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post #2536 of 6247 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2013, 12:11 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Miami Herald-
Monday, March 14, 1988

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Amid shouts of "Viva, Gaby" and "Vamos, Gaby," Gabriela Sabatini swept aside her last nemesis yesterday.

In a rousing comeback from being down a set and a service break, fifth-ranked Sabatini shook off the burden of not having defeated Steffi Graf in 11 previous matches and stunned the world's top-ranked player, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

The victory in the final of the $300,000 Virginia Slims of Florida women's tennis tournament came before a boisterous crowd of 5,983 at the Polo Club of Boca Raton.

It was just the third loss in 108 matches in 1987 and '88 for West Germany's Graf, who was beaten only by Martina Navratilova last year. She had won 30 in a row.

"Grande, Gaby!" hollered Elio Roca, a singer from Sabatini's native Argentina, as she accepted the first prize of $60,000 and a Waterford crystal bowl.

Sabatini smiled and waved to him in the front row of the bleachers. Roca may be popular back home, but it's Sabatini who is becoming the national sensation. At 17, she already endorses everything from cameras to cologne, and now, she has a tennis game to match her marketability.

"I went in there thinking I could win the match," said Sabatini, a part-time Key Biscayne resident whose downfall before was lack of confidence and conditioning. Defeating Chris Evert in her semifinal Saturday for the first time in six meetings buoyed her confidence.

"I wasn't really tired after the first set," Sabatini said after Sunday's triumph. "Then maybe she didn't play as well as she had. I tried to put the ball in play and deep. In the third set, I said, 'This time, I have to win. It's not going to happen again.' "

But Graf, who had needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat Pam Shriver in her semifinal Saturday, clearly was off form. "I had a good first set and was up, 3-2, in the second and gave the game away," she said. "I just wasn't ready for a third set.

"I had a hard win yesterday. I have a bit of a cold, and yesterday took a lot out of me."

As Sunday's two-hour and two-minute match wore on in warm, windy and humid conditions, the atmosphere was more fitting for a bullfight than a country club in Boca Raton.

A group of girls from Graf's nearby home at Gleneagles in Delray Beach shouted, "Go, Steffi, go!" several times. And as Sabatini went for the jugular in the third set, some fans yelled "she's dead" and "kill" in Spanish.

"I didn't feel too comfortable, but what can you do?" said Graf.

"All the support was great," said Sabatini. "I feel perfect playing here."

Sabatini, who is seeded third behind Graf and Evert in the Lipton International Players Championships beginning today on Key Biscayne, planned to spend Sunday night with family and friends celebrating her victory and her parents' anniversary.

Although Graf had dominated the series with Sabatini, seven matches had gone to three sets, and the last previous one, in November, went four. Sunday's looked like it would be a quickie as Graf broke serve three times in the first set and broke again for her 3-2 lead in the second.

But Graf's cannon forehand began misfiring. She dropped serve in the next game with a wide forehand shot and dropped serve again in the eighth game with two errant forehands. Sabatini broke three more times in the third set and committed only 21 unforced errors for the match compared with 39 by Graf (including 23 on the forehand).

"I felt at the beginning of the second set that she was getting tired," said Graf. "As the match turned, she suddenly was there again. The match was decided in the second set. I was missing too many shots."

Sabatini kept pounding topspin shots that pinned Graf behind the baseline, as they had against Evert. "I played deep balls, and they bothered her," she said.

In the first 11 meetings with Graf, Sabatini's stamina or concentration invariably would fail her. Asked what the difference was this time, Sabatini said, "Maybe I was more mental. In the third set, it was concentration. I kept fighting."

Later, she added, "Maybe I was too tired some times. I'm in very good shape. You have to be against her. Between points, I would try to relax."

Sabatini switched coaches last year, from Key Biscayne's Patricio Apey to former Spanish Davis Cup player Angel Gimenez.

"I would like to thank my coach," said Sabatini. "He's one reason I'm playing well.

"He's pushing me more to work. I'm running more, exercising on the court and after practice."

The title was Sabatini's sixth, and the $60,000 prize boosted her career earnings to $995,195.

In the doubles final, Katrina Adams and Zina Garrison upset top-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Helena Sukova, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Officials said the tournament drew a record 45,786 fans for the week. It was held in Palm Beach Gardens in 1984, Key Biscayne in '85 and '86 and Boca Raton last year.
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post #2537 of 6247 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2013, 12:12 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Tennis: Sabatini breaks the Graf spell
The Times
London, England
Tuesday, March 15, 1988

Gabriela Sabatini was able to celebrate the greatest weekend of her life after defeating Chris Evert and the world No. 1, Steffi Graf, in successive matches to win the Virginia Slims of Florida title here.

Sabatini's finest hour come with her 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Graf, but it was only ever going to be a matter of time before the mysterious 17-year-old from Buenos Aires found a way to overcome her great rival. Eight of their 11 previous meetings had gone beyond two sets, and Graf had previously saved a match point in one of those encounters - the US clay courts in Indianapolis in 1986.

Although Sabatini deserves full credit for her success - registering the first time Graf has lost to someone other than Martina Navratilova since her defeat by Hana Mandlikova in the quarter-finals of the 1986 French Open - it is also true that Graf was largely responsible for her own downfall.

In the past two weeks, both in San Antonio and in Boca Raton, her performances have been spasmodic. The famous forehand that has sent ripplies of fear through the locker rooms of the world has suffered often from Graf's impatience, and against Sabatini some shots were so wild they landed yards over the base line.

Graf looked drained as Sabatini fought back in the second set, a result perhaps of her two hour 50 minute struggle against Pam Shriver the day before, during which she was forced to save match point. And so, while Graf looked increasingly uncomfortable, Sabatini not only played steadily from the baseline, hitting the ball strong and deep, but she also found it within herself to venture occasionally to the net with some success.

The 18-year-old West German admitted afterwards that the effects of a slight cold, together with the fatigue suffered in her match with Shriver, combined to sap her resistance. 'I wasn't ready for a third set. My match yesterday took a lot out of me and I wasn't at my best at the end,' she said.

Graf did give credit to Sabatini's steadfast performance. 'She did play well. She was keeping the ball in play and wasn't missing much.'

Sabatini had an iron determination not to let victory elude her again as it had done so many times before. 'I told myself that this time I had to win' Sabatini said. 'I don't think I played much differently from our other matches. The reason I won this time was mental. My concentration was good and I told myself that I could win.'

The effects of the match will reverberate throughout the tennis world as others now believe they too may have a chance after all against a player whose cloak of invincibility has been stripped away in two tough matches.

'I think that now I have beaten her the other players may get more confidence when they play her,' said Sabatini.

------------------------------------------------ RESULTS: ------------------------------------------------ Quarter-finals: P Shriver (US) bt G Fenandez (P Rico), 1-6, 7-5, 7-5; C Evert (US) bt S Cecchini (lt), 6-1, 6-0; G Sabatini (Arg) bt M J Fernandez (US), 7-6, 6-3; S Graf (WG) bt P Paradis (Fr), 6-1, 6-2. Semi-finals: Graf bt Shriver, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6; Sabatini bt Evert, 6-1, 7-5. Final: Sabatini bt Graf, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. ------------------------------------------------
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post #2538 of 6247 (permalink) Old Mar 16th, 2013, 11:22 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Many tourists to St. Petersburg are a little unnerved by the seagulls that will eat bread from your hand -- whether you want them to or not...

St. Petersburg served Graf well // Tennis' top woman and her father remember fondly visit to city in 1981
St. Petersburg Times
Mar 15, 1988

Steffi Graf and her parents have traveled all over the United States in the past seven years, but few of the places they've visited bring back fonder memories than St. Petersburg.

When Peter Graf heard that a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times wanted to talk to him last week during the Virginia Slims of Florida in Boca Raton, he smiled and in German asked his daughter to join in.

"This girl is from St. Petersburg," he explained to her in broken English. "Remember Steffi, St. Petersburg?"

She nodded, and the two began reminiscing. They'd fill in English sentences with the German words they couldn't translate.

It was on St. Petersburg Beach that the Grafs were introduced to America in 1981. Steffi, then 11, was competing in the Orange Bowl junior tennis tournament in Miami and her family decided to stop in St. Petersburg to visit some friends.

They had heard about Florida, but weren't quite sure what to expect.

Three things impressed them most:

The seagulls that ate bread from the palms of their hands, the wide beaches, and the $1.99 children's dinner special at the Brown Derby restaurant.

"It was unbelievable that dinner we got for Steffi at Derby Brown," Peter said. "She had a salad, soup, meat, vegetable, drink and dessert for $1.99. We had never seen anything like that in Germany. We had a very nice experience in St. Petersburg. It is one of the nicest small towns I have ever seen. We'll never forget it."

Life has changed drastically for the Grafs since that quiet trip.

Steffi is no longer the unknown German kid who won that Orange Bowl tournament in the under-12 division.

She currently is the top-ranked professional player in the world. She earned $1.06-million last year. And her loss to Gabriela Sabatini in the Virginia Slims of Florida final Sunday was just her third defeat in the past 108 matches.

This week, the 18-year-old Graf is the top seed in the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne.

But the one thing that hasn't changed with Graf's fame is the rare relationship she shares with her father, who also is her coach.

It is a relationship, he says, that is misunderstood by everyone looking in from the outside. He is often portrayed as a tyrant, an image he despises.

"People watch me and think I am not good for Steffi," he said. "She and I know different. We understand each other. That's very important."

She won't deny that he's pushy, protective, shrewd, demanding, doting and austere. He molded the champion and rules her life with an iron fist. But everything he does is out of love, and Steffi would have it no other way.

"He's the reason I am what I am," she said. "I love him and respect him. He knows me better than I know me. He wants me to be happy all the time."

Papa Graf sawed off the end of a tennis racket handle 15 years ago and put the shortened instrument in his daughter's tiny hand. He tied a string across two chairs to serve as a net and began hitting balls with her. He rewarded long volleys with ice cream and strawberries.

She says she loved the game from the start. She'd beg her father to play more. She said he never forced her to play, always leaving it up to her.

"I put no pressure on her, ever," said her father. "Nobody believes that, but it's true. She loves tennis, and I help her to be the best. I play cards with her before matches, and let her win. I keep her calm. Our family life is what makes her so secure with herself."

Like her father, Graf is stoic, strong-willed and intense. On the court, her overpowering forehand is robotic. She rushes from point to point as if in a trance. Nothing excites her. Other than losing, few things bother her.

Graf wants to be known as a great tennis player - nothing more, nothing less. She said she wishes she had a "cloak to wear" over her face so her private life could stay private. She's not interested in being a public relations darling.

When her matches are over, she does her mandatory interviews, signs a few autographs and rushes off with her parents. She sees no reason to hang around the court longer. The court is her office. She punches in at matchtime and carries her tennis bag out like a lunch pail after a day's work.

Someone once asked Graf why she doesn't smile more on the tennis court. Her reply: "I can either play tennis or smile."

Graf doesn't have many friends on tour, though, like other players her age, she enjoys rock music and the latest fashions. She'd rather spend free time alone or with her parents.

"It's not that I don't want to be friends with the other girls, it's just that the short time I have to relax I like to spend with my family," she said. "They are like friends to me."

"Steffi's different from other girls," said Sabatini. "She thinks only about one thing, tennis. But that's what makes her happy. She has fun her own way."

Graf said she will continue playing until one of two things happens: she gets bored or she celebrates her 28th birthday.

"I don't want to be too old for my children," she said. "It's very important for parents to be able to understand their children."

Sound familiar?
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post #2539 of 6247 (permalink) Old Mar 17th, 2013, 11:55 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

An excerpt from The Miami Herald on Thursday, March 17, 1988 by Edwin Pope. Some might find it surprising that Peter Graf would ever be described as "very reticent," but I can imagine this did not sit well with the Graf clan when they eventually found out. It isn't so much as "Wimbledon would be happy to oblige them if they would only ask," but more a matter of Sabatini's "status" at this stage of her career (no Slam singles finals, only 6 singles titles, and only one win each over Navratilova, Evert, and Graf).

And it just so happened Wednesday that mighty Wimbledon offered its first bow to Sabatini as royalty.

Ted Tinling, tennis' Mr. Manners, made that official.

"A change in transport for Sabatini at Wimbledon," Tinling put it. "I just came from 20 minutes with her agent, Dick Dell. When a player reaches the status of a Sabatini, you do everything you possibly can to accommodate them."

Big change. No more one-buddy-only limit as Sabatini is chauffeured to and from The Big W. Now she can have as many as three companions hauled around Londontown with her the last week of every June and the first week of every July for, say, the next 15 or 20 years.

Wimbledon has treated Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert this way for years. It may do the same for Graf, last year's finals loser to Navratilova, when Graf's people get around to asking. Tinling says the Graf troupe is "very reticent" about requesting anything special.

The important thing for Sabatini is that Tinling gave her the Wimbledon imprimatur when it was asked. And if Tinling tells you a firefly can light up the whole of London, just plug it in and shield your eyes.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Tennis: Graf will measure the strength of the Durie revival
The Times
London, England
Saturday, March 19, 1988

KEY BISCAYANE, FLORIDA - Jo Durie lined herself up for her first match against Steffi Graf in two years when she upset the rankings yesterday to reach the fourth round of the Lipton Players International here. Sticking doggedly to the task of wearing down a worthy opponent, the British player beat Gretchen Magers, a 24-year-old Texan, from San Antonio, 7-6, 6-3.

Providing Graf does not stumble against Ros Fairbank in her third round match, Durie will be playing the West German for the first time since the tournament in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1986. Coincidentally, that was also the last time Durie won as many as three matches in one tournament.

All the old hesitation and lack of belief returned when Durie served for a 5-2 lead in the second set and it seemed as if she might be wavering dangerously when she netted a backhand volley which allowed Magers to break back.

'Yes, I was nervous," Durie said. 'When you are not used to winning, it is difficult not to panic. I won only 10 singles matches in the whole of last year and already this year I have won seven, so it is getting better."

Durie never looks totally in command on court these days, but the determination to succeed is still there, despite the disappointments of the last few years, and that vital aspect of her character has been very much in evidence here.

Magers is ranked No. 77 on the WITA computer, 22 places above the British player so, statistically, this was a good win for Durie, but she would have derived more satisfaction from the manner in which she survived three set points

Then she never allowed the American to get a foot in the door during the tie-break, shutting her out by seven points to nil.

There were also a few encouraging signs in Sara Gomer's play when she lost 6-1, 6-3, to Graf the previous evening. The score failed to reflect the quality of tennis the tall Devonian produced and a different set of statistics bear that out. Gomer had game points in eight of the first 12 games.

Three times she surprised Graf with beautifully disguised dropped shots and produced a great top spin lob to help her break back and stay on level terms for a while in the second set.

Results: Men's singles: Second round

R. Seguso (US) bt J Grabb (US), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; M Mecir (Cz) bt G Layendecker (US), 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; E Sanchez (Sp) bt K Flach (US), 7-6, 6-3, 6-1; D Goldie (US) bt M Srejber (Cz), 4-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Third round:

Y Noah (Fr) bt T Smid (Cz), 7-6, 6-2, 6-2; M Woodforde (Aus) bt T Muster (Austria), 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. R. Krishnan (India) bt M Jaite (Arg), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Women's singles: Second round

S Graf (WG) bt S Gomer (GB), 6-1, 6-3; C Kohde-Kilsch (WG) bt A De Vries (Bel), 6-0, 6-3; H Sukova (Cz) bt G Fernandez (PR), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Third round:

J Durie (GB) bt G Magers (US), 7-6, 6-3; M-J Fernandez (US) bt L Golarisa (It), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0; L Ferrando (It) bt S Goles (Yug), 6-2, 6-0; G Sabatini (Arg) bt L Bonder (US), 6-2, 6-0.
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More grumpiness...

Graf, Sabatini advance at Lipton
St. Petersburg Times
Saturday, March 19, 1988
Associated Press

KEY BISCAYNE - Top seed Steffi Graf and No. 3 Gabriela Sabatini closed out victories with second-set shutouts Friday in the third round of the $2.1-million Lipton International Players Championships.

Graf recovered from a slow start to beat Rosalyn Fairbank 7-6 (7-0), 6-0. Sabatini ousted Lisa Bonder of Largo 6-2, 6-0.

Graf, the defending champion, made 27 unforced errors in the first set against Fairbank.

''I wasn't very happy with the way I was playing,'' she said.

No. 8 Zina Garrison fell to Elna Reinach in three sets. No. 13 Nathalie Tauziat beat Radka Zrubakova in three sets.

Rain interrupted the night session at the International Tennis Center just as Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union was finishing a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Richey Reneberg.

When play resumed, West Germany's Claudia Kohde-Kilsch completed a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 triumph over Isabelle Demongeot of France.

In men's play, No. 1 seed Mats Wilander beat 21-year-old Alexander Volkov 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2.

Also, No.4 Tim Mayotte swept Paul Annacone and No.6 Yannick Noah swept Tomas Smid. Ramesh Krishnan eliminated eighth-seeded Martin Jaite in four sets.

Noah had 11 aces and won 45 points at the net as he beat Smid 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-2.

Krishnan rallied to beat Jaite 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Mayotte eliminated Annacone 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-3.

Reinach, ranked 93rd in the world, beat Garrison 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. Tauziat eliminated Zrubakova 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

Challenge finalists battle for slot in Eckerd Open

The eight finalists in the Eckerd World Class Challenge go after a main-draw entry in the $200,000 Eckerd Open today and Sunday at the Bardmoor/Stearns International Tennis Centre in Largo.

The matches begin today at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday's deciding match starts at 1 p.m. The final will be televised live throughout the state by Home Sports Entertainment Network.

Leading the field is Donna Faber of Bradenton. Faber, 16, is one of the top-ranked 16-under players in Florida and, although an amateur, is ranked among the top 250 professional women players in the world.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Tennis : Wilander, Graf Stagger Through Tiebreakers
March 19, 1988
United Press International
Los Angeles Times

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. Sweden's Mats Wilander and West Germany's Steffi Graf shook off slow starts Friday to advance to the fourth round of the $2.1-million Lipton International Players Championships.

Graf, top-seeded among the women, was taken to a tiebreaker before beating Rosalyn Fairbank of South Africa, 7-6, 6-0.

Wilander, the men's top-seeded player, recovered after losing a second-set tiebreaker to beat Alexander Volkov of the Soviet Union, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

"I came out really mentally prepared to play the match, but it seemed that he didn't," Wilander said. "It didn't seem like he cared and that threw me off. I guess that is his style."

Graf, trying to overcome the flu the past 10 days, went through the motions in the first set before the tiebreaker shook her.

"I started hitting the ball much harder in the tiebreaker (which she won 7-0) and in the second set," Graf said. "Roz was playing pretty well and hitting things back in, and I was making a few errors. I decided to hit the ball harder and I started moving better, which made the big difference in the match."

Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, seeded third, defeated Lisa Bonder, 6-2, 6-0, but eighth-seeded Zina Garrison lost to Elna Reinach of South Africa, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Tim Mayotte scored a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Paul Annacone, and Yannick Noah of France was a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 winner over Tomas Smid of Czechoslovakia.

However, eighth-seeded Martin Jaite of Argentina was upset by Ramesh Krishnan of India, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
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The Miami Herald
Wednesday, March 23, 1988

Another victory at the Lipton International Players Championships for Mary Joe Fernandez provided another day of truancy for a small but boisterous group of her Carrollton School classmates.

With Tuesday's 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Elna Reinach, the 16- year-old junior and her portable cheering section advanced to the women's final four Thursday, where she will play Chris Evert.

Evert, the No. 2 seed, overcame an opening-set tiebreaker defeat to tough out a 6-7 (8-10), 7-5, 6-4 victory over fifth seed Helena Sukova.

And Steffi Graf , the tournament's top seed, eased to the semifinals with her fifth consecutive straight-set victory, a 6-3, 6-1 decision over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch. She'll meet Stephanie Rehe, who played through a climactic and emotional 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over ninth seed Barbara Potter.

"I have nothing to lose," said Rehe, the only unseeded player in the semis. "Nobody's expecting me to win."

Sukova had beaten Evert in the pair's last three meetings, and it looked promising that she would make it four straight until Evert won the last two games of the second set.

A faulty lob and Sukova's piercing serves caused trouble for Evert.

"Her serve was big tonight, especially under the lights," Evert said. "I felt it was a quality match. I just gutsed it out."

Evert took a 5-3 lead in the final set. And after Sukova held serve to pull within one, Evert scored every point in the final game to win.

"It would've been a tough match for me to lose," Evert said.

Sukova took the loss hard and blamed the linespersons for awarding the match's several close calls to Evert.

"The linespeople just favor the higher-seeded players," Sukova said. "You're doing your best and you can't be sure the linespeople will be fair. It's in the back of your mind. I felt everything was going her way."

Evert rolled her eyes after hearing Sukova's complaints. "I thought the officiating was OK. I thought some of her shots were out. Bad calls, if there were any, didn't make the difference in the match."

Men's quarterfinal action will dominate Lipton today, with top seed Mats Wilander playing Aaron Krickstein in the afternoon and second seed Jimmy Connors against Anders Jarryd in the evening.

Fernandez took four straight games from Reinach after a 2-2 start to the first set, then captured the final two games of the second set for the victory.

Throughout the match Fernandez received adrenaline injections from friends, some wearing letter jackets, all screaming "Go, Mary Joe."

"I don't know how they got out of school," Fernandez said. "But I'm awfully glad they're here. They said they may close school on Thursday, Well, we'll see."

Since losing to Gabriela Sabatini at the Virginia Slims of Florida, Graf has been unrelenting at Lipton. Her match with Kohde-Kilsch, the sixth seed, was no different. She took a 5-1 opening-set lead, spotted Kohde-Kilsch the next two games, then won the next six games.

"I didn't have to do much special," Graf said. "It was just a normal match. I just have to hit the forehand and I have to have a good serve. That's what I'm concentrating on. I'm very eager now. I have to win this tournament."

Other than a tiebreaker with Ros Fairbank in the third round, Graf hasn't lost more than three games in a set.

"She didn't miss anything," Kohde-Kilsch said. "She doesn't give you anything, just solid tennis. I thought maybe she would lose a little confidence since she lost to Gabriela. But she has played well here."

Potter certainly wasn't lacking confidence on the final point of her match with Rehe. If anything, she might have been overconfident.

While at the net and poised to strike a soft Rehe return, Potter easily could have forced a deuce by placing the ball in the open court. Instead, the frustration of losing other opportunities in the match surfaced.

So Potter put too much power behind her overhead and not enough accuracy. The ball bounced off the top of the net and ricocheted back into her court.

"I wanted to sort of overcompensate, and instead of going for the sure point, I just got emotional about it," Potter said. "I wanted to hit the ever-lovin' you-know-what out of it.

"It's a tough lesson. It was unfortunate. I'm going to have to learn from this. I'm very disappointed in this match."

Potter's discouragement was caused by the fifth game of the third set. She entered with a 3-1 lead, but Rehe came back with three straight games. After Potter tied the match 4-4, Rehe held
serve, then broke to win the two-hour 40-minute contest.

"I got lucky on that last shot, but I don't feel I was lucky to win the match," Rehe said. "I hung in there."
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Evert, Graf gain at Lipton
St. Petersburg Times
Wednesday, March 23, 1988
Associated Press

KEY BISCAYNE - Veteran Chris Evert won Tuesday night to join teen-agers Steffi Graf, Mary Joe Fernandez of Miami and Stephanie Rehe of Highland, Calif., in the semifinals of the $2.1-million Lipton International Players Championships.

Evert, 33, outlasted No.5 seed Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia 6-7 (10-8), 7-5, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours 28 minutes. Afterwards, Sukova accused the umpire and linesmen of favoring Evert.

Earlier Tuesday, the top-seeded Graf, 18, swept No.6 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-3, 6-1 in a battle of West Germans.

The 16-year-old Fernandez, seeded 15th, beat Elna Reinach of South Africa 6-2, 6-3. The unseeded Rehe, 18, outlasted No.9 Barbara Potter of Woodbury, Conn., 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Evert broke Sukova in the fifth game of the final set for her winning margin. Sukova said she played her best tennis in more than 18 months and called the umpire and linesmen "unfair" and "terrible."

"I felt everything was going her way," Sukova said. "On crucial points in the match they were supporting her 100 percent."

Evert disagreed.

"She's entitled to her opinion, but bad calls did not make the difference in the match," Evert said.

The first set was the only one Evert has lost in five rounds. She had a match point chance at 8-7 in the tiebreaker but couldn't capitalize.

"I felt my back was against the wall a lot of times," Evert said. "I just 'gutsed' it out, basically."

Fernandez, boosted by a partisan crowd that included about a dozen screaming classmates from Carrollton High School near Miami, advanced to the semifinals of a Virginia Slims event for the first time.

"I'm real excited," Fernandez said. "I don't think it has hit me quite yet."

Fernandez, who beat third-seeded Gabriela Sabatini on Sunday, plays Evert on Thursday. Fernandez said winning the two-week tourney isn't her top priority.

"Right now learning and improving are No.1," she said. "You always want to win, no matter what. But I think in the back of my mind I know that you have to work on improving to get to the top."

Against Reinach, ranked No.75, Fernandez lost her serve three times. But she broke Reinach's serve in seven of nine games.

For Rehe, ranked 34th, a relaxed attitude paid off in her 2-hour, 39-minute match against Potter.

"Nobody expected me to win," she said. "I just went out there to have fun."

Potter broke Rehe in the third game of the final set, but Rehe broke back in the sixth game and broke Potter again in the last game. Potter dodged three match points, but on the fourth she netted an easy overhead volley.

"What a way to win a match like that," Rehe said. "I didn't expect it, but I'll take it. I was lucky to win on that shot."

Rehe struggled with her serve but negated Potter's aggressiveness with stinging backhand passing shots.

Rehe's opponent Thursday will be Graf, who raced to leads of 5-1 and 5-0 against Kohde-Kilsch. Graf has won every set in her five matches and said her desire has been increased by a loss to Sabatini 10 days ago in the Virginia Slims of Florida in Boca Raton.

"I didn't want (the loss), but somehow I think it helped me," Graf said. "Winning was getting normal, and that's not the way it should be. I'm very eager now. I want to win this tournament."

Kohde-Kilsch, 2-6 against Graf, said the teen-ager didn't play as confidently as usual.

"She didn't hit one forehand, for example, that I couldn't handle," Kohde-Kilsch said. "I didn't see any of her famous forehand."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

There are times when I wonder if Mr. Bellamy is "tight as an owl" --if that's the expression I want-- when he's writing these things...

Tennis: Graf marches on and adds new shot to repertoire
The Times
London, England
Wednesday, March 23, 1988
From REX BELLAMY, Tennis Correspondent

KEY BISCAYNE - Steffi Graf, last year's winner, advanced to the semi-finals of the Lipton Championships with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch yesterday. This was Graf's sixth consecutive win over her tall compatriot: and the most decisive. As if eager to add spice to a rather dull dish, Graf tried a few fierce, top-spun backhands.

Later Graf laughed about those shots, evidently regarding the experiments as risky and self-indulgent. She should work on the shot, she added, and use it more often. That prospect must be daunting for her rivals, only one of whom - Martina Navratilova - managed to beat her last year.

Graf's forehand is violently effective, her backhand usually a chip that stays low. Should she acquire the knack of hitting outright winners on the backhand, as well as the forehand, opponents might reasonably consider adjusting their life insurance.

Mary Joe Fernandez, aged 16, beat Elna Reinach 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of a senior tournament for the first time. Fernandez then caused startled speculation by nursing a baby (her niece, it transpired), while chatting with the media.

Fernandez ranks twentieth in the world but still goes to school, almost full-time, in Miami. She has won a lot of money but has indulged herself only with the 'nice red car' in which she drives to school. Some of her chums ('I don't know how they got out of school', she said) shrieked encouragement and waved a 'Go Mary Joe' banner while Fernandez played commonplace tennis to win a commonplace match. The whole affair seemed rather infra dig at a tournament of this status.

There were no men's singles yesterday. The last eight will line up as follows: Mats Wilander v Aaron Krickstein, Andrei Chesnokov v Yannick Noah, Jay Berger v Miloslav Meccir, and Anders Jarryd v Jimmy Connors.

Berger, aged 21, has been recruited to the United States Davis Cup team. By today's standards there is not much of him, but he is remarkably tenacious - especially when playing in his local tournament, as he is now. Berger ranks only 55th in the world but has reached the Lipton quarter-finals two years running. Each time his victims have included Andres Gomez.

One wonders what Berger will make of his first meeting with Mecir, who has the men of an aristocrat and the mind of a Machiavelli. In the fourth round Mikael Pernfors led Mecir 4-0 and 5-2, had two set point, but won one more game. Pernfors had been advancing towards a mirage. He met both Mecirs - the one who sleeps and the one who weaves spells.

Finally three asides. The Press Room staff has been embellished by a pretty lass called Heidi, daughter of the renowned Roy Emerson. Elsewhere, those on nodding terms with German sausages have been assaulted by an awful pun, 'The Best Of The Wurst', over a refreshment stall. And the mobile toilets all bear the words: 'The Crowd Pleaser.' Make up your own jokes.

------------------------------------------------------------- RESULTS: Women: Quarrter-finals: M J Fernandez (US) bt E Reinach (SA), 6-2, 6-3; S Graf (WG) bt C Kohde-Kilsch (WG), 6-3, 6-1; S Rehe (US) bt B Potter (US), 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. -------------------------------------------------------------
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post #2546 of 6247 (permalink) Old Mar 24th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Miami Herald
Wednesday, March 23, 1988

How good is Steffi Graf? So good that after losing just four games in a 63-minute victory over the ninth-ranked woman in the world, everyone was talking about how and why she was off her game.

Graf's 6-3, 6-1 breeze past West German countrywoman Claudia Kohde-Kilsch Tuesday on Key Biscayne, her 112th victory in 115 matches over the past two years, moved her into the semifinals of the Lipton International Players Championships.

Graf won Lipton last year. Except for losses to Martina Navratilova in the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, she won everything last year. That's everything as in everything -- all 73 other matches in all 11 other tournaments she played.

She's top-seeded at this year's Lipton; top-ranked in this year's world. She's 82 days short of her 19th birthday -- and still getting better. She already has won nearly $2 million (more than a mill last year alone), but shows no interest in indulging herself. She's still hungry, still lives for tennis, still hasn't had her head turned by the normal teen girl pursuits -- boys and clothes, clothes and boys and . . . oh, yes, boys and clothes.

She has become so good, so dominant, it's no longer enough for her to win. Except for matches against a handful of competitors just below her in the rankings, Fraulein Forehand has to destroy. If, as happened Tuesday, it takes her longer than an hour, or if she loses three games in a set and fights off three other break points, something must be wrong.

"She stayed back and played good, solid tennis, but she didn't seem as confident as she usually is," Kohde-Kilsch said Tuesday. "She didn't serve as well as usual, and she didn't hit one forehand I couldn't get."

Ah, that forehand, the most devastating in the history of women's tennis. It's sometimes called "Jaws" on the circuit. Chris Evert says she has practiced against men who don't hit as hard.

But you could actually see the ball Tuesday. What was wrong?

Nothing, said Graf.

"I didn't have to do too much special," she said. "I didn't play great, but I didn't play bad, either. I started slowly, but it always takes me awhile to get into a match."

The questions persisted. Did her loss to Gabriela Sabatini in the Virginia Slims of Florida at Boca Raton last week affect her game, shake her confidence? Kohde-Kilsch theorized that might be the case.

"No, I'm thinking about this tournament, not looking back," Graf said. "I'm very eager. I want to win this tournament."

Because of the loss to Sabatini?


Did she need a loss to keep her sharp?

"I didn't want it, but I needed it," she said, sounding unconvinced even as she spoke. "Winning was getting normal, the way it should be."

Did she regret losing a chance for a rematch with Sabatini in wake of Gabriela's upset defeat by Mary Joe Fernandez Sunday?

"I've known Mary Joe a long time, and we're good friends, but I was hoping for Gaby."

But the missing face that matters most in this tournament, or any other, belongs to Martina. She's skipping the Lipton to rest sore knees, but has vowed to regain her No. 1 ranking from the Teutonic teen terror, to snatch victory from the Jaws of Graf.

Is Steffi concerned?

She half laughed, half shouted, her reply.

"Not at all. I concentrate on what I'm doing and who I'm playing right now."

Tuesday, the task at hand was dismantling Double K, which she did under the gaze of her father/coach/manager Peter. But she didn't look his way. As is her style, she was businesslike, purposeful. She was always out of a break first, before the chair called "time." She didn't waste motion or emotion, except for a scowl of self disgust over an errant shot, a shake of the head over another, a brief chat with herself over another and the mild questioning of a fault call on a serve she thought was good.

She was content to stay back and hit sliced backhands and junior Jaws -- Gums -- allowing Kohde-Kilsch to play herself out of the match with errors. She can also come over the top on her backhand and she can come in and volley, but she chose not to. As she said, there was no need to.

She has developed the other parts of her game to complement Jaws. "She fixed up her backhand because she was willing to practice that one particular shot for hours, weeks and months," said Fred Stolle, TV commentator for ESPN, teaching pro at Turnberry Isle and former international star. "You've got to hit bloody thousands of them, and she was willing to. She doesn't like to volley much, but at Wimbledon last year she proved she can. That's one part of her game she'll be working on, I'm sure.

"She'll also learn how to mix up her game a little more. She basically has one speed now -- all out, go for everything. That's fine if the ball's going in, but on days it isn't and the wheels are coming off, you've got to shift gears. But that will come with maturity."

She's No. 1 now, 82 days short of her 19th birthday. She's so good, she's judged not on whether she wins, but how easily she wins. And the experts talk about how good she'll be when she grows up.

She's Steffi.

She's scary.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Seriously,huge THANK YOU Ms. Anthropic
I will need time to read all the articles you ve posted, and I already know it will be a pleasure
I've just read the last one, worth reading and its end
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

For the first six games Stephanie Rehe held her own against the world's No. 1 player, Steffi Graf, on Thursday.
USA TODAY (Arlington, VA) - Thursday, March 24, 1988
Author: RICHARD FINN : (c) Gannett News Service

For the first six games Stephanie Rehe held her own against the world's No. 1 player, Steffi Graf, on Thursday.

"She couldn't do much better," said Graf.

Then, for the rest of the night Rehe found herself outclassed, outhit and out of her league.

In the semifinals of the $2.1 million Lipton International Players Championships, Rehe's first such showing in a major pro event, the Highland, Calif., teen-ager weakened under the onslaught of powerful ground strokes off the racket of the top seeded West German to bow 6-3, 6-1.

"I know I can play with the top, I know I can play that kind of tennis. I showed that tonight," said Rehe, ranked 34th in the world. "It is just a matter of keeping it up.

"She's not the No. 1 player for nothing."

"I picked up my game," said Graf, the defending champion. "I was getting into my forehand. I was taking the risks. I was very pleased."

With an 0-3 career mark against her fellow 18-year-old, Rehe was not really expected to put up a struggle. She was the only unseeded player in the semifinals.

"I didn't expect her in the semifinals. Did you?" said Graf.

"I wasn't rolled over and probably surprised some people that I was in the match. That was great," said Rehe.

Swinging from the heels, and connecting, and taking advantage of Graf's errors, Rehe shot out of the starting blocks to break serve in the first game and then hold serve for a surprising 2-0 lead.

"I was really hitting the ball in the beginning. I came out like gangbusters," she said.

"She was going for the shots. She was playing aggressively," said Graf.

Graf did not panic and she began to work herself into the match. She held serve for a 2-1 deficit. Rehe had two game points in the next game for a 3-1 lead. She double faulted on the first, one of seven in the match, and waved at a stinging forehand passing winner. Another double fault followed and Graf made her pay dearly for it by breaking serve with a thundering forehand winner.

The next two games went on serve. It was the last time in the match that Rehe was able to hold her own.

From 3-3 Graf turned up the power and grabbed control.

"Those forehands were whizzing by me," said Rehe, who took home a check of $28,125.

Graf reeled off five straight games. The first set took 44 minutes and the second just 24 minutes.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Friday, March 25, 1988
Compiled From Wire Reports

Top-seeded Steffi Graf won a battle of 18-year-olds, and second-seeded Chris Evert beat a player half her age Thursday to advance to the women's final in the International Players Championships.

Graf, the defending champion, swept past unseeded Stephanie Rehe, 6-3, 6-1, and Evert beat 16-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez of Miami, 6-2, 6-1.

The two will meet in Saturday's final.

Graf fell behind, 2-0, and committed 10 unforced errors in the first three games against Rehe, ranked 34th in the world. The hard-hitting West German won three of the next four games to tie the set 3-3. But the match turned in the fourth game, when Graf took advantage of three double faults to break Rehe's serve, then won nine of the next 10 games to close out the match in 70 minutes.

"I wasn`t rolled over. I came out like gangbusters. Once my serve started going away a little bit, everything started going down," Rehe said. "If my serve had been better, I know the match would've been a lot closer."

Rehe's serving was shaky for the rest of the match. Graf broke her serve again in the eighth game and in the first, fifth and seventh games of the second set.

Graf had been struggling lately with her usually potent forehand, but it improved as the match wore on and was good for 19 winners.

"I was taking more of a risk with it," Graf, 18, said. "That's the way I should use it. I should go into it, and then the opponent can't do anything about it."

Fernandez, who attends nearby Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, was cheered on by a vocal gang of sign-flashing classmates, who were given the afternoon off by school officials. However, after Fernandez held her first serve to tie the match at one game apiece, Evert was in total control and needed just one hour and six minutes to win the 1,230th match of her career.

"I was very, very nervous today," Evert said. "I felt for the whole match if I gave her an opening, she would have taken advantage of it."

"I pretty much got wiped off the court," Fernandez said.

Evert, relying on pinpoint ground strokes, broke Fernandez's serve to clinch the first set and begin a six-game winning streak. Evert won three of those games at love and ran off 11 consecutive points early in the second set.

"If I had lost concentration for two points, it would've been a different story," said Evert, 33. "I felt throughout the match that if I had given her an opening, she would've taken advantage."

Fernandez upset No. 3 Gabriela Sabatini on Sunday to reach the semifinals of a professional tournament for the first time. She said her five previous matches in the two-week, $2.1 million tourney took a toll.

"As the match progressed, I was getting to the ball later and later," said Fernandez, who made 43 unforced errors to 19 for Evert. "I was a little slow."

Evert has a 5-0 advantage in the young rivalry. Two of the four previous matches went three sets.

"In this kind of match, I have everything to lose and nothing to gain," Evert said. "Mary Joe is really a tough player, but if I win it's expected, and if I lose it`s an upset. I was pretty nervous before the match."

Crowd support for the two South Florida products was evenly divided. About 100 of Fernandez's classmates from nearby Coconut Grove chanted "Mary Joe, Mary Joe" before and after the match.

"It reminded me of when I was her age," said Evert, who broke onto the international tennis scene as a 16-year-old high school student at Fort Lauderdale. "When I was playing Billie Jean (King), my classmates came out a couple of times."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Miami Herald
Friday, March 25, 1988

When a linesman reversed a call in favor of Mary Joe Fernandez late in Thursday's match, he elicited an uncharacteristic glare from Chris Evert that would have frozen a geyser.

"Come on, Chris, you're up, 6-2, 5-0," a fan grumbled.

But Evert, the No. 2 seed, didn't want to give a millimeter in their semifinal at the $2.1 million Lipton International Players Championships on Key Biscayne.

"He called it out and then went like this," Evert said later, giving a linesman's hands-down signal for a shot that is on the line. "I was so intense, I wanted every point that was fairly mine."

The point earned Fernandez her only game in the second set. Evert then held serve to win in a vintage performance, 6-2, 6-1, in 65 minutes as she advanced to Saturday's 1 p.m. final. In a rematch of the Australian Open final, she'll face top-seeded Steffi Graf, who Thursday night fought off a quick start by 34th-ranked Stephanie Rehe and won, 6-3, 6-1.

"Play like this against Graf!" a spectator hollered just before Evert won match point.

If she does, it may be a long afternoon for the world's top-ranked player. Especially if Evert's take-no-prisoners intensity level is as high as it was Thursday.

"If I had lost concentration for about two points, it would have been a different story," said Evert, who made only 19 unforced errors to Fernandez's 42. "I felt if I gave her an opening,
she'd take advantage.

"I didn't want to let her in the match. I played her at Stuttgart (West Germany) and felt I played well. But I was ahead, 6-2, 5-3, and let up and needed to win, 6-4, in the third set. Maybe I learned a little."

And Fernandez, the 16-year-old from Miami, learned another lesson about mental toughness from her long-time idol.

"She was just too dominant," said Fernandez, who is 0-5 against Evert. "I was getting to balls later and later, and she kept pounding and pounding. She hit everything on the line and in the corners.

"I knew she'd be tough. She always is tough mentally. She never lets anything affect her. If she keeps playing like this, she'll stay on top for awhile."

Evert jumped on top of Fernandez with a service break in the fourth game and never eased up. She pinned Fernandez to the baseline with deep groundstrokes and tossed in a few drop shots and lobs for good measure.

In defeating fifth-ranked Gabriela Sabatini last Sunday, Fernandez charged to the net 50 times and won 34 of the points. But she came in only 19 times Thursday and won just 10 points as Evert answered with pinpoint passing shots.

"There weren't a whole lot of strenuous rallies," Evert said. "She tried changing games and coming in, but my passing shots worked real good.

"I don't think she could beat me from the net. I was happy when she came in."

As temperatures climbed to the 80s, the patience and stamina of both players were tested. And Evert, 33, persevered.

"My feet were burning out there," Fernandez said. "I got tired in the heat. It was the hottest it has been in the tournament.

"I've had a tough couple of weeks, played a lot of matches. Naturally I had to get slower."

Asked what it will take to beat Evert, Fernandez said, "I have to get to balls quicker, attack her and control the points better."

As Evert said, this was a match in which she had "everything to lose and nothing to gain." In a tournament with three teen-agers in the semifinals, the pressure was on her.

"I felt that pressure," Evert said. "And it worked in a positive way. I was pretty nervous before the match."

But not so nervous that it rattled her game.

"I'm still trying to be a fighter on the court and not be too mellow," Evert said. "With the players today, you have to be."

Graf found that out against Rehe, an 18-year-old Californian who broke her serve in the first game and grabbed a 2-1 lead. Then Graf's potent forehand kicked into high gear.

"I wasn't rolled over, I surprised some people," said Rehe. "Then she picked up her game and I made a few errors. She's not the No. 1 player for nothing. Her forehand just blew by me in the second set."

Graf was one of those surprised at Rehe's gangbusters start. "She was going for her shots and using an aggressive style. At 3-3, I picked up my game. I started taking more risks and was going into the forehand. That's the way I should go into it."

And what about Evert?

"She's much more eager this year," said Graf. "Yes, I'm surprised. I mean . . . 33. Maybe (her engagement last week to Andy Mill) helped her, too."

Fernandez was asked if she thought Evert could defeat Graf. "It's tough to say. Graf is playing well. Chris has to play really well and go for her shots more. But with Chris, anything is possible."

Thursday's results

Women's singles


Steffi Graf (1) d. Stephanie Rehe, 6-3, 6-1; Chris Evert (2) d. Mary Joe Fernandez (15), 6-2, 6-1.

Men's doubles


Anders Jarryd-John Fitzgerald d. Paul Annacone-Christo Van Rensburg, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 6-1; Ken Flach-Robert Seguso d. Kelly Jones-Michael Mortensen, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (11-9).

Mixed doubles


Michiel Schapers-Ann Henricksson d. Bud Cox-Wendy White, 6-4, 6-4.

Today's schedule

1 p.m. session

Stadium court -- Miloslav Mecir vs. Jimmy Connors; Lori McNeil-Betsy Nagelsen vs. Steffi Graf -Gabriela Sabatini.

7 p.m. session

Stadium court -- Mats Wilander (1) vs. Yannick Noah.

TBA -- Jim Pugh-Jana Novotna vs. Ken Flach-Betsy Nagelsen; Candy Reynolds-Paula Smith vs. Gigi Fernandez-Zina Garrison.
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