Greatest Tennis Match of Every Year- Women’s Edition

This is my eighth (and likely final) installment of the COVID-19 sports reflection lists that have become so popular on this blog.  To read the previous three articles in this anthology, you can click on the following links: the greatest college football regular season games by yearthe greatest college football postseason games by year,  the greatest Wake Forest games by yearNCAA tournament upset analysisranking every NCAA tournament, the greatest NCAA tournament games by year, and greatest men’s tennis match by year.   I just finished with my list of greatest men’s matches of all-time so it is only right that I also do the same for the ladies, especially since women’s tennis reigns supreme in popularity amongst all female sports relative to their male counterparts.

I have scoured the internet, as well as other sources, and have not find anyone that has compiled a thorough list of the best tennis match of every year from the first grand slam in 1884 to today.  There have been many rankings of the greatest matches of all-time (Bleacher ReportTennis PredictThe Top TensSports RetrieverSteve Flink’s well-written book, and USA Today) which I have utilized in my analysis, but no one to my knowledge, has actually selected the best match for every year women’s mainstream tennis has been played, like you will see below.

I established a few ground rules going into this, and the biggest one is that grand slam matches are so much more meaningful that other tour matches that the list is almost entirely composed of matches played in the four majors.  I also took into account several factors when determining which match was truly the best for a particular year, including the match’s significance in determining the ultimate tournament champion (finals inherently mean more), the improbability of the final outcome, and the overall excitement of the match.  Without further ado, here is my selection for the match of the year for every year women’s tennis has been played.  The matches in bold I have listed are my selections for the best of that particular decade, and as always feel free to comment or debate.

1884Maud Watson defeats Lilian Watson 6-8, 6-3, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)
Amazon.com: Tennis Wimbledon 1884 Nmaud Watson Defeating Her Sister Lilian  Watson To Win The Inaugural Ladies Singles At The 1884 Wimbledon  Championship Contemporary English Engraving Poster Print by (18 x 24):  Posters & Prints

An epic battle of sisters decides the inaugural Wimbledon title (portrait of match pictured above). These two were the most dominant tennis sisters until the Williams came along over 100 years later.

1885Jane Meikle defeats Lilian Watson 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon First Round)

Watson gets knocked off in the first round a year after losing to her sister in the final.

1886Blanche Hillyard defeats Lilian Watson 6-3, 8-6 (Wimbledon Semifinal)
1886 Wimbledon Championships - Wikipedia

Watson clearly had a pension for losing tight matches as she loses the match of the tournament for the third straight year at Wimbledon, this time to the eventual champion Hillyard (pictured above).

1887Ellen Hansell defeats Helen Day Harris 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 (US Open Semifinal)
Ellen Hansell

The first US women’s national championships were won by Hansell (pictured at her hall of fame induction ceremony years later) who had to overcome this one set to love deficit to just make the final.

1888Bertha Townsed defeats Adeline Robinson 1-6, 6-5, 6-3 (US Open Semifinal)
Bertha Townsend Toulmin

Townsend (pictured above) becomes the second US women’s national champion by surviving this semifinal scare.

1889Blance Hillyard defeats Lena Rice 4-6, 8-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)

Hillyard wins her second of six Wimbledon singles titles by saving three match points while down 3-5 in the second set.

1890Lena Rice defeats May Jacks 6-4, 6-1 (Wimbledon Final)
Lena Rice - Wikipedia

Rice (pictured above), the previous year’s runner-up, won this one in a run away fashion, but even though it wasn’t close, the match was historic as Rice is credited with inventing the overhead smash by using it effectively on championship point.

1891Mabel Cahill defeats Ellen Roosevelt 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 (US Open Final)
Mabel Cahill

The Brit Cahill becomes the first foreign champion of this tournament with an impressive win over the tourney’s defending champion and FDR’s first cousin.

1892Mabel Cahill defeats Elisabeth Moore 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 (US Open Final)

Cahill successfully defends her title with this dramatic five set victory (yes, the women played best of five sets in this tournament at this time) over the 17 year old American.

1893Lottie Dod defeats Blance Hillyard 6-8, 6-1, 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)
Lottie Dod

These two superstars of earlier women’s tennis square off in a tight three set war.

1894Helen Hellwig defeats Aline Terry 7-5, 3-6, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 (US Open Final)
Helen Hellwig's GS Performance Timeline & Stats

Hellwig (pictured above), who later became president of the Daughters of the American Revoluation, won her only grand slam singles crown with this triumphant five set victory over Terry.

1895Charlotte Cooper defeats Helen Jackson 7-5, 8-6 (Wimbledon Final)
Charlotte Cooper (tennis) - Wikipedia

Cooper (pictured above) survives two tight sets to win the first of her five Wimbledon titles.

1896Alice Pickering defeats Edith Austin 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 (Wimbledon Semifinal)
Alice Pickering - Wikipedia

Even though Pickering (pictured above) would eventually lose the final to the defending champ Cooper, this come from behind victory was undoubtedly the match of the tournament.

1897Juliette Atkinson defeats Elisabeth Moore 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 (US Open Final)

These five set women’s finals, which the US Open had for several years, had to have been quite entertaining to watch. This was Atkinson’s second of three US Open singles crowns.

1898Juliette Atkinson defeats Marion Jones 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 (US Open Final)
Juliette Atkinson - Wikipedia

Atkinson (pictured above) survived five match points in the fifth set to win her third and final US National Championship title.

1899Blanche Hillyard defeats Edith Austin 8-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Quarterfinal)

Hillyard survives two tight sets en route to her fifth Wimbledon title.

1900Blanche Hillyard defeats Charlotte Cooper 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)
File:Blanche hillyard vs charlotte cooper sterry at the 1901 Wimbledon final.jpg

Powerhouse matchup between two women who won a total of 11 Wimbledon titles. Hillyard edges Cooper in this one giving her the 6-5 edge in all-time Wimbledon singles titles. However, Cooper would get revenge on Hillyard and beat her in the Wimbledon Ladies Final the following year (pictured above).

1901Elisabeth Moore defeats Marion Jones 4-6, 1-6, 9-7, 9-7, 6-3 (US Open Semifinal)
Elisabeth Moore - Wikipedia

Moore had to win back-to-back five setters to clinch this title. This was the first and the most impressive of those victories since she had to come back from two sets to love down.

1902Louisa Martin defeats Ruth Dyas Durlacher 6-8, 6-4, 7-5 (Irish Open Final)
Mollie martin.jpg

The Irish Open was considered as big as Wimbledon in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Martin (pictured above) won this edition of the event by outlasting Durlacher, who was runner-up in this event four different times.

1903Dorothea Douglass defeats Ethel Thomson 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 (Wimbledon Final)
2Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers - Wikipedia

Douglass (pictured above) wins the first of her seven Wimbledon singles titles with this three set win over Thomson.

1904Agnes Morton defeats Ethel Thomson 8-6, 2-6, 8-6 (Wimbledon Third Round)
Agnes Morton – Wikipedia

Thomson loses the match of the tournament for the second consecutive year as Morton wins two 8-6 sets en route to a trip to the All Comers’ Final.

1905Constance Wilson defeats Blanche Hillyard 7-5, 9-11, 6-2 (Wimbledon Semifinal)

The legendary Hillyard, who won her first Wimbledon 19 years prior to this match, drops a three set heartbreaker to Wilson .

1906Charlotte Cooper defeats Toupie Lowther 4-6, 8-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Semifinal)

Even though Dorothea Douglas got the best of her in the final, Cooper won the match of the tourney with this come from behind victory over future World War I hero Toupie Lowther.

1907Carrie Neely defeats Rachel Harlan 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 (US Open Quarterfinal)
Carrie neely 1905.jpg

Neely (pictured above) survives a rough first set to come back and win this three setter en route to her first and only US Open singles finals appearance.

1908Marie Wagner defeats Carrie Neely 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 (US Open Quarterfinal)
Marie Wagner - Wikipedia

Future hall of famer Wagner (pictured above) gets the best of Neely in this tight 3 setter.

1909Maude Garfit defeats Agnes Tuckey 9-7, 9-7 (Irish Open Final)

Garfit (pictured above) completes an Irish Open three-peat with this epic two set victory.

1910Gladys Lamplough defeats Sofie Castenschiold 7-9, 6-4, 6-3 (Wimbledon Quarterfinal)
Gladys eastlake-smith.jpg

Lamplough (pictured above), the 1908 Olympic gold medalist, beat Denmark’s first female Olympian in a tight three setter.

1911Hazel Hotchkiss defeats Florence Sutton 8-10, 6-1, 9-7 (US Open Final)
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman

Hotchkiss founded the Wightman Cup a few years later as a tennis administrator, but as a player in 1911, she won her third straight US Open in dramatic fashion.

1912Mary Browne defeats Adelaide Browning 6-4, 3-6, 9-7 (US Open Semifinal)
Mary Browne - Wikipedia

This was by far Browne’s (pictured above) toughest test en route to the first of three straight US Open titles.

1913Winifred McNair defeats Charlotte Cooper 0-6, 6-4, 9-7 (Wimbledon Quarterfinal)
Olympedia – Winifred McNair

McNair (pictured above), overcomes a goose egg in the first set, to take out the five-time singles champion en route to her only Wimbledon finals appearance.

1914Mary Browne defeats Marie Wagner 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 (US Open Final)

Browne wins her third straight US Open final despite getting blown out in the second set.

1915Molla Bjurstedt defeats Hazel Hotchkiss 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 (US Open Final)
Molla Bjurstedt-Mallory

Bjurstedt (pictured above) wins her second consecutive three set match to win the first of her four straight US Open titles.

1916Louise Raymond defeats Eleanora Sears 6-3, 6-4 (US Open Semifinal)
Louise Hammond Raymond - Wikipedia

These two women combined for a total of three runner-up finishes at the US Open without winning a title. Raymond (pictured above) won this duel but was then blasted by Bjurstedt in the final.

1917Flora Brown Harvey defeats Teresa Wood 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 (US Open Quarterfinal)

This was the only tight 3 set match on the entire grand slam calendar that year as all other major tournaments were cancelled due to the World War.

1918Molla Bjurstedt defeats Eleanor Goss 6-4, 6-3 (US Open Final)

The Norwegian wins her fourth consecutive US Open final with this victory over the doubles specialist Goss.

1919Suzanne Lenglen defeats Dorothea Chambers 10-8, 4-6, 9-7 (Wimbledon Final)
Suzanne Lenglen à Wimbledon 1919

Amazingly, Lenglen never lost a match at Wimbledon in her entire career. This was her biggest scare as she has to fight off two match points to come out victorious.

1920Molla Bjurdstedt defeats Eleanor Tennant 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 (US Open Quarterfinal)
Molla Mallory - Wikipedia

The four-time champ Bjurdstedt survives a three set quarterfinal scare from the woman who would later become the first female player to turn professional. Bjurdstedt (pictured above) would go on to win her 5th of 8 US Open singles crowns a few days later.

1921Molla Bjurdstedt Mary Browne 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 (US Open Final)

Bjurdstedt overcomes a set deficit to claim her sixth title US national championship in seven years.

1922May Sutton defeats Martha Bayard 12-10, 4-6, 6-0 (US Open Quarterfinal)
From the archive: May Sutton, America's first female champion - The  Championships, Wimbledon 2020 - Official Site by IBM

Seventeen years after becoming the first American to win Wimbledon in 1905, Sutton (pictured above) turns back the clock in this epic quarterfinal performance.

1923Mall Molesworth defeats Sylvia Lance 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 (Australian Open Semifinal)
Biographies of Female Tennis Players | Page 67 | Tennis Forum

Molesworth (pictured above) won the first two Aussie Open women’s crowns in ’22 and ’23 and this was by far her toughest test in either tourney.

1924Kitty McKane defeats Helen Willis 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)
Kitty McKane Godfree

The 19 year old Willis would go on to dominate the next decade of tennis, but the Brit McKane (pictured above) denied her her very first grand slam title with this come from behind three set victory.

1925Daphne Akhurst defeats Esna Boys 1-6, 8-6, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Daphne Akhurst - Wikipedia

Akhurst (pictured above) wins the first of her five straight Aussie Open women’s titles with this come from behind victory in which she lost more games than she won.

1926Suzanne Lenglen defeats Helen Willis 6-3, 8-6 (Carlton Club Final)
Match of the Century (tennis) - Wikipedia

The match of the century, as it has been called, featured a meeting between two of the world’s all-time great players that had been hyped up for over three years. Pre-match photo is pictured above.

1927Irene Peacock defeats Eileen Bennett 5-7, 6-1, 9-7 (French Open Semifinal)
Irene Bowder Peacock - Wikipedia

The South African Peacock (pictured above) never won a grand slam time, but she reached the French Open Final in 1927 thanks to this epic three set victory.

1928Eileen Bennett defeats Penelope Anderson 6-3, 7-9, 7-5 (French Open Quarterfinal)
Eileen Bennett's GS Performance Timeline & Stats

The Brit Bennett (pictured above) plays in the match of the year for the second consecutive French Open. This time she comes out victorious en route to a surprise run to the title match as an 8 seed.

1929Mary McIlquan defeats Lili Alvarez 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 (Wimbledon 4th Round)
Mary McIlquham - Wikipedia

McIlquan (pictued above), the hometown Brit, stuns the two seed here to open the door for Helen Willis to roll to her third straight Wimbledon title.

1930Daphne Akhurst defeats Sylvia Lance 10-8, 2-6, 7-5 (Australian Open Final)

Akhurst wins her fifth Aussie Open crown in six years with this narrow three set victory.

1931Coral Buttsworth defeats Marjorie Crawford 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Coral Buttsworth - Wikipedia

Buttsworth (pictured above) upsets the 2 seed in the semis and then the top seed Crawford in the final to win the first of her back to back Aussie Open crowns.

1932Carolin Babcock defeats Joan Ridley 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 (US Open Semifinal)

Babcock would lose her only grand slam finals appearance to the dominant Helen Jacobs, but this epic comeback win got her there.

1933Helen Willis defeats Dorothy Round 6-4, 6-8, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)
Helen Wills - Wikipedia

Willis (pictured above) takes home her sixth Wimbledon crown in this surprisingly tight match against the up and coming Brit that would soon win three grand slam titles of her own.

1933Helen Willis defeats Dorothy Round 6-4, 6-8, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)

Willis takes home her sixth Wimbledon crown in this surprisingly tight match against the up and coming Brit that would soon won three grand slam titles of her own.

1934Dorothy Round defeats Helen Jacobs 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)
The hidden etching from tennis legend Dorothy Round | Express & Star

Round overcomes her loss to the legend Willis the year prior and beats another legend in Jacobs to win her first grand slam title.

1935Helen Willis defeats Helen Jacobs 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Helen Wills, left, being congratulated by Helen Jacobs after winning the 1935 women's singles championship at Wimbledon.

Nearly a decade after losing the match of the century, Willis plays another all-time epic and this time she comes out on top despite facing a match point at 5-3 in the third set. Post match photo pictured above.

1936Helen Jacobs defeats Hilde Sperling 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Helen Jacobs wins 1936 Wimbledon singles.... - RareNewspapers.com

Sperling came two games away from pulling off this incredible upset and becoming the first Dane to win Wimbledon. Instead, the country is still searching for its first title at the All England Club.

1937Dorothy Round defeats Jadwiga Jedrzejowska 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
JJ and Dorothy Round at the net 1937

This was the fifth straight Ladies Wimbledon final to be decided in a tight third set. Post-match handshake is posted above.

1938Alice Marble defeats Sarah Fabyan 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 (US Open Semifinal)
History with Phil: Tennis great Alice Marble didn't shy away from  controversy or danger | Local News | ravallirepublic.com

The always controversial Marble (pictured above) won tight three setters in both the quarters and semis en route to her second US Open crown.

1939Alice Marble defeats Helen Jacobs 6-0, 8-10, 6-4 (US Open Final)

Marble comes out victorious in this marathon by winning a final game that featured seven deuces.

1940Margaret Hardcastle defeats Audrey Lewis 6-2, 18-16 (Australian Open 2nd Round)
Legend in the tennis world | Warwick Daily News

This 18-16 second set will stand as the longest set in Aussie Open ladies history thanks to the advent of the new third set tiebreaker rules. The winner Hardcastle is pictured above.

1941Helen Jacobs defeats Dorothy Bundy 6-3, 11-9 (US Open Quarterfinal)

An aging Jacobs still shows she has the game and the stamina to survive win an 11-9 second set in this matchup between two top five seeds.

1942Pauline Betz defeats Louise Brough 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 (US Open Final)
Pauline May Betz Addie | American athlete | Britannica

Betz (pictured above) wins the first of her five grand slam singles crowns by winning back to back three setters in the semifinals and final.

1943Pauline Betz defeats Louise Brough 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 (US Open Final)

A rematch of the previous year’s US Open final produces the same narrow three set victory for Betz.

1944Pauline Betz defeats Virginia Kovacs 6-4, 6-8, 6-4 (US Open Quarterfinal)

Betz survives an epic quarterfinal scare en route to her third straight US Open crown.

1945Sarah Palfrey defeats Pauline Betz 3-6, 8-6, 6-4 (US Open Final)
Sarah Palfrey Cooke - Wikipedia

Palfrey (pictured above) comes from behind to win the second of her two grand slam titles. Both championships were U.S. Open titles accomplished by beating Pauline Betz in the finals and this victory ended Betz’s three year reign of terror in this tournament.

1946Margaret Osborne defeats Pauline Betz 1-6, 8-6, 7-5 (French Open Final)
Margaret Osborne duPont

Osborne (pictured above) wins the first French Open held in seven years due to World War II thanks to this narrow victory over fellow American and world # 1 Pauline Betz.

1947Patricia Todd defeats Doris Hart 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 (French Open Final)
Patricia Canning Todd - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

The Women’s French Championships returned from World War II with a bang as the final featured a tight three setter for the second consecutive year. The winner Todd is pictured above.

1948Margaret Osborne defeats Louise Brough 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 (US Open Final)

Osborne upsets the top seed to win the first of her three straight US Open titles. The 15-13 third set was and still is the longest set in a US Open Final.

1949Louise Brough defeats Margaret Osborne 10-8, 1-6, 10-8 (Wimbledon Final)
Louise Brough Clapp, Tennis Champion at Midcentury, Dies at 90 - The New  York Times

Brough gets revenge for her heartbreaking US Open loss to Osborne in ’48 with this thrilling three set win. The post-match photo is pictured above.

1950Louise Brough defeats Doris Hart 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Louise Brough Clapp, Tennis Champion at Midcentury, Dies at 90 - The New  York Times

Brough (pictured above) wins her sixth grand slam title and only Aussie Open crown with this narrow victory over her fellow American Hart. This was truly the glory period for US women’s tennis as Americans won ten straight majors from mid-1948 to the end of 1950.

1951Maureen Connolly defeats Shirley Fry 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 (US Open Fiinal)
Maureen Connolly Brinker

“Little Mo”, as Connolly (pictured above) was called, wins her first of nine grand slam singles championships with this win in which she had to overcome a 6-1 beatdown in the second set.

1952Maureen Connolly defeats Sue Partridge 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 (Wimbledon 4th Round)

Little Mo barely avoids what would have been one of the greatest upsets in women’s tennis history en route to her first of three straight Wimbledon titles.

1953Maureen Connolly defeats Doris Hart 8-6, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)

This was the most compelling matchup in this great 1950’s tennis rivalry. Post-match photo pictured above.

1954Doris Hart defeats Louise Brough 6-8, 6-1, 8-6 (US Open Final)
Doris Hart

Hart (pictured above) completes the career grand slam by exacting revenge on Brough who beat her in the Aussie Open final and match of the year in 1950.

1955Angela Mortimer defeats Dorothy Knode 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 (French Open Final)
History Centre Heroes: Angela Mortimer – Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives

The Brit Mortimer (pictured above) drops the first set 6-2 before coming back and winning two tight sets to claim her first of three grand slam titles.

1956Mary Carter defeats Thelma Long 3-6, 6-2, 9-7 (Australian Open Final)
Mary Carter's GS Performance Timeline & Stats

Carter knocks off the two time Aussie Open champ to claim her first grand slam title in dramatic fashion.

1957Shirley Bloomer defeats Vera Puzejova 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 (French Open Semifinal)
Shirley Brasher - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

The Brim Bloomer, who is still alive and is pictured above in 2017, wins her only grand slam title by surviving this three set war in the semis.

1958Althea Gibson defeats Darlene Hard 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 (US Open Final)
The story of Althea Gibson: the first African-American to win the US Open  and how she changed the game forever | The Independent | The Independent

Gibson wins her fifth and final grand slam title with a come from behind victory over her doubles partner and up and coming star Darlene Hard. Both women are pictured above with the Wimbledon doubles championship trophy from the year prior.

1959Christine Truman defeats Sandra Reynolds 4-6, 8-6, 6-2 (French Open Semifinal)
Christine Truman - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

The Brit Truman (pictured above) comes from behind en route to her only grand slam title.

1960Darlene Hard defeats Maria Bueno 6-4, 10-12, 6-4 (US Open Final)
Darlene Hard | Profile with News, Stats, Age & Height

The American Hard had to play second fiddle to Althea Gibson for much of the late 50’s but here she breaks through to win her first US Open title by knocking off the top seed in three close sets. Post-match photo pictured above.

1961Angela Mortimer defeats Christine Truman 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Wimbledon 2012: On this day in 1961 | Tennis | Sport | Express.co.uk

Mortimer comes from behind to win her final grand slam title in what was the last all-Brit singles final on either the men or women’s side at Wimbledon. Post-match photo pictured above.

1962Margaret Court defeats Lesley Turner 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 (French Open Final)
Margaret Court: astounding champion who found God and lost the respect of a  nation | Sport | The Guardian

Court (pictured above) wins her first slam outside her home country of Australia with this three set win. Turner, who entered the tourney as a 13 seed, almost knocked off the top two seeds in the tourney back to back as she beat the # 1 seed Ann Hayden in the semis.

1963Lesley Turner defeats Ann Jones 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 (French Open Final)
Lesley Turner Bowrey

Turner (pictured above) avenges her heartbreaking loss in the previous year’s French Open final by winning this equally tight 3 setter and claiming her first of two French Open crowns.

1964Maria Bueno defeats Margaret Court 6-4, 7-9, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)
The 1964 Final - Maria Esther Bueno

The Brazilian Bueno knocks off the defending champ to win the last of her three Wimbledon titles.

1965Margaret Court defeats Billie Jean King 8-6, 7-5 (US Open Final)

Court holds off King in this battle of tennis legends who didn’t like each other much. This was the first closely contested final between the two.

1966Maria Bueno defeats Rosie Casals 6-2, 10-12, 6-3 (US Open Semifinal)

Bueno wins her fourth and final US Open crown in ’66 thanks to this nail-biting semifinal win over rising star Rosie Casals.

1967Francoise Durr defeats Lesley Turner 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 (French Open Final)
Francoise Durr's GS Performance Timeline & Stats

Durr secures her only grand slam title in her home country with her third 3 set win in the final. Post-match photo pictured above.

1968Billie Jean King defeats Judy Tegart 9-7, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Legacy Spotlight: Judy Dalton

The seven seeded Tegart comes up just short in her best chance to win a grand slam by losing two narrowly decided sets against the two-time defending champion King.

1969Margaret Court defeats Nancy Richey 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 (French Open Semifinal)

The Aussie Court knocks off the defending champ Richey en route to her third French Open title.

1970Margaret Court defeats Billie Jean King 14-12, 11-9 (Wimbledon Final)
Billie Jean King vs Margaret Court: Wimbledon Final 1970 (Extended  Highlights) - YouTube

In the world before tiebreakers, each set could potentially go on forever. Court squeaked out both of these tight, long sets en route to the first woman to win a Grand Slam in the open era.

1971Margaret Court defeats Evonne Goolagong 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 (Australian Open Final)

Court wins her tenth Aussie Open title by surviving this battle with fellow countrywoman Goolagong.

1972Evonne Goolagong defeats Chris Evert 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 (Wimbledon Semifinal)
The Greatest Championships - The Championships, Wimbledon 2020 - Official  Site by IBM

In a battle of future icons in the sport, Goolagong outlasts Evert in a tight three setter before dropping the final to Billie Jean King. Both women are pictured above.

1973Margaret Court defeats Chris Evert 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 (French Open Final)
Ash Barty's the perfect role model for all Australians | The West Australian

Court wins her fifth and final French Open title over future superstar Chris Evert.

1974Billie Jean King defeats Evonne Goolagong 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 (U.S. Open Final)
1974 US Open Final Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong

King denies Goolagong a career gland slam with this come from behind victory, which would end up being King’s final U.S. Open triumph.

1975Chris Evert defeats Evonne Goolagong 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 (US Open Final)
Chris Evert d. Evonne Goolagong - 1975 US Open final: 1st of a record 6 US  Open Crowns! - YouTube

Both of these women were involved in so many classic grand slam matches in the 1970’s that it is only fitting they played another epic match against each other in this US Open Final.

1976Chris Evert defeats Martina Navritalova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Semifinal)

The first meeting between these two superstars at the All-England Club.

1977Virginia Wade defeats Betty Stove 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 (Wimbledon Final)
Portrait of 1977 Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade : Tennis Buzz

Wade earns her place in tennis history by coming from a set down to become the last British woman to win Wimbledon, and to make it even sweeter the Queen of England was in attendance.

1978Martina Navritaolva defeats Chris Evert 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Martina Navratilova vs Chris Evert | Wimbledon 1978 Final | Full Match -  YouTube

The first and closest of five Wimbledon finals played between these two archrivals. Navritalova would go on to win all five of those meetings.

1979Renee Richards defeats Mary Carillo 7-5, 6-3 (US Open 1st Round)
RENEE RICHARDS — Hags Podcast - Feminism for Everyone

Richards (pictured above) becomes the first and only transgender athlete to win a match at a grand slam singles event with this tight victory over the legendary Mary Carillo.

1980Chris Evert defeats Bettina Bunge 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 (French Open 3rd Round)

Chrissy cruised to her fourth French Open crown by dominating all her competition, except for this shockingly close third round scare.

1981Martina Navritalova defeats Chris Evert 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 (Australian Open Final)
Evert vs Navratilova Final - Australian Open 1981 - YouTube

This epic match marked the first time these two rivals had ever met in the Aussie Open.

1982Chris Evert defeats Martina Navritalova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 (Australian Open Final)
Martina Navratilova v Chris Evert Lloyd - Australian Open 1982 Final | AO  Classics - YouTube

Evert simultaneously completes the career grand slam and exacts revenge from last year’s title match with this three set victory over her arch rival.

1983Martina Navritalova defeats Jo Durie 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 (Australian Open Quarterfinal)
Rewind to 1983: Jo Durie stuns Paris to reach French Open semi-finals |  Tennis Rewind to | ESPN.co.uk

Martina didn’t drop a single set en route to her second Aussie Open crown except during this scare from the upset-minded eight seed (pictured above).

1984Martina Navritalova defeats Chris Evert 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 (US Open Final)
A U.S. Open to Remember: Navratilova and Evert Look Back - The New York  Times

Martina wins her sixth straight major title by overcoming a one set deficit to beat her arch rival Evert.

1985Chris Evert defeats Martina Navritalova 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 (French Open Final)
Chris Evert -- winning the Roland Garros 1985 | Chris evert, Roland garros,  Tennis gear

This was the last of Evert’s truly epic wins over her arch rival.

1986Martina Navritalova defeats Steffi Graf 6-1, 6-7, 7-6 (US Open Semifinal)
Martina Navratilova vs Steffi Graf 1986 US Open SF Highlights - YouTube

In a rare matchup of two of the greatest women’s tennis players of all-time, the up and coming star Graf falls just short of beating the eventual champion Navritalova. Martina became the first woman in the open era to win the US Open after saving a match point with this narrow victory.

1987Steffi Graf defeats Martina Navritalova 6-4, 4-6, 8-6 (French Open Final)
Roland Garros 1987: Steffi Graf edges Navratilova to lift the first Major

Graf gets revenge for her loss in the 1986 match of the year by beating Navritalova in another three set war between the two.

1988Martina Navratilova defeats Chris Evert 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 ( Wimbledon Semifinal)

The last grand slam meeting played between these two bitter rivals ended up being one of their best matches ever at the All-England Club.

1989Arantxa Sanchez Vicario defeats Steffi Graf 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 (French Open Final)
I Played My Best Against Steffi Graf, Says Sanchez Vicario

Vicario ends Graf’s run of five straight major titles by overcoming a 3-5 third set deficit.

1990Zina Garrison defeats Steffi Graf 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Semifinal)
The day Zina Garrison dethroned Steffi Graf

Garrison picks up the win of her career in this stunning upset of Graf, ending Steffi’s record run of 13 straight grand slam finals appearances. This upset enabled Navritalova to win one final major title two days later when she took care of the upstart Garrison in the final.

1991Monica Seles defeats Jennifer Capriati 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (US Open Semifinal)
Monica Seles vs Jennifer Capriati in the match that changed women's tennis!  | US Open 1991 Semifinal - YouTube

Young Capriati’s best chance at winning a slam is dashed in a 3rd set tiebreak. It would be nine long years before J-Cap would reach the semis of a slam again.

1992Monica Seles defeats Steffi Graf 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 (French Open Final)
French Open Memories, #1: Monica Seles d. Steffi Graf, 1992 | TENNIS.com -  Live Scores, News, Player Rankings

This was Seles’ biggest career win over her arch rival.

1993Steffi Graf defeats Jana Novotna 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon Final)
Jana Novotna's Wimbledon tears and Duchess of Kent's tender comfort left a  lasting impression - Mirror Online

One of the most legendary Wimbledon finals ever, as Novotna blows a 4-1 third set lead and ends up crying on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder (pictured above) during the trophy presentation. The story has a happy ending though because the Duchess told her that day that she would win Wimbledon one day, and her words proved prophetic when Novotna won this title in 1998.

1994Lori McNeil defeats Steffi Graf 7-5, 7-6 (Wimbledon 1st Round)
Steffi Graf vs Lori McNeil | Wimbledon 1994 first round | Full Match Replay  - YouTube

One of the greatest upsets in tennis history, as the unseeded McNeil stuns the top seed and defending champ Graf, marking the only time in the open era that a defending Wimbledon singles champ (man or woman) lost in the first round of the following Wimbledon.

1995Steffi Graf defeats Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 (Wimbledon Final)
Steffi Graf vs Arantxa Sanchez Vicario | Wimbledon 1995 Final | Full Match  - YouTube

Graf wins riveting final by breaking Vicario’s serve at 5-5 in the 3rd set in a game featuring 13 deuces.

1996Steffi Graf defeats Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-3, 6-7, 10-8 (French Open Final)
French Open Memories, #5: Steffi Graf d. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 1996 |  TENNIS.com - Live Scores, News, Player Rankings

Graf surpasses Evert and Navritalova for the most women’s grand slam singles titles with this thrilling victory over rival Vicario.

1997Venus Williams defeats Irina Spirlea 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 (US Open Semifinal)
TENNIS on Twitter: "The Top 10 #USOpen matches of the Open Era, No. 10:  17-year-old Venus Williams defeats Irina Spirlea in the 1997 semifinals,  continuing her electrifying breakout run to the final.

This was the official coming out party for the Williams’ sisters, as Venus became the first unseeded player to advance to the US Open Final with this narrow win in which Spirlea controversially bumped Venus during a change over.

1998Aranxta Sanchez Vicario defeats Serena Williams 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 (French Open 4th Round)
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario vs. Serena Williams: Paris 1998 R4 highlights -  YouTube

In this battle between heroes of different generations, the veterar Vicario beats the rookie Serena en route to Vicario’s last grand slam title.

1999Steffi Graf defeats Marina Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 (French Open Final)
Steffi Graf vs Martina Hingis - Final | Roland-Garros 1999 - YouTube

Up a set and a break, a controversial call and subsequent code violation lead to Hingis’ collapse.

2000Venus Williams defeats Martina Hingis 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 (US Open Semifinal)
Venus Williams vs Martina Hingis 2000 US Open Highlights - YouTube

These two generational superstars hooked up for an epic three set match en route to Venus’ first US Open title.

2001Jennifer Capriati defeata Kim Clijsters 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 (French Open Final)
Top 10 Women's Singles Finals at Roland Garros - EssentiallySports

Capriati wins her second consecutive grand slam title by outlasting the Belgian Clijsters who was playing in her first grand slam final.

2002Jennifer Capriati defeats Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 (Australian Open Final)
Jennifer Capriati v Martina Hingis - Australian Open 2002 Final | AO  Classics - YouTube

Capriati wins her third and final slam of her career with one of the greatest comebacks in women’s tennis history as she trailed Hingis by a set and faced an 0-4 deficit in the second and then came back to win despite facing four match points.

2003Justine Henin defeats Jennifer Capriati 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (US Open Semifinal)
TENNIS a Twitteren: "The Top 10 #USOpen Matches of the Open Era, No. 7: Justine  Henin's win over Jennifer Capriati in the 2003 semifinals. "It was getting  pretty overwhelming out there," Capriati

Henin denied the Capriati her best shot at reaching a US Open final with this come from behind victory.

2004Karolina Sprem defeats Venus Williams 7-6, 7-6 (Wimbledon 2nd Round)
Artists of the upset: First-week shocks at Wimbledon since 1999

An incredible upset full of incredible controversy as the chair umpire, Ted Watts, loses track of the score in the second set tiebreaker giving Sprem the extra point needed to eventually win the match.

2005Serena Williams defeats Maria Sharapova 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 (Australian Open Semifinal)
Serena Willams v Maria Sharapova - Australian Open 2005 Semifinal | AO  Classics - YouTube

Serena avenges her 2004 Wimbledon final loss to Maria with this comeback victory en route to her second of sevenAussie Open titles. Maria would never beat Serena again in her entire career, losing the next 17 matchups between the two.

2006Amelie Mauresmo defeats Justine Henin 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 (Wimbledon Final)
Laurie's Tennis articles: Flashback to 2006 Wimbledon final

Mauresmo becomes the first French female to win Wimbledon since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925 with this come from behind victory that denied Henin a career grand slam.

2007Serena Williams defeats Shahar Peer 3-6, 6-2, 8-6 (Australian Open Quarterfinal)
Williams sneaks past Peer - Eurosport

Serena wins this marathon over the 16 seeded Israeli en route to her eighth grand slam title. Interestingly, Serena came into the tournament unseeded as she was returning from a long layoff after an injury.

2008Ana Ivanovic defeats Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 (French Open Semifinal)
Ivanovic, Jankovic in all-Serb semifinal - UPI.com

Ivanovic outlasts fellow countrywoman Jankovic in this all-Serbian semi en route to Ivanovic’s only grand slam title. Sadly, Jankovic never won a grand slam and many consider this tourney to have been her best chance.

2009Melanie Oudin defeats Maria Sharapova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 (US Open 3rd Round)
Melanie Oudin looks back at wild 2009 US Open run - TSN.ca

The biggest win in Oudin’s spectacular Cinderella US Open run in 2009. Unfortunately, Melanie was never really heard from again after this tourney.

2010Kim Clijsters defeats Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 (US Open Semifinal)
US Open Classics: Kim Clijsters vs. Venus Williams, 2010 US Open women's  singles semifinals - Official Site of the 2020 US Open Tennis Championships  - A USTA Event

Clijsters comes back from a set down on rival Venus to win her second consecutive US Open.

2011Francesca Schiavone defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 (Australian Open 4th Round)
Schiavone vs Kuznetsova | 2011 Australian Open Highlights - YouTube

This four hour and forty-four minute marathon was and still is the longest grand slam match in women’s tennis history.

2012Serena Williams defeats Victoria Azarena 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 (US Open Final)
Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka Full Match | US Open 2012 Final -  YouTube

Serena overcome a 5-3 third set deficit to win the first three set US Open women’s final in 17 years.

2013Sabine Lisicki defeats Serena Williams 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 (Wimbledon 4th Round)
Serena Williams vs Sabine Lisicki | Wimbledon 2013 fourth round | Full  Match - YouTube

The 23rd seeded Lisicki stuns the top seed and defending champion en route to a Cinderella run to the finals in Sabine’s final Wimbledon.

2014Maria Sharapova defeats Simona Halep 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 (French Open Final)
Maria Sharapova - Simona Halep, final 2014: highlights - Roland-Garros -  The 2020 Roland-Garros Tournament official site

Maria wins the fifth and final slam of her career with this narrow victory over future star Halep.

2015Roberta Vinci defeats Serena Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 (US Open Semifinal)
Serena Williams Vs. Roberta Vinci In US Open 2015 Quarterfinals — See Who  Won – Hollywood Life

Serena’s bid at a calendar year grand slam came to a crashing halt with this incredible upset.

2016Angelique Kerber defeats Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber highlights (Final) | Australian Open 2016  - YouTube

Kerber wins her first grand slam by ending Serena’s spectacular run of eight straight major finals victories. She also became the first player to win a slam in the open era after saving a match point in her first round match.

2017Jelena Ostapenko defeats Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 (French Open Final)
2017 French Open: Jelena Ostapenko stuns Simona Halep in final | NBC Sports

The Latvian concludes her Cinderella run at Roland Garros with a narrow three set victory, becoming the first unseeded player to win a women’s French Open title since 1933.

2018Caroline Wozniacki defeats Simona Halep 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Simona Halep v Caroline Wozniacki match highlights | Australian Open 2018 -  YouTube

Wozniacki wins the only grand slam of her lengthy career with a nail-biting upset of the tourney’s top seed.

2019Naomi Osaka defeats Petra Kvitova 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 (Australian Open Final)
Match stats: Naomi Osaka vs. Petra Kvitova - Reuters

Osaka blows three championship points in the second set but then regroups to take the title in the third and also lay claim to the title of world’s # 1 player.

2020Shelby Rogers defeats Petra Kvitova 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 (US Open 4th Round)
Shelby Rogers causes Petra Kvitova upset to advance to US Open quarters-  The New Indian Express

Rogers continues a Cinderella US Open run with this stunning 4th Round victory in which she saved four match points.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Like I did for the men a few weeks ago, I have conducted some additional analysis to see which tournaments have held the most matches of the year/decade.  The charts below depict those results.  On the men’s side, Wimbledon dominated the field by hosting almost twice as many matches of the year as any other tournament. The same could not be said for the ladies, however, as the United States Open lays claim to the most matches of the year all-time. Interestingly, though, Wimbledon still had a firm grasp on the most matches of the decade as they have hosted nine of these fourteen matches.

Best Matches by Tournament
US Open49
Wimbledon43
French Open24
Australian Open18
Irish Open2
Carlton Club1
Matches of the Decade by Tournament
Wimbledon9
US Open3
Australian1
Carlton Club1

The final analysis I conducted was the match of the year by player.  This is an important analysis because I feel like my results accurately reflect tennis’ most iconic players.  It is one thing to roll over competition to win several grand slams like the Williams’ sisters did in the early 2000’s, but the most memorable and iconic players are the ones who won a multitude of classic matches like the ones featured on this list.  You will see that atop this list stands one of America’s most recognizable women’s tennis players, Chris Evert.

Matches of the year by player (multiples only)
Chris Evert115-6
Martina Navritalova106-4
Steffi Graf105-5
Margaret Court76-1
Serena Williams73-4
Blance Hillyard64-2
Louise Brough62-4
Paulie Betz53-2
Helen Jacobs52-3
Molla Bjurstedt44-0
Charlotte Cooper42-2
Helen Willis42-2
Billie Jean King42-2
Aranxta Sanchez Vicario42-2
Jennifer Capriati42-2
Venus Williams42-2
Doris Hart41-3
Evonne Goolagong41-3
Maureen Connolly33-0
Maria Bueno32-1
Mary Browne32-1
Dorothy Round32-1
Margaret Osborne32-1
Elisabeth Moore31-2
Lesley Turner31-2
Maria Sharapova31-2
Lillian Watson30-3
Martina Hingis30-3
Simona Halep30-3
Alice Marble22-0
Daphne Akhurst22-0
Suzanne Lenglen22-0
Juliette Atkinson22-0
Mabel Cahill22-0
Angela Mortimer22-0
Monica Seles22-0
Christine Truman21-1
Darlene Hard21-1
Carrie Neely21-1
Lena Rice21-1
Marie Wagner21-1
Hazel Hotchkiss21-1
Eileen Bennett21-1
Kim Clijsters21-1
Justine Henin21-1
Sylvia Lance20-2
Marion Jones20-2
Edith Austin20-2
Ethel Thomson20-2
Petra Kvitova20-2
Matches of the Decade by Player (multiples only)
Martina Navritalova22-0
Suzanne Lenglen22-0
Helen Willis21-1
Steffi Graf21-1

I have decided that I am going to do one more additional Covid-19 reflection list and that is going to be the best golf tournament by year. Be on the look out for that article, in the coming months!

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