Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
Also, when asked it was brought up that some were accusing Navratilova of "dodging" her by skipping the VS of Florida and the Lipton, she didn't think so:
"I thought it was kind of strange," Graf said of Navratilova skipping Lipton. "That's a big tournament."
But Graf stressed that her No. 2 nemesis is not avoiding her.
"It's difficult," Graf said. "I took off after the Australia Open, and Martina is taking off now."
GRAF TOPS BONDER; 14-YEAR-OLD IMPRESSES EVERT IN LOSS
Wednesday, MARCH 9, 1988
Houston Chronicle News Services
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Top-seeded Steffi Graf, the defending champion in the $300,000 Virginia Slims of Florida, defeated Lisa Bonder in straight sets Tuesday, then said her game needed improvement.
The No. 1-ranked player in the world, Graf needed just 46 minutes to beat Bonder, from Saline, Mich., 6-1, 6-1 in an afternoon match. Also winning a second-round match was third-seeded Pam Shriver of Lutherville, Md., who beat Wiltrud Probst of West Germany 6-1, 6-1, in 45 minutes.
Raffaella Reggi of Italy, seeded eighth, and Nathalie Tauziat of France, seeded ninth, also advanced to the third round. Reggi beat qualifier Laura Golarsa of Italy, 6-3, 6-3; and Tauziat defeated Brenda Schultz, 15, of the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-2.
"I didn't play good last week and this will be a much tougher tournament. So right from the beginning I wanted to do well here," said Graf, 18, who returned after a month off to win last week's U.S. women's hardcourts in San Antonio. "I'm still trying to get my game together again. My serve didn't work well last week. So I'm working on my serve and my forehand. I don't think of myself as No. 1, I just try to play my best."
Her win over Bonder was her 27th straight victory since she lost to Martina Navratilova in the U.S. Open final last September.
Her ambition to keep the No. 1 ranking can be seen in her weekend experience. She beat Katerina Maleeva in the hardcourts final Saturday, flew to Florida and practiced a couple of hours Saturday night.
Shriver, ranked fourth in the world, lost her opening service to Probst, a qualifier, and won the next six games, losing just six points. Probst held service to start the second set and Shriver again won six straight games with the loss of six points.
"I played well considering it was pretty windy," Shriver said. "I liked playing during the day outdoors after two weeks of indoor tournaments. Now I can spend the night listening to election returns."
Evert, making her first start since losing to Graf in the final of the Australian Open, stopped 14-year-old Monica Seles of Yugoslavia 6-2, 6-1.
Evert, ranked third in the world, was too smart and strong for the 5-foot-5, 100-pound Seles, who was playing in her first professional tournament.
Seles lost all eight of her service games as Evert, losing her first two services, broke out of a 2-2 first-set deadlock.