Martina's record at the US Open against Steffi Graf is interesting. They played five times in all at Flushing Meadows and Martina won four of the matches; in the other one she led by a set and a break before collapsing (or perhaps Steffi began to play better; I haven't been able to watch that particular match yet). They had a good few tiebreaks in their encounters at the US Open, with Martina winning three out of five:
1985 - semi-finals - Navratilova d. Graf 6-2, 6-3
1986 - semi-finals - Navratilova d. Graf 6-1, 6-7, 7-6. Probably their best match; Martina saved three match points in the third set to win.
1987 - final - Navratilova d. Graf 7-6, 6-1
1989 - final - Graf d. Navratilova 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. Martina led 6-3, 4-3, with her serve to come.
1991 - semi-final - Navratilova d. Graf 7-6, 6-7, 6-4. Another very close encounter, where Martina proved that she could hold both her nerve and her serve at the same time.
Yeah, Navratilova had Graf's number in New York. Between the US Open and the Slims Championships, Navratilova won six of their eight encounters in New York.
Their 1989 US Open clash was an ok match with both of them playing well at the same time only for a couple of games in the second set. Navratilova was at the top of her game for the first set and a half and, if I remember correctly, Graf served two double faults in one game early in the second set. Navratilova was very solid up until 6-3,4-3 and she
then served two double faults in her next service game to level the match at 4-4 in the second.
Tony Trabert in the commentary booth said that for some reason they were both having trouble serving into that particular deuce court that day and from the same end too. Martina had another break point on Graf's serve at 4-4 but Graf erased that with a really sweet backhand cross court. Even so the set seemed to be heading for a tiebreaker, but Navratilova played a loose volley or two at 5-6 and Graf broke her to close out the set.
Still, they were 1-1 at the start of the third set, but once Graf broke Navratilova for 3-1, she never looked back. In the third set Graf was the aggressor, hitting the lines, coming in to the net occasionally, and generally serving very well. But Navratilova, although a bit rattled after she lost her serve at 1-2, was still in the match until her second service game at 1-4. When Graf broke her with a backhand volley winner, Martina looked very dispirited and Graf had, I think, a pretty comfortable hold to close it out.
Probably my favourite moment from the match came late in the second set. It was a very humid day in Flushing and Graf's skirt was soaked with sweat. I think it was in the 6-5 game that Mary Carillo pointed out that Graf had, without too many people noticing, changed her skirt during the changeover by simply slipping on a new one over the old one and then taking the old one off. Carillo's reaction to this: "This makes you think that Steffi thinks this match is going to a third set."
Actually now that I think about it, the match was still a lot better that 99% of the errorfests we've been seeing lately. But I'd agree with whoever it was who said that the 1986 and 1991 semis were better played matches.