Adriano Panatta

Adriano Panatta

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Adriano Panatta

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Adriano Panatta (born 9 July 1950) is a former professional tennis player from Italy. He is best remembered for winning the French Open in 1976, and for being the only player to ever defeat Björn Borg at Roland Garros, which he did on two occasions.

Career

Panatta was born in Rome. His father was the caretaker of the Tennis Club Parioli, and as a youngster he learned to play the game on the club's clay courts. He became a successful European junior player before turning professional.

In his early career, Panatta won top-level professional titles at Bournemouth in 1973, Florence in 1974, and at Kitzbühel and Stockholm in 1975.

The pinnacle of his career arrived in but 1976, when he won the French Open defeating Harold Solomon in the final 6–1, 6–4, 4–6, 7–6 (in the first round he had saved a match point against the Czechoslovakian Pavel Hutka). In the same year he also won the Italian Open (having saved 11 match points in his first round match against the Australian Kim Warwick) beating Guillermo Vilas in the final (2–6, 7–6, 6–2, 7–6). He finished off 1976 by helping Italy capture its first-ever Davis Cup title, winning two singles and a doubles rubber in the final against Chile. He reached his career-high singles ranking of World No. 4 that year.

Panatta is the only player to have defeated Björn Borg at the French Open. He achieved this feat twice – in the fourth round in 1973 (7–6, 2–6, 7–5, 7–6), and in quarter-finals in 1976 (6–3, 6–3,...
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