On This Day

  • June 10 down the years

Row, row, row your boat

Cambridge were the winners of the 156th Boat Race in 2010 © Getty Images
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1829
The first University Boat Race. It was held at Henley, not from Putney to Mortlake, and didn't get going until nearly eight in the evening after Cambridge were granted a re-start. They kept pace for a while, but the heavier Oxford crew pulled away to win by about two lengths, covering the course in 14½ minutes. The race didn't take place again until 1836, when it was staged from Westminster to Putney and Cambridge won by a full minute.

1981
Seb Coe set a world record that lasted 16 years. In Florence, he ran the 800 metres in an astounding 1 minute 41.73 seconds which broke his own world best of 1:42.33 from two years earlier. The new record might have been rejected on a technicality. The photo-finish equipment failed to function properly, so the time was taken from three photo cells positioned at different heights. The time looked likely to survive for decades, but then Wilson Kipketer destroyed it in 1997. A Kenyan running for Denmark, he equalled it in July and broke it twice in August. His final time of 1:41.11 is still the world record and may last longer than Coe's.

2007
Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin both won the French Open for the third year in a row. Nadal carried out his usual ritual destruction of Roger Federer, beating him in four sets for the second year in a row, this time dropping the second set but winning the last two 6-3 6-4. He made even shorter work of Federer on June 8 the following year.

Little Henin beat three different opponents in her Finals, all in straight sets. This was the easiest of the lot, a 6-1 6-2 cruise against Ana Ivanović of Serbia, who won the title the next year.

1977
The first sub-60 round of golf on the US tour. In the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, Al Geiberger made 59 on his way to winning the event by three shots - despite shooting only this one round under 70. His 273 was made up of 72-59-72-73. That 59 has been equalled but never beaten.

1984
The day Ivan Lendl won a Grand Slam singles title for the first time - and John McEnroe missed his big chance to prove he could cut it on clay. He was on fire that year, going on to win Wimbledon and the US Open. But today's defeat was equally career-defining. He was probably a bit lucky to be in the Final at all: his semi-final opponent was a declining Jimmy Connors, who never won the French. Meanwhile Lendl beat former champion Mats Wilander, already a clay court expert at 19. On the other hand, Lendl hadn't learned to win at the top level yet. He'd lost four Grand Slam Singles Finals, including one here on June 7, 1981 and two to Jimmy Connors, who called him chicken. Lendl certainly ran around headlessly for half the Final in Paris: McEnroe played like he played on grass and cement, spearing him with volleys, slashing down that left-handed serve. The first two sets weren't even close - 6-3 6-2 - and McEnroe had break points early in the third. Then the big crash. Folklore has it that he was distracted by courtside noises, his concentration slipped, and he let Lendl back in. But he was already distracted in the second set, when he shouted into a TV cameraman's headset - and he won that set more easily than the first. What beat him was fitness. His lack of it and Lendl's abundance. Never the most gifted of strokemakers, Lendl led the way in training and practice. While McEnroe was expending energy in winning the first two sets. Lendl was saving it. That's not to say McEnroe suddenly collapsed. As in the 1981 Wimbledon Final, his agony was drawn out. Lendl broke to lead 4-2 in the third and won it 6-4. McEnroe was twice a break up in the fourth, but lost the last two 7-5. He thrashed Lendl in the US Open Final later that year - but Lendl won that event for the next three years. And in the game of 'show us your French titles', he beat McEnroe 3-0.

Unlike McEnroe, Martina Navrátilová didn't let destiny pass her by. In Paris, she thrashed the queen of clay, beating Chris Evert 6-3 6-1 to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time. She also won the doubles Grand Slam with Pam Shriver.

1948
Boxing's most explosive three-act play ended the way it began. This was Zale v Graziano III, so blink and you missed something. The first two fights had been mirror images of each other. In the first, Rocky Graziano was about to smash his way to the world middleweight title when a battered Tony Zale knocked him out in the sixth. In the second, Graziano was on the verge of being knocked out when he suddenly caught Zale with thirty punches before the referee stopped it. Tonight they served up more of the same - except that it was all one way. Graziano was sluggish from the start. His punches lacked zip and he was never any good at defence. Zale knocked him down with a left hand early in the first round, then a series of lefts destroyed him in the third. The referee should have stopped it after the first knockdown, and the second left Graziano out cold. He suffered the same fate when he challenged Sugar Ray Robinson for the title on April 16, 1952. Meanwhile this was Zale's last win as a professional. He lost the title to another all-time great on September 21.

1904
The first time 70 and 300 were broken at one of the golf Majors. In the British Open at Sandwich, Jimmy Braid shot 69 in the third round. But Jack White matched that in the fourth and won the trophy with 296. Braid finished a shot behind, tied with another member of the Great Triumvirate, JH Taylor, who shot 68 in the last round.

Mary Pierce finally got her hands on the French Open title © Getty Images
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1921
Jean Robic was born in France and didn't grow very much bigger. Under 5' 3 and 9½ stone but strong and relentless, he won the first Tour de France after the War (1947) and the first world title in cyclo-cross (1950). A leather helmet became his trademark after he fractured his skull during a race in 1944.

1968
Australia regained the rugby league World Cup they'd lost to Great Britain on October 8, 1960. This time Britain didn't make the Final after losing to Australia and France, who met in the Final. The Kangaroos had thrashed France 37-4 earlier in the tournament, and it was almost as easy today. They won 20-2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, scoring four tries to nil, two by winger Lionel Williamson. Australia retained the Cup on November 7, 1970.

2000
The darling of French tennis won the French Open at last. As the name Mary Pierce suggests, her dad wasn't French - and she was born in Canada. But French fans didn't let such trifling details get in the way. They suffered with her when she lost the 1994 Final to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Today she won the first set 6-2 against another Spaniard, the former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martínez, then missed two match points in the second before taking it 7-5. After the match, she was congratulated by the 1967 champion Françoise Durr, the last Frenchwoman to win the title. Pierce was back in the Final in 2005, losing 6-1 6-1 to Justine Henin Hardenne.

In 2001, Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil became one of the very few men to win the French Open three times. In the Final, he beat Spain's Alex Corretja, who also lost the 1998 Final. He won the first set against Kuerten on a tie-break, then broke serve in the second. But after losing it 7-5, there wasn't much resistance: he lost the last two 6-2 6-0. Like Pierce, Kuerten wasted match points, three of them - but he was leading 5-0 40-0, so it was only a matter of time.

1995
In a rugby union World Cup match in Johannesburg, totemic black winger Chester Williams became the first player to score four tries in an official international for South Africa. He received a glaring forward pass for his second and didn't ground the ball for his fourth - but his inclusion made it a rainbow team, or at least a two-tone one: he was the only black player in the squad. After missing the group stage with a hamstring injury, he was too much for Western Samoa in this quarter-final. They were given a hard time by the Scottish referee and trailed 23-0 at half-time on the way to losing 42-14. Williams didn't score in the tight semi-final or the Final on June 24.

1960
The first boxer to beat Sugar Ray Robinson twice. Robinson was 39 by then but still good enough to be fighting for a version of the world middleweight title, the one he lost to the same fighter in January. Paul Pender was a tidy boxer, crisp and skilful. Probably not good enough to have beaten Robinson at his peak, but young and mobile enough to win a second split decision. Sugar Ray had famously won the world title five times, but he was too old and weary for a sixth.

2001
Darting rugby winger Shane Williams equalled the national record by scoring four tries in a match for Wales. No-one has ever scored five. Wales beat Japan 64-10 in Osaka after leading 52-0 at half-time. Williams scored another try against them in Tokyo a week later.

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