Champ would pass him with a forehand winner down the line; later, a rattled Lendl double faulted on match point to end the dramatic encounter.
This win came two rounds after Chang surrendered just three games in a second-round thrashing of Pete Sampras. Chang pulled off another memorable comeback in the final, rallying for a historic 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Stefan Edberg in a victory that made him the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion at 17 years, three months.
The counter-puncher knocked out champions with a series of inspired victories to capture his lone Grand Slam title. The 15th-seeded Chang also snapped a 34-year U.S. men’s title drought in Paris, becoming the first American man to rule Roland Garros since Tony Trabert in 1955.
“I think I appreciate it a lot more now then back when I was 17 years old. I think one of the good things about being 17 years old is maybe you don't quite grasp what is taking place when it happens,” Chang told us recently. “You just love being out there. People said: 'Well, if you win this match you're going to be the youngest Grand Slam champion.' And you're like: 'Oh yeah, that sounds cool!' But it doesn't really grasp you at the time.”
May 27 (1992): Connors goes down swinging
May 28 (1983): Horvath spoils perfection
May 29 (1998): Safin shocks the champ
May 30 (1999): Agassi defeats Moya
May 31 (2003): Robredo's remarkable rally
June 1 (1993): Fernandez foils a friend
June 2 (1994): Pierce pummels Graf in semis
June 3 (2001): Kuerten's comeback vs. Russell
June 4 (2005): Henin, the Queen of Clay
June 5 (2010): Francesca wins the final
June 6 (1989): The underdog's underhanded serve
June 7 (1981): Borg's final final-round triumph
June 8 (1996): 10-8 in the third: Graf vs. A. S-V
June 9 (2001): Capriati's 12-10 win over Clijsters
June 10 (1990): Gomez denies flashy Agassi