• September 12 down the years

Agassi tastes US Open glory

Andre Agassi overcame Todd Martin for his second US Open title © Getty Images

Andre Agassi became US Open champion for the second time. Five years after winning the title as an unseeded player ( September 11), he faced Todd Martin in the final. Martin was a limited strokeplayer, but his serve-and-volley game was suited to the fast surface - and he'd shown real stickability against Britain's Greg Rusedski in the fourth round, where he'd trailed by two sets to love (the second 6-0), 2-4 and 15-40. In the final, Martin dropped the first set but won the next two on tiebreaks, the second 7-2. Little Agassi didn't drop his serve throughout the match - and still found himself two sets to one down. But Martin's game wasn't grooved enough to withstand the endless pressure of Agassi's groundstrokes. He double-faulted in the third game of the fourth set, and the rest of the match drip-dripped away from him, Agassi winning each of the last two sets 6-3.

Still in 1999, Carl Fogarty won a World Superbikes race for the 59th and last time, still the most by any rider. Earlier that season, he'd won in Holland for the 12th time, easily the record for an individual WSB event. Here in Hockenheim, Foggy won the first race in unsatisfactory style: Aaron Slight of New Zealand finished ahead of him, but a crash on the last lap led the organisers to take the result from the places at the end of the penultimate one. In the second race, Fogarty finished second to Italy's Pier-Francesco Chili, but the title was already in the bag by then. He'd also retained it in 1995. World champion four times - you've guessed it: another World Superbikes record that still stands.

On the same day, little American golfer Bob May won a professional tournament at long last - after finishing runner-up 22 times! In the British Masters at Woburn Abbey, he shot an albatross on the first day - which, ahem, removed one from round his neck. Even so, he was three shots behind Colin Montgomerie before the last round. But Monty made four bogeys in the first six holes, and May was left with a midget putt at the last. 'It was only two feet but it felt like ten'. Normal service was resumed at the US PGA the following year ( August 20), where May was runner-up despite shooting 18 under par.

The end of an 18-year famine for English cricket, and the culmination of one of the greatest series of all time. Needing a draw to regain the Ashes after eight desperately one-sided rubbers, England were handily placed on the final morning of a weather-interrupted match. But Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath - making their final appearances in England - weren't about to go quietly. England slipped to 127 for 5 before lunch - a lead of 134 - and that might have been even worse but for a crucial reprieve for Kevin Pietersen, by Warne himself at first slip. Seizing his moment, Pietersen opted for an all-out assault, clubbing seven sixes in a thrilling 158 to carry England beyond the point of no return and trigger the mother and father of all celebrations.

The night Randolph Turpin wouldn't go down - which cost him the world middleweight title. He'd won it only a couple of months earlier ( July 10), at Earl's Court against the stellar Sugar Ray Robinson, and now crossed the Atlantic for the rematch at the Polo Grounds in New York. On a moonlit night in front of 61,000 fans, Turpin faced the real Robinson this time. Before their first fight, Sugar Ray had been on a whirlwind exhibition tour round Europe and hadn't trained as hard as he should. Now it was no more mister fancy dan. In the first two rounds, he withstood left hooks to the jaw before throwing a punch that buckled Turpin's knees and almost knocked him down. He caught Randy with another big right hand in the fourth, and was on top until the seventh, when he caught the champion with a dozen punches in a row. But the pace had slowed by then as both men began to tire, and it looked as though Turpin's strength might get him through as it did in London - especially when the fight was turned upside down by a stream of blood. In the first fight, a clash of heads had left Robinson with a cut eye in the sixth round. Here he emerged for the 10th with the same handicap, and there was so much blood coming from his left eyebrow that he needed a knockout - and quickly. Throwing punch after desperate punch, Sugar Ray caught Turpin on the jaw again - and this time Randy went down. Up at a count of nine, he was trapped on the ropes as Robinson hit him with lefts and rights, a frightening pummelling that lasted thirty seconds. If Turpin had been able to go down, he would have taken another count, and his head might have cleared long enough to survive the round, when the fight might well have been stopped on cuts. Instead Turpin was being knocked unconscious on his feet when the referee stopped it. Robinson kept on losing the title and winning it back ( March 25, 1958 ), while Turpin never regained it. He shot himself dead in 1966 ( May 17 ).

Pietro Mennea set a world record that lasted 16 years. In the 200 metres final at the World Student Games, he was the unchallenged favourite, so he could run freely and not tighten up. Smooth and fast and running at the high altitude of Mexico City, he stopped the clock after 19.72 seconds. Lech Dunecki of Poland was six yards back in 20.24, with Britain's Ainsley Bennett taking bronze in 20.42. Mennea's time bettered the world record of 19.83 set in the same stadium at the 1968 Olympics. The altitude made it something of an ersatz mark, but Mennea was still a worthy record holder: the following year, he became the first runner to go under 20 seconds at sea level. His 19.72 should have been broken at the 1992 Olympics, when Mike Marsh ran 19.73 in the semi-finals despite easing down before the end. So Mennea's record wasn't broken until Michael Johnson ran 19.66 in 1996 and obliterated it at the Olympics the following month ( August 1). All these years later, it's still the fastest by a European.

On the same day in 1968, John Carlos became the first runner to break 20 seconds for the 200 metres. Again it was at altitude: the US Olympic trials at Echo Summit, near Lake Tahoe in California. Carlos clocked 19.7 ahead of Tommie Smith's 20-dead. But the time wasn't accepted as a world record because Carlos wore illegal 'brush' spikes: shoes with 68 small spikes on each one. The following month, he faced Smith again in the Olympic final, which produced a bone fide world record.

In 1997, triple jumper Ashia Hansen set a British record that still stands. Her 15.15 at Fukuoka in Japan was her 10th national record, a Commonwealth best, and the first 15-metre jump by a British woman.

Swimmer Sue Rolph won England's first gold medal of these Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. She broke her own Commonwealth record in winning the 100 metres freestyle, clocking 55.17 seconds to beat Australia's Susie O'Neill. Later in the Games, Rolph added gold in the 50 metres free, while O'Neill went on to win a record 10th Commonwealth Games gold.

Over in Cologne, Steve Redgrave set a record by winning an eighth gold medal at the World Rowing Championships. The great coxless four of Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster, and James Cracknell retained the title they'd won the year before ( September 6). Redgrave added another world title in 1999, while Pinsent holds the record with ten.

And in New York, big Lindsay Davenport became the first American woman to win the US Open since the naturalised Martina Navrátilová in 1987 and the first actually born in the States since Chris Evert in 1982. Martina Hingis had won the previous year's final against 17-year-old Venus Williams ( September 7 ), but the power game of the Williams sisters and the 6'2' Davenport were beginning to overwhelm her. Hingis lost today's final to Davenport and the next one to Serena Williams ( September 11), both in straight sets.

In a remarkable Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the lead changed hands more than 40 times before Jackie Stewart won a Formula One race for the first time. Fellow Scot Jim Clark started on pole, but his fuel pump let him down with 13 laps to go, and Stewart finished just ahead of a third British driver Graham Hill. When his cars remained intact, Clark generally won races. He retained the world title easily that year, with Hill second and Stewart third.

The end of British runners' domination of the world mile record. Since 1979, it had been held by Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, and Steve Cram. Today in the Italian town of Rieti, Nourredine Morceli of Algeria ran 3 minutes 44.39 seconds to break the 3:46.32 set by Cram eight years earlier ( July 27).