Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
GRAF BEATS SABATINI FOR GOLD
The Dallas Morning News
Saturday, October 1, 1988
SEOUL, South Korea -- Grand slam champion Steffi Graf of West Germany on Friday (Saturday in Seoul) became the first tennis player to win both the Grand Slam and Olympic gold medal in the same year.
She defeated the No. 3 seed in the Olympics, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, 6-3, 6-3, in a workmanlike display lasting 1 hour, 21 minutes.
In defeat, Sabatini claimed Argentina's first Olympic medal of any kind in 16 years.
Graf overcame Zina Garrison of the United States in the semifinal, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the finals, while Sabatini had defeated Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-1, 6-1.
Garrison and Maleeva were both awarded bronze medals.
Graf, who beating Sabatini in the finals of the U.S. Open last month, successfully plotted to keep her opponent moving during their medal match Friday.
"I was trying in the beginning to make her run, to make her go from forehand to backhand,'' she said. "I had a lot of chances to come to the net today, but I wanted to make her run.''
Sabatini, while claiming no frustration at her performance, said she was disappointed.
"I thought I was going to make a better match,'' she said. "I thought I was going to win the match . . . .
"I wanted to win the gold medal. I did a lot of things wrong today.''
The match began with half the seats at center court in the Tennis Stadium empty and with Graf serving in the hazy sunshine. It ended with a drained Sabatini pushing a backhand shot into the net.
In a replay of Graf's semifinal match with Garrison, the gold-medal winner quickly forced Sabatini to move side to side with deep volleys and sharp baseline shots.
The exchanges kept Sabatini on the defensive, unable to establish her rhythm or gain net position.
Even when Sabatini successfully broke Graf's serve in the first set with the score deadlocked, 2-2, she hardly appeared in control.
In one of her rare successes at maintaining net position, Sabatini matched Graf's baseline shots and kept the frustrated West German off-balance. Graf could only shake her head after popping an ordinary return into the net, giving Sabatini the advantage.
"I thought I had a chance there when I broke her,'' Sabatini said, "but I couldn't do anything.''
But Graf quickly returned, drawing Sabatini back into a baseline contest she could control and breaking the Argentine's service in the next game.
Graf sounded surprised at her own success.
"I came here really tired and not expecting much,'' she said. "I don't have any motivational problems. I enjoy playing tennis.''
In defeat, Sabatini attributed her loss to her opponent.
"She played much better than the last time I played her,'' Sabatini said. "She ran me. I was tired. I couldn't come back.''
The two have met 15 times, most recently earlier in the month in the finals of the U.S. Open, won by Graf, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
With Saturday's victory, Graf holds a 14-2 advantage in her series with Sabatini.