Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 169 -
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post #2521 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 08:53 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by djul14 View Post
Thanks Ms. Anthropic Lol at the rust , yeah she was rusty as Nadal was in Acapulco final...

Love this one "I tried having fun once. It was awful." -- Grumpy Cat
Reminds me a quote from Arrested Development, something like :
"Are you serious ?
- Almsot always."
Then you are going to enjoy an upcoming episode from 1988 San Antonio, because there is a really good "grumpy Steffi" quote.

Actually, in all the 1988 tournaments through Mahwah, there is at least one day with a classic quote or off court story (either funny, sarcastic, grumpy, or downright furious) from Steffi. In fact, 1988 Hamburg and Mahwah are like gold mines.
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post #2522 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
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post #2523 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2013, 11:51 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Actually, March 3, 1988 was all of these players lucky day, because, while not mentioned in this article, some lunatic went on a shooting rampage in San Antonio, just about right in front of the hotel where many of them were staying. In particular Silke Meier and her coach had a "brown pants" moment.

McNeil and Graf to meet in semifinals
Houston Chronicle
Friday, MARCH 4, 1988

SAN ANTONIO - Lori McNeil and Katerina Maleeva should mark down March 3 as their lucky day and, a year from now, make some investments.

Both had every opportunity to lose in the quarterfinals of the Lynda Carter-Maybelline U.S. National Hardcourt Championships at McFarlin Tennis Center.

But their lucky stars prevailed.

Maleeva of Bulgaria, the fourth seed, gained the semifinals with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Etsuko Inoue of Japan while McNeil, the third seed from Houston, edged Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union 3-6, 7-3, 7-5.

McNeil will meet No. 1 seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany and Maleeva will go against the No. 2 seed, Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, in the semifinals today.

The final will be televised Saturday at 11 a.m. (Ch. 11).

Graf gained the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nathalie Tauziat of France and Sukova whipped Patty Fendick of La Jolla, Calif., 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Graf, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, has not lost a set nor more than three games in a set in her three matches here.

"I don't think I was patient enough today. It wasn't too good and I know I play much better," Graf said. "Playing someone like McNeil will be much tougher, definitely."

Neither McNeil nor Maleeva felt they had played their best tennis in the quarters.

"I could have played better," Maleeva said. "I made some errors out there that made it closer."

McNeil and Graf will be meeting for the first time since the semifinals of the U.S. Open when McNeil missed a volley at the net on break point at 4-4 in the third set. A break would have given McNeil a 5-4 advantage and the opportunity to serve for the match.

But McNeil declined to comment on the match today as revenge.

"I'll keep trying to be as aggressive as possible with as few mistakes as possible," McNeil said.

The match got off to a bad start for McNeil as she was broken by the fifth-seeded Zvereva in the second game and never at 2 was able to even the score. In the second set McNeil led 5-1 with breaks in the fourth and sixth games and served out after being broken in the seventh game.

She won eight straight points - in the final game of the second set and the first game of the third - before her backhand and serve faltered.

Zvereva broke back in the second game but was broken in the fifth and seventh games as McNeil moved to a 5-2 lead. McNeil was broken in the eighth and 10th games and suddenly they were tied at 5. But McNeil broke back and then held her serve at love.

"She (Zverera) can play better, much better," said Olga Morozova, coach of the Soviet team. "There were seven or eight games where she had a chance and couldn't close the door. She lost because she didn't have enough depth in her game.

"In London (where she beat McNeil on grass at Wimbledon) she played much deeper and she didn't give her a chance to come to the net.

"Natalia gave her a chance to play well. She was not playing her way, but the way Lori wanted her to play."

McNeil admitted that she wasn't playing her best.

"There were some things that I did well. I'm approaching well and I'm volleying well," McNeil said.

In the final match of the night, the No. 1-seeded doubles teams of McNeil and Sukova defeated Maleeva-Leila Meskhi 6-2, 6-2 to move into the semifinals.
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post #2524 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2013, 11:58 PM
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Graf comeback ousts McNeil from Hardcourt
Houston Chronicle
Saturday, MARCH 5, 1988

SAN ANTONIO - Steffi Graf and Katerina Maleeva, the first and fourth seeds in the Lynda Carter-Maybelline U.S. National Hardcourt Championships, meet in the final today in a nationally televised match (Ch. 11 at 11 a.m.) at the McFarlin Tennis Center.

Both finalists were forced to three sets in the semifinals. Graf needed an hour and 54 minutes to defeat Houston's Lori McNeil, the third seed, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-1. Maleeva needed one minute more to upset second-seeded Helena Sukova 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

Graf is the No. 1-ranked player in the world and Maleeva, the youngest of two sisters who both play on the tour, is No. 13.

The finalists live about 1,500 miles apart in Europe and came halfway around the world to play the tournament sponsored by the U.S. Tennis Association.

It will be the third meeting between them. Graf has won the previous two without the loss of a set.

McNeil played an impressive opening set against Graf, despite having trouble with her serve. She double-faulted five times in the first set and missed a host of first serves.

And it took her a tiebreaker to close it outafter she missed two set points in the 12th game. She was broken in the 10th game while serving for the set and fought off two break points in the 12th before losing the game that led to the tiebreaker.

But she played exceptionally in the tiebreaker, taking 3-1 and 6-2 leads before closing it out on Graf's forehand net error.

McNeil was successful attacking Graf's backhand in the first set, often using that weapon to overcome her service problems. But she seemed to abandon that approach in the last two sets.

"I was playing terrible," Graf said. "Horrible. I didn't warm up well during the morning, and I had a negative feeling going into the match. We both tired in the first set, because nothing was working for me. I was just trying to keep the ball in play.

"But, even though I played badly, I won. I knew it would be hard against Lori but when I got into it (in the second set) I knew I shouldn't lose.

"She was playing better in the first set, and I was trying not to rush. But I was the one who was missing and making mistakes."

Was she happy with her serve?

"No. Ask me about any part of my game and I'll say no," she said.

But her play improved and McNeil straying from the tactic that was so effective in the first set - the attack of Graf's backhand - made the last two sets quick and easy for Graf.

The first set lasted 55 minutes, the last two a total of 59.

Graf broke McNeil's serve the last two games of the first set, four times in the second and the first time in the third set for seven in a row. McNeil lost eight of her last nine service games.

Umpire Leon Lipp of Dallas gave Graf a code violation warning for sideline coaching from her father - an event Graf branded as "a joke." She said, "I don't need any coaching when I am leading 6-1, 3-0 in the third set."

Lipp explained that Graf's father was giving her hand signals during the changeover.

"She is tough but she is human," a subdued McNeil said. "The next time I'll just have to be more aggressive in the second and third sets. I don't think I let down, but I think I should have been more aggressive.

"I thought I played inconsistent. My percentage of first serves was pretty low. I didn't mix it up like I would have liked. I'm a little disappointed, but I am looking forward to the Lipton (in two weeks in Florida) and hope to do better the next time I meet her."

Maleeva felt last weekend she had a chance to reach the final after she saw the draw.

She went against the norm for play against the 6-foot-2 Sukova: One of Maleeva's chief weapons was the lob.

"When she is very close to the net, it is not difficult to lob over her, if you have a good lob," Maleeva said. "I was serving well today, but the last time we played I didn't serve well, and she attacked my second serve."

In doubles, the No. 1 team of McNeil and Sukova beat the Soviet duo of Larisa Savchenko and Latalia Zvereva 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. McNeil and Sukova play the No. 2-seeded team of Gretchen Magers and Rosalyn Fairbank in the doubles final.

Sanchez upsets Mecir

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Spain's Emilio Sanchez surprised second-seeded Miloslav Mecir, and defending champion Boris Becker rolled past Johan Kriek to advance to the semifinals of the $702,500 Newsweek Champions Cup.

Sanchez, the No. 8 seed, won 11 straight games in downing his Czech opponent, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. Becker, the West German star who is seeded third, ended the upset run of Kriek with a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

In today's semifinals, Sanchez will meet No. 4 seed Pat Cash of Australia, who outlasted No. 11 Amos Mansdorf of Israel, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. Becker takes on the winner of the final quarterfinal match between No. 7 Andre Agassi and No. 15 Mikael Pernfors of Sweden.
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post #2525 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 2013, 12:01 AM
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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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post #2526 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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Sunday, March 6, 1988
News/Sun-Sentinel wire services

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Steffi Graf lived up to her No. 1 women's singles tennis ranking, defeating Katerina Maleeva 6-4, 6-1 to win the $200,000 U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships.

The West German champ collected a $40,000 check after the nationally televised, hour-long match. Bulgaria's Maleeva won $20,000 in the tournament held at McFarlin Tennis Center.

Graf extended her undefeated series of matches to 26. Her last loss was to Martina Navratilova in the finals of last year's U.S. Open.

Graf said the San Antonio tournament served as a good warmup to other upcoming hardcourt tournaments.

She expects to meet the likes of Navratilova, Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini and Pam Shriver, all of whom passed up the U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships.

"I'm not at my best. I'm getting better," Graf said, referring to a five-week break from competitive tennis after winning the Australian Open in January.

Graf stayed at the baseline much of the match, skillfully changing the pace on her groundstrokes to win many of her points with powerful forehand shots.

Graf won the first seven points in the match as Maleeva began her strategy of aiming for Graf's weaker backhand. Maleeva managed to trade service breaks early in the first set but found Graf's backhand to be almost as much of a weapon as her famous forehand.

"She slices her backhand most of the time cross court. You have to bend your knees low, especially when hitting your backhand with two hands like I do," Maleeva said. She "sometimes makes mistakes on her forehand. She's trying to do more things."

INDIAN WELL, Calif. -- Eighth-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain upset No. 4 Pat Cash of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in a semifinal match Saturday in the $702,500 Champions Cup tennis tournament.

It was the second straight upset victory for Sanchez, who ousted second- seeded Miloslav Mecir in the quarterfinals.

"I was quite confident," Sanchez said. "I knew about his groundstrokes, and they're not as good as Mecir's. I started coming in because I know his backhand is so good. That is not my style, but I changed to win. I'm very happy."

Sanchez will face third-seeded Boris Becker of West Germany today in the final. Becker defeated seventh-seeded Andre Agassi 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 earlier Saturday.

Cash, ranked seventh in the world, committed 26 unforced errors to just six for Sanchez.

"He made mistakes on easy balls," the 18th-ranked Sanchez said. "Pat was blocking the ball, which gave me more time."

In the fifth game of the second set, the players went to deuce four times, and Sanchez won his third break point when Cash hit a forehand volley to the net.

Sanchez went ahead 3-2 in the second set and served to the final point of the 1-hour, 44-minute match when Cash hit a backhand service return out.

"We played a lot when we were kids, and he was always better," Sanchez said. "To beat a player like him is nice. This win is important for my confidence. Now I think I can win some matches."

The Becker-Agassi match lasted a little over two hours, with Becker logging 10 service aces. But the 20-year-old West German did not take Agassi's challenge lightly.

"He hits the ball almost harder than Jimmy Connors," the sixth-ranked Becker said. "He has to improve on his serve and on his volleys. I just had to keep trying because his passing shots were tough."

As the 17-year-old Agassi walked off the court, Becker made a comment. When the teen-ager was asked what Becker had told him, Agassi replied that Becker said: "I hope you don't get any better."

Sanchez said he and Becker know each other's style pretty well. Sanchez has beaten Becker once in six career meetings.

"This week I had tough matches, and winning those gave me confidence," Sanchez said. "Today I had nothing to lose."
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post #2527 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 2013, 07:57 PM
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Top-seed Graf unimpressive in easy victory
Houston Chronicle
Sunday, MARCH 6, 1988

SAN ANTONIO - The Wonder Woman of tennis won the tournament named for the "Wonder Woman" of television here Saturday as Steffi Graf captured the Linda Carter-Maybelline U.S. Hardcourt Championship.

Carter played the title role in "Wonder Woman" for several years on television and Graf has been the Wonder Woman of tennis for the past year.

A capacity audience of 3,044 watched as Graf, the West German who is the No. 1-ranked women's player in the world, needed only 61 minutes to dispose of Bulgarian Katerina Maleeva 6-4, 6-1. Graf was seeded No. 1 and Maleeva, the 13th-ranked player on the computer, No. 4 in the U.S. Tennis Association-sponsored event.

Although Maleeva earned only five points - none on Graf's serve - she insisted that Graf "is not as good as everyone thinks. She misses some. She is a human being and is beatable."

But Maleeva admitted that Graf should be the No. 1 player in the world. Graf, who took over the No. 1 ranking last August and has since won the Virginia Slims Championships and the Australian Open, lost only one set in capturing her second tournament of 1988.

Lori McNeil of Houston and Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, the No. 1 seeds, won the doubles championship with a 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2 win over Rosiland Fairbank and Gretchen Magers, both of San Diego.

Early in the week the media here understood Graf to say she was "rusty" after four weeks off from the tour, but she later said that she was saying "restless." The confusion is understandable, but rusty still seems to be the correct word to describe her game at this point in the year.

She only had 51 percent of her first serves in, compared to 61 percent for Maleeva. Graf double-faulted four times, had three aces and four service winners. Graf made 17 errors, 15 off her forehand, usually her most feared weapon. And she hit 20 winners, 14 off her forehand.

She converted five of her nine break opportunities, but her performance was hardly what is expected of the No. 1 player when she is facing the 13th-ranked player who had lost both previous meetings.

It was her 25th consecutive match win, dating back to the finals of the U.S. Open.

Even Graf was not impressed with her week, which was worth $40,000.

"I played slightly better. In practice (before the match) I tried to hit more winners on the forehand and, once I started hitting my forehand better in the second set, it was easier.

"I definitely got better as the match went on. We had some rallies, and I made her run some and miss some shots. It was not my best, and I'm looking forward to next week in Boca Raton. Yes, I was playing better at the end."

The part of her game that concerned her the most was her service.

"My serve was horrible, that is what I will have to work on the most. And in the first two matches here my serve was very good. Sometimes my backhand is steadier than my forehand, but my forehand got better in the second set."

Maleeva, who won $20,000, set her sights on improving her physical condition after the week in which she gained the finals by scoring three-set wins in two of her five matches.

"I was both physically tired and mentally tired, and I have to work more on my physical conditioning," Maleeva said. "But I wasn't nervous. I didn't have anything to lose."

McNeil, who will skip the Boca Raton tournament and return to the tour on March 14 at Key Biscayne, Fla., thought she and Sukova "went to sleep" in the second set.

"In the beginning we were aggressive," she said of the match. "At 4-3 on my serve we went to sleep a little and let them get back in it. We stopped moving as much."

This was the first and maybe the only pairing of McNeil and Sukova. Both have regular partners, but neither was here. Their first pairing proved successful.
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post #2528 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi and Lindsay post match conference from SAP open. As expected, most questions are directed towards Steffi (click on the audio link below the print):
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post #2529 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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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."

Houston Chronicle
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.
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post #2530 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 10th, 2013, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Stef-fan View Post
Steffi and Lindsay post match conference from SAP open. As expected, most questions are directed towards Steffi (click on the audio link below the print):
Lindsay and Steffi sound pretty comfortable joking around in the beginning.
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post #2531 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 10th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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They make it sound like Steffi is over-reacting, but the funny thing is, somewhere in my archives I'm pretty sure there's an article in which some incredibly famous player (Chris Evert, IIRC) gets stopped and lectured by a guard for not having her pass.

Thursday, March 10, 1988

BOCA RATON -- Do you know me?

Steffi Graf clutched her player identification badge as she walked into the media tent for her postmatch news conference Tuesday.

The top player in women's tennis had changed into a T-shirt and skirt after her opening-round victory over Lisa Bonder at the Virginia Slims of Florida.

But she still looked like Steffi Graf.

"Some of the guards know me, but when I walk around in normal clothes, I don't want to take any chances," Graf said.

Security at The Polo Club is as strict as a third-grade teacher. The guards will grudgingly let you in to see the tournament, but don't try to invade the clubhouse for lunch. Members only. And players with badges.


Carling Bassett Seguso came out to watch Chris Evert play Tuesday night. She would not have been rude if she had left early.

Bassett and Robert Seguso have been expecting their first child for a week. The wait continues, and she will have labor induced if the baby doesn't arrive by March 15.

"She's the most beautiful pregnant woman I've seen," Evert said. "I thought when you're nine months pregnant, it takes five minutes to get up out of a chair."


You've come far enough, baby. The Women's International Tennis Association is seeking a sponsor to replace Virginia Slims when the cigarette brand's contract expires in 1989. The situation is still smoky, though. Virginia Slims, which has sponsored women's tennis since 1970, indicates it could return as a sponsor.


Ana Leaird of Deerfield Beach is leaving her position as director of worldwide operations for Virginia Slims to rejoin the WITA as director of public relations. . . Wiltrud Probst's nickname is Willi-Widdi. . . Linda Ferrando of Italy lists her favorite movies as Rocky I, Rocky II and Rocky III. Maybe she hasn't see Rocky IV?


Five Americans are left in the draw -- Evert, Pam Shriver, Mary Joe Fernandez, Robin White and Peanut Louie Harper. . . Evert is playing doubles with Wendy Turnbull. They are seeded fourth behind Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Helena Sukova, Shriver and Betsy Nagelsen, and Hana Mandlikova and Jana Novotna. . . Mandlikova and Zina Garrison, who is teamed with Katrina Adams, are playing doubles but not singles.


SportsChannel Florida will televise on tape delay the quarterfinals and semifinals. Two Friday quarterfinals will air Saturday at 2 p.m., with Saturday afternoon's semifinals scheduled for Saturday night at 7:30. Carl Foster of Inside World Tennis will do the play-by-play, with JoAnne Russell providing the commentary. ESPN will televise Sunday's final live at 2 p.m., with Cliff Drysdale and Virginia Wade.


Harper and Horvath played for the first time in five years Wednesday, with Harper prevailing 6-4, 7-5. Their three-match rivalry has spanned 10 seasons. Horvath won in Tampa in 1979; Louie won in Washington in 1983.
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post #2532 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 2013, 11:25 PM
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Sabatini, Graf Advance To Virginia Slims Final
March 13, 1988

BOCA RATON -- Chris Evert believes in the Law of Averages. Steffi Graf believes in herself.

Evert lost to Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 7-5 for the first time in her career Saturday at the Virginia Slims of Florida, and it was one of those things that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Sabatini, the 17-year-old Argentine, is No. 5 in the world and getting better every day.

"The Law of Averages caught up to me today," said Evert, after losing for only the eighth time in 173 Florida matches.

"Sabatini is too good a player."

Steffi Graf, meanwhile, beat Pam Shriver 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) after saving a match point.

Graf has won 30 matches in a row, and 105 of her last 107. The No. 1 player in the world laughs at the Law of Averages.

"Sure, you feel you are close to losing, but you just go for it," said Graf, after pulling out the 2-hour, 50-minute match.

"I tried it and got it. It was great that I won."

Graf and Sabatini advanced to today's final at The Polo Club (ESPN at 2 p.m. Less than 500 tickets remain.

Graf has won all 11 previous matches against Sabatini, and don't bet against the streak continuing.

"I will go into the match with a different feeling," said Graf, the defending champion. "But I will fight like hell."

Sabatini showed a new spirit, herself, against Evert. She won the first set in 23 minutes, allowing Evert only nine points.

In the second set, Sabatini fought back from an early break and played with relentless determination, winning three deuce games, including the last one, in which she broke Evert for the match.

"I knew I was going to win," said Sabatini, who had lost five previous matches.

"I did what I had to do and I concentrated from the beginning."

Sabatini took advantage of the slow, hardcourt, hitting heavy topspin that trapped Evert behind the baseline.

"I felt I was 20 feet behind the baseline the whole match," Evert said. "I haven't played anyone like that in this tournament.

"On this court, her shots are very effective. Those high balls kept me offguard. I like to drill them, but I couldn`t with her topspin."

Sabatini has won opening sets from Evert before, but Evert has come back to win matches as Sabatini folded. But Sabatini was made of steel Saturday.

"She held her nerve very well," Evert said.

"I was very nervous the last time we played (Virginia Slims of New England), but this time I had the confidence that I could win," Sabatini said.

It was Evert's fabled backhand that faded at the finish. She hit three backhands into the net on the final three points she lost.

Graf, ironically, saved her match with an uncharacteristic backhand volley -- 4-5, 30-40.

"It was match point and I was going to take the risk," said Graf, who charged the net.

"I didn't want to finish the match by missing a shot and letting her hit a winner. I was going to do it myself."

Down 2-4 in the first set, Graf rallied to win the next four games. Graf fought back from 2-5 to 4-5 in the second set, but lost her service on Shriver's fourth set point and the match was even.

Graf had nine break points in the third set, but Shriver, like a pitcher working out of jams every inning, saved them all and eventually forced a deciding tiebreaker.

"I had all these break points and it irritated me that I couldn't do it," Graf said.

Graf led 3-1 in the tiebreaker, but lost the next three points. Shriver served at 4-3 with a golden chance to put the match away, but Shriver couldn't make an overhead, and Graf grabbed each point.

Now, Graf had the match on her racket and didn't let it go. Shriver saved one match point at 5-6 with a net chord, but Graf rifled a forehand past Shriver to end the challenge.

"In my kind, I can't feel like I lost," said Shriver, who dropped six successive sets to Graf last year.

"I feel like the bigger winner. I didn't play out of my mind, I just played good, solid tennis and I feel great because I know she's beatable.

"I watched Graf beat Pascale Paradis Friday and I thought she was so good, but Graf's not perfect. If you play smart tennis, the match is there to be won. Maybe I didn't quite believe I could win today."

Steffi Graf believed she could win, even at the darkest moments, Saturday. She's a champion and champions don't believe anything less.
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post #2533 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 2013, 11:28 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sabatini, Graf in Florida Slims final
St. Petersburg Times
March 13, 1988

BOCA RATON - The 6,300 tennis fans who filled the Polo Club bleachers for the Virginia Slims of Florida semifinals Saturday got their money's worth, but the majority of them either groaned or only clapped politely at the end of each exciting match.

Their home-grown favorites had fallen to foreign teen-agers.

Chris Evert, the club's touring pro, suffered a rare case of home-court disadvantage and for the first time in her career lost to Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 7-5.

In the second match, No. 3 seed Pam Shriver and the upset-minded crowd unnerved No. 1 Steffi Graf, but the German wonderkid finally prevailed in the 2-hour, 50-minute duel 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5). It was Graf's 30th straight win.

Sabatini and Graf meet at 2 p.m. today in the final, to be shown live on ESPN. The winner takes home $60,000. The loser collects $24,000.

Though the Polo Club crowd was as pro-Evert as they come, the brown hardcourt she practices on all year favored Sabatini's game.

Sabatini's topspin groundstrokes bounced higher than Evert would have liked, and kept her uncomfortably pinned behind the baseline most of the match.

''This court was perfectly suited for Gabriela,'' said Evert, who has lost only eight of 173 matches played in Florida. ''Her shots bounce so high anyway, but on a slow court like this, they were way up there and I can't hit many winners that way. She held her nerve very well, and deserved to win. The law of averages caught up with me. She was bound to win sometime.''

Sabatini flew through the first set in 23 minutes, giving up only nine points.

''It was the first time that I wasn't nervous when I stepped on the court against her,'' Sabatini said. ''I felt I could win, and I concentrated from the very beginning.''

Evert got into the match by winning the opening game of the second set on her fourth break point, and held service at 15 to take a 2-0 lead.

Later, down 5-4, Evert prompted a standing ovation by holding serve at love and staying in the match. But Sabatini held to make it 6-5, and a few Evert errors in the final game gave Sabatini the victory.

''If Gabriela plays the way she did in the first set against me, she could beat Graf,'' Evert said. ''Her game gives Graf trouble. Last year when they played, she had Graf on the ropes, but Graf was mentally tougher.''

Graf needed that toughness Saturday to get by Shriver.

Shriver took a 4-2 first set lead, but Graf swept the next four games to win the set.

In the second set, she reduced a 5-2 deficit to 5-4, but Shriver broke Graf in a game that went to double-deuce to force a third set.

All the while, Shriver took her time between points and joked with the crowd. That irritated the much more serious Graf.

''She was really making me sick,'' said Graf. ''That's not the way I like it.''

After a series of long games, Shriver took a 5-4 lead. Graf served the 10th game, and was down 30-40, but Shriver hit what should have been an easy shot into the net, keeping Graf alive at deuce. Graf won, and the next two games went to the servers.

''I feel zero disappointment,'' Shriver said. ''I can't feel like a loser. I showed that she's beatable. She's not perfect. I'm so sick of people playing into her hands. I hope lots of other players watched this match. It can be done.''
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post #2534 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 2013, 11:35 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

As a teaser for upcoming tournaments, Shriver and Navratilova are going to find out that it is not too smart to play these kind of war-of-words games with Steffi.

Shriver: Graf Can't Beat Navratilova
March 13, 1988

BOCA RATON -- Pam Shriver has some bad news for Steffi Graf, when the world's top player finally gets to play Martina Navratilova this year.

"Martina can do what I did out there a whole lot better, and if she does, she's going to win every time," said Shriver, after taking Graf to the limit, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 Saturday in the semifinals of the Virginia Slims of Florida.

"If Martina commits herself and stays injury-free, it's going to be interesting. What messed up Martina last year was not Steffi -- it was not getting up to play the other tournaments. She lost to Chris (Evert) and Gaby (Gabriela Sabatini)and these other players and she lost a lot of confidence."

Graf and Navratilova have not met in 1988 and are not scheduled to play the same tournament until the French Open in late May.

Navratilova is the only player to beat Graf in her last 107 matches. She did it twice -- at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

-- Graf and Shriver have an intense and emotional rivalry. Graf, very bluntly, does not like Shriver's style:

"She took so much time between points. I was angry at the beginning of the match. She got me upset, the way she was behaving. It made me sick. She's smiling at you and making jokes. That`s not the way I like it."

-- Chris Evert has now lost eight times in Florida since turning pro.

Gabriela Sabatini joins an exclusive club of victors in Florida over Evert that includes Navratilova (two wins, at Amelia Island and at Lipton), Billie Jean King (Sarasota), Greer Stevens (Hollywood), Zina Garrison (Amelia Island), Graf (Lipton) and Kate Gompert (Virginia Slims of Florida last year).

Evert, the touring pro at The Polo Club, is 4-2 on her home court.

Saturday's defeat marks the first time she has lost in the same Florida tournament in successive years.

-- Graf has won 30 straight matches. She opened 1987 with a 45-match winning streak ... The West German press, following the early ouster of Boris Becker in Orlando this week, descended on Graf en masse ... Graf irked Virginia Slims officials by skipping SportsChannel's post-match interview two nights in a row. But maybe Graf is just showing good taste -- SportsChannel taped Friday's quarterfinals and Saturday's semifinals, extending the epic Graf-Shriver match until 2:30 a.m. Saturday night. So, who was watching anyway? ... Saturday's session, which began in brilliant sunshine and ended in the evening chill, was sold out.
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post #2535 of 5756 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2013, 12:09 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Gaby's first win over Steffi. "Did we kill it?" "No ... we just made it angry."

Monday, March 14, 1988

BOCA RATON -- It sounded like a bullfight, not a tennis match.


''Destroy!'' the man shouted in Spanish, from the top of the bleachers at The Polo Club Sunday.

''Esta muerta.''

The man exclaimed that ''she was dead.''

Down below, on the court, Steffi Graf was doomed, as Gabriela Sabatini, the matador, waved her backhand like a cape over the champion.

As the large crowd roared its approval, Sabatini kept swinging away, until she finished the deed.

Then, the Argentine raised her racket in victory and disbelief.

Sabatini had done it. She had beaten Graf 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 and won the Virginia Slims of Florida.

''I can't believe I won,'' Sabatini said. ''I have dreamed about winning, but this is different. This is real.''

Sabatini looked a little startled when they handed her the huge cardboard check with her name over the $60,000 winner's share. She had to believe it now.

Before this weekend, Sabatini had never beaten Chris Evert or Graf. Then Sabatini whipped Evert in the semifinals Saturday 6-1, 7-5, and beat Graf for the first time in 12 matches Sunday.

''Today was another opportunity I had,'' Sabatini said. ''And I took it.''

Sabatini seized the chance, but Graf let it dangle in front of her eyes like a diamond necklace.

Graf led 6-2, 3-2, 30-15, and the world's No. 1 player, who had won 30 consecutive matches, appeared ready to stamp Sabatini as her latest victim.

Then, Graf missed a few shots. Graf saved a break point with an ace, but a backhand approach shot landed in the tape and a forehand sailed wide.

The set was even. And the match was over. Sabatini would win nine of the last 10 games.

''The match was decided at 3-2 in the second set,'' Graf said.

''I missed too many shots and I didn't play the way I should have. I should have won in two sets.''

Graf committed 39 unforced errors -- 23 forehand and 16 backhand. Sabatini made 21 unforced errors.

This was not the Graf who had won 105 of her last 107 matches, who had not lost to anyone besides Martina Navratilova since Hana Mandlikova beat her at the French Open 22 months ago.

Excuses? Champions don't hide behind excuses, but Graf had been suffering from a cold all week. She had survived a three-hour semifinal with Pam Shriver the day before and had little time to recover.

''I wasn't ready for a third set,'' Graf said.

''Yesterday took a lot out of me and I had a little bit of a cold.''

Graf sensed that Sabatini was weakening in the second set, too, and that was really her best chance Sunday. Graf had won past matches when Sabatini had run out of steam.

But Sabatini, pumped by the adoring crowd, caught her second wind.

''I thought she was getting tired,'' Graf said. ''But as the match turned, she was there again.''

''Heading into the third set, I felt that this time, I have to win,'' Sabatini said.

''I had been winning in a lot of matches against Graf and ended up losing. I wasn't going to let it happen again.''

Sabatini broke Graf for a 2-1 lead in a long deuce game, then held at deuce to extend her lead.

Sabatini was rolling now. She won the final three games, all at 30.

''I kept the balls in and got them deep,'' Sabatini said.

''That's all.''

That was enough to beat Graf Sunday. It may not be enough the next time, which could come in two weeks at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne.

Sabatini has the same draw -- Evert in the semifinals to play Graf.

''Losing today will not affect my confidence,'' said Graf, the defending LIPC champion.

''I'm looking forward to Lipton. We will see what happens there.''

Sabatini was too happy to think ahead. She had beaten her toughest rival for the first time, and she had done it on her parents' 24th wedding anniversary.

''We have a few things to celebrate,'' said Sabatini, who headed off to a Key Biscayne restaurant with her folks and some friends.

''It is hard to talk now. I am more than happy.''
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