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post #3136 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2014, 04:27 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

If I were to tell them that Gaby has already beaten Steffi for the last time, they would laugh at me. If I were to tell them that Gaby would win only 2 more sets against Steffi, they would call me crazy. If I were to tell them that, including this match, they would play seven more times and four of those would feature a 6-0 set for Steffi, I would have zero credibility. But I would also be right.

An interesting stat: "Graf has reached the quarterfinals or better in all but one of the 105 events she's played since October 1985. She lost to Lori McNeil in the first round of last year's Virginia Slims Championships. Graf's record since October 1985 is 519-35, with 11 of her losses to Gabriela Sabatini."

Sabatini Gets Graf For Semis
March 19, 1993

KEY BISCAYNE -- Steffi Graf reached the semifinals of the Lipton Championships on Thursday, putting her right where Gabriela Sabatini wants her.

The two women are scheduled play today at 1 p.m. and, though Graf is playing her best tennis in two years, she's facing the Sabatini curse.

Gaby is 8-1 against Graf in Florida with eight straight wins in this state, three of them in semifinals.

The last time they paired off was at last year's Lipton, where Sabatini put her away 3-6, 7-6, 6-1.

Graf, seeded No. 1, reached the semis, her seventh in seven Lipton appearances, by easily defeating Nathalie Tauziat on Thursday 6-0, 6-1.

Sabatini, No. 3, who finally turned her game around three days ago by beating Amanda Coetzer in three sets, had a surprisingly easy time with sixth-seeded Jana Novotna 6-2, 6-3.

Defending Lipton champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, seeded second, plays Kimiko Date, No. 16, in the other semifinal, probably about 5 p.m.

Sanchez Vicario defeated Leila Meskhi on Thursday, 7-5, 6-1. Date upset Mary Joe Fernandez, the fifth seed, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

For Graf, it was her 16th straight triumph over Tauziat, to whom she has never lost a set nor ever been pressed to win seven games to win a set.

"I could do nothing wrong. Whatever I touched worked," she said.

Sabatini came off the court sounding as if she was ready to go right back on and play Graf.

"I've beaten her recently, but every time I play Steffi is a different match," she said.

She finally seems grooved after being off most of February with a flu virus, unable to practice.

Sanchez Vicario remains a strong possibility to win this tournament again. With her new coach, Carlos Kirmayr, she has become more aggressive and is playing more around the net.

She and Graf have been the most consistent players in the women's draw, though Sanchez Vicario dropped a set to Natalia Zvereva while Graf has lost only nine of 58 games.

Sanchez Vicario and Date have split two previous matches. Arantxa beat her at the French Open, but lost in the Pan Pacific Open in Japan.

It was another quarterfinal finish for Fernandez, her third this year. Since winning at Indian Wells four weeks ago, she has not gotten past the quarters of the Slims of Florida or Lipton.

It has been one of the most upset-free women's draws in Lipton history, with the top three seeds making it through the final four.



11 a.m. -- Petr Korda (5) vs. Stefan Edberg (3); Steffi Graf (1) vs. Gabriela Sabatini (3); Richard Krajicek (10) vs. Pete Sampras (2); Kimiko Date (16) vs. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

7 p.m. -- Maliva Washington (14) vs. Patrick McEnroe; Black/Briggs vs. Devries/MacPherson (7).

--Court 1

11:30 a.m. -- Elting/Haarhuis (9) vs. Annacone/Wheaton; Fernandez/Zvereva (1) vs. Graham/Schultz (16); Casale/Sanchez (11) vs. Edberg/Korda; Mark Woodforde (18) vs. Marcos Ondruska; Krajicek/Siemerink vs. Davis/Palmer.

--Court 6

11 a.m. -- Maniokova/Meskhi (16) vs. Neiland/Novotna (2); Fernandez/Garrison Jackson (6) vs. Po/White (13); Demongeot/Reinach (8) vs. winner of Maniokova/ Meskhi and Neiland/Novotna; winner of Fernandez/Garrison Jackson and Po/ White vs. McNeil/Stubbs (3).

--Court 7

11 a.m. -- Kschwendt/Probst vs. Hetherington/Rinaldi (6); Shriver/Smylie (4) vs. winner of Kschwendt/Probst and Hetherington/Rinaldi (6).



Round of 16

1. Jim Courier d. Mikael Pernfors 6-0, 6-3.

1. Courier lost to Mark Woodforde (18) 3-6, 6-2, 2-6.

2. Pete Sampras d. Andrei Medvedev (17) 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-2.

3. Stefan Edberg d. Guy Forget (13) 6-2, 6-4.

5. Petr Korda d. Guillaume Raoux 6-4, 6-4.

8. Andre Agassi lost to Richard Krajicek (10) 2-6, 5-7.

9. Michael Stich lost to Marcos Ondruska 6-7 (3-7), 3-6.

14. MalaVai Washington d. Nicklas Kulti (29) 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).

21. Nicklas Kulti (29) lost to Patrick McEnroe 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 0-6.


Second Round

Paul Haarhuis and Jacco Eltingh d. Mark Keil and Dave Randall 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Stefan Edberg and Petr Korda d. Tom Nijssen and Cyril Suk 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Third Round

Paul Annacone and David Wheaton d. Sandon Stolle and Jason Stoltenberg 6-3, 6-3.

Byron Black and Mike Briggs d. Ronnie Bathman and Rikard Bergh 6-2, 6-1.

Steve DeVries and David MacPherson d. David Adams and Andrei Olhkovskiy 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4).

Patrick McEnroe and Jonathan Stark d. Johan Donar and Ola Jonsson 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Scott Davis and Jared Palmer d. Goran Ivanisevic and Cassio Motta 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis d. Neil Broad and Stefan Kruger 6-3, 6-4.


Richard Krajicek played one of his best matches, beating Andre Agassi with some great attacking tennis. Final two points: Three lunging volleys to block passing shots and go up 40-0, followed by a smoldering ace to the backhand side.


Andre Agassi claiming it was tough not to play on the stadium court, where he has more room to maneuver. This was the guy who two days earlier, after beating Jason Stoltenberg, said he has learned to block out distractions.


- "I didn't want to have to tell my parents I lost oh and oh." -- Mikael Pernfors, simply delighted to win the first game of the second set against Jim Courier.


One day after St. Patrick's Day, Patrick McEnroe added big-hitting Marc Rosset to his string of wins here. He hadn't gotten past the second round of a tournament this year, but is now in the Lipton quarters.



Round of 16


1. Steffi Graf d. Nathalie Tauziat (8) 6-1, 6-0.

2. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario d. Leila Meskhi (20) 7-5, 6-1.

3. Gabriela Sabatini d. Jana Novotna (6) 6-2, 6-3.

5. Mary Joe Fernandez lost to Kimiko Date (16) 6-7 (4-7), 3-6.


Second Round

Jo Durie and Ginger Helgeson d. Amanda Coetzer and Linda Harvey-Wild 6-4, 6-2.

Kimberly Po and Robin White d. Christina Singer and Dinky Van Rensburg 6-2, 6-1.

Kathy Rinaldi and Jill Hetherington d. Florencia Labat and Patty O`Reilly 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Debbie Graham and Brenda Schultz d. Elise Burgin and Caroline Vis 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2).

Pam Shriver and Elizabeth Smylie d. Cammy MacGregor and Shaun Stafford 6-3, 6-2.

Third Round

Debbie Graham and Brenda Schultz d. Katrina Adams and Manon Bollegraf 6-3, 7-5.

Lori McNeil and Rennae Stubbs d. Julie Halard and Radka Zrubakova 6-4, 6-3.

Gigi Fernandez and Natalia Zvereva d. Yayuk Basuki and Nana Miyagi 6-2, 6-2.

Isabelle Demongeot and Elna Reinach d. Jo Durie and Ginger Helgeson 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

Pam Shriver and Elizabeth Smylie d. Shannan McCarthy and Marianne Werdel 6-3, 6-2.


It was the biggest win for Kimiko Date since she upset Sanchez Vicario at the Pan Pacific in 1992, but she had a hard time telling the media about it. She doesn't speak English.


Another disappointment for Mary Joe Fernandez. Playing in front of her home crowd, she went out in the quarters for the third time this year, and for the second time in a row in South Florida (Delray Beach, March 1-7).


-- "I could do nothing wrong. Everything I touched worked." -- Steffi Graf, after running her career record against Nathalie Tauziat to 16-0. She has lost a set to her.


Graf and Sanchez Vicario are one match away from a replay of their Slims of Florida final, won by Graf.
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post #3137 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 29th, 2014, 06:57 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Looking back at it now, the psychology of this match is amusing (if you're a Grafan ). Gaby is clearly annoyed at being made to play in such conditions; Steffi's attitude is "This kind of thing happens to me all the time."

The Miami Herald
Saturday, March 20, 1993

Steffi Graf 's victory over Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinals of the Lipton Championships on Friday might have been one of the longest women's matches imaginable, and yet the easiest match Graf has ever had against Sabatini.

From start to finish, the match took about 4 hours 45 minutes thanks to rain.

"It was a long wait," Graf said. "We came on court six times."

But all Sabatini has to show for it is two games. Graf won 6-0, 6-2.

"She played great, one of the best matches I've seen from her," said Sabatini, who has an apartment on Key Biscayne.

In fact, in the 34 matches Graf and Sabatini have played, Graf has never beaten Sabatini as soundly as she did Friday on Stadium Court of the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.

The match took one hour and eight minutes. The 23-minute first set (23 minutes in actual playing time) was the fourth-quickest Graf has had in the tournament.

Her quickest set was the second of her 6-1, 6-0 victory over Nicole Arendt of Gainesville in the third round. It took 19 minutes.

"Under the circumstances, with the strong winds, I don't know how it could have been much better," Graf said.

Graf, winner of the Lipton in 1987 and 1988, will face Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in today's 1 p.m. final (live, Channels 10, 25). Sanchez Vicario had almost as easy a time as Graf did in her semifinal match, a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Kimiko Date of Japan.

"From the beginning, I thought I had to be aggressive and go for it," Sanchez Vicario said. "That's what I did."

The final pairing gives Sanchez Vicario a chance to avenge her 6-4, 6-3 loss to Graf two weeks ago in the final of the Virginia Slims of Florida at Delray Beach. Graf won with relative ease there when Sanchez Vicario strained her left hamstring.

But few matches between two of the top-ranked players in the world (Graf at No. 2 and Sabatini at No. 5) will be as easy as Friday's was for Graf. Sanchez Vicario, ranked No. 4, actually played a quicker match, beating Date in 56 minutes. But Date is ranked No. 26.

"The whole match through," Graf said, "I was aggressive. I came in on important points and just tried to keep the ball in play."

Until Friday, Sabatini had an eight-match winning streak against Graf in Florida, going back to the 1988 Virginia Slims. The streak includes three-set victories the past two years at the Lipton.

In their past nine matches anywhere, Graf has only won twice, both times at Wimbledon.

"It was important to me that I played the matches before strongly," said Graf, who has lost 12 games the entire tournament. "I knew Gaby was gutsy. She likes to come in and get you out of rhythm. But I didn't think about it (the streak)."

It would be nice for Sabatini if the weather could be blamed for her poor showing against Graf. Their match should have begun at about 1:15 p.m., just 15 minutes behind schedule. But two minutes before they were to start, rain began to fall and they were taken off the court.

The rain stopped. Graf and Sabatini came back. The rain came again. Then it stopped. Graf and Sabatini came back. The rain came again.

"It's hard to go out there and stop, then come back and stop," Sabatini said. "That has never happened to me. Sometimes I've had to stop once, twice at the most."

But six times? For the length of the Sabatini-Graf match, that works out to stopping every 11 minutes 20 seconds.

"Obviously it didn't affect her," Sabatini said of Graf. "It really never happened to me, losing that way with that score."

A side affect of Graf's victory is that she has moved ahead of Monica Seles to No. 1 in the Kraft Point Standings for the first time since November 1990. She does not, however, supplant Seles as No. 1 woman in the world.

If Graf is No. 1 in the point standings when the 1993 Kraft Tour year ends, she will receive a $650,000 [sic] bonus.
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post #3138 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 29th, 2014, 07:03 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Some interesting match facts: "Nine of the 18 winners top seed Steffi Graf hit in her 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 3 seed Gabriela Sabatini were forehand. 'I really go for my shots, hit a lot down the line,' Graf said. 'It (Graf's forehand) is the best it has been for a long time.' ... Sabatini, a net player, hit only one volley winner against Graf."

The Palm Beach Post
Saturday, March 20, 1993
VICKI MICHAELIS, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The only thing predictable about the Lipton Championships this week has been Steffi Graf.

Through wind, cold, rain and a bubbling stadium court surface the top women's seed has come through, five times now, with straight-set wins.

Her 6-0, 6-2 semifinal win over No. 3 seed Gabriela Sabatini Friday was the most impressive by far. It puts her in a 1 p.m. final today against No. 2 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who defeated No. 16 seed Kimiko Date 6-2, 6-1 Friday.

"She played great," Sabatini said of Graf. "It was, I would say, one of the best matches I've seen from her."

Graf's victory was much more of an ordeal than the scorecard-- which marks the official time of the match at one hour, eight minutes-- could ever show.

Graf and Sabatini first took the court to warm up at 1:10 p.m. More than six hours later, Graf returned a Sabatini serve backhand, down the line, to win the match at 7:15 p.m.

The weather, which had postponed matches and canceled entire sessions earlier in the week, seemed to be mocking the tournament Friday. The sun would come out, only to disappear moments later behind wind-swept clouds, which often dropped just enough moisture to wet the court surfaces.

Tournament referee Alan Mills called it "the most frustrating day" he's ever experienced as a referee.

Tournament chairman Butch Buchholz said: "You can't think of a situation like this. Even in your best fiction, you can't come up with this."

Graf and Sabatini sprinted off the court to duck out of the rain six times. On court 1, No. 3 seed Stefan Edberg and No. 5 seed Petr Korda had to wait out four rain delays before finishing their match at 7:11 p.m. after beginning at 11:31 a.m.

Korda won, in a match closer than the staccato starts would have seemed to allow, with a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5) victory.

"I must have stretched 15 times or so during the day," Korda said. "It was very tough, going back and forth all day. It was the most waiting I've ever done in one day."

Korda will play second-seeded Pete Sampras, a 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) winner over No. 10 Richard Krajicek Friday, in a semifinal match today. The other men's semifinal pairs unseeded Marcos Ondruska with the winner of Friday's late match between No. 14 Malivai Washington and unseeded Patrick McEnroe.

Ondruska, ranked 48th in the world, has gone from beating defending Lipton men's champion Michael Chang in the second round to contending for a title of his own.

Friday he beat Australian Mark Woodforde 6-4, 6-2, who had knocked No. 1-ranked Jim Courier out the day before.

"I would have been happy with one win," said Ondruska, who also upset No. 9 seed Michael Stich Thursday. "This is unbelievable."

When Korda wasn't fighting off stiffness, he was fighting off Edberg. While Korda was serving for the match with a 5-4 lead in the second set, Edberg came back from a 0-30 deficit for his first break of the set.

Edberg held serve, then the next game went to deuce three times before Korda served an ace to force the tiebreaker.

When Korda was serving match point with a 6-4 lead in the tiebreaker, the rain started again, causing a fourth delay. Korda double-faulted before they left the court.

Edberg had to serve when the players returned to the court minutes later. He netted a backhand to end the match.

"The worst thing was stopping at match point and having to serve with no warm-up," Edberg said. "Anything can happen in that situation."

Korda and Edberg had started their match on stadium court, but played just one point there before they were bothered by a problem that arose Thursday -- blisters on the court surface.

The problem wasn't nearly as severe as it was Thursday though, and after some minor patching Sabatini and Graf went out to play on the court less than two hours later.

"I practiced right before they (Korda and Edberg) were about to go on and I had no problem with it at all," Graf said.

Graf's win over Sabatini broke an 8-0 streak the Argentine had held against her in tournaments held in Florida since 1988.

"I expected a tough match, but I didn't look back on other matches we've had already," Graf said.

Sabatini, who said she is finally over a virus that has plagued her since the Australian Open, was disappointed with her performance but pleased that she advanced as far as she did. She's been runner-up at the tournament the past two years.

"I didn't expect to get to the semifinals, so I think it was good for my conditions. I haven't played a lot of matches," she said.

Graf has already played a final this year against Sanchez Vicario. She beat Sanchez Vicario, who pulled a hamstring in the first set, 6-4, 6-3 for the Virginia Slims of Florida championship two weeks ago.

"It's a different match and another tournament," Sanchez Vicario said of today's final. "(In the Slims final) I couldn't run like I wanted to because of the injury. I'm not thinking about that match."
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post #3139 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 29th, 2014, 07:10 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

For a person who was never known for being particularly patient, it is amazing how often Steffi handled these start-stop-start-stop-start matches with perfect composure.

Graf overcomes delays, rips Sabatini in semis
The Tampa Tribune
Saturday, March 20, 1993
CHUCK MULLING, Tribune Staff Writer

KEY BISCAYNE - Steffi Graf wasn't about to let anything stop her Friday night.

Not five rain delays.

Certainly not Gabriela Sabatini.

Graf continued her blitzkrieg through the Lipton Championships, whipping Sabatini 6-0, 6-2 in an on-again, off-again semifinal.

The victory set up a championship showdown today between the top-seeded Graf and No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Sanchez-Vicario, the defending champion, routed Japan's Kimiko Date 6-2, 6-1 in the other semifinal.

In the men's draw, fifth-seeded Petr Korda eked out a pair of tiebreakers to knock off No. 3 Stefan Edberg 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) to reach the semifinals.

Korda will play second-seeded Pete Sampras of Tampa, a 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) winner over Richard Krajicek.

The men's other semifinal sends unseeded Marcos Ondruska against either No. 14 Malivai Washington or Patrick McEnroe.

Ondruska, who beat defending champion Michael Chang in the second round, defeated Australian Mark Woodforde 6-4, 6-2. The loss ended the run of Woodforde, who stunned top-seeded Jim Courier of Dade City Thursday night.

The tournament has been hampered by bad weather or defects to the stadium court for five of the eight days. The delays threaten to push the men's final to Monday.

None of it has bothered Graf, who has dropped only 12 games in five matches and appears primed to win the title that has eluded her since 1988.

Against Sabatini, Graf got rid of her biggest nemesis in Florida. Sabatini had won the last eight matches against Graf in the state, including the semifinals at Lipton the last two years.

So much for that. Graf cruised to her most lopsided win against Sabatini, needing only 22 minutes to breeze through the first set.

"With the conditions the way they were, I don't think I could have played much better," Graf said. "I was very consistent."

Sabatini, the No. 3 seed, didn't argue.

"She played a great match, probably one the best I've ever seen her play," Sabatini said.

The Graf-Sabatini match was an exercise in patience for both players. It was interrupted five times by rain and spanned roughly seven hours.

The players didn't even make it through warm-ups on their first two trips to the court. On the third try, Graf managed to squeeze in the first game for a 1-0 lead. Then another delay. The players made it to deuce before more rains hit.

A fifth shower fell with Graf leading 6-0, 2-1.

Graf didn't skip a beat. She was the same monster when she returned, winning four of the next five games to complete the drubbing.

Sabatini contributed to her demise, especially with her slow second serves. Sabatini served up plenty of marshmallows, and Graf kept roasting them by nailing her returns.

"I really went for my shots," Graf said. "I made very few mistakes. This is the best I've played in a while."

Edberg lost on Court 1, the same place that gobbled up Courier and No. 8 Andre Agassi. His match against Korda also was hampered by rain, with four delays.

"It's all happened at this tournament," Edberg said. "It's just bad luck, and that's the way things are."
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post #3140 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 29th, 2014, 07:21 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"Played about as well in the wind as anyone can" is a bit of an understatement. This was another example of going for the lines despite the conditions and hitting the target. It added to Gaby's frustration.

Saturday, March 20, 1993

KEY BISCAYNE -- Neither rain nor drizzle nor torrents nor sprinkles fazed Steffi Graf.

In a remarkable display of total concentration, she shook off a half-dozen rain delays Friday in what must have been one of the most bizarre days in professional tennis history and administered a thorough whipping to longtime rival Gabriela Sabatini.

The 6-0, 6-2 win put her into the final of the Lipton Championships today opposite Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who defeated Kimiko Date 6-2, 6-1. They will play on the stadium court at 1 p.m.

It should be a wonderful rematch, an encore to Graf's straight-set victory over Sanchez Vicario in the Slims of Florida final March 7.

The two women, seeded one and two, have been on a collision course to this final since Day 1, and it has shown up in their postures after every match. It's hard to recall a news conference in which either hasn't professed complete confidence in their games.

And with good reason.

Graf lost only 12 of 72 games in five victories here. Sanchez Vicario lost only one set, to Natalia Zvereva in the Round of 16.

There is more at stake here for Sanchez Vicario, who is trying to establish herself as one of the top three, ahead of Sabatini and on the same level as Graf and world No. 1 Monica Seles.

But she carries the weight of nine straight losses to Graf in championship finals.

The way Graf is playing, it is hard to see her losing this time, either.

With a hostile crowd yelling ''Vamos, Gaby!'' after almost every point and one fan waving the Argentine flag at the top of the north bleachers, Graf put on a display of complete composure.

''This is the best I can show right now,'' she said. ''I was aggressive when I needed to be and I kept it in play when I had to.''

It was an extremely windy day, but Graf played about as well in the wind as anyone can.

Her forehands were consistently deep and she deflated Sabatini with passing shots off both sides almost every time Gaby raced to the net.

There was a mythology building around this match, that somehow Sabatini, who had won eight consecutive matches against Graf in Florida, had some sort of hold on her here.

But Graf said she didn't pay any attention to that.

''I expected a tough match,'' Graf said. ''She is a very gutsy player. But I didn't really look back on what matches we played already.''

The most important game of the match came at 1-1 in the second set. They went through seven deuces before Sabatini finally cashed in her fourth game point.

Sabatini's legions began whistling and clapping, urging her on.

It could have been a momentum swing. But the rain came down again, causing the fifth stoppage of the match, and the women retired to locker room.

By the time they returned, Sabatini had lost whatever edge she might have earned.

Graf took advantage of Sabatini's marshmallow second serves to easily run out the set.

''It is one of the best matches I've seen her play,'' said Sabatini, who didn't help herself by double-faulting to give Graf a 4-1 lead.

Sabatini wasn't sure how important the final rain break was, saying it did slow her momentum ''a little bit. I was just starting to play better there. It's too bad I had to stop.''

It was a long day for Graf, who had a short practice session at 10 a.m., an hour before her scheduled start.

The women didn't get on the court until 1 p.m., and played only one game before the first rain delay.

Graf spent all those delays in the clubhouse, reading newspapers and magazines.

She didn't make a big deal of the rain and she made the whole awful ordeal seem like just another day at the office.

With her ability to shut out all the distractions that used to press in on her, maybe it was.

-- PLAYER: Steffi Graf .

-- AGE: 23. -- RANKING: 2. -- LIPTON SEED: 1.

-- 1993 RESULTS: At Australian Open, lost to Monica Seles in final; at Pan Pacific Open, lost to Martina Navratilova in semifinals; at Slims of Florida, defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in final.

-- ROAD TO FINAL: Defeated Chanda Rubin, Nicole Arendt, Patty Fendick (26), Nathalie Tauziat (8) and Gabriela Sabatini (3).

-- STRENGTHS: Serve, forehand ground strokes. Likes to play at the baseline, but excellent around the net. Excellent athlete with great feet.

-- HOW TO ATTACK: Hit deep slice to her backhand side and get to the net.

-- PLAYER: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

-- AGE: 21. -- RANKING: 4. -- LIPTON SEED: 2.

-- 1993 RESULTS: At Sydney, lost to Anke Huber in quarters; at Australian Open, lost to Graf in semis; at Slims of Florida, lost to Graf in finals.

-- ROAD TO FINAL: Defeated Ros Fairbank-Nideffer, Ann Grossman, Natalia Zvereva, Leila Meskhi and Kimiko Date.

-- STRENGTHS: Excellent runner, very competitive, fights for every point. Strong ground strokes off both sides. Getting better at net.

-- HOW TO ATTACK: Can be outrallied from baseline.



-- Steffi Graf (1) d. Gabriela Sabatini (3) 6-0, 6-2.

-- Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (2) d. Kimiko Date (16) 6-2, 6-1.


Round of 16

-- Larisa Neiland and Jana Novotna (2) d. Eugenia Maniokova and Leila Meskhi (16) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

-- Jill Hetherington and Kathy Rinaldi (5) d. Karen Kschwendt and Wiltrud Probst 6-2, 6-0.


In five matches to get to the final, Graf won 60 of 72 games. Only one player, Patty Fendick, got as many as four games off her in a set.


Sabatini's disappointing performance after eight straight wins over Graf in Florida. The crowd was yelling ''Vamos, Gaby!'' until it was 1-4 in the second set. At that point, it looked like ''Vamoose, Gaby.''


''I had to come on the court six times. You wonder how many times you have to go on.'' -- Steffi Graf, on the rain delays.


By pulling out of the Lipton (flu), Monica Seles lost her lead in the Kraft point standings to Graf, who will get at least 350 points by reaching the final, 500 if she wins. Graf hasn't been in the point lead since November of 1990. Seles hasn't lost the point lead since Sabatini had it last May. Seles remains at the top of the computerized world rankings.



-- Pete Sampras (2) d. Richard Krajicek (10) 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

-- Stefan Edberg (3) lost to Petr Korda (5) 6-7 (3-7), 6-7 (5-7).

-- MaliVai Washington (14) v. Patrick McEnroe (n).

-- Mark Woodforde (18) lost to Marcos Ondruska 4-6, 2-6.


-- Edberg and Korda d. Casale and Sanchez (11) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.


Unseeded, unknown Ondruska moved on to the semifinals with more solid if unspectacular play. He just hasn't beaten himself here.


Edberg, the cool Swede, was not the picture of concentration when he miss hit a second serve off the top of his frame and swatted the ball over the back fence and into the night.


''It was the most waiting I've ever done in one day. I got here 9:30 this morning.'' -- Petr Korda, who finished at about 7 p.m. after numerous rain delays throughout the day.


Edberg's loss came to the fourth straight lefty he faced in the tournament. He got to the quarters by defeating Leo Lavalle, Javier Frana and Guy Forget.
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Graf sloshes past Sabatini Korda edges Edberg
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Saturday, March 20, 1993
Wire Reports

It took Steffi Graf six hours to beat Gabriela Sabatini in a hurry.

Five rain delays failed to slow Graf, who won, 6-0, 6-2, in yesterday's semifinals at the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla.

Graf had lost eight consecutive matches to Sabatini in Florida, and had never beaten her so badly anywhere.

"She played great," Sabatini said. "It was one of the best matches I've seen from her.

"I was very frustrated. Losing that way, that score, and not being able to play well is the worst feeling."

"It's the best it's been for a long time, definitely," Graf said. "I'm going for my shots down the line and making very few mistakes."

The top-seeded Graf advanced to today's final against No. 2 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who beat No. 16 Kimiko Date, 6-2, 6-1.

No. 5 seed Petr Korda won the first men's quarterfinals match, edging No. 3 Stefan Edberg, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5). Their match was delayed four times, including briefly at match point in the second-set tiebreaker.

No. 2 Pete Sampras will face Korda in one bracket of the men's semifinals today. The other match will be between unseeded South African Marcos Ondruska and the winner of last night's late match pitting unseeded Patrick McEnroe against No. 14 Malivai Washington.

Edberg failed to convert three set points with Korda serving at 5-6 in the second set.

"It's tough to play on a day like this," Edberg said. "Anybody could have won today because it's so tough coming on and off the court."

The top-seeded Graf and No. 3 Sabatini were driven from the court by rain twice during warmups before their match. Play was suspended after they played one game, again during the second game, and again in the second set.

The match itself took just 68 minutes. Graf spent the rain delays talking and reading American newspapers and German magazines.

"Going out the court six times, that's a lot," she said. "But both of us have to sit around and wait, so it's the same."

Sabatini, playing as though she were wearing galoshes, won just seven points in her first four service games as Graf took a 6-0, 2-0 lead.

Scaller, Skoff advance

Gilbert Scaller and Horst Skoff of Austria won their matches and moved into the semifinals of the Casablanca Open in Casablanca, Morocco.

Schaller split two tiebreakers with Martin Strelba of the Czech Republic and won, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-0. Skoff, the No. 7 seed, upset No. 2 seed Franco Davin of Argentina, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.

In another quarterfinal, Moroccan wild card entry Youness El-Aynaoui continued his surprising run with a 6-3, 6-1 victory against No. 6 seed Bart Wuyts of Belgium.

No. 3 seed Guillermo Perez-Roldan edged Alberto Berasategui of Spain, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6, (7-2).

Today's semifinal pairings send Schaller against Perez-Roldan and Skoff against El-Aynaoui.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

LMAO at Novotna's whining about playing Gaby on Key Biscayne. Imagine what it would have been like if there had been a big enough tour stop anywhere in South America! Navratilova once likened playing Steffi in Germany as "walking into the lion's den." But playing Gaby in South America? That would have been like walking into a black hole.

Rain forces Graf to take long route to quick Lipton over Sabatini
The Dallas Morning News
Saturday, March 20, 1993
Mark McDonald, Staff Writer

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- The Lipton Championships, because of the temperamental weather here in South Florida, can sometimes feel more like Outward Bound than a tennis tournament. Players don't win the Lipton as much as they weather it.

Squeegees, as usual, were more useful than tennis rackets on Friday as tournament officials, their schedule in disarray after a week of wind and rain, finally managed to squeeze in the women's semifinals.

When she finally got her chance after five hours of waiting, Steffi Graf worked quickly, nearly shutting out Gabriela Sabatini, 6-0, 6-2.

The crowd was solidly with Sabatini -- she lives here on Key Biscayne -- but Graf was as unstoppable as the rain. It was as lopsided a defeat as Sabatini has ever suffered as a pro. Maybe her new mentor, former SMU coach Dennis Ralston, can fix things.

Graf plays Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in Saturday afternoon's final, monsoons permitting. Sanchez Vicario made quick work of Kimiko Date, 6-2, 6-1.

Meanwhile, the men were attempting -- well into a rainy Friday night -- to play their quarterfinal matches. Their semifinals were asterisked for Saturday, the final for Sunday afternoon.

Stefan Edberg was the first of the men to be drawn and quarterfinaled as he lost a pair of tie-breakers to Czech lefthander Petr Korda, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5).

Before the match, Edberg had said the No. 5-ranked Korda was "a very dangerous player -- he can play out of his mind or he can be very off.'' Korda was neither on Friday night, but he was good enough to make the semifinals. He'll play Pete Sampras, who held off Richard Krajicek, the hardest server on the tour, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

Marcos Ondruska, a South African who lives with his Czech parents in Munich, reached the other semifinal by handling Mark Woodforde, 6-4, 6-2. Ondruska, ranked 48th in the world, has already beaten a pair of top 10 players here -- Michael Chang and Michael Stich.

Patrick McEnroe, matched against MaliVai Washington in the last quarterfinal match of the night, hoped to continue his happy sojourn through the Lipton. He and Ondruska were the only unseeded players to reach the quarters, and McEnroe's demeanor has been as sunny as the skies have been cloudy.

If the wind and rain weren't enough, the tournament also nearly lost the use of its stadium court when the rubberized paint began to peel in spots. There hasn't been this much furor over a court since the Clarence Thomas hearings.

Workers eventually were able to patch the surface and the court was deemed safe for play.


Boris Becker got sick, literally, of waiting for the weather to improve. He withdrew on Thursday, saying he had the flu. Pete Sampras, the second seed here, said he thought Becker looked OK. And ESPN Mary Carrillo cracked, "He had a life-threatening 99-degree fever. Thank God he didn't play."...Hurricane Andre Agassi, seeded eighth, was barely a breeze. Agassi was becalmed by Richard Krajicek, the Dutchman who was the hardest server on tour last year at an average of 132 mph. Afterward, Agassi complained about having to play on an outlying court. "I can count on one hand how many times a year I don't play on center court," he said. "It was a big factor. Your mind's on center court and you're not there." ...Guy Forget, the 13th seed and a victim of Stefan Edberg, didn't care for the line calls, the practice courts, the men's locker room, the players' restaurant. He even ripped the press tent. "They can improve everything in this place,'' he griped. ...Goran Ivanisevic, ranked No. 6 in the world, was forced to split early by Patrick McEnroe. But Ivanisevic, a Croatian, didn't blame the weather, perhaps because he'd just returned from a month in his homeland, where the political climate is decidedly more stormy than anything Key Biscayne could serve up. "At home, it's a little bit dangerous there," he said. "Sometimes a lot dangerous." ...Jana Novotna didn't care for the sporting climate on Key Biscayne during her quarterfinal loss to Sabatini, who is now working with former SMU coach Dennis Ralston. "This whole community is obsessed with Sabatini and they want to see her win,'' said Novotna, the Czech teen-ager ranked ninth in the world. "Everybody is obsessed with her, and that's hard to handle . . . I haven't played in such bad conditions in my life.''
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I keep enjoying these articles so much! I remember those years clearly, as I was following the Tour with great attention, but all this info is new to me. That storm that hit the States back then was really huge and made the tournament a real mess!
Gabriela had had health issues since January and I remember how thin she looked at Lipton. I was surprised that she could beat Novotna so soundly in the QF, and I knew she didn't have a big chance against Steffi this time, who was playing great tennis and completely focused in improving her game to challenge Seles for the top spot. I don't mean to make excuses for Sabatini, but all those rain delays must have been really hard for her, as the score shows, as she was a player who needed some games to get into a match, she was really a slow starter, so to keep stopping the play was especially difficult for her (remember the 1991 French semis?), while Graf usually came on fire since the first point.

Witness of an Era of Grandeur
Chris the Ice Lady - Martina Grace&Power
Fraulein Forehand - The Divine Argentine
Merciless Monica - Barcelona Bumblebee
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Originally Posted by gabybackhand View Post
I keep enjoying these articles so much! I remember those years clearly, as I was following the Tour with great attention, but all this info is new to me. That storm that hit the States back then was really huge and made the tournament a real mess!
Gabriela had had health issues since January and I remember how thin she looked at Lipton. I was surprised that she could beat Novotna so soundly in the QF, and I knew she didn't have a big chance against Steffi this time, who was playing great tennis and completely focused in improving her game to challenge Seles for the top spot. I don't mean to make excuses for Sabatini, but all those rain delays must have been really hard for her, as the score shows, as she was a player who needed some games to get into a match, she was really a slow starter, so to keep stopping the play was especially difficult for her (remember the 1991 French semis?), while Graf usually came on fire since the first point.
I have always wondered whether firing Kirmayr had some effect. At the time, people assumed Gaby hired Ralston to help improve her serve (since it was pretty obvious she and Kirmayr were not making any progress there). But if anything, the coaching change made her serve even worse. In 1994, after she dumped Ralston and rehired Kirmayr, Ralston had some (IMO legitimate) criticisms about Gaby's attitude at the time. We'll get there. 1994 Delray Beach and Lipton are next in the queue!
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Graf in Lipton final
St. Petersburg Times
March 20, 1993

After Mother Nature threatened Friday to rain out the women's semifinals of the Lipton Championships, Steffi Graf settled on a simple blowout, beating Gabriela Sabatini 6-0, 6-2 in between five rain delays.

In today's final, Graf takes on defending champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who was not bothered by the inclement weather or Kimiko Date, winning 6-2, 6-1.

No. 3 Stefan Edberg, however, had all kinds of problems, cursing the conditions in falling to No. 5 Petr Korda 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5) in the quarterfinals. Mark Woodforde, who upset top-ranked Jim Courier a day earlier, also lost, 6-4, 6-2 to little-known Marcos Ondruska.

"It's tough to play on a day like (Friday)," said Edberg, who rarely says anything good about playing here. "It's not a real contest when you come on and off the court five times. It was extraordinary."

Officials were hoping for mild weather that would allow Friday's three matches to be held on the defective stadium court.

Edberg and Korda played one point there before officials decided that the hard-court surface was unplayable. The court also was out of commission for five hours Thursday, when heat and moisture caused it to soften and develop rough spots.

Thousands of fans were inconvenienced when the Edberg-Korda match was moved to Court 1, which has 8,000 fewer seats than the stadium.

High winds and intermittent rain had tournament officials starting and stopping matches like a large-scale game of musical chairs gone terribly wrong.

Players, many of whom were at the Tennis Center 10 hours for matches that lasted only two, spent more time thumbing through magazines and newspapers than playing tennis. The Graf-Sabatini match itself took just 68 minutes. And fans and media wondered aloud whether the 10-day tournament, originally called "the fifth Grand Slam," is cursed.

It doesn't figure to be much better today. The forecast is for patchy rain throughout the day.

Friday's 34th running of the Graf-Sabatini classic was supposed to be the show stopper, but considering how everything else went, it was only fitting this encounter would be a bust.

If this match were a golf putt, Graf could have picked up her ball and gone on to the next hole. The five rain delays were more like stays of execution for Sabatini, who clearly was more affected by the conditions than Graf.

"I had to go out and come back so many times. That's never really happened to me," Sabatini said. "It was hard to play."

If there was anything worth watching in the match it was how beautiful Graf performed amid such ugly circumstances. It was, as Sabatini admitted afterward, "one of the best matches I've seen from her."

After all, it was old hat for the German pro. She beat top-ranked Monica Seles 6-2, 6-1 to win Wimbledon last year in wet and windy conditions.

Friday's win was vintage Graf: the piercing serve, the unshakeable nerve and, yes, the murderous forehand. "It's the best it has been for a long time," she said, holding back a smile.

Sabatini seemed lost from the start. She won only five points on her serve, so couldn't even think about breaking Graf's. And in the first game of the second set, she had to resort to mere luck, ducking at the net and hoping a Graf forehand would go long instead of falling well in.

When it was over, she still appeared miffed, saying, "It's never really happened to me, losing to that score."

Edberg was just as perplexed. He had beaten the left-handed Korda in two of their three previous meetings, but Friday couldn't master the crucial junctures.

Three times he held set point while up 6-5 in the second set, but was met each time by Korda lashings. Facing double match point in the tiebreak, Edberg saved one, then the match was stopped for three minutes because of rain. For Edberg, it might as well have been three days.

"The worst thing was stopping at match point and having to serve with no warmup," Edberg said. "Anything can happen in that situation."

Korda faces Tampa resident Pete Sampras, who beat No. 10 Richard Krajicek 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

Rain interrupted their tiebreaker with Krajicek leading 5-4; when play resumed 90 minutes later, he double-faulted twice and lost the match.

"That was definitely one of the weirdest ends to a match that I ever played," No. 2 seed Sampras said. "It's the most bizarre day I've ever been associated with."

Perhaps the most puzzling look of the day was found on the face of Ondruska, who stunned Michael Chang and Michael Stich before upsetting Woodforde on Friday. The South African broke into the top 50 this year (he's ranked 48th) after reaching the final in a tournament at Scottsdale, Ariz., last month.

Now, he's in the semifinals against either MaliVai Washington or Patrick McEnroe, who played in a rain-delayed match late Friday night.

"I'm pretty happy right now," said Ondruska, who added he would have been happy winning just one match here. "It's all kind of surprising. This is pretty unbelievable."

Casablanca Open: Moroccan wild-card entry Youness El-Aynaoui beat No. 6 seed Bart Wuyts 6-3, 6-1 and meets No. 7 Horst Skoff, who upset No. 2 seed Franco Davin 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, in the semifinals. Gilbert Schaller split two tiebreakers with Martin Strelba and won 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, and No. 3 seed Guillermo Perez-Roldan edged Alberto Berasategui 7-6 (7-3), 7-6, (7-2).

- Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The wind finally dies down, and the rain clouds clear away. "How can you expect me to play tennis in perfect conditions?! I haven't been practicing for perfect conditions!" The gods of weather and irony have once again saved a nice big anvil for Steffi.

Tennis: Nerves get the better of Graf
From RICHARD EVANS in Key Biscayne
Sunday, 21 March 1993

LOGIC having left the Lipton long ago, the first cloudless and near windless day of these beleaguered championships produced a women's final in which two of the world's most experienced players had trouble keeping the ball in court. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario eventually made a better fist of it and so retained her title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over a strangely wayward Steffi Graf.

'It's a very nervous match,' observed Mark McCormack from his courtside box. That cut to the heart of the matter, and the face of Arantxa's new coach Carlos Kirmayr, so recently with Gabriela Sabatini, only emphasised the strain on new relationships.

Yet despite the plethora of unforced errors - particularly off the Graf forehand that had been firing so lethally against Sabatini in the semi-final, the match contained some dramatic rallies of high quality which kept the 13,000 crowd in full voice.

But the week had not always been so pleasing. By the time play was interrupted for the 13th time, Butch Buchholz would have been excused had he done a midnight flit and headed for Miami Airport where all those strange airlines can deposit you on remote jungle strips far up the Amazon. Short of a tidal wave washing the whole thing out to sea, there is nothing much else that can happen to ostensibly the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world.

The site was flattened by the hurricane last August. Another gale-force wind tipped over tents and made play impossible on the first Saturday, and then, when the sun did arrive, water started seeping through the newly laid acrylic composite Stadium Court, in a repeat of what happened at the New Haven tournament last summer.

If they could still bear it, Buchholz, the former Jack Kramer touring professional who created this event eight years ago, and his brother, Cliff, who is tournament director, may have checked the results and ruminated on the carnage of top names: Boris Becker's sudden attack of the flu removed him from competition before he had hit a ball; Michael Stich lost to Marcos Ondruska and the world No 1 Jim Courier, asked to play twice in a day, lost his mind, his temper and eventually his fourth round encounter with Mark Woodforde.

Alison Blake, Cliff Buchholz's assistant who is closer to nature than most around here, at least had an explanation for the embarrassment of the broken court. 'It was a full moon, and as you know, the moon is currently closer to the earth than it has been in centuries. So it follows that the gravitational pull has to be greater. So with the tidal surges raising the water table, the water was pulled up through the surface.'

By the time darkness fell on Friday, not much had been resolved in the men's quarter-finals. Stefan Edberg, returning to court for the fourth time, never discovered sufficient rhythm to prevent Petr Korda beating him 7-6, 7-6, but that still left the referee, Alan Mills, wondering how he was going to finish the remaining three matches. With the darkness black as pitch around the floodlit court, Ondruska, born in Bloemfontein of a Czech father 20 years ago, kept things moving by outplaying Woodforde in straight sets - a result that said much for the South African's burgeoning talents.

Woodforde, who at 28 is heading for the top 20 for the first time in his career, won the US Professional Indoor in Philadelphia last month and was very much the form horse after his well-plotted victory over Courier. 'We tried to draw Jim to areas of the court he doesn't like and keep attacking off Mark's forehand,' Woodforde's veteran coach, Ray Ruffels, confided. Brilliantly as that strategy worked against Courier, the Australian redhead was never positive enough against Ondruska who signalled his pending rise up the computer - he will leave the forties behind after this week - by reaching the final at Scottsdale three weeks ago. Andre Agassi beat him there but the Wimbledon champion has done little since and was bombed out of the fourth round by Richard Krajicek's massive serve.

Later on Friday night, that Dutch service was not good enough to prevent Pete Sampras from easing his way into the semi- final 6-3, 7-6, Krajicek handing the American the match with a double fault.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Sanchez Vicario scores again
St. Petersburg Times
March 21, 1993

Say this for Arantxa Sanchez Vicario: Her timing is impeccable.

Oh, she'll tell you she's not on top-seeded Steffi Graf's level week in and week out, but she obviously is gaining a sense of when it pays to be. Her 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Graf in Saturday's $3-million Lipton Championships final was only her fourth in 22 meetings over the German, but all have come in major, big-money events.

This victory, on a sun-soaked afternoon in front of 13,357 fans, enabled Sanchez Vicario to defend her Lipton title and fattened her 1993 take by $135,000. And to think, two weeks ago today Graf beat Sanchez Vicario at the Virginia Slims of Florida and won just $75,000.

"This is a completely different tournament," Sanchez Vicario said. "I know that I beat her three times already in big tournaments, and now this is the fourth time."

Another goody the fourth-ranked Sanchez Vicario takes home from the two-hour win: She is closing in on Martina Navratilova for the third spot in the world rankings, a height she has reached only once (in 1990), and then only for a week. A solid showing at the Family Circle Cup later this month could give her the nod.

Graf, meanwhile, probably still is digging through the tournament's lost-and-found, trying to find the tennis game that had beaten her previous five opponents without surrendering a set. She swore she had it with her when she left the hotel, packed along with her two pairs of socks, her white wristbands and her extra rackets.

"Six matches (five) I've played so well. If I would have just played close to the other matches I've played so far, it would have been a different match, but I didn't," Graf said.

"My forehand many times was totally off. I never felt confident at all in the match. I made so many easy mistakes."

Indeed, the game Graf had Saturday was quite un-Graf-like. To wit: She piled up 63 unforced errors, managed just 10 forehand winners, and lost her serve at a time when she could afford to least.

Trailing 4-3 in the deciding third set, Graf was saved on break point when one of her shots caught the netcord and fell gently over. But facing the same situation two points later, Graf dumped a routine backhand into the net, allowing the second-seeded Sanchez Vicario to serve out the match.

In her defense, Graf said she developed a cramp in her racket hand midway through the third set. "I couldn't get the racket out of my hand," she said.

The thing is, Sanchez Vicario has a way of making everything right about Graf's game suddenly go wrong.

As she did in toppling Graf at the 1989 French Open final, the 1991 French Open semifinals and last year's U.S. Open quarterfinals, Sanchez Vicario ran down virtually everything Graf fired at her. Too often that only made Graf try even tougher shots, and too often she missed. She'd rock Sanchez Vicario with a flurry of forehands, winning 10 of 11 points to close from 2-5 to 4-5, but then drop four straight to hand over the opening set.

"You have to be patient with her because you won't get a lot of easy points," Graf said. "She gets to everything and you try sometimes too much."

With the Lipton win, Sanchez Vicario is beginning the 1993 season much the way she did in 1992: reaching the Australian Open semifinals and then winning Lipton. One difference is new coach Carlos Kirmayr, who guided Gabriela Sabatini the past three years. He's set on improving several parts of her game. Her timing, though, seems to be just fine.
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One of the rare occasions when Steffi could not self-correct the misfiring forehand during the match.

Final-ly: Sanchez Vicario Tops Graf Spaniard Runs Down Everything To Defend Her Lipton Championship
March 21, 1993

KEY BISCAYNE -- She got her.

It took four years, 10 matches and enough running to wear out a pair of shoes with steel-belted radials for tread.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario erased a lot of bad memories Saturday afternoon by defeating Steffi Graf 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 for the Lipton Championships title.

It was her second consecutive Lipton crown.

More important, it stopped a streak of nine straight losses to Graf in finals dating to the 1989 French Open.

"It was a great match and I played my best game since the beginning of the tournament," Sanchez Vicario said.

Graf tried to beat her down with forehand groundstrokes, but the stocky Spaniard wouldn't stop running. At times, it seemed impossible to get a ball by her.

In the first game of the final set, she raced back to get Graf's topspin lob, tossing up a lob of her own, then got into perfect position to hunt down Graf`s ensuing overhead. The two women rallied another 10 shots until Graf hit out.

That brilliant, memorable point sent Sanchez Vicario's army of whooping followers into a wild celebration.

"That was a good point, especially mentally, for me," she said.

It also seemed to crack Graf's nerves. She was simply dreadful from that point on.

Sanchez Vicario scored 29 points in the final set and got 24 of them on unforced errors.

Meanwhile, Graf could get only three of 23 points off Sanchez Vicario's five service games.

It has been a remarkable three weeks for Sanchez Vicario, and it seems to have started when she hired Carlos Kirmayr as her coach.

Kirmayr, who was fired by Gabriela Sabatini at the Australian Open in January, has Sanchez Vicario Arantxa coming to the net more, forcing points.

In two tournaments with Kirmayr, Sanchez Vicario has gotten to the finals of Lipton and the Slims of Florida in Delray Beach, where she pulled a hamstring muscle and lost to Graf.

You couldn't say she swamped Graf at the net Saturday. She approached only 15 times and won just five points.

But it was difficult to get anywhere inside the service line with Graf pounding those forehands into the corners and chipping backhands deep.

So the game plan was to try to frustrate Graf. Hit everything back and hope she gets impatient.

That's exactly what happened.

Graf hit a lot of great groundstrokes, but she also had a whopping 63 unforced errors.

"My forehand was totally off the whole match," Graf said in a moment of exaggeration. "If I had just played close to what I played in the other matches, I might have won." She said she never felt comfortable.

"Still," she mused, "at three-all in the final set, the match was open. But I just gave it away."

She hit four unforced errors, went down 3-4, lost her serve at deuce for 3-5, and Sanchez Vicario won four of the final five points for the match.

Against the big, consistent hitters like Monica Seles and Graf, Sanchez Vicario isn't going to hit many winners. She had only nine to Graf's 24.

But her tireless retrievals have a way of working on her opponents' psyches. They begin hitting ever closer to the lines, and eventually they begin hitting out.

Sanchez Vicario gets 500 Kraft Tour points with this win, giving her 1,180 for the year and jumping her from No. 5 to No. 3 behind Seles and Graf and ahead of Martina Navratilova.

She becomes only the third woman to win back-to-back Lipton titles. Seles did it in 1990-91 and Graf in 1987-88.

And for this final two hours and five minutes of roadwork, she received a $135,000 first-place check.

You can buy a lot of steel-belted radials with that kind of payday.



-- Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (2) d. Steffi Graf (1) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3


Round of 16

-- Mary Joe Fernandez/Zina Garrison-Jackson (6) v. Kimberly Po/Robin White (13) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.


-- Debbie Graham/Brenda Schultz (15) d. Gigi Fernandez/Natalia Zvereva (1) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

-- Lori McNeil/Rennae Stubbs (3) d. Fernandez/Garrison-Jackson 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

-- Jill Hetherington/Kathy Rinaldi (5) d. Pam Shriver/Elizabeth Smylie (4) 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.

-- Jana Novotna/Larisa Neiland (2) d. Isabelle Demongeot/Elna Reinach (8) 6-4, 6-4.


"Ole, ole," the fans sang as Sanchez Vicario broke a streak of nine straight losses in finals to Graf.


Graf, who had played with such confidence through five earlier matches, slopped her way to 63 unforced errors.


"My forehand was totally off." Graf with a post-match announcement she didn't need to make.


How concentrated was Sanchez Vicario? A single-engine plane made several passes around the stadium, dragging that well-known advertising photo of a bare-chested man in Calvin Klein jeans. "I noticed it in my warm-ups, but not in the match," she said.


Steffi Graf had defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in nine consecutive finals until Saturday:

Yr. Tournament Score

`90 Pan Pacific 6-1, 6-2

`90 Bausch & Lomb 6-1, 6-0

`90 Citizens Cup 5-7, 6-0, 6-1

`90 Leipzig 6-1, 6-1

`91 Lufthansa Cup 6-3, 4-6, 7-6

`92 Citizens Cup 7-6, 6-2

`92 Lufthansa Cup 4-6, 7-5, 6-2

`92 Slims/Philad. 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

`93 Slims/Delray 6-4, 6-3

Sanchez Vicario

`93 Lipton 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
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post #3149 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2014, 06:10 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

There is something cosmically comical that Steffi was the one who ended up with a time violation warning. (Did Arantxa ever get one?) I have never seen any other player make an umpire look so embarrassed/pained to give out a warning, and all without saying a word.

The Wichita Eagle
Sunday, March 21, 1993
Steven Wine, Associated Press

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario raced from one side to the other, covering the court with the precision of a clock. Backhand, forehand, backhand, forehand. Ticktock, ticktock.

It was time for an upset. The relentless Sanchez Vicario defeated top seed Steffi Graf 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in Saturday's final at the Lipton Championships.

In the first men's semifinal, No. 2 seed Pete Sampras beat No. 5 Petr Korda 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Sampras will play in today's final against the winner of Saturday night's match between No. 14 MaliVai Washington and unseeded South African Marcos Ondruska.

Washington earned the last semifinals berth by beating unseeded Patrick McEnroe 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) in a match that ended after midnight Friday.

Sanchez Vicario, always faster than she looks on those short, thick legs, won her second consecutive Lipton title by repeatedly returning shots beyond the reach of lesser players. In the end, Graf was frustrated, erratic and worn out, the fingers on her racket hand cramping.

''I was much stronger mentally," said Sanchez Vicario, the No. 2 seed.

''With her, you have to place the ball better and better," Graf said. "I started missing easy shots."

Just two weeks ago, Sanchez Vicario was a straight-set loser to Graf in the final at the Virginia Slims of Florida. By beating Graf for the fourth time in 22 tries, the fourth-ranked Sanchez Vicario earned $135,000 and her first tournament title of the year.

Graf won $67,500.

After a week of delays caused by bad weather and a defective stadium court, neither was a problem Saturday. The crowd of more than 10,000 enjoyed sunny skies and Sanchez Vicario's hustle.

The Spaniard won the first game of the final set by racing to the net after a drop shot, then retreating behind the baseline for a lob over her head. Graf finally lost her patience and the point, hitting a forehand out.

A shot that got Sanchez Vicario to the championship point also was typical. Scrambling into her backhand corner, she lunged and flipped a passing shot down the line for a winner. Moments later, Graf hit a forehand into the net to end the match.

''Other players have respect for me, because I give everything until the last ball," Sanchez Vicario said. "Sometimes they don't expect the ball to come back. That helps me win the match."

And an impressive victory it was. Graf had looked unbeatable while losing just 12 games in five previous matches.

''I'm very disappointed, especially the way I played the other matches," she said. "I wanted to finish the tournament that way."

Graf's feared forehand repeatedly betrayed her in the final. She lost the last game of the opening set, for instance, by hitting four forehand errors.

''I was frustrated by how terrible I was playing," Graf said. "My forehand was totally off. I made so many easy mistakes."

The fingers in Graf's racket hand cramped during the final three games, all won by Sanchez Vicario. Between points Graf repeatedly shook her hand, and she received a time violation warning from the chair umpire while gulping water in the hopes it would make her feel better.

"Suddenly I couldn't get the racket out of my hand," she said. "I thought, `What's going on?' "

But Graf declined to blame that for her defeat.

"I never felt confident at all the whole match," she said.

Sampras used big serves to cool off Korda, who had swept his four previous matches. Facing two break points at 3-2, 15-40 in the third set, Sampras came up with an ace and two service winners to take the game.

"In the third set my serve pulled me through," Sampras said.

The second-ranked American never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in four previous appearances at Lipton.

"Most players regard this to be a very big tournament, kind of like a Grand Slam," Sampras said. "It's definitely a title I'd like to have under my belt."

The Washington-Ondruska match, suspended for 90 minutes by rain in the second set, concluded at 10:24 p.m. EST before less than 200 fans. Washington clinched the victory with a cross-court forehand for a clean winner.


-- Wild-card entry Youness El Aynaoui of Morocco extended his surprising run and made the finals of the Casablanca Open by upsetting seventh seed Horst Skoff of Austria 7-5, 6-4. In the other semifinal, Guillermo Perez-Roldan of Argentina outlasted Austrian Gilbert Schaller 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 7-6 (7-5).

-- John McEnroe has settled a lawsuit filed against him by a United Airlines employee who said the tennis star caused her to break her finger in a scuffle after she refused to hold a Hawaii-bound plane for him.

Diane Lemke Schwerdtfeger, a United customer service representative, had sought $600,000 in total damages. A San Francisco court official told Reuters that the suit was settled last week, but that the terms were confidential.

Schwerdtfeger accused McEnroe of trying to shove her out of the way when she tried to close the gateway door.
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post #3150 of 6247 (permalink) Old Jan 30th, 2014, 06:12 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Arantxa tops Graf in final - Sanchez Vicario wins second straight Lipton women's title.
The Tampa Tribune
Sunday, March 21, 1993
CHUCK MULLING, Tribune Staff Writer

KEY BISCAYNE - The women's tennis queen at Lipton has kept her throne.

Viva, Arantxa!

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario may have difficulty beating the top players elsewhere, but she spins a strong racket at Lipton.

Ask Gabriela Sabatini. She got stung in last year's final.

Ask Steffi Graf. She was gunned down Saturday just when it seemed as if she was making a move toward the world's new No. 1.

Sanchez Vicario won her second consecutive Lipton title Saturday, outlasting Graf 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to further muddle the order of the top three.

"I'm playing some of my best tennis right now," Sanchez Vicario said. "This win gives me great confidence, because it shows I can play with the best players."

The men's final today sends second-seeded Pete Sampras against No. 14 Malavai Washington.

Sampras outlasted No. 5 Petr Korda 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 Saturday, and Washington beat unseeded Marcos Ondruska 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

Sanchez Vicario might not be the best player now, but she is narrowing the gap. Monica Seles is entrenched at the top, but after that the race is wide open, with Graf (2), Martina Navratilova (3), Sanchez Vicario (4) and Sabatini (5) giving chase.

"You have to say that Monica's No. 1, and then Steffi," Sanchez Vicario said. "Even though I beat her [Graf], she has won more tournaments. But I think I'm right up there."

From Graf's vantage point, the outcome landed like an unexpected left hook. She held an 18-3 edge against Sanchez Vicario, including a straight-set victory at the Virginia Slims of Florida final two weeks ago in Delray Beach.

Plus, Graf had flattened her opponents coming into the final, dropping only 12 games in five matches. Her warm-up victim was none other than Sabatini. Graf cruised 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Graf just hadn't played someone of Sanchez Vicario's quality.

Graf has made a living off crushing her opponents with her forehand. But nobody runs down shots better than Sanchez Vicario, and she had her wheels working against Graf.

The match came down to the final set, and Sanchez Vicario proved to be too steady. She won 29 points - 24 of them off unforced errors by Graf.

"My forehand was totally off," said Graf, Lipton champion in 1987 and '88. "I made so many easy mistakes. I played five matches so well. Had I just played close to that, I think it would have been enough."

Graf said her right hand began to cramp late in the final set, making it difficult to grip her racket. That's about when she lost grip of the match, too.

Serving at 3-4, Graf fought off two break points, but not a third. She netted a backhand to give Sanchez Vicario the decisive break. The Spaniard served out the match, winning four of five points.

Sanchez Vicario earned $135,000. She will compete in this week's Light n' Lively Doubles Tournament at Saddlebrook.

Graf's consolation is $67,500 and the climb to No. 1 - ahead of Seles - in Kraft Tour standings. The Kraft list is a reflection of who is playing the best this year; the more prestigious Virginia Slims rankings take the past 12 months into account.

Sampras quietly has gone about his business in reaching the final. He is the biggest name left, following upsets to top-seeded Jim Courier, No. 3 Stefan Edberg and No. 8 Andre Agassi and the withdrawal of No. 4 Boris Becker.

"Most players regard this to be a very big tournament," Sampras said. "It's kind of like a grand slam. It would be a big win for me, certainly one I'd like to have under my belt."
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