September 8, 1984: Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe prevail in epic semi-finals



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September 8, 1984: Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe prevail in epic semi-finals

Back in the past, the US Open was the only Major with the semi-finals and the final on back-to-back days, with a so-called Super Saturday that contained two men's semi-finals and also the women's final. It wasn't very reasonable to play the best-of-five matches in two days, especially at such a late stage of the tournament, and the main reason for that was the CBS who had the rights to broadcast the US Open (it all changed when they lost it in 2015).

In arguably the greatest Super Saturday ever, we saw three amazing matches on September 8, 1984, with Ivan Lendl, Pat Cash, John McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors pushing each other to the distance for more than seven and a half hours, and Martina Navratilova who defeated Chris Evert in three sets in women's final.

Overall, the crowd on the Louis Armstrong Stadium had a chance to enjoy in world's best tennis from 11 am to 11 pm in what will be remembered as one of the greatest days in tennis history! The same players that had reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon were in the same stage of the US Open as well and we got the best Grand Slam semi-final day ever.

John McEnroe had managed to take down the defending champion Jimmy Connors 6-4 4-6 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the last match of the day to join Ivan Lendl in the final after the Czech prevailed against Pat Cash 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 7-6! McEnroe needed three hours and 46 minutes to upend his great rival, beating Jimmy for the eight time in a row but having to give his best to outplay the 32-year-old crowd favorite.

Connors led 3-1 in the third set, with the momentum on his side after winning the previous set before John won four straight games to open up a 5-3 lead. Jimmy got the break back but he lost the set 7-5 after a backhand volley from McEnroe, with a lot of work to do in the rest of the match.

The older American played great in the fourth set, creating a double break lead at 5-2 before John bounced back. He even had a break point in the ninth game but he couldn't convert it, losing his serve again in game 10 to drop the set 6-4 as Connors sent the match into a decider.

There, McEnroe took 12 out of the first 13 points to sprint into a 3-0 lead and he kept it throughout the set to reach the title match. Ivan Lendl advanced to his third consecutive US Open final (lost the previous two to Connors), saving a match point in the 12th game of the deciding set to edge Pat Cash in three hours and 49 minutes! Lendl played against break points in only five service games, dropping serve three times from eight opportunities he gave to Cash, while the Aussie fends off six out of 10 break chances to stay in touch until the very last point.

They hit around 100 service winners, with Lendl dominating from the baseline and Cash at the net, in a great mixture of attacking tennis and solid rallies. Pat earned a break already in the second game of the match and he won the opener 6-3.

Ivan recovered his game in sets two and three, serving well and moving two points away from the win at 5-5 in the fourth set tie break. Nonetheless, he missed a forehand and Cash sealed the set with a service winner, converting his third set point to make the result even at 2-2 and set up the deciding set.

The Czech hit a double fault to lose his serve at the start of set number five, getting broken for the first time since the second game of the match but pulling it back immediately to avoid chasing the result. Pat had to save a match point in the 10th game which he did with a service winner, and the Aussie got the opportunity to serve for the match after breaking Lendl in game 11.

Ivan saved a match point in that 12th game and he got the break back after two errors from his rival, with the deciding tie break to reveal the winner. From 4-4, Lendl won three points in a row and he converted the second match point when Cash netted a volley.

An angry Aussie threw his racquet into the stands and it was caught by Peter Husting from Winnetka who was rooting for him in the entire match! ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lead the second oldest US Open SF field