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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Rookie mistakes by Davenport.

Davenport out; Graf gains final
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
Sunday, February 27, 1994
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS - Lindsay Davenport got a lesson in patience yesterday.

It was administered by Amanda Coetzer, a human backboard who kept sending Davenport's shots back across the net and waited for her rival to grow frustrated and impatient.

"That's part of my game when I play somebody like that," said Coetzer, 22, who at 5-foot-2 is one of the shortest players on the tour. "She can either make winners right in the corners or she's going to miss a few.

"I just tried to keep the ball in play and hope she would miss it."

The strategy worked perfectly, too, since Davenport made more unforced errors than a roomful of kindergarten students and Coetzer emerged with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in their Evert Cup semifinal.

That put Coetzer in the final for the second straight year and set up a match with top-ranked Steffi Graf - a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Iva Majoli - at noon today on stadium court at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort. ESPN will televise the match live.

Davenport will have to be content with having advanced one round further than she had here last year, when the Murrieta Valley High senior played her first tournament as a professional, and in teaming with Lisa Raymond to play Manon Bollegraf and Helena Sukova today for the doubles title.

She'll also maintain her ranking at No. 13 in the world and take home at least $26,000 ($20,000 for singles), so it wasn't exactly a wasted week.

"It was a good week," said Davenport, at 6-2 a foot taller than her rival. "I was a little disappointed today because I should have won that match. I wanted to play Steffi in the finals.

"But we're still in doubles (with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Amy Frazier and Kimberly Po), so it's been a good week."

There were a lot of wasted shots yesterday, though. Particularly in the second and third sets.

Davenport got a service break in the third game of the opening set, which she won, 6-4, and used another break to take a 3-1 lead in the second.

From that point on, however, she looked like a 17-year-old still trying to harness her talent, spraying shots everywhere and letting her frustration and dejection show.

"She gets everything back," Davenport said. "She was hitting a lot of moon balls and she ran a lot of good shots down. I just wasn't ready to play, I guess.

"I felt a little tired at first, but toward the end I was fine and in doubles I was fine. Maybe it was a little mental. I don't know."

From 3-1 in the second set, Coetzer won the next five games, losing only four points in the process, to take the set, then jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third with her fifth consecutive service break.

"I didn't hit a ball near the court for about eight games," Davenport said. "I haven't done that in a long time.

"I didn't take advantage of her serve too much. I should have been able to do a lot more with that.

"I was just really out if it. Nothing felt right. My rackets didn't feel right. The strings felt loose and the balls were flying a little long. But that was my fault."

Davenport rallied briefly, breaking Coetzer's twice and holding her serve for the only time in her final seven service games to get even at 4-4.

But Coetzer broke right back to take a 5-4 lead and served out the match, Davenport hitting a forehand into the net for the final point after an hour and 52 minutes.

"I played more consistently well today than I did yesterday (in a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 victory over defending champion Mary Joe Fernandez)," said Coetzer, of Hoopstadt, South Africa. "I played a better match."

She also played a better match than she had when Davenport rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the third round of last year's U.S. Open, their previous meeting.

"I think what I did well today compared to the last time," Coetzer said. "I was able to keep the ball a little deeper and just stay on the ball a little ball longer. I kept her a little bit behind the baseline, so that helped me."

It helped, too, the Coetzer was able to move Davenport around without falling into what she termed "the trap where you see you have her on the run and try to go for the open court.

"That's often where I feel like I would lose many points, and I'm rushing. To me, it's more just to gradually get the point going and keep her moving."

Coetzer said she'll try to employ the same tactics against Graf, who has won all three of their meetings. The problem is, Graf has a better game than Davenport - or Fernandez - at this point.

Graf said that's the biggest difference in her now compared to 1988, when she won the Grand Slam.

"I'm a more complete player than I was at that time," said Graf, 24. "I don't think I had the variety of shots that I have now. I don't think I was playing as well at the net or coming in to the net as I'm capable of doing now. And my serve has gotten better.

"All my strokes have developed."

Most of them were on display against Majoli, too. Playing on a court she called "extremely slow" and not well suited for her style, Graf started slowly.

She lost her serve in the opening game, the only time she's been broken this week, and fell behind 2-0. But she got even at 3-3 by breaking Majoli, 16, wrapped up the first set with another break, and roared out to a 5-0 lead in the second.

"I was happier (with her play) than I was yesterday (in a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ginger Helgeson)," Graf said. "The only thing I would criticize is the slow start."

A fast finish is a good anecdote, though.

"It's always fun to play the number one player," said Majoli, who's ranked 46th and was in her first major tournament semifinal. "It's good to play Steffi to see how you're doing.

"The first set I thought I was doing fine. In the second I got killed."

EVERT CUP At Indian Wells Yesterday's Results

Singles (semifinals) - Steffi Graf (1), Germany, def. Iva Majoli, Croatia, 6-4, 6-1; Amanda Coetzer (6), South Africa, def. Lindsay Davenport (3), Murrieta, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles (semifinals) - Manon Bollegraf-Helena Sukova (2) def. Mary Joe Fernandez-Rennae Stubbs (3) 5-7, 6-4, 6-2; Lindsay Davenport-Lisa Raymond def. Amy Frazier-Kimberly Po 6-4, 6-4. Today's Schedule (Beginning at noon)

Stadium Court - Steffi Graf (1) vs. Amanda Coetzer (6); Manon Bollegraf-Helena Sukova (2) vs. Lindsay Davenport-Lisa Raymond.

ATP CHALLENGER SERIES At Indian Wells Today's Schedule (Beginning at 10 a.m.)

Clubhouse Court - Oliver Delaitre (1) vs. Steve Bryan (3).
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Daily News of Los Angeles
Sunday, February 27, 1994
Associated Press

Top-seeded Steffi Graf overcame a service break at the start of her semifinal match against unseeded Iva Majoli on Saturday before overpowering her 16-year-old opponent 6-4, 6-1 in the $400,000 Evert Cup.

Graf, the No. 1 player in the world, will face sixth-seeded Amanda Coetzer of South Africa in today's championship. Coetzer, who will appear in the finals of this tournament for the second straight year, advanced by upsetting third-seeded Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Graf has lost only 12 games in her four matches in this tournament and has won all 16 of her matches this year without losing a set. But she was surprised by her inexperienced opponent in the first game Saturday.

"She served very well, and I started slow," Graf said. "I was just trying to keep the ball in play, and hit the shots which worked. Once I got that first set, I got aggressive."

Graf trailed 3-1 in the first set before winning five of the final six games, including the last two. Majoli won only the sixth game of the second set. Graf lost only four points while serving four games in the second set.

"I always go into a match thinking I'm going to have a tough match," said Graf, who doesn't have many tough ones. "I let her play more aggressive than I did at the beginning. It made me realize I had to concentrate more."

Majoli was playing in her first tournament semifinal match.

"It's fun to play the No. 1 player in the world," she said after the 59-minute match. "It lets you see how you're doing. The first set was fine, and the second one I got killed."

Coetzer, who lost to Mary Joe Fernandez in the finals of the Evert Cup last year, needed nearly two hours to overcome the 17-year-old Davenport.

Coetzer, who at 5-foot-2 is a foot shorter than Davenport, broke her opponent's service five straight times in the second and third sets. Coetzer trailed 3-1 in the second set before winning five straight games to force the third set. She then won the first three games of the third set before holding on for the victory.

"I played more consistently today than yesterday," Coetzer said, referring to her 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Fernandez, who was seeded second. "When I know I can break the person, it doesn't bother me when I get broken. I can come back.

"She (Davenport) got frustrated, and I took advantage."

Agassi rebounds: Six days into his comeback from wrist surgery, Andre Agassi couldn't be happier with the results.

Agassi continued his dominance in Scottsdale, Ariz., routing Germany's Karsten Braasch 6-1, 6-4 to advance to today's final of the $288,750 Nuveen championships.

Agassi, the defending champion, has lost just 40 games in nine matches over the last two years at this tournament and has lost only one set in that span. He will meet Luiz Mattar of Brazil, who upset second-seeded MaliVai Washington 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Saturday, in the final.

Agassi, playing his first competitive tennis since a U.S. Davis Cup match against the Bahamas last Sept. 24, underwent wrist surgery on Dec. 20 but has shown no sign of any complications this week.

Seeded fifth in this tournament, Agassi has averaged one hour and two minutes per match this week and is one step away from his 20th tour championship.

"To be in the semifinals or finals after 4-1/2 months off is quite an accomplishment as I see it," said Agassi, who had his wrist wrapped in ice during the news conference. "I couldn't feel better at this stage than I do right now. I'm playing well and the wrist hasn't been a problem."

Agassi and Braasch traded service games in the first set before Agassi reeled off the next five games to win in just 27 minutes.

"I've been happy with the way I've been hitting the ball all week and today was more of the same," Agassi said. "Things have come around quicker that I could have anticipated."

Agassi kept the roll going by breaking Braasch in the first game of the second set and wasn't challenged on his serve the rest of the way.

"By the time I started playing well, the match was over," said Braasch, 0-2 in his career against Agassi.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Thank goodness the "play an entire tournament in one morning" idea never came to be. Speaking as a Grafan, it would have been a hoot to see the tennis equivalent of the "Are you not entertained?" scene from "Gladiator," but it would have really, really, really killed women's tennis.

Graf rips Coetzer in Evert Cup final - Murrieta's Davenport, Raymond take doubles title.
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
Monday, February 28, 1994
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS - Amanda Coetzer didn't go into yesterday's Evert Cup final thinking of winning, so she wasn't disappointed.

Steffi Graf didn't think about losing, so she wasn't disappointed, either. She's also the tournament champion - not that there had been any doubt of that outcome - after she went through the formality of beating Coetzer, 6-0, 6-4, in a 57-minute match on stadium court at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort.

Shortly thereafter, Lindsay Davenport of Murrieta and Lisa Raymond of Wayne, Pa., emerged as the doubles champions with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the first-time, but second-seeded, team of Manon Bollegraf and Helena Sukova.

It was the first championship for Davenport and Raymond, who teamed up initially at Philadelphia last fall and plan on playing together at most of this year's events.

The victory over Coetzer was Graf's 21st in a row, her 17th this year without losing a set, and her fifth without a serious challenge in this tournament.

Before dispatching Coetzer, who was game but woefully overmatched, Graf took the measure of Gigi Fernandez (6-1, 6-2), Tracy Austin (6-0, 6-0), Ginger Helgeson (6-1, 6-3) and Iva Majoli (6-4, 6-1), and only the match against the slow-playing Helgeson lasted over an hour.

Graf said, "I didn't really have too much difficulty this week," which was obvious. So she was asked if she'd ever thought about just going on court one morning and staying there until she'd disposed of all challengers, queen-of-the-hill style.

"That would be interesting," she said, laughing. "I haven't thought about it. I'd have to see. Maybe I'd try it if the officials would say, 'C'mon.' "

Then Graf laughed again, in good spirits after pocketing a check for $80,000 and a Baccarat trophy signifying her first title in the Evert Cup, which she hadn't played before, and championship No. 82 in a career that began late in 1982.

She took the check and the trophy with her to Florida last night. She also took along a golden retriever puppy named Joshua that she bought at midweek, and another, superfluous endorsement as far and away the best in women's tennis.

Coetzer, 22, supplied that endorsement after her fourth loss in four matches with Graf. She also said the only way a baseline player can beat Graf is to have a perfect day while Graf has a bad one, and even then it may not be enough.

So she went into the match not "really thinking of beating her. I was more focused on every point and trying to stay with Steffi for a while."

Graf said she never thinks of losing while she's on the court. But neither is she bored or taking it for granted.

"I definitely feel confident," said Graf, 24. "But when I start a tournament, I don't think, `I want to win this.' Obviously, it's great if you do.

"I start off the tournament trying to get used to the surroundings and I try to play well. I'm not trying to build up towards (the end of) the tournament. But I'm not going in there saying `this is what I want to win' or `this is what I want to happen.'

"It's not like a shopping market.

Modesty, thy name is Stefanie (which she reportedly would prefer to be called). Three titles in three tournaments constitutes a shopping spree for most players. Ten titles in 15 tournaments, Graf's record last year, is beyond comprehension.

Graf isn't free of problems. She's forced to wear attire trimmed in blue, even though it isn't her favorite color, because adidas insists, at least for the first half of the year. Then she'll switch to something in pastel shades of red, pink and green, when if she had her way would be black or gray.

She isn't free of the need to work to sustain her excellence, either, and this year she has added weightlifting to her regimen.

The results justify the effort, though.

The past three tournaments, she said, "I haven't really been close to feeling like I'm not playing well. There hasn't been really a time where I could say I can't think of doing well. I've been playing so well that I went the last three tournaments without having any problems during my matches.

"That's pretty comforting."

It's also comforting to have no aches or pains with which to contend, and that's one of the reasons Graf seems so happy and content these days.

"The strange thing is, a number of people don't realize it, (but) I've been happy about everything that's going on in my life for quite some time now," she said. "The last thing I was missing was being injury free, and I've got that this year.

"Sometimes you're surprised how people think about you. But I've never really taken it to heart, because it just matters to myself, how I feel about myself and how I feel about doing the right things.

"I've been always very protective of my privacy, of my private life, and I've not really opened up too much. You have to accept it when people don't know you so well. That's fine.

So is her tennis, obviously.

So, too, was the tennis played yesterday by Davenport, 17, and Raymond, 20, who reached the quarterfinals at Philadelphia in their first match together.

Raymond, a two-time NCAA singles champion at Florida, said, "Our games compliment each other pretty well," with Davenport supplying the power and Raymond the agility.

"I'm a little more intense, sometimes," Davenport said. "We don't take it too seriously, but on the court we want to win."

They did that very well here, knocking off the top-ranked doubles team of Gigi Fernandez and Natalia Zvereva en route to the final. That helped their confidence yesterday, when they battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the second set.

Davenport said they get along extremely well off the court, too, which is important, and seldom discuss tennis.

"We talk about teen-age stuff and 20-year-old stuff," said Davenport.
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Coetzer no match for Graf in final
EVERT CUP: The No. 1 player in the world wins in 57 minutes and hasn't lost in 13 weeks.

The Orange County Register
Monday, February 28, 1994

An hour before Sunday's Evert Cup final, Amanda Coetzer strolled through the grounds with her coach, Pat van der Meer, no doubt seeking last-minute advice on how to beat top-ranked Steffi Graf.

Van der Meer's best advice to Coetzer might have been, stay home.

Coetzer, like so many players before her, was sent packing with a quick 6-0, 6-4 defeat by Graf in front of 6,791 at the Hyatt Grand Champions.

"She's a little bit above everybody else," said Coetzer, who took home a second $36,000 runner-up check. She lost to Mary Joe Fernandez in last year's championship.

A little bit?

Graf hasn't lost in 13 weeks and hasn't dropped a set since the start of 1994. Including the Evert Cup, she has reached 17 consecutive finals, winning 13.

Graf's last loss was to Conchita Martinez in the final at Philadelphia in November 1993 when back pain limited her movement.

Although Coetzer was shooed off the court in 57 minutes Sunday, she still believed Graf is beatable. After all, Coetzer did manage four games off Graf, breaking her serve once. No one won more games against Graf this week.

"If you look at the match today," Coetzer said, "she does give you some opportunities. The trouble is that you get anxious when you do get opportunities because you don't often get them.

"If you could just stay with a level head, you would have more of a chance."

Graf realizes she is dominating the tour at the moment. Without Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati or a Martina Navratilova at her peak, there's not much competition for her blistering forehand.

But she also isn't complaining. Nor is she bored by it all.

"You want to be in a tighter situation or have to work a little bit harder," said Graf, who added $80,000 to her $464,065 she already has won this year. "But if that's not the case, you just have to concentrate and continue your match."

Once Graf got rolling in the first set, there wasn't much Coetzer could do to stop her. Coetzer had one backhand winner and a total nine points in the first set. She lost the final three games at love.

At that point, the stadium crowd began pulling for Coetzer.

"I think it was the quest for one game," said Coetzer, who jumped to a career-high No. 11 ranking last year after winning two titles and reaching the Evert Cup final.

"I thought if I could get over that little bridge, I would have a chance for more points."

Not only did Coetzer cross that bridge and start winning more points, she actually held serve at love to even the score at 1. The crowd applauded wildly.

Graf quieted the crowd when she took a 3-1 lead on a service break in the fourth game and again when she padded her advantage to 4-1.

Coetzer eventually put the set back on serve when she broke Graf, who seemed to be struggling with her forehand, in the ninth game to close the gap, 5-4.

Suddenly a spectator yelled out, "Go for it, Amanda."

It was too big of a request for Coetzer, who had not advanced past the second round in three other tournaments this year. She won only two points in her next service game and the match was over.

"There wasn't a time when I wasn't thinking I wasn't playing well," Graf said.

But she added that after a good start to the second set, she began making too many mistakes, "unnecessary mistakes."

"She's somebody that doesn't miss very much," Graf said, "so you have to play every point. Like before, I played well when I had to."

Graf said the pro-Coetzer crowd didn't bother her concentration. "It's something I understand fully," Graf said.
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Sunday, February 27, 1994
RICK KAPLAN, Gannett News Service

Steffi Graf came and left the desert, still in search of a challenge.

The top-seeded Graf completed her romp through the Evert Cup with a 6-0, 6-4 win over sixth-seeded Amanda Coetzer in Sunday's final at Hyatt Grand Champions.

She completed her five matches in less than five hours, including Sunday's 57-minute final.

"I didn't really have too much difficulty this week," she said. "The last three tournaments, I haven't really been close to feeling I'm not playing well. I've been very confident. It's just been three tournaments without having any problems during the matches.

"I think that's a pretty good accomplishment."

Graf won her 21st match in a row, dating back to a November loss to Conchita Martinez in the finals at Philadelphia. The world's top-ranked player has not lost a set in 17 matches this year, winning the Australian Open, Pan Pacific Open, and the $400,000 Evert Cup. None of the finals lasted longer than 60 minutes.

"I definitely feel confident," said Graf, who earned $80,000 for winning the Evert Cup. "I start off the tournament trying to get used to the surroundings and I try to play well. I'm not trying to build up toward (the end of) the tournament. I'm not going in there saying, `This is what I want to win,' or `This is what I want to happen.'

"It's not like a shopping market."

Graf is accustomed to checking out in the express lane.

"Sure, sometimes you are going to be in a tighter situation or have to work a little harder," she said. "But when that is not the case, you just have to concentrate on winning every match. I had a little trouble (against Coetzer) and a little trouble Saturday (against Iva Majoli), but I'm fine."

Graf's idea of trouble was losing three of four games after taking a 6-0, 4-1 lead.

"I played a very good first set, and started off the second set pretty well," she said. "Then I started making some more mistakes, unnecessary mistakes. I wasn't really under pressure. It's always difficult to concentrate on every point, and she's somebody who doesn't miss very much.

"I didn't finish very well. But when it mattered, I played well again."

Coetzer managed to break Graf's serve late in the second set, only the second time Graf was broken all week. But Coetzer hit only three winners in the match. Graf had 21 winners, including four aces.

"I don't think I was really thinking about beating her," said Coetzer, who lost in the Evert Cup final for the second year in a row. "I was more focused on every point and just trying to stay with her."

Although it became obvious she couldn't stay with Graf, the 22-year-old South African didn't get down on herself.

"It's difficult," said Coetzer, whose runner-up share was $36,000. "But if you look at the way she wins, you shouldn't feel discouraged.

"She really played well. She hits service winners, winners off the ground, and her backhand was really good. I think you can put it out of your mind and go ahead and play the next game."
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Long Beach, CA
Monday, February 28, 1994
Associated Press

INDIAN WELLS - Top-seeded Steffi Graf routed No.6 Amanda Coetzer 6-0, 6-4 Sunday to win the $400,000 Evert Cup championship.

Graf, of Germany, needed only 25 minutes to blitz South Africa's Coetzer in the first set and ended the match in 57 minutes.

"I didn't really have too much difficulty this week,'' Graf said. "I played a good first set today and I started the second set good. And then I made some mistakes. I had to concentrate on every point. She's the kind of player who makes you play the points.''

Graf lost only three points in the three games she served in the first set and she won the last 14 points of the set.

Coetzer fared better in the second set, but trailed throughout. Coetzer broke Graf's service in the ninth game to make it 5-4, but Graf broke back to win the match.

In the five matches she played in the tournament, held at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Graf lost only 16 games and had her service broken just twice.

"I've been very confident, I've been playing very well. I'm happy with the way my life is going, now that I'm injury-free. My personal goal is to stay healthy,'' Graf said.

Graf, the top-ranked woman in the world, has won 21 straight matches without losing a set - 17 this year. She has 82 tournament titles.

She earned $80,000 Sunday, raising her earnings for the year to $544,065. Coetzer, ranked 16th in the world, collected $36,000 for finishing second in this tournament for the second straight year. She lost to Mary Joe Fernandez in 1993.

Coetzer is now 0-4 lifetime against Graf without winning a set.

"I'm happy to be in the finals again,'' Coetzer said. "I tried to concentrate and hit the ball and be patient and not be intimidated. I tried to stay with her. It is difficult.

"If you look at the way she was hitting the ball, you really can't get discouraged. To beat her from the baseline, you have to hope she's having an off-day. She was hitting to my backhand, which is not one of my strong points.

"She is over and above everyone else. She didn't give me a chance to get back in the game.''

In the doubles finals, the unseeded team of Lindsay Davenport of Murrieta, and Lisa Raymond of Wayne, Pa., upset the second-seeded team of Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands and Helena Sukova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4.

Davenport, 17, and Raymond, 20, split $24,000. They beat the top-seeded team and the No. 1 doubles team in the world, Gigi Fernandez and Natalia Zvereva, 6-4, 6-4, in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Bollegraf and Sukova divided $12,000.

Agassi wins

Andre Agassi, playing in his first tournament in nearly five months, defeated Brazil's Luiz Mattar 6-4, 6-3 to win the Nuveen Championships at Scottsdale, Ariz.

Agassi, the fifth seed, has been sidelined since Sept. 24 with a wrist injury that required surgery Dec. 20.

His performance in this tournament, in which he did not lose a set, suggests he is ready to return to play the world's top players.

This was the 20th title of Agassi's career and earned him $42,000. He has won seven consecutive tournament finals, dating to the 1991 French Open.

Mattar won $24,150 as runner-up in the 79-minute match - by far Agassi's longest of the tournament.

Mattar, who upset second-seeded MaliVai Washington Saturday night, broke Agassi's serve twice to open the match and took a 4-2 lead in the first set. It was the first break on Agassi's serve all week.

But Mattar was broken on 3-4 when he knocked a short approach shot into the net and Agassi broke serve again at 5-4 to close the set.

Mattar broke serve in the first game of the second set, but Agassi returned the favor in the next game and put the match away by breaking Mattar again to go up 5-3. Agassi then served out his match at love to mark the seventh time he's won a tournament without dropping a set.
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Graf Makes It Look So Easy : Tennis: Amanda Coetzer is no factor from baseline in 6-0, 6-4 final.
February 28, 1994

INDIAN WELLS — Steffi Graf wrapped up career title No. 82 by winning the Evert Cup on Sunday, packed up the Golden Retriever puppy she bought last week at a local shopping mall and headed to Delray Beach, Fla., where she is expected to dominate yet another tournament field.

Is it becoming boring?

"To you?" Graf asked a reporter. "I'm not bored."

Graf, who has not dropped a set in 17 matches this year, earned another $80,000 by defeating Amanda Coetzer, 6-0, 6-4, in 57 minutes in the final at Hyatt Grand Champions.

"I didn't really have too much difficulty this week," said Graf, who spent more than an hour on the court in only one of five matches, needing 79 minutes to eliminate Ginger Helgeson in the quarterfinals.

Graf spent most of her time pampering her puppy, which she named Joshua in a nod to the trees that dot the Mojave Desert landscape.

"Sure, sometimes you want to be in a tighter situation or have to work a little bit harder, but if that's not the case, you've just got to concentrate and continue your match," Graf said.

She does that better than anybody else in women's tennis.

In three finals this year, the WTA Tour's top-ranked player has yet to spend more than an hour on the court, routing second-ranked Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 57 minutes at the Australian Open and defeating fourth-ranked Martina Navratilova in 60 minutes at Tokyo.

"The last three tournaments, I haven't really been close to feeling I'm not playing well," Graf said. "I've been very confident, I've been playing so well.

"It's been three tournaments without having problems with my matches. I think that's a pretty good accomplishment."

The sixth-seeded Coetzer upset second-seeded Mary Joe Fernandez, the defending champion, in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals to advance to the final for the second year in a row, but neither of those players prepared her for Graf.

The South African all but acknowledged as much afterward.

Part of her strategy against Graf, Coetzer said, was to "just be patient and not be intimidated by the way she plays.

"I don't think I was really thinking of beating her. I was more focused on every point and just trying to stay with her, at least for a while."

As a baseliner, Coetzer realized she was in trouble.

"To beat her from the baseline, you really have to hope for a bit of an off-day (by Graf)," she said. "You're not going to beat her often from the baseline. I really think you have to be able to come to the net and attack the backhand, which is not really one of my strong points."

Unable to change her style, Coetzer took her lumps.

"Everybody tries to do what they're used to and what they're best at," Graf said. "It's difficult for some players to change. For example, Amanda, she's not someone who's going to hit the balls away (for winners) or can come in (to the net). She's not that type of player. Unless you're somebody who's used to doing the right thing against me, it's difficult."

Graf closed out the first set by winning the last 14 points and led in the second, 5-2, before faltering slightly. Coetzer's service break in the ninth game of the second set was only the second of the week against Graf.

"I didn't finish (the match) very well," said Graf, ever the perfectionist. "But when it mattered, I played well again."

The German has won 65 of her last 67 matches and 11 of her last 12 tournaments, including all four Grand Slam events.

After winning $2,821,337 last year, she already has won $544,063 this year. Only Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong Cawley have won more tournaments, but Graf is only 24.

"I'm happy about the way my life is going for quite some time," Graf said. "The last thing I was missing was being injury-free and I've got that this year. So, I'm lucky and happy."

And not at all bored.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The comment that I put in bold just highlights the difference between Steffi and the previous modern era dominators. She didn't complain about not being cheered for. She never had a public display of "Up yours!" belligerence. She didn't put on an air of "I am too good for you people to cheer for, anyway" cold superiority. She gets it; the people want to see competitive, well-played matches, and she would love to provide them with one.

ANALYSIS : Only One Sight to See on This Tour
February 28, 1994

INDIAN WELLS — Like Disneyland without rides, the women's professional tennis tour is currently a flawed attraction. It is a weekly competition without any, match play with no matches.

Sunday, the tour's Goliath, Steffi Graf, flicked away another of the tour's Davids, Amanda Coetzer, in the final of the $400,000 Evert Cup. The scores were 6-0, 6-4; the crowd was a half-full 6,791 in the Stadium Court at the Hyatt Grand Champions, and the most drama for the media centered on who would win the pool on how long it would take Graf to win. The thought never occurred to anyone that she wouldn't.

For the record, it took Graf 57 minutes and the $33 pool was won by a writer from Pravda.

Such is the current state of women's tennis.

Barbara Perry, co-tournament director of the Evert event and an executive with the International Management Group (IMG) that is such a huge driving force in the sport, calls the current women's situation "a marketing issue."

"Right now, there's just a small group of top players," she said. "It's a serious issue in the women's game."

Another way to put this is that, this week, Conchita Martinez took over the No. 3 spot in the women's rankings, behind Graf and Aranxta Sanchez Vicario. Needless to say, Conchita Martinez, a very fine player, is hardly a household word.

The blame for this can be traced directly to two people: Guenther Parche and a security guard at some mall in Tampa, Fla.

Parche is the German who leaped out of the stands in Hamburg and stabbed Monica Seles in the back nearly a year ago. Seles has yet to return to the tour.

The unnamed security guard is the one who decided to make a federal case out of some alleged shoplifted costume jewelry Jennifer Capriati had in her possession. That became such an embarrassing incident for Capriati that she left the tour and won't return until sometime this summer, after her high school graduation.

So, with Martina Navratilova playing her last full season of singles competition and hanging on at No. 4, and Gabriela Sabatini neither playing much nor well at the moment, you have players in the top 10 such as Kimiko Date of Japan and Anke Huber of Germany.

That leaves Graf as pretty much the 500-pound gorilla, and even the most sadistic ticket-buying fan will not put out much money, nor waste time watching a telecast of a sporting event that reminds them of the Alamo. For that, they have Buffalo in the Super Bowl every year.

Even Graf is aware of the problem that her excellence presents. When asked here Sunday about her reaction to the crowd's obvious favoritism toward Coetzer, she said: "I understand fully. If I bought a ticket for the match, I'd cheer for it to go longer, too."

But it seldom does, these days. The 24-year old German has not lost a set this year. Her winnings for 1994, two months into the year, passed $500,000 with the $80,000 she won in the Evert Cup. Since Parche stabbed Seles last April 30 and Graf lost in the final of that event, she has gone on to win 65 of 67 matches, including the last four Grand Slam events, the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open.

In fact, with the way things are going for Graf these days, perhaps the most remarkable performance of the Evert Cup this year was turned in by Ginger Helgeson, the former Pepperdine player. She kept Graf out on the court for 79 minutes, an amazing feat.

Such is the current state of women's tennis.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

It is astonishing that the United States Tennis Association (Richard Finn is/was one of the genuine "good guys" of the game) did a better job of at least trying to explain/defend Steffi's dominance than the WTA did. Steffi wasn't killing women's tennis; she was the only thing keeping women's tennis alive at this point. And so she would immediately board an airplane to Florida, where she would simultaneously save and kill the next tournament.

Graf wins Evert Cup
17-0 in '94

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Monday, February 28, 1994
JERRY MAGEE, Staff Writer

In her game, Steffi Graf is the '27 Yankees. She's Joe Louis. She's Oklahoma's football teams of the mid-'50s. And she just might be killing women's tennis.

At the moment, Graf occupies a level apart from her peers. No one else is close to her, not even remotely, which is nice for Graf, a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Amanda Coetzer yesterday in the final of the $400,000 Evert Cup.

Whether Graf's ascendancy also is nice for her game is questionable. For Graf's conquest of Coetzer, the gallery at Grand Champions was announced as 6,791, but the figure appeared generous. Many more than half the seats in a stadium with a capacity of 10,500 were not occupied.

This, though it was a perfect day in the desert.

Tennis fans, it would seem, are like the fans of any other sport. They want to see a contest. They haven't been seeing one when Graf was on the court, the German woman now having won 21 straight matches, including all 17 she has played this year.

In none of her 1994 appearances has Graf lost as much as a set. She sped through four of her five Evert opponents in less than an hour, with Coetzer sticking around only 57 minutes. And while Graf said she isn't bored, these are not the most exciting of times in women's tennis.

"But I don't think you can ever say that a great player kills a game," argued Richard Finn, manager of media relations for the U.S. Tennis Association. "You've seen the best player in the world."

What you haven't seen are contests. "I didn't really have too much difficulty this week," Graf said in a sweeping understatement after putting away Coetzer, who clearly was outgunned.

Coetzer, also a finalist here a year ago, is a baseliner. Graf chews up baseliners.

"To beat her from the baseline, you have to hope she really has an off day," Coetzer said.

Graf hasn't had a day like that since November 1993, when Conchita Martinez dealt her her last defeat in an indoor event in Philadelphia. Graf then had a back problem, but she's fully fit this year and playing stunningly.

"My last three tournaments, I haven't really been close to feeling I wasn't playing well," Graf said. "The last thing I was missing was being injury free, and I've got that this year."

Until Monica Seles can overcome the psychological trauma of being stabbed by a spectator in Hamburg, Germany, last April, Graf would seem to have no challengers.

"She is a little bit above everybody else," Coetzer said. "But she does give you opportunities every once in a while. If you can just stay level-headed on those points and play them like you play them against everyone else . . . "

Coetzer's chance came when she served at 4-5 in the second set. Graf, whose forehand had been straying, steadied and closed out her first tournament in the desert with a forehand winner.

Graf won $80,000, Coetzer $36,000.

Graf's mastery had been most evident in the opening set, in which she surrendered only nine points and closed out the set with a run of 14 straight points.

In her 10 sets here, Graf surrendered only 16 games. Her only rival who occupied her for more than an hour was Ginger Helgeson of Alpine, a 6-1, 6-3 loser in the quarterfinals. Helgeson lasted 79 minutes.

Somebody suggested yesterday that it would simplify matters if Graf's opponents could all be trotted out on the same day. She could engage them one after the other.

"Interesting," said Graf. "I haven't thought about it."

Maybe if all her rivals could get on a court together against her, they might have a chance. As it is, because of Graf's superiority, women's tennis is strictly no-contest.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Missed one from the first round.

Graf coasts to quick first-round triumph
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
Wednesday, February 23, 1994
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS -- Steffi Graf gave Gigi Fernandez a birthday spanking yesterday.

The top seed in the Evert Cup and the top-ranked player in the world, Graf breezed to a 6-1, 6-2 first-round victory in a match that lasted just 47 minutes on the Hyatt Grand Champions stadium court.

"I hired a bodyguard to club her in the knee and he didn't show up. That was probably my only chance," said Fernandez, 30, who spent the final rest break of the match reading a newspaper after a brief display of temper in the game that left Graf serving for the match.

"She was reading the money (financial) section, so I was thinking, `Oh, she's thinking about what she can do with her prize money,'" said Graf, 24. "It was strange, though."

Fernandez said all she really was trying to do was "get my mind off it and relax a little. When you're down 6-1, 5-2, you might as well try something."

Fernandez's strategy worked briefly as she took Graf to deuce three times. But ultimately she failed, as most do against the woman whose dominance has been magnified by the absence of Monica Seles.

Graf last year won 10 titles and compiled a 76-6 record in singles. She lost in the final at Hamburg, Germany, where Seles was stabbed in late April, but has lost just twice since - to Nicole Provis of Australia in the Federation Cup in July and Conchita Martinez of Spain in the final at Philadelphia Nov. 14.

This season, she has won two tournaments and 13 matches without losing a set and appears invincible.

Graf doesn't think so. She said one of the keys to her success is excellent preparation and not taking anybody lightly, and that "if I wouldn't feel that I would still have competition, I don't think I would be around."

But Fernandez, who is more noted for her doubles play, said that when Graf plays as she did yesterday, she doesn't have any competition.

"She has lapses like everybody, I'm sure," Fernandez said. "But when she's on top of her game, when she's playing like that, there's not much you can do.

"You have to be extremely fast. Like Arantxa (Sanchez Vicario) on a good day can give her a hard time. But there's very few players out there who can do that, when she's on her game.

"She's a tough competitor. She doesn't give you any breaks. You have to earn every point."

Not surprisingly, Graf competes mostly with herself in search of the perfect match.

"I've always done that, actually," she said. "The drive that I've always had was getting better at what I was doing. That's what I've been trying all these years, trying to get better at whatever I'm doing, coming in or playing from the back. All my shots I'm trying to improve.

"I've had matches where I think I couldn't have played much better. I think it's a way of staying at that level, or trying to play longer at that level, and to be able if you don't play very well to depend on something else in your game."

Yesterday, Graf had all phases of her game working. She lost only 11 points in eight service games, five in the final game. She breezed through the first set in 19 minutes and was up, 4-0, in the second before leveling off slightly.

Fernandez, who in her last appearance on the stadium court lost to Monica Seles, 6-0, 6-0, was forced to abandon her serve-and-volley style and became an easy target for Graf's powerful forehand groundstrokes.

Graf said she wasn't bored, though, "because there's always something that I want to try out there."

Other people call that practice.

Only two other seeds were in action yesterday, and both advanced. Sixth-seeded Amanda Coetzer, the runner-up to Mary Joe Fernandez here last year, beat Ann Grossman, 6-4, 6-2, and eighth-seeded Judith Wiesner ousted Amy Frazier, 6-1, 6-3.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Shaking my head. "Seles' quirky nature and Capriati's weekly struggles with her parents" were the very things that were keeping them off the tour rather than being reasons to hope for their returns.

TENNIS NOTEBOOK: Their top tour rivals are wishing for speedy returns for the game's sake.

The Orange County Register
Monday, February 28, 1994

It seems tennis promoters and fans aren't the only ones who miss Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati.

Surprisingly, some of Seles and Capriati's biggest rivals are also their biggest supporters. And for the sake of women's tennis, players such as Steffi Graf and Mary Joe Fernandez eagerly are awaiting their return.

Seles hasn't played a match since being stabbed during a tournament last April. Now, every time a tournament draw is announced, the rumors of her return follow.

But recently her agent said there is no date set for Seles' return.

After a rocky year, Capriati announced she was taking a break from the tour in order to concentrate on high school. She isn't expected to play until the French Open.

Seles' absence has given Graf room to swing her racket without being bumped. The German has dominated the tour since Seles left, winning 13 tournaments, including the final three Grand Slams of 1993 and Sunday's Evert Cup at Indian Wells.

Maybe it's the competition she misses, but Graf said she hopes Seles can shake off any physical or emotional demons and play again.

"They are two very big names in tennis and to lose them will be very difficult," Graf said. "They both play attractive, aggressive tennis. They are two personalities tennis is going to miss.

"What will tennis do? I don't know."

Fernandez, ranked No. 7, joined Graf in wishing both a speedy return. Because without them, she said, tennis is lacking personality - even if it is Seles' quirky nature and Capriati's weekly struggles with her parents.

"Everyone misses them," Fernandez said. "Both of them are great personalities for the game. Monica's tenacity, the way she is out there, that's missing.

"And Jennifer is a bubbly, exciting player to watch. Hopefully, they'll be back."

Retired star Chris Evert said interest in women's tennis would benefit greatly if Seles and Capriati can come back soon. Graf winning week-in and week-out can get pretty dull.

"I think two things could happen," Evert told the Palm Springs Desert Sun. "If Jennifer and Monica don't come back soon, (women's tennis) could get pretty stagnant. If they can come back, you are going to have a whole new scenario, all kinds of new plots."

Plots, Evert said, such as, can Monica come back? Can Jennifer pick up where she left off? Can the teen-ager reach the top level? Will Steffi still dominate? Will Martina Navratilova continue be a factor if Monica and Jennifer re-enter the picture?

"That's why I don't have any trouble saying women's tennis is going through a down time," Evert added. "I don't get defensive about that because any month now it could turn into one of the best years ever."

Graf said all this talk could be avoided if more players took their tennis and training seriously. The world's No. 1 player, an admitted perfectionist, has been compared to a top-ranked boxer in her dedication to staying fit.

"You see a lot of players out there who have talent but don't do enough," Graf said. "That's sad. A lot of players could do a lot better than they do."

Seles has been nominated as the top women's tennis player in ESPN's annual ESPY awards.


The award is based on the 1993 year and the former No. 1 player competed in four tournaments before being stabbed in April.

Look for Graf to take home that award, plus Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year.

The Evert Cup, and its predecessor, the Virginia Slims of Palm Springs and Indian Wells, has had a history of big-name players withdrawing. For example, one year it was Navratilova who pulled out because of an injury. Last year both Graf and Capriati dropped out because of identical pulled stomach muscles.

This year, Graf made the tournament, as well as Fernandez. The rest didn't bother to enter.

But that doesn't mean the tournament isn't missing a key player. Tournament namesake, Chris Evert, did not travel to Indian Wells because of complications involving her pregnancy.

It seems Tracy Austin's graciousness only goes so far.

After denying she said 11 years ago that there were "hundreds of girls in America" like Graf, Austin said perhaps she is partly responsible for Graf's rise to prominence.

"Maybe I should get credit for making her angry and motivated," said Austin, who got trounced by Graf, 6-0, 6-0, in a second-round match.

Janis Carr is a Register staff writer. Her tennis notebook appears on Monday.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A look back at 1986 Brighton (will do the whole tournament in the "1986" thread soon). Young Steffi was still unsure of herself on faster surfaces. That would change very quickly.

Wednesday, October 22, 1986
Compiled From Wire Reports

Top-seeded Steffi Graf took just 49 minutes to defeat Christiane Jolissant, 6-0, 6-2, Tuesday and sweep into the second round of the women's Pretty Polly Classic at Brighton, England.

Second-seeded Helena Sukova, third-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, fourth-seeded Manuela Maleeva and sixth-seeded Robin White also advanced in straight sets of opening-round play.

Graf, 17, dominated the match against Jolissaint, ranked 68th. She won the first nine games.

Graf, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, said of Jolissaint, ''She didn't play too well at the start. But it's a good sign for me to start well. I hope it continues.''

Graf looked comfortable on the carpet-like supreme court -- a surface she generally plays on only twice a year.

''It's an unusual surface for me, so I came over and practiced last week. I felt good today, and I'm looking forward to doing well here,'' Graf said.

Kohde-Kilsch also needed only 49 minutes to overwhelm Janine Thompson, 6-2, 6-2, and Sukova advanced, 6-2, 6-1, over Sabrina Goles in 59 minutes.

Maleeva downed Anne Hobbs, 6-2, 6-3, and White, one of only two American seeded players in the tournament, eliminated unseeded American Alycia Moulton, 6-4, 7-6.

Maleeva's sister, Katerina, 17, who is ranked No. 30 in the world, also earned a second-round berth, fighting back from a 2-4 deficit in the final set to oust Annabel Croft, the No. 1 player in Britain, 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.

Rafella Reggi dropped the first set to Iva Budarova before winning, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Seventh-seeded Jo Durie survived a challenge from Laura Gildemeister to prevail, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Tennis: A war rages but one battle is fun
The Times
London, England
Friday, October 24, 1986
REX BELLAMY, Tennis Correspondent

Steffi Graf, heiress to the Lloyd-Navratilova fortune, beat Raffaella Reggi 6-4, 6-4, to reach the last eight of the Pretty Polly tournament at Brighton last evening. A hard-hitting, spectacular match ended with an astonishing rally in which 'Raffi' pounded all over the place, retrieving the seemingly irretrievable, until a last error was squeezed out of her.

With that, Miss Reggi beamed. She had lost but she had given everything she had and the battle had been fun. One inevitably thinks in terms of warfare when Miss Reggi is in action. She plays so much like a one-woman army that the mind conjures up the sound of bugles and gunfire, images of hand-to-hand combat, and a straight choice between death or glory. Any war with Miss Reggi in it would not last long.

The Italian is sultry and tempestuous, voluble and demonstrative, and alarmingly prodigal with her physical and emotional energies. She runs as fast as she can but, in the midst of storms of her own creation, never stops thinking. She took a set from Miss Graf in the United States championships and threatened to do so again yesterday.

But Miss Graf, aged 17 but inscrutably composed, did more damage with less effort - because she already has a wealth of strokes, times them beautifully, and covers the court like a cheetah. Her service and backhand have improved in the past year. The only flaws on this occasion occurred sporadically when her backhand - always under attack - was chipped into the net. The top-spun version always worked well.

This match enlivened the public, which takes some doing at the Brighton Centre. Spectators tend to be so quiet that one suspects they have to take a vow of silence in order to get tickets. That thought came to mind while Catarina Lindqvist, who had four match points against Martina Navratilova in Stuttgart last week, was beating Ann Henricksson, of Minnesota, by 6-2, 6-1.

Miss Henricksson wears shorts almost as roomy as those prevalent among footballers in the days of Matthews and Finney. Yesterday she had a heavy cold but led 2-0 before being overwhelmed by the nimble star turn of Swedish women's tennis. Miss Lindqvist, aged 23, has a classically fluent backhand and is probably the best female player to emerge from Sweden. She has had a good record in the most recent grand slam events but the peaks may be out of her reach.

'Coaches and players are working closely together and the scheme is going quite well,' Birger Folke, the coach, said yesterday. 'But it takes a long time to develop a good national standard. The boys have had Swedish idols for thirty years but with the girls we have had to start without that. '

Miss Lindqvist's next opponent will be Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, who had the sounder, more flexible ground strokes and broke service once in each set to beat Barbara Potter 6-4, 6-4. This is Miss Potter's first tournament since an ominous back problem put her out of action last June. She never reached deuce against the German's service. And when Miss Potter volleyed deep, her timing was wayward. Rust, no doubt. But she can be satisfied with an encouraging return to competition.

RESULTS: Second round: R White (US) bt G Kim (US), 6-3, 7-5; C Lindqvist (Swe) bt A Henricksson (US), 6-2, 6-1; C Kohde-Kilsch (WG) bt B Potter (US), 6-4, 6-4; S Graf (WG) bt R Reggi (lt), 6-4, 6-4; B Bunge (WG) bt T Phelps (US), 6-3, 7-5.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf Reaches Quarterfinals
Friday, October 24, 1986
Associated Press

Brighton, England - Top-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany overcame the lingering effects of food poisoning to defeat Italy's Raffaella Reggi, 6-4, 6-4, yesterday to reach the quarterfinals of the $200,000 Pretty Polly Classic women's indoor tennis tournament.

Three other seeded players, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany, Caterina Lindqvist of Sweden and Robin White, of San Jose, also advanced.

Graf, looking pale after a sleepless night, had trouble keeping her concentration at times, with the hard-hitting play of Reggi keeping her pinned down at the baseline.

"Raffaella played really well. She was hitting the ball so hard," said Graf, who is ranked third in the world. "But I don't think I played too well, maybe it's because I was not sleeping too well last night. I ate something bad and I was not feeling 100 percent."

Kohde-Kilsch, playing her first tournament in seven weeks, reached the quarterfinals by eliminating Barbara Potter, of Woodbury, Ct., 6-4, 6-4.

Kohde-Kilsch's fierce serve gave her the edge in a match full of attacking serve-and-volley tennis.

In 10 service games, Kohde-Kilsch conceded only seven points while she managed to break Potter once in each set.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf in Semis - Other Top Seeds Falter
Saturday, October 25, 1986
United Press International

Brighton, England - Top-seed Steffi Graf of West Germany overcame a poor start yesterday and Bettina Bunge and Sweden's Catarina Lindqvist both reached the semifinals of a $200,000 women's international tennis tournament.

Graf found her form in time to beat San Jose's Robin White, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the opening quarterfinal of the day's action at the Brighton Center. She will play Rosalyn Fairbank of South Africa, a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Jo Durie of England, for a place in tomorrow's final.

"That was tough. I can't recall the last time I lost seven games in a row," Graf told reporters.

The other semifinal did not work out as expected. First, Bunge, also of West Germany, upset No. 2-seed Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, and then Lindqvist upset the third top German player in the tournament, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, 6-2, 6-4.

Bunge scored her second victory of the year over Sukova after a dramatic turnaround in the match. Sukova appeared to be in control as she ran through the first set, but Bunge recovered her composure and dominated the play.
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