Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2 - Page 202 - TennisForum.com
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post #3016 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

GRAF STRUGGLES IN FIRST ROUND
November 16, 1988
Sydney Morning Herald

NEW YORK, Tuesday: Top seed Steffi Graf, of West Germany, played below her best but hung on to beat countrywoman Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-1 4-6 6-1 yesterday in the first round of the Virginia Slims women's tennis championships in New York.

Fifth-seeded Pam Shriver, of the US, stopped Sylvia Hanika, the third West German player to qualify for the season finale at Madison Square Garden, 6-3 6-4 in the other first-round match.

Graf, who captured the grand slam and the gold medal at the Olympics in Seoul, lacked consistency with her normally dangerous forehand in winning her 45th straight match and squandered a 4-2 second-set lead.

The hard-serving Kohde-Kilsch, ranked 11 in the world, was outplayed in the 26-minute first set and did not get into the match until she took four successive games from 2-4 to win the second set.

Kohde-Kilsch extended her streak to five consecutive games when she took a 1-0 lead in the third set, but Graf became more aggressive with her first serve and raced through the last six games of the match.

Graf, the defending champion, said she was not satisfied with her play.

"This is a tough tournament, with the best 16 players, and I expect some tough matches," she said. "I think she served well in the second set and that gave me some problems."

Shriver had trouble with the left-handed Hanika's heavy topspin groundstrokes but managed to break the West German once in each set, without dropping her own serve, to lock up the victory.

The top 16 players qualify for the the women's Masters.

Standings:

1 Steffi Graf (W Germany) 5,580 pts, 2 Martina Navratilova (US) 4,530, 3 Chris Evert (US) 3,870, 4 Gabriela Sabatini (Argentina) 3,628, 5 Pam Shriver(US) 2,751, 6 Helena Sukova (Czech) 2,133, 7 Zina Garrison (US) 2,034, 8 Natalia Zvereva (USSR) 1,934, 9 Manuela Maleeva (Bulgaria) 1,837, 10 Lori McNeil (US) 1,667, 11 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch (W Germany) 1,656, 12 Stephanie Rehe (US) 1,495, 13 Barbara Potter (US) 1,335, 14 Sylvia Hanika (W Germany)1,302, 15 Katerina Maleeva (Bulgaria) 1,291, 16 Helen Kelesi (Canada) 1,137, 17 Arantxa Sanchez (Spain) 998, 18 Anne Minter (Australia) 996, 19 Larisa Savchenko (USSR) 980, 20 Patty Fendick (US) 966.
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post #3017 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 12:00 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

If there were such a thing as a "tennis western" movie genre, "Fistful of Tissues" would be a great title. There is some disagreement about how Maleeva's injury was induced.

Tennis; Shriver Tops Evert; Ailing Graf Gains
ROBIN FINN
November 18, 1988
New York Times

On Wednesday, Chris Evert relaxed a bit after beating the jinx that had plagued her in 1985 and 1987, when she did not survive the opening round of the Virginia Slims Championships.

She felt encouraged by her three-set victory against Barbara Potter, but she was still uneasy because she felt she was not playing up to her own standard.

Last night the unease turned to dejection as she was eliminated by Pam Shriver, 7-5, 6-4, in the quarterfinal round at Madison Square Garden. ''This week, I always felt like I was on the defensive on this court,'' said Evert, who likes to think she exerts more of a threat than that.

An Overwhelming Loss

She will be 34 years old next month, and she plans to curtail her tennis after 1989. But the touchstone for her continued participation is her belief that she can challenge, although perhaps not unseat, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, the only players ranked above her. But last night Evert was defeated, overwhelmed in fact, by the world's fifth-ranked player, 26-year-old Shriver, who barrelled past her in pursuit of Graf in a semifinal match tommorow.

Graf, weakened by the flu and playing despite a doctor's warning, was indomitable as she dutifully advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Bulgaria's Manuela Maleeva.

After her loss, Evert merely felt tired. ''I feel a little drained right now,'' said Evert, who has been defeated by Shriver in three of their last four meetings. ''She had more weapons than I did.''

Shriver Scores at Net

Evert, seeded two spots higher than Shriver, was unable to put together an effective game. Shriver used her serve and volley game in the first set, when she earned a 4-2 edge with a service break that Evert trimmed to 4-3 by breaking back.

In the second set, Evert broke in the third game, but Shriver, omnipresent at net, neutralized the break by taking away Evert's serve in an arduous eighth game. Shriver needed seven break points before Evert, shaking her head, sailed a lob uncharacteristically long.

''That was a huge game,'' said Shriver. ''Sometimes it's not easy to make yourself go for it, but in the end, every time I went for it I was successful. Shriver said she sensed that Evert's game was ''a smidgen off her peak'' and steeled herself to apply pressure relentlessly.

Shriver, preparing for her match against Graf, said she will spend her day between matches ''rehearsing and rehearsing the shots I know I'm going to need to make a match of it. I've got to get ready for the number one player in the world, antibiotics and all.''

Graf in a Breeze

Graf came onto court armed with a fistful of tissues that she consulted regularly between points, but she said the affliction had little impact on her game as she breezed by seventh-seeded Maleeva. The illness did force Graf to withdraw from her doubles match that was scheduled last on the night's program, but she said she made that decision less for the sake of her health than for the sake of her singles game. Singles is a priority of Graf, who has a 46-match winning streak and a title to defend here.

''I would have to feel horrible not to play on Saturday,'' Graf said.

''Obviously I played not so bad, I am used to this,'' she added, referring to her tendency to come down with colds at tournament time. She was plagued by one last spring at Boca Raton, Fla., where she suffered one of her two defeats this year at the hands of her doubles partner, Gabriela Sabatini. She was also ill during the United States Open, in which she completed a Grand Slam by defeating Sabatini in the final.

During the third game last night, Maleeva struck herself in the face with her racquet, a painful collision that opened a cut on her nose and gave her a 10-minute headache. Graf then brought a different kind of pain by winning the set on the strength of three service breaks.

''I think she was hardly making a mistake,'' said Maleeva, who has never beaten Graf in 10 meetings. ''It's so hard to hit winners against her. Nobody's unbeatable, but against her you have to have a lot of patience and know you can stay and run on the court for five hours without getting tired to be on her level.''
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf beats bug; Shriver rips Evert
Houston Chronicle
Friday, NOVEMBER 18, 1988
CHARLES CARDER, Staff

NEW YORK - A sniffling Steffi Graf moved a step closer to defending her Virginia Slims Championships title on Thursday night, but the honors of the night went to Pam Shriver, who upset Chris Evert in the other quarterfinal match.

Graf, the No. 1 seed, earned a less-than-inspired 6-1, 6-3 victory over seventh-seeded Manuela Maleeva and Shriver, the fifth seed, followed with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over third-seeded Evert in the $1 million season-ending tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Evert at one time had an 18-0 record against Shriver, but Shriver has won three of their last four meetings since late in 1987. Shriver's serve-and-volley play was too much for Evert, who does not like the indoor court at the Garden.

"I always feel like I'm on the defensive on this court. This is not one of my best surfaces,'' Evert said. But she was not attempting to take any honors away from Shriver.

"Pam played more good points and she used her weapons better than I did. We both had our chances, but Pam has been playing better the last two years. Of the three times I've lost to her I didn't play as well as I could, I certainly didn't tonight.''

Shriver was subdued about the win, but she acknowledged: "Anytime you beat Chrissie it is a great thing. But she has been having trouble with serve-and-volley players. I guess I'm not as excited about this win as I might be because I don't like to go nuts when I beat a good friend.''

They exchanged breaks in the sixth and seventh games of the first set and Shriver scored with another service break in the 12th. In the second set, Evert took the advantage with a third-game break, but lost it in the eighth when the count went to deuce six times. A 10th-game break closed it out.

Graf ignored her doctor, who had advised the top seed not to play her quarterfinal match.

"I felt awful yesterday (Wednesday) and slept very little last night,'' Graf explained with a raspy voice as she clutched tissues in her hand. "I went to the doctor this morning and he said I should not play. I am taking drops and some throat medication. I have decided not to play doubles tonight.''

She and Gabriela Sabatini, the No. 3 seeds in doubles, were to have played the No. 1-seeded team of Martina Navratilova and Shriver in the semifinals in the last match on the Thursday card.

The default advanced Navratilova-Shriver, who have won four of the five Virginia Slims Championships and the last two in a row, into Saturday's final.

"I am a little bit tired,'' Graf admitted after her 70-minute win over Maleeva, the eldest of the Maleeva sisters from Bulgaria. "It is best that I not do anything tomorrow. I can rest and get ready for Saturday,'' when she will play Shriver in the semifinals.

Bad colds are not unusual for Graf. She had one in Boca Raton, Fla., when she lost to Sabatini in the final - one of her two losses of the year. And she also was bothered by a cold at the U.S. Open.

"My father was a little sick, so maybe I got it from him,'' she said after her 46th straight win that increased her record for the year to 71-2.

Of her win over Maleeva, Graf said: "It is good to know that I can play while I'm ill.''

She wasn't the only person on the court who had physical difficulty. In the third game, Maleeva started to hit a groundstroke when the ball took a bad bounce and hit her in the forehead.

She received treatment after that game and the wound was still bleeding when she returned to the court.

"My head was shaken for about 10 minutes before I could get my concentration back,'' Maleeva said about losing seven straight games. "It's going to be swollen tomorrow.''

She did not know that Graf had been ill but felt that she played well.

"She hardly made any mistakes so I had to hit winners against her,'' Maleeva said.

Maleeva was asked if she thought Graf could be beaten and she observed that "nobody is unbeatable. But you have to run for five hours at her level to beat her.''

The best game of the match was the fourth of the second set on Maleeva's serve. It went to deuce eight times with Graf breaking Maleeva on her fifth advantage.

For the match, Graf only lost 15 points on her serve and it was Maleeva's serve that got her out of several tight spots as she served an unusual number of aces, seven.

"I thought that she would wait for that serve on the left side, where I made all the aces,'' she said. "But I served quite well and I'm happy about it.''
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post #3019 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"I just have a little problem breathing, but I don't really need oxygen, it's OK."

Graf battles flu in win; Shriver upsets Evert
St. Petersburg Times
Friday, November 18, 1988
Associated Press

NEW YORK - Steffi Graf, ignoring a doctor's recommendation not to play due to the flu, won her 46th straight match Thursday night with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Manuela Maleeva in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims tennis championships.

The next opponent for the defending champion will be fifth-seeded Pam Shriver, who upset No.3 Chris Evert 7-5, 6-4 in the second quarterfinal of the $1-million tournament.

Shriver now has beaten Evert in three of their last four meetings after losing their first 18 matches.

Graf had no trouble beating Maleeva for the 10th straight time despite a fever and cold that forced her to stop several times to blow her nose.

"I had no trouble during the match, just a little problem breathing," Graf said.

The 19-year-old West German said she began feeling ill Wednesday afternoon, and visited a doctor Thursday morning.

"He recommended that I not play," she said. "But I practiced before the match and it wasn't so bad."
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post #3020 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 08:06 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Whatever happened to Kohde Kilsch. She showed promise but lasted only a few years top 10 then disappeared. Did the emergence of Steffi discourage her. It is ironic that there were all these good 2nd tier type East Germans then yet a West German (Graf) emerged to far outshine them all, which was totally against the norm in sport. Although wasn't Kohde Kilsch a West German too, while Bunge, Hanika, and others were East.
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post #3021 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 08:39 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

All of them were West Germans. I'm given to understand, from comments made by Steffi and Martina in 1989, that East German tennis players were very restricted in traveling outside Eastern Bloc countries.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
All of them were West Germans. I'm given to understand, from comments made by Steffi and Martina in 1989, that East German tennis players were very restricted in traveling outside Eastern Bloc countries.
So Hanika and Bunge were West Germans too? I don't know why I had thought they were East. I am going to try and find their bios online now.
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post #3023 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2013, 08:49 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Yes you are right (not that I ever doubted you were), Bunge and Hanika are West Germans. I didn't realize that until now. I guess because when I started following Steffi I never saw them in big Fed Cup ties but I guess that is because kohde Kilsch was thought to be better than them by then, both in singles and doubles.

It is strange with the sports power East Germany was to see all the top German players being from West Germany. Probably the Eastern ones were considered too much a risk to defect in a travelling sport like tennis. I wonder what kind of players the East Germans might have produced seeing how strong a group the West were, and when East Germany had more resources (for sports only, far less for life) and a bigger pool of athletes.
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post #3024 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 19th, 2013, 12:17 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by rollingraces View Post
Yes you are right (not that I ever doubted you were), Bunge and Hanika are West Germans. I didn't realize that until now. I guess because when I started following Steffi I never saw them in big Fed Cup ties but I guess that is because kohde Kilsch was thought to be better than them by then, both in singles and doubles.
Hanika was known to feud with the German Tennis Federation and/or other German players (most notably Steffi). Bunge, who was so international I don't know if she could properly play under one flag, played some Fed Cup doubles and even carried the day versus Bulgaria in 1986.

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Originally Posted by rollingraces View Post
It is strange with the sports power East Germany was to see all the top German players being from West Germany. Probably the Eastern ones were considered too much a risk to defect in a travelling sport like tennis. I wonder what kind of players the East Germans might have produced seeing how strong a group the West were, and when East Germany had more resources (for sports only, far less for life) and a bigger pool of athletes.
Tennis players, at least really good ones, are much harder to mass produce than, say, swimmers, weight lifters, or track and field entrants. If tennis had stayed an Olympic sport, maybe more Eastern Bloc nations would have put some emphasis on it, but I think the solitary nature of tennis was too much at odds with a "collective" mentality, if for no other reason than a maximum of only four people can play on one court at one time (unless you get creative make your own rules).
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post #3025 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 19th, 2013, 12:22 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

This could be a tie with the 1996 Wimbledon final for her grossest match. I can just imagine the ball kids and Maleeva thinking, "I have to touch that ball after she did? Ewww."

Flu-weakened Graf wins 46th in a row
Gainesville Sun
November 18, 1988
Associated Press

New York - Steffi Graf, weakened by the flu, won her 46th straight match Thursday night with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Manuela Maleeva in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims tennis championships,

The next opponent for the defending champion will be fifth-seeded Pam Shriver, who upset No. 3 Chris Evert 7-5, 6-4 in the second quarterfinal of the $1 million tournament.

Shriver now has beaten Evert in three of their last four meetings after losing their first 18 matches.

Graf, who won the Grand Slam and an Olympic gold medal this year, had no trouble beating Maleeva for the 10th straight time despite a fever and cold that forced her to stop several times to blow her nose.

Maleeva, a pure baseliner, was no match for Graf's mix of sliced backhands, blistering topspin forehands and deft drop shots.

After Maleeva held serve to open the match, Graf won seven games in a row before her 21-year-old Bulgarian opponent evened the second set at 1-all.

The most exciting point in the match was the fourth game of the second set, which featured eight deuces, six break points by Graf, three double-faults and two aces by Maleeva -- and two nose-blowing breaks by Graf.

Graf finally won the game when Maleeva hit a forehand long. The 19-year-old West German then served out the match.

It was the second loss in the tournament for the Maleeva family. Manuela's younger sister, Katerina, was beaten Wednesday by fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini.

Sabatini, who has handed Graf her only two losses this year, plays sixth-seeded Natalia Zvereva in a quarterfinal match Friday. Second-seeded Martina Navratilova meets No. 8 Helena Sukova in the other quarterfinal.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I remember Shriver would beat Steffi next day which would be such a huge upset. I hope people don't think Steffis flu was the biggest reason for the upcoming loss as Pam played an amazing match, probably one of the best matches of her entire career. Despite that she was middle aged I think her best ever tennis was 87 and 88 in general too.

Yeah I forgot tennis only became an Olympic sport in 88, so East Germany wouldn't emphasize it much.

Did Hanika ever play Fed Cup for West Germany, even in days as #1 West Germany given her poor relations.
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post #3027 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 19th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by rollingraces View Post
I remember Shriver would beat Steffi next day which would be such a huge upset. I hope people don't think Steffis flu was the biggest reason for the upcoming loss as Pam played an amazing match, probably one of the best matches of her entire career. Despite that she was middle aged I think her best ever tennis was 87 and 88 in general too.

Yeah I forgot tennis only became an Olympic sport in 88, so East Germany wouldn't emphasize it much.

Did Hanika ever play Fed Cup for West Germany, even in days as #1 West Germany given her poor relations.
You try this every few months, but you're not very subtle. I am never going to take the bait, so stop trying. Go troll somewhere else.
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post #3028 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

TENNIS; Shriver Ends Graf's 46-Match Winning Streak
ROBIN FINN
November 20, 1988
New York Times

The invincible one was felled by a common cold and an uncommon performance by Pam Shriver yesterday. Shriver stood sentry at the net and achieved a 6-3, 7-6 victory in the semifinals of the Virginia Slims Championships that snapped Steffi Graf's winning streak at 46 matches.

''I had no chance,'' complained Graf, who felt poorly before the match and resigned after it. ''I wasn't myself.''

Graf, who used 1988 to solidify her hold on women's tennis by capturing the Grand Slam and an Olympic gold medal, won every major tournament she entered this year until this one at Madison Square Garden. She had hoped to defend her championship here, but instead she suffered an indignity her game had not seen since last spring. This was just the third time in 73 outings that Graf failed to win a tournament.

Her only other losses this year came against Gabriela Sabatini, who won yesterday's other semifinal. Sabatini, who has beaten her challengers like sparring partners, defeated Helena Sukova, 6-4, 6-2, to send herself into today's final, which will be three of five sets and be worth $125,000.

Sabatini was defeated in four sets by Graf in last year's final, but Shriver, rarely a singles finalist in major tournaments, said she hadn't ever played a match under that format. Shriver, seeded fifth, holds a 5-3 career edge over Sabatini, who is seeded fourth.

Graf was the third highly seeded player in three days to lose. Martina Navratilova, seeded second, lost to Sukova Friday night and Chris Evert, seeded third, was beaten by Shriver on Thursday.

''What I already achieved this year is incredible to me,'' said the 19-year-old Graf, who had defaulted from her doubles match in order to prime herself for another singles title. ''Sure, I wanted to have a better ending to my year, but it was not my choice.''

The shots launched by the ailing Graf were a pale version of the real thing. The ashen-faced Graf, still running a temperature from the cold she caught earlier this week, only sporadically produced the sort of firebrand tennis that had outdistanced her from all challengers.

Her backhand slice lacked its usual punch, and often didn't clear the net. Her serve was adequate but not, as Shriver demonstrated as early as the second game, unbreakable. Even her renowned forehand was unreliable.

Graf said her weakened condition, and not Shriver's insistent serve-and-volley, was the cause of her downfall. ''I was trying to play more topspin but it didn't quite work at all,'' she said.

Breakthrough in a Tie Breaker

Graf said she didn't notice heightened aggression from Shriver during the second-set tie breaker, which Shriver won by 7-5, reversing a tradition of tie-breaker collapses.

''She did it for the whole match,'' Graf said of Shriver's incessant charges on the net.

Graf's various letdowns were exactly what Shriver needed to let herself into the match. She was unperturbed by losing the first game, in which she twice double-faulted, because she broke back in the second.

''I was concentrating as hard as I've ever concentrated,'' said Shriver, who entered the match with a 2-7 record against Graf. ''I've been trying to work on my emotions for quite a while. Never once did I rehash something.''

After testing each other early, both players held serve until the eighth game, in which Shriver again broke Graf after earning a double break point against her. Graf overhit two returns, a lob and a forehand, to lose the first two points, and sent a forehand wide while playing the second break point against her.

Shriver, encouraged at the chance to play the aggressor, then served for the set. It was just the 11th set dropped by Graf in 1988.

Backhand Is Exploited

In the second set, neither player yielded her serve, and a tie breaker was required. Shriver exploited Graf's backhand, dueled handily at net, and then fired an ace to take a 3-0 lead. Graf worked her way back to a 5-4 advantage, but Shriver used two big serves to force errors from Graf, and at match point, Shriver galloped toward the net as soon as she had returned Graf's serve, and Graf, under pressure, sent a forehand long.

''I won because I thought I could win, and because after I lost my opening service game I never lost my serve again,'' Shriver said.

Shriver, acknowledging the raucous support from the fans, made a victory lap around the court and hugged every ballboy and ballgirl in sight.

In the doubles final, Shriver and Navratilova retained their title and won for the fifth time in six years, defeating Larisa Savchenko and Natalya Zvereva, an unseeded duo from the Soviet Union, 6-3, 6-4.

There was some concern that Navratilova, who twisted her right ankle when she tripped over a television cable leaving the grandstand during Shriver's match, might be unable to play, but she made a quick recovery.

CLASSIC MATCH

A classics doubles match featuring Tracy Austin and Virginia Wade against Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals will precede today's singles final between Shriver and Sabatini. It begins at 1 p.m., with the final at 2 p.m.
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post #3029 of 6229 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Boy, it's a good thing Pammy usually always most of the time kept the loser's feelings in mind and tempered her jubilation after winning.

Shriver stops Graf's streak of 46 wins - Will face Sabatini for Slims crown
Houston Chronicle
Sunday, NOVEMBER 20, 1988
CHARLES CARDER, Staff writer

NEW YORK - Pam Shriver had a hug-in at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

When the last ball bounced harmlessly past the baseline and her 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Steffi Graf was secure, the tears began to stream down her face. A ball boy and girl were close, so they received the victory hugs as the 17,422 fans rocked the giant building with cheers.

Today the Lutherville, Md., player who was seeded No. 5 in the Virginia Slims Championships, will meet fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina in the best of five-set final. Sabatini ousted eighth-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia 6-4, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

Martina Navratilova and Shriver won their fifth doubles title in the six-year history of the Championships, downing Larisa Savchenko and Natalia Zvereva of Russia 6-3, 6-4 late Saturday.

How big was the win?

"It's only really big if I win tomorrow. It was still only a semifinal,'' a serious Shriver said after the match. Then a giant smile spread across her face. "But it was a huge semifinal.''

How big was it? It stopped the West German's string of 46 consecutive wins by the No. 1 seed who, during this year, has won the first Grand Slam of tennis since 1970 and the first Olympic singles gold medal since 1924.

It was Shriver's second upset in as many matches. She beat third-seeded Chris Evert in the first quarterfinal match on Thursday.

"I don't think I've ever defeated two players ranked ahead of me, not since I've been in the top five,'' Shriver said.

A group of about 300 Graf fans had purchased tickets at courtside and armed themselves with West German flags. They started chanting for Graf from the first shot. But U.S. fans rose to challenge and picked up the Shriver cause. By the time Shriver won the first set, Graf fans were drowned out.

After all, this is the city were Shriver enjoyed her first success, reaching the final of the U.S. Open 10 years ago.

"I think that it was then that I realized that these people were happy that I had won,'' Shriver recalled the moments at the end of the match.

The 1-hour, 36-minute match didn't start well for Shriver. She was broken in the first game but broke right back. That was the last time she would lose her serve.

The deciding break in the first set came in the eighth game, and there were no service breaks in the second set. Graf had a break point in the 10th game when a net cord ball bounced over Shriver's head. But a backhand net error negated that potential break.

Graf was not strong on the backhand side, missing at key points from that side.

"Both (the backhand and the slice backhand) were not working too well,'' Graf said. "I was trying to change it sometimes and it didn't work at all, so I was trying to play more topspins and it worked a couple of times.''

Graf came down with a cold early in the week but pulled out a win over Manuela Maleeva in the quarters. She was still affected by the cold against Shriver.

"Disgusting,'' was the way she described her feelings. "In the beginning I was not quite myself, not nervous but a little shaky. In the second set I felt better, but...'' her voice trailed off as did her game.

It was in the tie-breaker that Shriver was at her best. She won the first point on a backhand net error by Graf, took the second point with three reflex volleys, the last of which banged into the corner, and went up 3-0. Graf fought back to take the lead at 5-4, but that was the end.

Shriver forced Graf into two backhands, which she miss-hit, and on match point Graf was long with a forehand as she attempted to pass Shiver.

The Sabatini-Sukova match was anticlimactic. Sukova was broken in the third game of the first set and the fifth and third games of the second set. Sukova probably left her game on the court on Friday night when she upset Martina Navratilova in singles and was forced to play three sets in doubles before losing at midnight.

Sabatini admitted that she was expecting to play Graf if she got to the final and confessed that she was guilty of looking ahead. She also admitted that Shriver has been a tough opponent for her.

Shriver has won five of their eight meetings. After losing the first two times they met, Shriver put together four consecutive wins before Sabatini won again. Shriver won their only meeting of 1988, at the Virginia Slims of Washington.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

SHRIVER STUNS GRAF TO GAIN SLIMS FINAL
The Miami Herald
Sunday, November 20, 1988
From Herald Wire Services

Steffi Graf's dream season ended with a nightmare.

Graf, fighting the flu and Pam Shriver's booming serves, was eliminated from the Virginia Slims Championships Saturday. Shriver scored a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) semifinal victory in New York's Madison Square Garden to snap Graf's 46-match winning streak, the fourth-longest in the modern era of women's tennis.

"What I've achieved this year is incredible," said Graf, the Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medalist from West Germany. "I wanted to have a better ending, but it's not my choice."

It was only Graf's third defeat in 75 matches this year and her first since she lost to Gabriela Sabatini in April.

Sabatini, who handed Graf her other loss in March, will play Shriver in today's final. She beat Helena Sukova, 6-4, 6-2, in the other semifinal.

Graf, 19, who caught the flu earlier in the week week, had little zip on her groundstrokes. Her backhand was particularly weak, often falling softly into the net.

"I was not myself in the first set," she said. "I was nervous and shaking. I had chances in the second set, but I let them get away."

Asked how she felt physically, she said, "Disgusting. I wasn't feeling well, but I wanted to play because if you play and try, it's better (than defaulting)."

Shriver, who hadn't beaten Graf in three years, said she didn't think her opponent's illness was a major factor.

"I don't think it was a question of fitness because no point lasted more than eight seconds," said Shriver, who later teamed with Martina Navratilova to win the doubles final over Larisa Savchenko and Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union.

After Graf hit a long forehand return to end the 96-minute match, Shriver raised her arms in celebration as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

"You have to treasure moments like this because they don't happen every day," said Shriver, 26.

The match opened with two service breaks and continued on even terms until Shriver broke again to take a 5-3 lead.

She double-faulted to start the next game, but took the next four points to win the set.

There were no breaks in the second set although Graf had an easier time holding serve, winning three games at love and giving up only one point in her other three service games.

Shriver won the first three points of the tiebreaker, but Graf battled back to take a 5-4 lead. The West German's erratic play resurfaced, however, and she made three consecutive errors to end the match.

"I was nervous and excited," Shriver said of the tiebreaker. "The crowd was going nuts, but I was focusing on just three things -- the ground, the ball and my racket strings . . . Oh, and on her."

"I won because I thought I could win, and because after I lost my opening service game I never lost my serve again," Shriver said. She had seven double faults, but offset them with six aces and 20 service winners.

Shriver, acknowledging the raucous support from the fans, made a victory lap around the court and hugged every ball boy and ball girl in sight.

MORE TENNIS

Second-seeded John McEnroe reached the final of the Little Caesars Championship tournament at Detroit with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over unseeded Kelly Evernden.

In the other semifinal, third-seeded Aaron Krickstein defeated unseeded Leif Shiras, 6-1, 6-0.
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