This Date in Wimbledon History: June 30

by: Ed McGrogan | June 30, 2012

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TENNIS.com

Every morning during Wimbledon, we'll take a look back at a memorable match that occurred on that calendar day at the All England Club.

June 30, 1977: Bjorn Borg d. Vitas Gerulaitis
Semifinals; 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6

Good friends and longtime practice partners squared off for just their third professional meeting and produced an all-time classic Centre Court clash.

It was billed as a match of contrasting styles, pitting the net-rushing New Yorker's attacking game against Borg's unerring baseline counter-strikes, but it became a battle of shotmaking brilliance from all areas of the court. Two of the Open era's quickest players made phenomenal retrievals in collaborating on some jaw-dropping points. Watch the video above to view the graceful movement of both men as they change direction as smoothly as changing grips, and notice how Borg, an underrated server, displays the uncanny ability to strike some of his biggest serves on crucial points.

Borg had fought back from a two-set deficit in the second round to beat Mark Edmonson, 3-6, 7-9, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, and was in position to reach his second consecutive final. Serving for the third time to extend the decisive set, the eighth-seeded Gerulaitis blinked in committing successive volley errors. When Borg looped a soaring lob that snuck over a leaping Gerulaitis' outstretched racquet, he had double match point, and closed when the American lost his footing near net and pushed a forehand volley that strayed outside the lines.

"It was a great match, yes," Borg said years later. "Vitas was a great person with a great heart. He was my practice partner for many, many years. He was like a brother to me. I miss him. I think all the tennis world misses him."

Though Gerulaitis often beat the stoic Swede in their practice matches at his Long Island home, he never defeated him in a pro match—Borg won all 16 of their encounters.


June 25: Craybas stuns Serena (2005)
June 26: Rusedski falls to World's Biggest Loser (2000)
June 27: Zheng slays No. 1, reaches milestone (2008)
June 28: Henman's last hurrah (2007)
June 29: British Invasion: Wade beats Evert (1977)
June 30: Bjorn, Vitas collaborate on a classic (1977)
July 1: Tarango walks out (1995)
July 2: Borg fends off Connors in fifth set (1977)
July 3: Sharapova becomes a star (2004)
July 4: McEnroe finally beats Borg (1981)
July 5: Venus defeats, then defeats with, Serena (2008)
July 6: Rafter catches Agassi at the end (2001)
July 7: Becker becomes youngest champion (1985)
July 8: Mauresmo denies Henin Wimbledon (2006)

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