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post #2527 of (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 2013, 12:01 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf, Maleeva bounce into tennis final
The Toronto Star
Saturday, March 5, 1988

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) - Steffi Graf and Katerina Maleeva powered their way into today's finals with semifinal triumphs at the U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships last night.

Graf, ranked No. 1 in the world, defeated third-seeded Lori McNeil 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-1 in a one-hour, 54-minute match.

Maleeva, seeded fourth, dumped second-ranked Helena Sukova 6-3, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4.

Graf double faulted the first point of the match and McNeil continually played to Graf's backhand, forcing her to either run around to her forehand or hit a short backhand shot; Graf has used her strong forehand to power her way to the top of the rankings, and McNeil did her best to avoid it.

The strategy was working as Graf was down 5-3, but she rallied to take the set to a tiebreaker, which McNeil won. There were six service breaks in that set.

Graf, who managed just one ace to go along with six double faults, said she was unhappy with her play.

'All over the place'

"I was playing terribly. I was going five metres backwards," Graf said. "My toss (on my serve) was all over the place. I couldn't get a rhythm," Graf complained. "I knew that my match against Lori was going to be much harder."

Graf, whose serve was broken three times, started working on her ground strokes with coach Pavel Slozil right after the match.

McNeil, the first player to take a set from Graf since Gabriela Sabatini won one in November, said Graf was too tough.

"I don't think I ever let down," McNeil said. "She just became more aggressive and turned it up a little."

Against Maleeva, Sukova rushed to the net at every opportunity, forcing Maleeva to lob.

Piece of cake

"It wasn't difficult to lob against her," Maleeva said.

Throughout the match the players were running side to side in long rallies. They battled furiously during the tiebreaker, tying the score five times before Sukova won it.

Maleeva served to open the third set, but she was promptly broken by Sukova before coming back to win with two service breaks of her own.

The winner of today's final takes home $40,000.

Hanika Reaches Semis

WICHITA, Kan. - Third-seeded Sylvia Hanika of West Germany needed a tiebreaker to defeat Peanut Louie Harper of San Francisco and advance to the semifinals of the $100,000 Virginia Slims of Kansas.

Hanika beat Harper 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in a quarterfinal match. In another quarterfinal, Svetlana Parkhomenko of the Soviet Union defeated her doubles partner, Natalia Bykova of the Soviet Union, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Hester Witvoet of the Netherlands beat Pascale Paradis of France 6-4, 6-4 in another match.

The last of the quarterfinals, pitting top-seeded Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria against No. 6 seed Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia, was scheduled for late Friday night.

In quarterfinal doubles matches Friday, the second-seeded team of Bykova and Parkhomenko defeated Maria Lindstrom of Sweden and Claudia Porwik of West Germany 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Patricia Hy of Hong Kong and Dinky Van Rensburg of South Africa beat Heather Crowe of Topsfield, Mass., and Kim Steinmetz of St. Louis 6-3, 6-4.
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