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Some matches had more sustained tennis excellence than Bjorn Borg's 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6 victory over John McEnroe in the 1980 final. However, the 34-point, fourth-set tiebreaker trumps all challengers for its 22 minutes of riveting, memorable entertainment.
Long-time New York Times tennis writer Neil Amdur was enthralled by Rafael Nadal's 2008 victory over Roger Federer.
"But," he wrote in the New York Times in 2011, "after watching chunks of the 3:53 McEnroe-Borg final at an HBO screening, I am tempted again to reaffirm its place as the sport’s single most compelling piece of court magic."
The match had plenty of intrigue simply because of the contrasting styles and personas of the participants. They also were the top two seeds, acknowledged as the best players in the world at the time.
However, the match reached another level in the seemingly endless tiebreaker.
McEnroe, who had survived a double match point against him earlier in the fourth set, fought off five more match points in the tiebreaker.
Borg, meanwhile, survived six set points against him in the tiebreaker, which included five side changes. Finally, on McEnroe's seventh set point, Borg netted a volley, ending a tiebreaker that had lasted only five minutes less than the entire first set.
"The drama of the 18-16 fourth set tie breaker in McEnroe-Borg was like a riveting, unscripted theatrical experience," Amdur wrote.
Borg's resilience in winning the fifth set, 8-6, added to the match's lore, but did not match the compelling tiebreaker as a memorable experience.