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By Nick Georgandis

1974 - Bjorn Borg def. Manuel Orantes 2-6, 6-7, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1

Bjorn Borg turned pro in 1973 and took the game like few before or since, finishing the season ranked No. 17 in the world. Manuel Orantes had played amateur tennis since 1964 and went pro along with everyone else in 1968. He already had two titles, both on clay, by the time the 1974 French Open came about.

Whatever learning curve Borg was on in 1973, he had risen to the top of it a year later. By the time Roland Garros opened for business on June 3, 1974, Borg had risen to No. 8 in the world with a 41-10 record and five titles. Inexplicably, he lost his first set at the French Open to France's Jean-Francois Caujolle, ranked No. 17 in the world, but overcame that nervousness. He struggled again in the fourth round and the quarterfinals, pushed to five sets by the US' Erik Van Dillen and Mexico's Raul Ramirez, but came out on top both times.

Orantes was only the 14th seed entering the tournament, and had to hold off a youthful Guillermo Vilas in five sets in the third round, losing the first two before rallying.

In the fourth round, Orantes pulled his shocker, thrashing No. 4 seed Arthur Ashe in striaght sets. Still, neither man was thought of as the favorite in the final eight, not with No. 1 seeded Ilie Nastase still around, but American Harold Solomon shocked Nastase in the quarterfinals. Int he semis, Borg erased Solomon in four while Orantes overcame a partisan crowd and France's Francois Juaffret in three.

In the final, Orantes looked like a lock when he took the first two sets, but something came over Borg down 0-2, and the near-immortal he would come on clay came to life as he destroyed the Spaniard 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 to capture his first Grand Slam crown. Borg went on to win six French Open titles.