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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The Charlotte Observer
Saturday, April 8, 1989
From Associated Press Reports

Steffi Graf, the world's top-ranked women's tennis player, advanced to the semifinals of the Family Circle Magazine Cup after defeating Radka Zrubakova 6-2, 6-1 in Friday's quarterfinals.

Second-ranked Martina Navratilova also advanced to today's semifinals, beating eighth-seeded Hana Mandlikova 6-2, 7-5.

Graf waited out a 2 1/2-hour rain delay and took 47 minutes to defeat her unseeded opponent on the clay courts at the Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Zrubakova, who turned pro last January and is already ranked No. 35 in the world, won the second and fifth games of the first set, successfully jumping on Graf's power serve.

But Graf, the winner of the 1988 Grand Slam and this year's Australian Open, served two aces in the first set and wore Zrubakova down with sharp rallies and passing shots.

''You have to take every point because of the wind. You have to do a lot of footwork and be really well prepared,'' Graf said.

''You never take those matches easy,'' Graf said of Zrubakova and her early-round opponents.

Navratilova, the tournament's second seed, defeated Mandlikova in one hour 14 minutes, dominating the net with quick, smooth movements. She later acknowledged having trouble with the wind, though.

''It's hard to figure out who's playing well because of the conditions,'' Navratilova said. ''It's just really ridiculous, the conditions out there.

''I was in slightly better shape in the wind than she was because my toss is lower than hers on my serve and because my ground strokes are shorter,'' said Navratilova, the holder of 17 Grand Slam singles titles.

Navratilova faces fourth-seeded Natalia Zvereva, who defeated Leila Meskhi 6-3, 6-2, in today's semifinals, while Graf meets No. 7 seed Arantxa Sanchez, who downed Linda Ferrando 7-5, 6-1.

In doubles, Navratilova and Mandlikova defeated Catarina Lindqvist and Bettina Bunge 7-5, 6-0, and Mary Lou Daniels and Wendy White defeated Meskhi and Sandy Collins 6-2, 6-1.

With Navratilova, the defending champion, still in the tournament, Graf said she can't afford to let down her guard.

''It's going to be much tougher. You know, it's more competition,'' said Graf, who won the tournament in 1986 and 1987.
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post #3467 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Steffi knows what the people want to see, but also knows that Natasha the Navratilova-Beater stands in the way. Also noteworthy is Martina's dislike of playing in windy conditions even as a kid. Meanwhile, I imagine one of Steffi's early diary entries reads something like: "Gale force winds. Dark skies. Trees down. Lightning present. Rain immanent. Conditions excellent. I shall practice."

The State
Columbia, SC
Saturday, April 8, 1989
BOB COLE, Senior Writer

Inexorably, like two raging rivers on a collision course, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova continued their predictable run to the finals of the 17th Family Circle Magazine Cup Friday.

There's one match standing between them -- Navratilova against Soviet Natalia Zvereva this morning at 10:30 and Graf against Arantxa Sanchez at 1 p.m. But they've followed the script perfectly to this point and, unless someone catches lightning in a bottle, they'll be eyeball to eyeball come Sunday.

It will be their first confrontation since a three-set shootout last year at Wimbledon, when Graf laid official claim to the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis by beating Navratilova in three tough sets.

It's precisely what the Sea Pines Racquet Club expected when it got commitments from the current top two players in the world, and what NBC lusted for when it agreed to televise (1-3 p.m.) today's semifinals and Sunday's finals.

Both profess to wearing blinders where each other is concerned. In other words, they're not looking ahead. But not far below the surface they know they have a date with destiny -- perhaps the first of several showdowns this season.

"People say I have no competition, but I don't take these matches for granted," the 19-year-old Graf said after taking Czech Radka Zrubakova apart 6-2, 6-1 in a quarterfinal match. "It's natural for people to want to see the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds play each other. The problem is, we're not there yet."

The No. 1 seed has hardly worked up a sweat in sweeping her first three matches, dispatching Zrubakova in about 40 minutes.

Navratilova has had a slightly tougher time of it, dropping a set to Laura Gildemeister in her first match and running into a game Hana Mandlikova Friday. Mandlikova made Navratilova work but couldn't handle the combination of power and finesse thrown at her by the defending champion and No. 2 seed. Navratilova prevailed 6-2, 7-5, and insisted she was not unduly pumped up by the opportunity for a rerun match with Graf.

"I don't feel any different here this year than last year," she said. "This is still the same place. I'm competitive when I'm playing a match, but I don't have to be competitive when I'm not playing.

"If you're wired up 24 hours a day, by the time you play the match you'll be spent. Just because Steffi's here doesn't mean I'm going to be psyched up for her on Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll be psyched up when I play her on Sunday -- if I play her on Sunday."

Zvereva beat fellow Soviet Leila Meskhi 6-3, 6-2, and Sanchez downed Linda Ferrando 7-5, 6-1 to reach the semifinals.

The start of Friday's matches was delayed 2 1/2 hours due to a morning-long rainstorm that soaked Sea Pines' clay courts. When they did play, they had to contend with swirling winds that often made a crapshoot of points and service ball tosses.

"Today it was hard to figure out who was playing well because of the conditions, but I figured I was in better shape in the wind because my (service) toss is lower and my groundstrokes are shorter," Navratilova said. "I figured I could adjust to it easier than she could."

Navratilova said if this had been back in her native Czechoslovakia, there wouldn't have been any tennis played because of the wind.

"When it got like this, we didn't play," she said. "My dad and I would quit and go hunting or something. We had these tall, skinny trees and when the wind came up they'd sway from side to side. When it reached a certain sway -- the sway factor -- we knew it was too windy for tennis and time to quit."

But there was no quitting Friday as Navratilova stayed on course for the inevitable meeting with her No. 1 rival.

"If it comes down to that, that's when I'll get psyched up for her," said Navratilova. "But not until then."

The problem is, the rest of the world is a couple of steps ahead of her.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

TENNIS; Zvereva Blocks Navratilova From Final
New York Times
April 9, 1989

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. April 8— Martina Navratilova entered this tournament intent on earning a showdown with Steffi Graf, the player who displaced her at the pinnacle of women's tennis, but she was eliminated before the duel could happen. Navratilova was headed off at the penultimate pass today by Natalya Zvereva of the Soviet Union, who defeated the defending champion, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, in an upset in the semifinal round of the Family Circle Cup.

That left Zvereva, who does not relish playing Graf, alone in the final with the world's top player. Graf advanced to the final Sunday with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Arantxa Sanchez of Spain in a match that might have seemed gratuitous were it not for an impassioned second-set comeback by Sanchez. The Spaniard recovered from a 1-5 deficit to move to within a single point of tying the set at 5-5.

''I thought I had already won it,'' Graf said of her temporary letdown in the second set, ''and she is someone who really fights back.''

Graf Doesn't Mind

Graf said she wasn't disappointed about avoiding the melodrama of a final against Navratilova. ''It suits me better to play Zvereva, but as long as I'm playing the finals, I play against whoever,'' she said. Graf holds a 2-0 match record against Zvereva that includes a 6-0, 6-0 rout in the 1988 French Open that the Soviet player says she has erased from her memory.

''I can do nothing about that,'' said Zvereva, who admitted that Graf's manipulations make her feel ''like a little kid on the court.''

Navratilova, who has had to settle for a berth in the doubles final, went away unsatisfied after being outrun, outhit, and out-strategized by the composed Zvereva. The distraught Navratilova refused immediate comment on her singles match, and instead retreated to prepare for doubles duty with Hana Mandlikova against the unseeded team of Mary Lou Daniels and Wendy White. Navratilova and Mandlikova won the doubles title by 6-4, 6-1.

Fondness for Fancy Cars

The 17-year-old Zvereva spent a relaxed week enjoying the semitropical atmosphere and fancy trappings at this most hospitable of circuit tournaments. She took time to divulge her lust for fancy sports cars and expressed consternation with the Soviet Sports Federation for monitoring her earnings and whereabouts so closely that sports cars must remain objects of fantasy.

''I still don't have enough money for a Mercedes,'' said Zvereva, who didn't know how much of the $24,000 guaranteed her as a finalist would find its way to her pocket. Zvereva, as unafraid of offending the Soviet Government as she is of displacing veteran opponents, said she wasn't certain she wanted to devote her future to dethroning Graf unless her remuneration was revamped.

''The federation will have to do something about the prize money,'' Zvereva said, noting the financial freedoms afford to her nation's chess and soccer specialists. ''I cannot play without anything.''

For now, said the outspoken Soviet teen-ager, ''I'm playing just for my pride.''

Against Navratilova, whose injured pride has launched her on a one-woman crusade to regain the No. 1 world ranking, Zvereva was well-served by the same youthfulness that hampers her against Graf.

''She seems pretty nervous, especially playing against youngsters like me,'' Zvereva said of Navratilova's tentativeness today. ''Graf is so different than Martina, much, much stronger physically than Martina or myself.''
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post #3469 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 13th, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Yes, Arantxa, I think she don't likes too much your game, either. LOLing at $15,000 for a Mercedes. No inflation...

Zvereva stuns Martina, facing Graf in final
Houston Chronicle
Sunday, APRIL 9, 1989
Houston Chronicle News Services

Fourth-seed Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union upset defending champion and second-seed Martina Navratilova Saturday to set up a meeting with No. 1 Steffi Graf in the final of the Family Circle Magazine Cup tennis tournament at Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Graf overpowered seventh-seed Arantxa Sanchez of Spain 6-2, 6-4 in the second semifinal.

Earlier, Zvereva advanced to today's final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Navratilova, who double-faulted to end the match.

Graf, the world's top-ranked player, dominated the first set. But Sanchez, ranked 17th, pressed Graf in the second set, mixing lobs and drop shots.

Trailing 5-1, Sanchez twice broke Graf to make it 5-4. But Graf, who has not lost since Pam Shriver upset her at the Virginia Slims Championships in New York last November, broke Sanchez to close out the match.

Sanchez said her ability to retrieve Graf's shots helped her stay in the match.

"She play the great forehand that she has so I know I have to run," said Sanchez. "I think she don't likes too much my game, you know."

Graf, who won the tournament in 1986 and 1987, agreed.

"She's having a lot of high balls and you'll always have to wait and try to hit it and you always have to be more patient than usual, and I'm not the very good type of person who likes to do that."

Graf said she wasn't worried during Sanchez's second-set rally, but admitted she eased up after the first set.

"I shouldn't have let it go from 6-2, 5-1," she said. "I thought maybe I had won it already maybe, I don't know ... At that point I should have gone down and been much more concentrated."

Zvereva, ranked No. 9 in the world, dominated the first set against Navratilova, effectively using cross-court backhands. When Navratilova, ranked second in the world, approached the net, Zvereva frequently passed her.

Navratilova, of Fort Worth, Tex., rallied in the second set, breaking Zvereva's service four times. But Navratilova had trouble with her serve in the final set and double-faulted twice in the first game.

From then on, Zvereva seemed to be able to move her around the court at will.

"I feel very confident to play against her," Zvereva said after the match. "She was playing pretty safely. She had to play more aggressive (to win)."

Navratilova disagreed, saying, "If anything I probably tried to go for it too much because I was missing. I should have let her go for it since my aggression wasn't working."

"If she serves well and I do a couple of good returns, her serve wouldn't go that good," Zvereva said.

Zvereva, who turns 18 next Sunday, said her age may have affected Navratilova's performance.

"She seems very nervous, especially when she's played against youngsters."

Navratilova, 32, said age had nothing to do with it.

"I wasn't nervous; I just haven't played enough on clay to be steady," she said. "I'm 32 years old. I play younger players all the time."

Navratilova said she couldn't take the net against Zvereva.

"She loves to hit passing shots. She takes the shot very early, so you have to stop sooner . . . she has better angles."

Navratilova came back after her singles loss to capture the doubles title. She teamed with Hana Mandlikova of Australia to defeat Mary Lou Daniels of Chicago and Wendy White of Fort Worth, Tex., 6-4, 6-1.

Graf said she was surprised not be facing Navratilova in the final.

"Martina was a little bit off," Graf said. "I saw some good points from Zvereva and she had really some kind of game that Martina doesn't really like.

"But I really don't think it will be difficult (to beat her) especially after Martina won the second set," Graf said.

"It suits me better to play Zvereva, that's for sure," Graf said. "Martina is a serve-and-volley player, so your serve has to be more different than maybe against Zvereva."

Zvereva pulled another surprise after the match by saying she wants all of the prize money she earns. Under the rules of the Soviet Tennis Federation, the players are given a percentage of their earnings and the state keeps the rest.

"The Federation has to change something," Zvereva said. "I cannot continue to play without motivation. I need the money I earn. Now I play on pride."

The teen-ager from Minsk said last week she would like to buy a red Mercedes-Benz and asked, "How much do they cost $15,000, more?"

Latham repeat winner

Top-seeded Kate Latham of Mountain View, Calif., repeated last year's win over second-seeded Carol Baily, Steamboat, Colo., in the 35 singles finals of the USTA National Senior Women's Clay Court Championships, sponsored by American National Bank/Post Oak and Dan Boone BMW, Inc., at the Houston Racquet Club.

Latham's score was 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. In 1988 Baily managed to score in only three games.

Latham and Baily then teamed to win the 35 doubles finals 6-1, 6-2 over Christine Putnam, Escondido, Calif., and Christy Schaefer, Hinsdale, Ill.

Latham, a former touring pro ranked as high as No. 21 in the world, is now teaching tennis in California and attending college.

Fifth-seeded Lee Burling, Oswego, N.Y., reversed last year's 55 singles finals by defeating defending champion and top seed Nancy Reed, Winter Park, Fla., 6-3, 7-5.

Jane Crofford, Nashville, and Olga Palafox, Fort Lauderdale, the No. 3 seeds, upset the No. 1 seeds, Mary Ann Plante, Winter Park, and Reed 6-0, 6-0 in the 55 doubles finals.

In the 65 singles finals, the No. 1 seed and defending champion Betty Eisenstein, Washington, D.C., beat the No. 3 seed, Dodo Cheney, Santa Monica, Calif., 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

Cheney won her 188th gold ball from the USTA, a record for national championships, when she and partner Corky Murdock, Los Angeles, captured the 65 doubles. Cheney and Murdock, seeded No. 1, defeated the No. 2 seeds, Phyllis Adler, Los Angeles, and Sheila Evans, Indianapolis, 6-2, 6-4.

The 45 singles finals between No. 1-seeded Cathie Anderson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and No. 3 seed, Suzanne Crary, Bredwood City, Calif., will be held at 10:30 this morning.

U.S. jumps ahead of France

Ken Flach and Robert Seguso beat Yannick Noah and Guy Forget of France 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 and clinched the Davis Cup quarterfinals series for the United States on Saturday night.

Taken to the tiebreaker twice, the U.S. team prevailed after the second set 7-4 and won the fourth-set tiebreaker 7-3.

Seguso used a strong serve to handcuff Forget and Noah on consecutive points, giving the Americans a 6-3 lead in the final tiebreaker. On the next point, Seguso put a shot away at the net for the victory.

With Andre Agassi's victory over Henri Leconte and John McEnroe's earlier win over Yannick Noah, the U.S. holds an insurmountable 3-0 lead over France in a Davis Cup quarterfinal match in San Diego.

Agassi recovered from a third-set loss Friday night to beat Leconte 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. McEnroe prevailed in the opening match over Noah 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

Flach and Seguso, who improved their Davis Cup record to 10-0 as a team, took control in the first set with a pair of service breaks that resulted in a 4-1 edge.

In singles play Sunday, McEnroe is scheduled to play Henri Leconte in the first match with Agassi meeting Noah to close the series.

France at first announced that Leconte would play doubles Saturday night but left open the possibility of change and decided to play Forget, who entered the match with an 8-0 doubles record in cup competition.

Meanwhile, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, the Czechs took a 2-1 lead over defending champion West Germany in their Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tennis match by winning the doubles in five thrilling sets Saturday.

Milan Srejber and Petr Korda beat Boris Becker and Eric Jelen 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 in 3 hours and 47 minutes to put Czechoslovakia one victory away from the semifinals.

In Split, Yugoslavia, site of another David Cup quarterfinal match, two Yugoslav 6-footers fired a total of 27 aces Saturday to give Yugoslavia an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Spain.

Slobodan Zivojinovic and Goran Ivanisevic beat Emilio Sanchez and Sergio Casal 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 13-11 in a four-hour battle. The meet hung in balance until the Yugoslavs broke the Casal's serve to take a 12-11 lead and capture the final game, set and match.

Yugoslavia faces the winner of Austria vs. Sweden.
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post #3470 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 13th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Martina either still hadn't come to understand that tennis had ceased to be a "confidence game" (in all possible senses of the phrase) or she just couldn't publicly admit that Steffi's game had revolutionized the sport.

The State
Columbia, SC
Sunday, April 9, 1989
BOB COLE, Senior Writer

If Steffi Graf doesn't recognize Martina Navratilova across the net from her today in the finals of the 17th Family Circle Magazine Cup, it's because she's hitting two-handed backhands from the baseline and speaking Russian.

Navratilova has never hit with two hands, and you could fit her grasp of the Russian language on the head of a pin. But then, that isn't Navratilova Graf will be facing.

It's Natalia Zvereva, a 17-year-old native of the Georgian city of Minsk who turned pro last May and is currently ranked ninth on the WITC computer. And, no, she isn't surprised at her convincing 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory Saturday over Navratilova, the woman who ruled the women's tour from 1982-86 and is currently ranked No. 2 in the world.

"I felt very confident when I went out there," said Zvereva, the best of a crop of young Soviets beginning to make waves in tennis. "I didn't do anything special, but she said yesterday that I give her trouble because I play inside the baseline mostly. That is my normal style.

"She seemed pretty nervous today. I think she's especially nervous when playing a youngster like me."

Zvereva is no ordinary youngster. She's a 5-5, 125-pounder who made it to the finals of the French Open and three other tournaments last year. During her short time on the tour, she has earned over $465,000 -- all of which has found its way back to the National Federation coffers in the Motherland.

She and the other Soviet players are given monthly stipends for expenses, but they don't keep any of the prize money. Which makes buying a red Mercedes-Benz, Zvereva's passion in life, a difficult proposition.

She admitted that having to get by on peanuts while other players pocket their earnings is not going down well. Asked what keeps her going under the circumstances, she replied, "my pride."

"But eventually I may need more incentive," she said.

Before Glasnost, a remark like that probably would have earned a Zvereva a spot in the Salt Mines Open. But times change, and so do circumstances.

What Zvereva hopes has also changed is her ability to handle Graf's power game, which has blown away most of her opponents this week at the Sea Pines Racquet Club. Saturday she stopped seventh-seeded Arantxa Sanchez 6-2, 6-4.

Instead of facing Navratilova for the first time since beating her last year in the Wimbledon finals, Graf will take on Zvereva, whom she has beaten in straight sets in both of their previous meetings. The first was in the French finals, a 6-0, 6-0 blowout. The second was more respectable, a 6-3, 6-4 decision in Washington.

"Natasha's (that's Zvereva's nickname) problem is the same as most everybody else who plays Steffi," Navratilova said. "She has no confidence that she can beat her. When she plays me, she thinks she can win and runs down everything. Against Steffi, she thinks she's going to lose and she does. Attitude is everything."

Zvereva knows she has her work cut out for her when she takes on the world's No. 1-ranked women's player.

"I played well today but not good enough to beat Steffi tomorrow," she said. "I can do nothing against her. I'm confident physically in my ability to compete with her but her game gives me much trouble.

"It is difficult, but I played better against her the last time than I did in Paris. I will do my best."

Navratilova lost twice to Zvereva in 1988 and couldn't have expected Saturday's duel to be a walk through the park. Zvereva served early notice that it wouldn't be, when she broke at love in the fourth game of the first set. Even the second set was a struggle for Navratilova.

The end was in sight for Navratilova when Zvereva took advantage of two double faults and broke her in the first game of the final set.

"Her serve is a big part of her game, and if I can have a couple of good returns, it makes the serve not as big a factor," said Zvereva.

So today at 2:30 p.m. Graf will be playing for the $60,000 first prize and Zvereva for pride. Just don't dangle a red Mercedes in front of the Soviet. People have been known to defect for less.
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post #3471 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 14th, 2014, 04:59 PM
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Unfortunately for all those people who bought advance tickets for the final hoping to see Graf vs. Navratilova, the match was only a slight improvement over the 1988 French Open final. But they did get to see something historic in the amazing world events of 1989. And it was highly probable that Graf vs. Navratilova would have been something like their Monte Carlo exhibition (6-3, 6-4 for Steffi; Martina announces immediate withdrawal from the year's remaining clay tournaments), so the crowd saw a more memorable moment anyway.

The Charlotte Observer
Monday, April 10, 1989
Associated Press

Top-seed Steffi Graf rolled over fourth-seed Natalia Zvereva 6-1, 6-1 Sunday to win her third Family Circle Magazine Cup tennis tournament.

Graf, the world's No. 1 player who defeated Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in the French Open final last year, had nearly as easy a day Sunday, needing 55 minutes to claim the first prize of $60,000 on the clay courts at Sea Pines Racquet Club. Zvereva, of the Soviet Union, earned $24,000.

The match was played under overcast conditions after rain threatened to delay the championship.

Graf, of West Germany, said she never felt threatened by Zvereva, who upset second-seed Martina Navratilova Saturday.

''She can't really put me under pressure,'' Graf said. ''She had some tough matches earlier, so maybe she was also tired.

''She tried to hit to my backhand, but that didn't bother me. She has much better shots than a year ago, but I feel that I was really in control all the time, except for maybe at the beginning of the second set,'' said Graf, who won her first professional title at the Family Circle in 1986. She also won the title in 1987.

Graf, 19, won the first two games, but Zvereva, ranked No. 9 in the world, broke back to make it 2-1. But Graf broke Zvereva's service three times after that and easily held her own to win the set.

Zvereva, who turns 18 Thursday, won the opening game of the second set and took Graf to three deuce points in the second game before Graf served an ace to even the set.

Zvereva made one last stand in the third game, extending Graf to four deuce points.

Graf broke Zvereva twice and held her own to close the match.

Graf's victory ran her career record against Zvereva to 3-0.

But she said she didn't take Sunday's match with Zvereva lightly.

''You never can compare one match to the other, especially the young ones who are improving all the time.

''You can never say it's going to be impossible to beat me . . . it's always possible,'' Graf said.

Zvereva had difficulty with her serve, double-faulting four times.

''My serve has been really big trouble through the whole tournament,'' Zvereva said. ''My toss was not high enough.''

She said she was not intimidated by Graf.

''I really feel like I'm in the match,'' she said. ''There were a couple of lucky points for her. But she's so strong in every way of playing tennis that's why I lost.''

DAVIS CUP REMATCH - Two years ago, West Germany handed the United States a humiliating defeat in the Davis Cup. This summer, the U.S. will have a chance to avenge the loss.

Boris Becker beat Milan Srejber 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 yesterday to give defending champion West Germany a 3-2 victory over Czechoslovakia in their Davis Cup quarterfinal at Prague.

The U.S. clinched a victory over France on Saturday night when Ken Flach and Robert Seguso beat Yannick Noah and Guy Forget in doubles at San Diego. Yesterday, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe scored straight-set victories to complete a United States sweep over France in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

Agassi beat Yannick Noah 6-3, 7-6 (9-7), and McEnroe downed Henri Leconte 6-3, 6-1 to give the United States a 5-0 victory.

The victory moved the United States into the semifinals against defending champion West Germany, which beat Czechoslovakia 3-2. West Germany will be host to the semifinal series in Dortmund July 21-23.

Yugoslavia and Sweden will play in the other semifinal. Yugoslavia advanced with a 4-1 victory over Spain, and Sweden defeated Austria 3-2.

McEnroe, ranked sixth in the world, faced only one break point against Leconte and saved it with an ace.

Noah broke Agassi twice in the second set, but Agassi fought back to even the set at 5-all and each player then held serve to force the tiebreaker.

Agassi won the tiebreaker when Noah doubled-faulted on match point.

In the other semifinal, Sweden will meet Yugoslavia. Stefan Edberg beat Horst Skoff 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 to clinch Sweden's 3-2 victory over Austria, while teen-ager Goran Ivanisevic completed Yugoslavia's 4-1 win over Spain by downing Javier Sanchez 7-5, 6-1.
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Graf Easily Beats Zvereva for Title
New York Times
April 10, 1989

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., April 9— At set and match point, Natalya Zvereva gave a disconsolate shrug and arched into her final serve of the match as if she already knew it was going to be her final serve of the match. The serve was good, but Steffi Graf's return was better, a fact that so little surprised Zvereva that she stood immobile on the baseline and let the ball pass her by.

More threatening than the low, damp ceiling of leaden sky atop the stadium court today was Graf's dual cannonade of a forehand and a backhand as she secured her third Family Circle Cup championship with a 55-minute, 6-1, 6-1 dressing down of Zvereva.

The 19-year-old Graf, the world's top-ranked woman player, improved her 1989 tournament record to a perfect 5-0 as she earned $60,000 for the victory. The charismatic Zvereva, who held her serve only once in the match while breaking Graf once, received $24,000 as runner-up in a tournament in which she had never before participated.

Zvereva, a 17-year-old who has been outspoken about the problems she has encountered in trying to wrestle her earnings away from the Soviet Sports Federation, reiterated her belief that until circumstances change, her $24,000 payday was no more to her ''than a piece of paper.'' She later said she was unhappy enough with the restrictions placed on Soviet tennis players to consider not playing for her country in the future, but she said she was uncertain whether she would defect.

'Not Much Confidence'

Zvereva was on less shaky political ground in her blanket endorsement of Graf, who has lately been rendered invincible not only by her prowess but by challengers' reticence.

''I had not much confidence going into the match,'' Zvereva said. ''If you try to play safely and just put the ball in the court, you're going to die on the court. I should play more risky.''

If the weather was unpredictable, Graf certainly was not. Placid and intractable, she stuck to her baseline and pummeled Zvereva with searing groundstrokes. She won the first game of the match with an ace and went on to destroy Zvereva's service game three consecutive times in the first set. When the sixth game went repeatedly to deuce, Zvereva had three chances to hold serve, but twice double-faulted and ultimately fell behind, 1-5.

Zvereva began the second set by holding serve, but her initiative deserted her thereafter, and Graf broke her three more times.

Navratilova's Admission

Against Zvereva in the semifinal, Martina Navratilova had been hampered by a failure of both her serve and her nerve. Navratilova admitted she no longer holds the same psychological edge in pivotal matches that she once did. That sort of edge, she said, now belongs solely to Graf, and she predicted it would wreak havoc on Zvereva's game.

''What Martina said is true,'' Zvereva said. ''I don't play my best against Steffi. It's hard for me mentally.''

Navratilova also identified the characteristic that makes Graf so fearsome on the tennis court: ''Winning is all she thinks about,'' said Navratilova.

Graf, who described today's championship as an easy victory, said it is possible but not probable, considering the way her skill level embellishes her confidence level, that she's beatable. But not today. ''It was my game that hurt her; I was in control of it the whole time,'' Graf said.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

For those that wondered why Steffi and Boris were annoyed with war metaphors and World War II comparisons, here is a prime example.

The State
Columbia, SC
Monday, April 10, 1989
BOB COLE, Senior Writer

Like the Panzer Divisions that swept across Europe during World War II, Steffi Graf is turning the women's professional tennis tour into her own private battleground, where only the foolhardy dare venture.

Since the start of the 1988 season, Graf has gone through the competition like water through a sieve. It's not just that she's won, it's how she's won.

Sunday was just another day at the office for the West German Wunderkind, provided your office opens for only an hour. It took Graf just 58 minutes to dispatch Soviet challenger Natalia Zvereva 6-1, 6-1 to capture her third Family Circle Magazine Cup title at the Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Give the Soviet credit, because she forced some long exchanges and made Graf work for her points. But that didn't alter the fact that she won only two games and held service just once in seven attempts.

So overpowering was Graf down the stretch that she won the final 10 points and waltzed away with the $60,000 first prize.

"At that point I was hitting with a lot more pace and going for more," said Graf, who won 72 of 75 matches last year -- including the Grand Slam -- and has now won 27 straight matches and all five tournaments she has entered this year.

"I was able to do pretty much what I wanted against her. I felt I could put pressure on her when I had to. She's a good, young player, but she had to run a lot today. I think it was a case of my game being a little stronger than hers."

She wouldn't have gotten any argument from the crowd of 5,900 that watched the mismatch. In fact, she didn't get much argument from Zvereva on that count.

The Soviet teenager, who has been on the tour less than a year but has been ranked as high as sixth, said she had "not much confidence" when she took the court against Graf after having lost to her in straight sets in their two previous meetings.

Does she think she'd have a chance if she could play her again today? "No," was her succinct reply.

Zvereva said it isn't a case of Graf being better now than last year when she lost to her 6-0, 6-0 in the finals of the French Open.

"I didn't see any big difference," she said. "She's just always been so strong. It's so hard mentally to play her because she just keeps pushing you and pushing you.

"I felt I must hit winners to beat her, because if you try to play safely against her, you're going to die on the court."

Zvereva broke Graf in the third game to pull within 2-1, giving the crowd hope that this might be a competitive match. Forget it. Graf broke right back and was off and sailing to another straight-set victory. She has lost only one set this year, that against Chris Evert in Florida.

While Graf was pushing her career earnings past the $3.6 million figure, Zvereva walked away with nothing more than the admiration of the crowd that was clearly hoping she could give Graf a run for her money. Zvereva, who will turn 18 next week, did earn $24,000 for her home federation.

The youngster caught the imagination of the crowd and titillated the press with her embrace of capitalism. She is allowed to keep none of the prize money and has let it be known that she doesn't like it.

"I just think people should know I don't get the money," said Zvereva, who said she would buy a red Mercedes-Benz if she did get to keep it.

She says she is not worried that a couple of KGB agents might show up at her door and spirit her off in the night.

"I do not think they would discipline me. I'm not worried because there haven't been any strong words. It's just a little joke."

She says her hope is that the federation will pay attention to what she is saying -- that she and the other Soviet players should be able to keep a percentage of the money.

But it was Graf who walked off with the big bucks Sunday, as well as a 1989 S10 Blazer, compliments of Chevrolet. Now she can hook it up to a towbar and take it with her as she Panzers her way through what's left of the opposition on the women's tour.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Far from killing tennis, Steffi's dominance was attracting interest. From an Associated Press report: "Officials say they are confident the contract for Family Circle Magazine to sponsor the women's tennis tournament at Sea Pines Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., will be renewed and feature perhaps a $500,000 purse. The purse for the 1989 tournament, which Steffi Graf won Sunday, was $300,000."

Family Circle Champ Graf Looks Unbeatable
Schenectady Gazette
Tuesday, April 11, 1989
De'Ann Weimer, United Press International

Hilton Head, S.C. - Steffi Graf, who has dropped but one set in 27 matches this year, has caused many to wonder if anyone can beat the 19-year-old West German.

"I still think it is possible even if it doesn't look like it the last couple of tournaments," Graf said after dispatching the Soviet Union's Natalia Zvereva, 6-1, 6-1, in 55 minutes Sunday at the finals of the Family Circle Cup. "You never know when it could happen, when you're not playing your best and the other player is going to make super shots."

Graf's mighty forehand is still her deadliest weapon, as it was when she made the 1986 Family Circle Cup her first pro victory.

Power is the key component of her repertoire, relegating matches such as her FCC semifinal against Arantxa Sanchez of Spain to little more than good workouts.

Asked if she wanted to generate even more power in her game, Graf said: "No, I don't need more power. The ball would go through the fence.

"I still think I could do a little more working out and sometimes a little more (work on) the backhand. (It) should be able to do more."

Despite the rapid improvement of a number of players on the circuit, including Zvereva, Graf said she still sees Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina as her toughest opponent.

"It definitly looks like Gaby so far," Graf said. "She has the power. Zvereva is 17 and still has time to develop physically. If she gets a little bit more power, it's going to be hard."

Sabatini, ranked No. 3 in the world, may get a chance to upset Graf this week at the Bausch & Lomb Championship at Amelia Island, Fla. Amelia Island was the site last year of one of Sabatini's two victories over her teenage counterpart.

The two have met once this year in January at the Australian Open where Graf eliminated Sabatini, 6-3, 6-0, in the semifinals.

Martina Navratilova, dethroned by Graf as the No. 1 women's player in 1987, says power is not the key to beating the West German.

"A lot of people can beat her," Navratilova said after Zvereva eliminated her in the semifinals, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. "They just don't think they can win. Zvereva thinks she can win against me and runs down everything. If Steffi hits the same thing, Zvereva thinks I can't get that. That's a great shot.

"Attitude is everything and that's one thing Steffi has over all of us. Every time she goes out there she thinks she can win."

Zvereva, No. 9 in the world, agreed with Navratilova's assessment.

"It's tough for me to play Steffi mentally," the Soviet Union's No. 1 player said. "She's always so strong. Truly. I have not much confidence. Playing Steffi you have to be going for winners. If you're trying to play safely to put the ball just in court, you're going to die."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The 1994 Hong Kong exhibition.

South China Morning Post
Hong Kong
Friday, January 7, 1994
Victoria Finlay

Top class praise . . . when Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez turned up at a Meet the Players lunch for the First Pacific Bank tournament, they were mobbed by fans. ''Smile Please'', ''Just one photo'', ''Sign this racket now''. . . the insistence of the requests led us to understand why the world No 1 and No 2 women's tennis players waited until the end of the lunch before appearing.

We asked Arantxa (pictured above) if she found the constant attention oppressive. ''Oh no, in fact people in Hong Kong have been much more polite than in other places. At least they ask me to move and pose for a photograph, instead of pushing me, and they actually say thank you; it makes a change.''
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I am not sure how much extra weight Steffi could have lost.

Graf and Sanchez cruise into HK final
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong
Friday, January 7, 1994

THE world's top two players' first clash of the year will be in the final of Hong Kong's First Pacific Bank Challenge at Victoria Park.

World number one Steffi Graf and second-ranked Arantxa Sanchez cruised past their semi-final opponents last night to set up tonight's top-of-the-world showdown.

Before a crowd of about 2,000, German Graf provided a taster of things to come this year with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Croatian teenager Iva Majoli. Top-ranked Graf showed no sign of troubling back and foot injuries.

Sanchez faced a little more resistance in defeating Canada's former Hong Kong player Patricia Hy 6-2, 6-2.

Graf, who has shed a lot of weight for her 1994 campaign, said: ''I have been working out 5 1/2 hours a day during December, and I have lost quite a lot of weight. I'm very pleased with my performance. I didn't make too many mistakes and played aggressively.

''It is my first match for a while and I didn't expect to be playing that well.

''I had a lot of injuries last year and now I am almost 100 per cent.''

The 16-year-old Majoli, who has drawn comparison with former world number one Monica Seles with her crouched stance and whipping ground-strokes, said she was given little chance against the five-time Wimbledon champion.

''She put pressure on my serve which meant I had to serve well. It also makes you make more mistakes,'' said Majoli, who beat American Pam Shriver in her opening match.

''Steffi played very well and didn't give me many chances. And the ones I had, I gave away.''

Graf jumped to a 3-0, first-set lead before Majoli won her first game to 30. Graf then reeled off the next three games to win the set.

Majoli won the opening game of the second set with an ace, but Graf then took control although she had to fight off break-point when 4-1 up.

Majoli saved one match point in the final game but double-faulted to give Graf a second match point, which the German duly converted into triumph.

Sanchez, the 1989 French Open champion, had her serve broken once to trail 2-0 in the second set.

But apart from that she rarely looked troubled as Hy's attempts to experiment with a new style collapsed in the face of the Spaniard's power.

Hy had defeated Bulgarian Katerina Maleeva 6-0, 6-1 in her first match on Wednesday.

''They were definitely different matches. I had to run down a lot more balls against Arantxa,'' said Hy, whose new game-plan is to put more pressure on her opponents.

''I was trying to execute a lot of shots and not all of them came off.''

Hy now faces Majoli in the play-off for third place.

Sanchez was also happy with her start to the year.

''I'm in good shape and have been working very hard,'' she said. ''I'm very happy with the way I played. I ended last season playing indoors and this is the first time I've played outdoors for a long time.''

Sanchez took early control of her match against Hy, breaking in the third game to go 2-1 up after her opponent's delicate back-hand plopped into the net.

She broke again to lead 5-2 with a forehand down the line and won the set when another weak back-hand from Hy landed in the net.

Trailing 0-2 in the second set, Sanchez picked up a gear, breaking three times before winning her place in the final on her third match point.

''After losing those two games in the second set, I realised that I had to do something,'' Sanchez added.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

El Nuevo Herald
Miami, FL
Friday, January 7, 1994
Servicios cablegraficos combinados

Cleveland, Ohio -- La estrella del tenis Monica Seles renuncio al torneo Abierto de Australia mientras continua recuperandose de una cuchillada en la espalda, dijo el jueves la ex No.1 del mundo en un breve comunicado dado a conocer por sus apoderados.

"Es extremadamente dificil para mi no participar en otro torneo de Grand Slam, pero no estare lista para jugar en el Abierto de Australia este ano", dijo Seles, una triple campeona del abierto australiano, a traves de su agente del Grupo de Direccion Internacional.

El Abierto de Australia, ganado por Seles los ultimos tres anos, sera el cuarto torneo consecutivo de Grand Slam que se ve obligada a fallar.

Seles ha estado inactiva desde que fue acuchillada en la espalda por un espectador durante un partido el 30 de abril del ano pasado en Hamburgo, Alemania.

Seles, de 20 anos, quien era la mejor jugadora en el mundo al momento del ataque, dijo en una reciente intrevista de television que se debia a sus seguidores y a ella misma para regresar solamente cuando estuviera lista para jugar nuevamente en forma competitiva.

"Las personas merecen verme en mi mejor forma", declaro.

El Abierto de Australia, el primer torneo de Grand Slam del ano, comienza el proximo dia 17.

* Hong Kong -- La alemana Steffi Graf se adjudico su primer partido de la temporada al vencer aqui el jueves 6-1, 6-1 a la croata Iva Majoli en un torneo de tenis de exhibicion.

Graf, que no mostro signos de una lesion en la espalda y un pie, enfrentara hoy viernes en la final a la espanola Arantxa Sanchez, No.2 del mundo.

"He estado trabajando hasta cinco horas y media por dia durante diciembre y baje mucho peso", dijo Graf.

"Me llevara algun tiempo recuperar mi forma fisica, pero en lo que respecta al tenis, estoy en un 100 por ciento. Las lesiones no me preocuparon. No senti ninguna molestia. Mi actuacion fue buena y no cometi muchos errores".

Graf nego las informaciones de que este ano actuaria en menos torneos que la temporada pasada y senalo que debio rearmar su programa de encuentros por las lesiones.

"Estare en la mayor cantidad posible de torneos y ademas trabajare para mejorar en la parte fisica", senalo.

Graf agrego que el torneo de Hamburgo donde Monica Seles fue acuchillada el ano pasado no figura en sus planes.

"No participare de ese torneo pero no tiene relacion con lo sucedido a Seles, quien espero que retorne al circuito".

La alemana de 24 anos se unio a las criticas contra su compatriota Boris Becker por sus recientes acusaciones de que en el tenis masculino se consumen drogas.

"No se por que hace esos comentarios sin dar nombres. Yo no se como sera en el circuito masculino pero en el femenino hubo mucho control el ano pasado y eso demostro que el deporte es sano", agrego.

* Doha, Qatar -- El marroqui Karim Alami, sorpresivo verdugo del estadounidense Pete Sampras en la primera ronda, sucumbio el jueves ante el holandes Paul Haarhuis en un maratonico encuentro en el Abierto de Tenis de Qatar.

Haarhuis se impuso 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 en un partido que duro mas de dos horas y media, y paso a los cuartos de final.

Alami atribuyo su derrota a la falta de sueno ya que dijo que no pudo dormir la noche del jueves .

"Despues de ganarle a Pete, me llamo mucha gente desde Marruecos para felicitarme. Estaba tan emocionado que no me dormi hasta las 3.00 de la manana", manifesto.

El croata Goran Ivanisevic (cabeza de serie No.4), por su parte, supero al marroqui Youness El Aynaoui 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (9-11), 6-2.

En los dos primeros sets ningun jugador perdio el saque, pero en el tercero Ivanisevic quebro dos veces el servicio de su rival.

Ivanisevic jugara hoy con el italiano Stefano Pescosolido, quien derroto al frances Olivier Delaitre 6-2, 6-4.

Haarhuis enfrentara al ruso Andrew Olhovskiy, que despacho al aleman Carl Uwe Steeb 7-5, 6-2.

* Perth, Australia -- Los alemanes Anke Huber y Bernd Karbacher volvieron a dar la nota el jueves al eliminar a Austria y avanzar a la final del torneo de tenis por parejas mixtas por la Copa Hopman.

Huber derroto a Judith Wiesner 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 y Karbacher aseguro el triunfo al imponerse a Alex Antonitsch 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

Seguidamente los alemanes se adjudicaron 8-4 la version abreviada del dobles y completaron la barrida.

Huber y Karbacher enfrentaran hoy a los checos Petr Korda y Jana Novotna por el titulo.

Korda y Novotna eliminaron a Australia el miercoles en la primera semifinal.

Huber y Karbacher reemplazaron a Steffi Graf y Michael Stich, que ganaron este torneo el ano pasado pero no estuvieron disponibles en esta ocasion, y ya eliminaron a Sudafrica, Estados Unidos y Austria.

"Cuando vi el sorteo, pense que no llegariamos a la final", comento Karbacher, quien paso malos momentos en el primer set ante Antonitsch pero despues dio vuelta el partido.

El austriaco se puso 5-2 y estuvo cuatro veces a un punto de ganar el set, pero Karbacher sobrevivio y termino imponiendose en sets corridos.

Huber tuvo un bajon en el segundo set, mas se repuso y, al igual que Karbacher, finiquito el duelo ganando cuatro games seguidos.

* Brisbane, Australia -- Las tres primeras cabezas de serie y la argentina Florencia Labat se sobrepusieron a temperaturas torridas y se clasificaron el jueves para los cuartos de final del torneo de tenis de Brisbane sobre canchas duras.

La bulgara Magdalena Maleeva (cabeza de serie No.1) vencio a la italiana Natalia Baudone 6-0, 6-2; la estadounidense Lindsay Davenport (2) a su compatriota Ann Grossman (9) 6-0, 6-2 y la ucraniana Natalia Medvedeva (3) a la rumana Irina Spirlea (13) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), en tanto que Labat (11) despacho a la japonesa Rika Hiraki 6-3, 6-2.

La alemana Sabine Hack (4), en cambio, cayo ante la australiana Michelle Jaggard 7-6 (8-6), 6-0.

Los partidos se jugaron bajo temperaturas que por momentos llegaron a los 50 grados centigrados (122 Farenheit) en el Centro de Tenis Milton.

Davenport, quien jugo cuando mas calor hacia, dijo que procuro evitar los peloteos largos y finiquitar el duelo lo antes posible.

"Nadie puede aguantar tanto calor. Al regresar al vestuario, las jugadoras estaban que se morian", expreso. Agrego que jugar con semejante calor era "ridiculo".

Algunas tenistas pidieron que se demoraran sus partidos, para que bajara un poco la temperatura, pero lo unico que consiguieron fue que se les aumentara el tiempo de descanso cada vez que cambiaban de cancha.

En los restantes partidos, la taiwanesa Wang Shi-ting (6) derroto a la italiana Linda Ferrando (12) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2; la alemana Barbara Rittner (8) a la canadiense Rene Simpson 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 y la australiana Rachel McQuillan a la china Fang Li 6-4, 6-3.

* Adelaide, Australia -- El ruso Alexander Volkov (cabeza de serie No.4) avanzo el jueves a los cuartos de final del torneo de tenis de Adelaide a costa del sueco Christian Bergstrom.

Volkov gano 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 en un partido de la segunda ronda.
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

At just over two hours in length, this exhibition match was better bang for your buck than the AO final.

Graf at her best to beat off Sanchez challenge
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong
Saturday, January 8, 1994

WORLD number one Steffi Graf produced three sets of New Year resolution to hold off Arantxa Sanchez in a hard-fought First Pacific Bank Challenge final at Victoria Park last night.

The 24-year-old German won the first set 7-5 but lost the second 7-6 on a tie-break to set up a decider in front of a near capacity crowd of 3,500.

And Graf produced the timely winners with a 7-5 victory in the third set to take the title in a contest lasting two hours and two minutes.

After the match, Graf admitted: ''I did not want to play that long.

''I think it was a close match and could have gone either way at the end; it was very up and down.

''We have played so many times before and had a lot of tough, close matches. We are both in good shape but it's difficult to say if this victory is going to mean anything for the whole year.''

Sanchez, the 22-year-old world number two from Spain, made Graf fight all the way in a final which would have graced an official ranking tournament, rather than an exhibition.

''I have not played a lot outdoors recently, so to have the opportunity to do so here was necessary before Melbourne. It was a good warm-up,'' added Graf, looking ahead to the circuit in Australia and the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open.

Graf took an early initiative by breaking Sanchez in the very first game of the match - and looked to be heading for a comfortable first set win when she broke her for the second time to lead 5-2.

But Sanchez, who had started tentatively, adopted a more aggressive approach and lifted her game to level the score at 5-5 thanks to two successive breaks of serve.

All the hard work counted for nothing, though, when an erratic Sanchez gifted Graf her third service break for the German to lead 6-5. Serving for the first set, Graf made no mistake.

The world number one seemed well on the way to a straight-sets victory when she won 14 of 15 points to surge into a 3-1 lead in the second set.

But then it was Graf who lost her way as the Spaniard took the next four games to lead 5-3.

Attempting to finish the match early, Graf battled back and broke Sanchez's serve to trail by only one game at 5-4. Graf then held serve to level the set 5-5 and both players hung on to set up the tie-break.

Graf was quickly out of the blocks with a 3-0 lead, only for Sanchez to produce some stunning winners from the back of the court. Sanchez went on to win the tie-break 7-5 and take the second set 7-6, setting up a decider.

In the earlier match, former Hong Kong Federation Cup player Patricia Hy beat Croatian teenager Iva Majoli 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to finish third in the six-strong field.

The two players, well beaten in the semi-finals the previous evening, set the tone for the night with an entertaining match after two days of one-sided affairs.

After the game, both players were full of praise for the tournament format, which opened with two preliminary round matches on Wednesday, followed by glamorous semi-finals for the winners.

Cambodia-born Hy, who now lives in Canada, said: ''I had a lot of fun and it was a good way for us to start the year.

''There was no pressure and we could relax and enjoy our tennis a bit more.

''It genuinely felt like a proper tournament throughout the three days.''

Majoli, the 16-year-old Zagreb-born Florida resident, had beaten American veteran Pam Shriver in the first round on Wednesday. She echoed the thoughts of Hy, saying: ''It was a good match and I hope the crowd were entertained.''
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

TENNIS / JERRY CROWE : For Graf, This Season Is a Relief
March 27, 1994
Los Angeles Times

Steffi Graf's dominance in women's tennis is partly attributable, of course, to the absence of Monica Seles, who has not played since she was stabbed by a deranged fan during a match at Hamburg, Germany, last April 30.

But Graf, unbeaten in 28 matches and winner of $774,065 already this year, suggests that other factors should be considered:

--Until last week, when she suffered a sprained knee ligament in practice and pulled out of this week's Family Circle Cup at Hilton Head Island, S.C., she was injury-free.

--Her new racket is superior to her old one, of a different make.

Graf, 24, said she endured several weeks of hard workouts at the end of last year, hoping she could avoid the injuries that nagged her throughout the year. This year, she is as physically fit as she's ever been.

"One day running, one day weights," she said of her regimen. "Every second day, I did the other thing. For six weeks, taking only two days off. It was a very hard time because it took from morning to evening. It was very difficult, but it was all worth it.

"Last year, there wasn't a tournament where I didn't have anything (bothering me). I had a lot of foot problems. I got the (foot) operation finally in October. I've had a lot of shoulder injuries. In August, I started to get back pain, which I've never had before.

"Every tournament, at the end I had to play with (painkilling) injections. Every morning, I went to the doctor for injections. And I didn't want to do that. I got so many injections last year, and I went to so many doctors, I had enough of it. Even with all the success I had, I was questioning if I was doing the right thing."

Graf said she put off switching rackets as long as possible because of a sense of loyalty. "I'd been with the company since I started playing a lot, but all the other rackets have been so much better that it was just a matter of time before I did it," she said. "It took me very long--I never really wanted to do it--but this racket gives me much more power and it helps me at the net."


Struggling artist: A certain former No. 1 player, having collected art since he was 20, has opened the John McEnroe Gallery in the SoHo district of New York City.

McEnroe told Esquire magazine that he has traded tennis lessons for drawing lessons from artist Eric Fischl.

"Right now he's a better tennis player than I am a drawer," said McEnroe, who credits Fischl with helping to guide his taste. "But I hope to change that."

Mac's favorite subject matter?

"Naked women."


Now you see it . . . : Dennis Ralston has won his battle to have his name restored to the U.S. Tennis Assn. record book as captain of the 1972 U.S. Davis Cup team, but he is still threatening to sue the USTA for removing it.

This mess started about a year ago, when USTA President Bumpy Frazer, acting on information received from past presidents Robert Colwell and Stan Malless, authorized 20-year-old records to be altered by ordering that Colwell and Malless be listed as captains of the '72 U.S. Davis Cup team in the 1993 USTA Yearbook.

Ralston, who in each preceding year was listed as captain from 1972-75, was given a footnote as "coach" of the '72 team.

Outraged by this bit of revisionist history, Ralston retained a lawyer, Bob Ranck, and solicited affidavits from the players on the '72 team, among them Stan Smith and Tom Gorman, who vouched for his role as captain.

Frazer said he had no reason to doubt Colwell, who for three years had campaigned to have his name added to the record book. Frazer said Colwell had told him that, as USTA president in 1972, he'd made a handshake agreement with Ralston that Colwell, or another official appointed by Colwell, would serve as captain for matches played outside the United States.

The U.S. team won the Davis Cup in '72, playing all of its matches, including the final at Bucharest, on foreign soil.

No evidence of Colwell's claim could be found, however, and Ralston's name was ordered restored to the USTA Yearbook.

Ralston, though, is irked that he did not receive an apology.

"They don't say a damn word about, 'I'm sorry, we made a mistake,' " Ranck said. "Boy, they're an arrogant bunch."

"I'm sorry that I caused Bumpy Frazer the embarrassment," Colwell said. "But I have nothing to apologize for because nothing I've said or done wasn't completely true and honest and aboveboard."


Last roundup: Only two months into her final year of singles competition, Martina Navratilova, 37, was asked to defend her decision to leave the WTA Tour after winning a tournament in Paris last month for her 167th title.

"I had my mental state questioned by some people," she said. "They said, 'Are you crazy? Rumor has it that you've really lost it in the head.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' I was told that I was crazy for quitting because I am at the top and playing really well. But this doesn't change my mind.

"I mean, enough of a good thing already. I don't feel like it is going to be this big part of my life that is cut away because those memories will always be there. And I am walking away on my own, not because I am forced to by body or mind or anything else.

"I am walking away because I am ready for the rest of it."


Dear Diary: After upsetting two-time defending champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the quarterfinals of the Lipton Championships, Brenda Schultz said she had predicted the victory in her diary.

"I wrote down last night 10 times, 'I am going to beat her. I am better. I am better.' And I did it," said Schultz, who is ranked 24th. "I am going to keep writing everything down."

She lost her next match.

Tennis Notes

A senior tour made up entirely of former No. 1 players--John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander--will make an April 23 stop at Anaheim Arena. . . . Steffi Graf is not scheduled to play again until next month's Citizen Cup at Hamburg, Germany, the tournament during which Monica Seles was stabbed last April 30.
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post #3480 of 6247 (permalink) Old Apr 17th, 2014, 04:57 PM
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Turning our attention to Amelia Island 1989. Not much is reported about Steffi's match versus Elise Burgin other than the score (6-1, 6-2) and that it was delayed a day due to rain. And so, to the round of 16:

Top 3 seeds breeze into quarterfinals
The Buffalo News
Friday, April 14, 1989
Associated Press

Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Gabriela Sabatini scored straight-set victories to reach the quarterfinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island.

The top-ranked Graf needed only 41 minutes to beat Laura Lapi, 6-1, 6-0. Second-seeded Navratilova cruised past Linda Ferrando, 6-1, 6-1, in 53 minutes. No. 3 Sabatini's serve was particularly sharp as she beat Jana Pospisilova, 6-3, 6-3.

Graf's opponent today in the $300,000 clay-court tournament at Amelia Island Plantation will be Hana Mandlikova. The eighth-seeded Australian, back on the tour after a hamstring injury sidelined her for six months, battled to a 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) win against Karin Schimper.

Navratilova will face Kathy Rinaldi, the Amelia Island touring pro who is in the midst of a comeback after a broken thumb knocked her off the tour for a year. Rinaldi, who was ranked seventh in the world and is now No. 69, needed three sets to beat scrappy 14th seed Leila Meskhi, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Sabatini plays Angeliki Kanellopoulou. The unheralded Greek advanced by beating Andrea Temesvari of Hungary, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. The other quarterfinal pits No. 6 Arantxa Sanchez and Judith Wiesner.


Top-seeded Kent Carlsson of Sweden downed Gustavo Giussani of Argentina in aggressive style to advance to the quarterfinals of the $125,000 Athens International tournament... John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in an exhibition match as the 32-year-old Swede announced he would retire completely after his current exhibition tour. ''There will be no more tennis for me, tournaments or exhibitions,'' Borg said after losing to McEnroe 6-3, 6-3 in Singapore. ''My future involvement in tennis will be strictly in coaching the youth and I will be glad to do it in any part of the world.''
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