The Italian Open: History
The Italian Open is the youngest of the great national championships, having begun in 1930. In that inaugural year, Bill Tilden carried off the men’s title and Lilli de Alvarez the women’s crown. That first tournament and the four which followed it were held in Milan but in 1935 the event was moved to the Foro Italico in Rome. The stadium, which had been built in 1925 close to the Colosseo in the neo-classical style in vogue at that time as it evoked the greatness of Ancient Rome, is surrounded by giant marble statues and pine trees and one of the most beautiful tennis arenas in the world. Roll of Honour: Women's Singles
The citizens of Rome had to wait until 1950 for the next edition of the “Internazionali d’Italia” as the championship was suspended from 1936-49 because of the Abyssinian and Second World Wars. In 1961, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the modern Italian state, the tournament was held in Turin, the capital of Piedmont, whose King had become King of Italy in 1861. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the women’s event enjoyed its heyday, regularly attracting almost all the top players who were playing the European clay court circuit. During this period, it was seen as the most important event outside the Grand Slams. The first open edition was held in 1969, the Italian federation having resisted calls to declare the tournament open the previous year.
As the 1970s progressed, however, the event suffered heavily from the establishment of the Virginia Slims circuit and World Team Tennis. Nevertheless, it continued to attract the all the players who were not committed to WTT and remained the principal warm-up event for Roland Garros. In 1979, following the collapse of WTT, the WTA, in association with Colgate, made a major effort to restore the championships to their former glory. The women held their own separate event at the Foro Italico and the draw included six former champions. However, the 32-player draw meant that after completion of the first round, there were only 15 matches left to play and the crowds stayed away in droves. Because of this setback, the event was moved to Perugia the following year, where it stayed until 1984. The 1985 Taranto tournament, with prize money of only $50,000, was accorded the title of the Italian Open in 1985, but bore little resemblance to the championships of old. In 1986, a $75,000 event, the Ellesse Grand Prix, was staged at Perugia but the Italian federation refused to acknowledge it as the Italian Open. At that time, plans were already laid to bring the women’s championships back to the Foro Italico in Rome in 1987 in conjunction with IMG. Since 1987, the tournament has re-established itself as the second most important event in the European clay-court season together with the German Championships.
1930 Lilli de Alvarez bt. Lucia Valerio 36 86 60
1931 Lucia Valerio bt. Mrs Dorothy Andrus Burke 26 62 62
1932 Ida Adamoff bt. Lucia Valerio 64 75
1933 Elizabeth Ryan bt Ida Adamoff 61 61
1934 Helen Jacobs bt Lucia Valerio 63 60
1935 Hilde Krahwinkel-Sperling bt Lucia Valerio 64 61
1950 Annelies Bossi bt Joan Curry 64 64
1951 Doris Hart bt Shirley Fry 63 86
1952 Susan Partridge (later Mrs Philippe Chatrier) bt M.P. Harrison 63 75
1953 Doris Hart bt Maureen Connolly 46 97 63
1954 Maureen Connolly bt Patricia Ward 63 60
1955 Patricia Ward bt Erika Vollmer 64 63
1956 Althea Gibson bt Susi Kormoczy 63 75
1957 Shirley Bloomer-Brasher bt Dorothy Head-Knode 16 97 62
1958 Maria Bueno bt Lorraine Coghlan 36 63 63
1959 Christine Truman bt Sandra Reynolds-Price 60 61
1960 Suzi Kormoczy bt Ann Haydon 64 46 61
1961 Maria Bueno bt Lesley Turner 64 64
1962 Margaret Smith-Court bt Maria Bueno 86 57 64
1963 Margaret Smith-Court bt Lesley Turner 63 64
1964 Margaret Smith-Court bt Lesley Turner 61 61
1965 Maria Bueno bt Nancy Richey 61 16 63
1966 Ann Haydon bt Annette van Zyl 86 61
1967 Lesley Turner bt Maria Bueno 63 63
1968 Lesley Turner bt Margaret Smith-Court 62 26 63
1969 Julie Heldman beat Kerry Melville 75 64
1970 BJ King bt Julie Heldman 61 63
1971 Virginia Wade Wade bt Helga Niessen-Masthoff 64 64
1972 Linda Tuero bt Olga Morozova 64 63
1973 Evonne Goolagong bt Chris Evert 76 (4) 60
1974 Chris Evert bt Martina Navratilova 63 63
1975 Chris Evert bt Martina Navratilova 61 60
1976 Mima Jausovec bt Lesley Hunt 61 63
1977 Janet Newberry bt Renata Tomanova 63 76
1978 Regina Marsikova bt Virginia Ruzici 75 75
1979 Tracy Austin bt Sylvia Hanika 64 16 63
1980 Chris Evert bt Virginia Ruzici 57 62 62
1981 Chris Evert bt Virginia Ruzici 61 62
1982 Chris Evert bt Hana Mandlikova 60 63
1983 Andrea Temesvari bt Bonnie Gadusek 61 60
1984 Manuela Maleeva bt Chris Evert 63 63
1985 Rafaella Reggi bt Vicky Nelson-Dunbar 64 64
1986* Nathalie Herreman bt Csilla Bartos-Cserepy 62 64
1987 Steffi Graf bt Gabriela Sabatini 75 46 60
1988 Gabriela Sabatini bt Helen Kelesi 61 67 (4) 61
1989 Gabriela Sabatini bt Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 62 57 64
* not accredited as an "Italian Open"
1990 Monica Seles bt Martina Navratilova 61 61
1991 Gabriela Sabatini bt Monica Seles 63 62
1992 Gabriela Sabatini bt Monica Seles 75 64
1993 Conchita Martinez bt Gabriela Sabatini 75 61
1994 Conchita Martinez bt Martina Navratilova 76(5) 64
1995 Conchita Martinez bt Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 63 61
1996 Conchita Martinez bt Martina Hingis 62 63
1997 Mary Pierce bt Conchita Martinez 64 60
1998 Martina Hingis bt Venus Williams 63 26 63
1999 Venus Williams bt Mary Pierce 64 62
2000 Monica Seles bt Amélie Mauresmo 62 76(4)
2001 Jelena Dokic bt Amélie Mauresmo 76(3) 61
2002 Serena Williams bt Justine Hénin 76 (6) 64
2003 Kim Clijsters bt Amélie Mauresmo 36 76 60
2004 Amélie Mauresmo bt Jennifer Capriati 36 63 76 (6)
Italian Open Chronicle
Elizabeth Ryan (1933) and Helen Jacobs (1934) won the Italian Championships, and in so doing scored a point against Lenglen and Wills, whose names are missing from this roll of honour. In 1935, the field included many top Europeans: Krahwinkel, Ryan, Cilly Aussem and Jadwiga Jedrezjowska.
1953 – Maureen Connolly’s final defeat at the hands of Doris Hart was one of only two she suffered that year and one of only 4 she suffered from the US Championships in 1951 to the end of her career in summer 1954.
1956 Althea Gibson won her first major international title.
1958 Maria Bueno enchanted the Roman crowds and the tennis world at large, beating Thelma Long 61 61, Shirley Bloomer 16 97 86 and Coghlan 36 63 63 to win her first major tournament on her first European tour.
1959: 18 year-old Christine Truman lost just 8 points in the first set and 11 in the second in a final rout of Sandra Reynolds en route to her first major international title. She went on to win at Roland Garros. Reynolds had beaten holder Maria Bueno 46 75 63 in a thrilling semi-final.
1960 The championships were severely disrupted by rain. In the semi-finals, Suzi Kormoczy beat Jan Lehane 61 60 and Ann Haydon bt Sandra Reynolds 62 75.
1961 In the semi finals, Maria Bueno defeated Margaret Smith, playing on her first European tour, 64 63 and then regained the title with a win over Lesley Turner 64 64.
1962 At her second attempt, Margaret Smith lifted her first Italian title, defeating Christine Truman in a three-set quarter final, Darlene Hard 75 63 in the semi-final, saving three set points, and Maria Bueno 86 57 64 in the final. Controversially, both Bueno and Smith had courtside “coaching” during the final.
1963 Margaret Smith retained her title, beating Duldig, Starkie, Ebbern, Lehane and Turner 63 64 (coming back to win the last four games of the second set).
1964 Margaret Smith defeated Liz Starkie 62 64, Helga Schultze 75 63, Vera Sukova 61 61 and Lesley Turner 61 61 to achieve the hat-trick and retired the trophy.
1965 Maria Bueno defeated Nancy Richey 61 16 63 for her third Italian singles title, some compensation for never lifting the trophy at Roland Garros.
1966 Ann Jones def. Annette van Zyl 86 61 on the first leg of a Rome-Paris double.
1967 After three final defeats, Lesley Turner finally won the tournament, beating top seed Maria Bueno 63 63 in the final.
1968 As the tournament was not declared “Open”, contracted professionals Billie Jean King, Ann Jones, Frankie Durr and Rosie Casals were barred from entering. The top seed and defending champion Lesley Turner was a surprise winner over second seeded favourite Margaret Court, who was suffered a bout of nerves in her first major clay-court final since her comeback. 4th seed Virginia Wade provided the fireworks when she lost her temper with the umpire and then the match against Faye Toyne-Moore in the round of 32.
1969 At the first Italian "Open", Julie Heldman was the shock winner, dispatching holder Turner in the quarters, Ann Jones in the semis, where she came back from 46 34 to win 46 64 61, and then Kerry Melville, conqueror of Billie Jean King 63 60 in their quarter final. Wade again provided the scandal, losing to Peaches Bartkowicz in the last 16 “in a bad-tempered match in which Miss Wade made certain comments that will go down in tennis history.” John Oakley, World of Tennis 1970, p86.
1970 Billie Jean King won her first major clay court title aged 26 beating Helga Niessen 16 62 64, Virginia Wade and holder Julie Heldman 61 63. The semi-final against Wade, which ended 36 75 63, was played on Centre Court and enthralled the crowd. King saved two match points at 4-5 in the second set and at 5-6, the 12th game contained 21 deuces and lasted for 22 minutes. Wade saved 7 set points and held 16 game points.
1971 The women’s tournament was staged in collaboration with WCT, who ran the men’s event. There was only a draw of 16 for the women and the field was relatively weak. After years of providing the thrills and spills at the championships, Virginia Wade finally claimed victory, beating Niessen-Masthoff in the final for her most prestigious clay-court triumph.
1972 Top-seeded defending champion Virgina Wade was the only big name in the draw but went out to Schildeknechkt-Orth 62 63 in the last 16. Third-seeded American Linda Tuero beat second-seeded Masthoff 75 06 62 in the semis and unseeded Olga Morozova in the final.
1973 The tournament was held after Roland Garros and, in the absence of French Open winner Margaret Court, the players she had beaten in the last two rounds in Paris, Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert, occupied the top two seeding positions in their début year in Rome. Evert, having come so close in Paris and having beaten Evonne three times in succession, was the favourite. However, Evonne did not lose a set all tournament and inflicted a 76 60 defeat on Chrissie in 69 minutes. Evert led 3-1 in the first set but Evonne caught fire and lost just 11 points in the second set whitewash. Wade caused havoc again – refusing to shake hands with Marijke Schaar after her 1st rd victory and calling her a cheat. She lost to Kemmer in the 2nd round 64 16 75 after leading 54 in the third set.
1974 Chris Evert, 19, beat 17-year-old Martina Navratilova 63 63. Chris had dropped two sets en route to the title match. She was pushed to 4-4 in the third set by Maria Neumannova in an early round and beat Morozova 61 16 60 in the semi final. Navratilova reached the final with a 46 76 76 victory over Masthoff in 2 hours 45 minutes. The final set tie-break score was 14-12 and Martina won on her 8th match point, Masthoff having had two of her own. In keeping with tradition, Wade lost her temper and her quarter-final against Pat Walkden-Pretorius because the umpire was talking to a baseline judge on another court between rallies. Her 5-1 first set lead vanished as she lost 5-7 3-6.
1975 In the absence of King, Court and Goolagong, all playing Team Tennis in the States, Evert swept through the tournament majestically. She lost 13 games in 5 matches and clinched the title with a 1 & 0 humiliation of 2 seed Navratilova in the final in just 44 minutes. She said afterwards,“it must have been the worst that Martina has ever played against me”
1976 With all the top players now committed to World Team Tennis, the European clay court season was left to the second tier. Mima Jausovec, #4 seed, beat Lesley Hunt #3 seed in the final. Top seeded Sue Barker fell 61 61 to Regina Marsikova in the quarters. Former champ Maria Bueno made her return to the Foro Italico but went out in the first round to Kathy Harter 26 64 62.
1977 Janet Newberry, who had ousted Navratilova in the 1r of the US Open on clay the previous September, survived the onslaught of the best East Europeans to lift the title. Seeded 5, she beat Neumannova, conqueror of top seed Jausovec, 26 64 61 and Tomanova 63 76 in the last two rounds.
1978 #3 seed Regina Marsikova won the title without the loss of a set, beating # 2 seed Ruzici in the final.
1979 With World Team Tennis having folded, the Italian Open had its strongest field for many years. Former champion Jausovec went out in the first round to Austin, and Newberry and Marsikova went out in the second round to Evert and Madruga respectively. Once again Ginny made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, going out to Iris Reidel-Kuhn in her opening match.
In her 125th consecutive clay court victory, Evert dropped a set to Ivanna Madruga in the qf.
At 46 62 42, she looked to be on her way to victory #126 against Tracy Austin but the sixteen year-old pulled back to force a tie-break, in which she opened up a 5-1 lead. Evert won the next three points to move within three points of victory but it was Austin who closed out the match after almost three hours of play, winning 64 26 76 (4). In the other half of the draw, unseeded Sylvia Hanika took out #4 Fromholtz 63 16 62 and #8 Goolagong 75 36 75 before surrendering to Austin 64 16 63 in the final.
1980 In the absence of defending champion Austin, Evert was restored to her throne as Queen of Italian Clay, beating Mandlikova 64 36 63 and Ruzici 57 62 62 to lift her third Italian title.
1981 Evert made it 4 titles with a 61 62 rout of Ruzici, the only other top claycourter in the draw, in the final.
1982 Evert took the title with a 60 63 drubbing of Mandlikova, who had been taken to three sets in her semi-final by 38 year-old Billie Jean King (36 61 63). Chris became the second woman to win three straight Italian Open titles. '79 finalist Hanika was beaten 60 06 63 by King in the quarter-finals.
1983 Andrea Temesvari won her biggest title in devastating form. She beat Helena Sukova 61 60, Kathy Rinaldi 60 60 and Bonnie Gadusek 61 60 in the last three rounds.
1984 In a rain-drenched tournament which necessitated a late finish on the Monday, Chris Evert failed at the last hurdle to win a 6th Italian open title. On that final day, eventual champion Manuela Maleeva defeated in succession Ruzici 76 46 62 in a match that had spanned 4 days and Carling Bassett 62 62 before upsetting Evert 63 63. Evert, who had beaten Lisa Bonder 61 61 in the semi, was affected by the disrupted schedule and never got going in the final.
1985 A new location (Taranto) and a desultory $50K in prize money failed to attract any top players. The tournament saw its first Italian winner since the 1930s as Rafaella Reggi beat Vicky Nelson 64 64 in the final.
1986 The Italian Federation suspended the championships but a $75K Ellesse Grand Prix was held at Perugia in their stead. Nathalie Herreman defeated Csilla Bartos-Cserepy 62 64 in the final.
1987 marked the return of the women to the Foro Italico for the first time since 1979 and all the top-ranked players in the world except Evert were there. The top 4 seeds made the semi finals: Graf (#1) beat Sukova (#3) 63 63 and Sabatini (#4) beat Navratilova (#2) 76 (2) 61. At the end of her match, Navratilova, who had led 5-2 with set point in the first set, collapsed in tears. In the final, Graf extended her h2h lead over Sabatini to 6-0 with a 75 46 60 victory in which she came back from 2-5 and set point down in the opening set. The Italian press cruelly cast Steffi in the role of the beast against Gaby’s beauty and Graf, offended, vowed not to return to the tournament.
1988 In her last Italian Open appearance, Evert was forced to default her 3r match against Helen Kelesi, who later beat Reggi in the qf and Sanchez in the sf. Chrissie made the headlines anyway, as she was received by the Pope at the Vatican. Sabatini emerged triumphant, beating Hanika, Wiesner and Kelesi.
1989 The event suffered a major blow when Evert and Navratilova withdrew at the 11th hour, as both abandoned the entire clay court season. Manuela Maleeva was #2 but 4th seeded Sanchez pushed eventual champion Sabatini the hardest in a thrilling three-setter 62 57 64 and provided an inkling as to what would happen at Roland Garros later on.
1990 Navratilova beat Martinez 62 60 (her only win over Conchita) and Sabatini 76 75 in the semi-final in a desperate bid to win a tournament that was missing from her list but was swept aside bt Seles 61 61 in final. Helen Kelesi beat Sanchez #3 64 75 in the third round and made the semis but lost 61 62 to Seles, who conceded just 14 games in 5 matches overall.
1991 Sabatini defeated Martinez 61 62 and Seles 63 62 to win her third title. Navratilova, the 3rd seed, was thwarted by Martinez 63 64 in the quarters.
1992 Sabatini upset Seles 75 64 in the final to win the top prize. Like Bueno before her, Sabatini could draw comfort from her triumphs in Rome for her disappointments in Paris.
1993 Conchita Martinez beat Navratilova 61 64, MJ Fernandez 76 64 and Sabatini (who had taken out top seeded Sanchez 61 63 in the semis) to lift her first Italian title and take over from Sabatini as Queen of Italian Clay.
1994 Martinez defended her title in a tight two-set 76 (5) 64 victory over Navratilova in the latter’s last season. Navratilova thus ended her career without an Italian singles title to her name. Ironically, her 4th and last final at the age of 37 was the closest she ever got.
1995 Martinez upset two-seeded Pierce 63 63 in sf and top-seeded Sanchez 63 61 in an all-Spanish final to win her third consecutive title. Sabatini had gone out in the third round to Sukova 26 76 76. This was the last final show for Sanchez, who would end her career without a singles title at the Italian Open.
1996 Marked the return of Steffi Graf to Rome after a nine-year absence. It was not a happy one, however, as Steffi went out to Martina Hingis 26 62 63 in the quarters. Hingis made it all the way to the final but lost to Martinez 62 63, who set a tournament record with her fourth title in a row.
1997 Another returning champion, Monica Seles, was upset in the L16 by Mary Pierce 76 76. #2 seed Arantxa Sanchez lost 61 61 to Patti Schnyder in the qf. Pierce ended the reign of Martinez with a 64 60 final victory.
1998 Hingis won what was to be her most important clay court title over Venus Williams 63 26 63. Venus beat sister Serena in the quarters 64 62. The third round had seen the eliminations of Martinez by Serena 62 62 and Monica Seles by Sandrine Testud.
1999 In a reversal of fortunes, Venus Williams beat top-seeded defending champion Martina Hingis 64 16 64 in the semis and Mary Pierce 64 62 to clinch her most prestigious clay court title to date. Hingis beat Serena 62 62 in the quarters.
2000 Ten years after winning her first Italian title, Seles won her most important title since the Australian Open of 1996, beating Mauresmo 62 76 in the final. Seles was only seeded 5 but the top 4 had all crashed out: Davenport defaulted to Casoni in the 3R, Tauziat (#2) went out to Zuluaga, Venus Williams (3) lost to Dokic and Pierce lost to Mauresmo in the third round.
2001 Jelena Dokic, world ranked #23, won her first ever tournament and what is still her biggest title, defeating Martinez and Mauresmo in the last two rounds.
2002 Serena Williams joined her sister on the roll of honour, beating Capriati in sf and Justine Hénin in the final for her first clay court title.
2003 Kim Clijsters beat Amélie Mauresmo, who had put out Serena Williams, coming back and winning 7 straight games and the second set tie-break from 36 56 in the final. The Frenchwoman thus became a three-time losing finalist, one short of Navratilova’s record 4 defeats without a victory.
2004: The Italian Open celebrated its diamond jubilee with the 60th edition of the tournament. In a thrilling final, Mauresmo saved a match point at 4-5 in the third set to beat Capriati and claim her first Italian Open title. Mauresmo beat 8th seeded Zvonareva 62 63 in the semis while Capriati beat Serena Williams 64 64 after the latter had sent Kuznetsova packing 75 60 in the QF. The other quarter-finalists included two Italians - Farina (a 61 26 75 loser to Mauresmo after having beaten Sharapova 76 60 in the round of 16) and Schiavone (63 63 to Zvonareva). Israeli Anna Smashnova was the other quarter-finalist, going down 63 63 to Capriati. Early round losers included Martinez, Pierce and Myskina.
Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually perilous to humanity.*Wealth without Work * Pleasure without Conscience
*Science without Humanity *Knowledge without Character
*Politics without Principle *Commerce without Morality
*Worship without Sacrifice
Last edited by Andy T; Apr 14th, 2005 at 08:51 PM.