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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 2012, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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The Date vs Martinez rivalry

Kimiko Date owned Conchita Martinez in head to head, though they didnt play a single match on clay. They were from the same era, peaked at roughly the same time, and Martinez was always much higher ranked and far more successful. Why did Date own Martinez.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 2012, 11:04 PM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

I think Monica Seles also owned Martinez, perhaps only losing to her once, in the latter part of her career...
Martinez was that kind of player, either she spelled trouble for someone (Navratilova comes to mind) or she couldn't handle them really (Seles, Graf...)
What Martinez was great at was that during her peak years (93-96/97) she practically never lost to players who were lower ranked (somewhat like Radwanska today) and was the ultimate in consistency, taking care of business and reaching at least the semis at each GS throughout this period, having the occasional breakthrough. Her record at the Italian Open is also record-breaking..

Date, on the other hand was a very strong player during the 90s and who knows what heights she may have achieved had she not retired so early and had fate not dealt her some tricky cards (the Graf SF at Wimbledon comes to mind when the match was suspended at one set all, Date was absolutely dominating Steffi..) Simply put, Date was up against much tougher opponents and despite strong runs in several Slams came up short quite a bit...

As for why Date owned Martinez it may have something to do with her offensive, attacking, very flat game- Conchita excelled against players that had trouble handling her topspin and loopy strokes, something that didn't seem to be a problem against Kimiko, who came up short against other hard-hitters and even some strong defensive players...Had they met on clay the result may have been different, yet even then it is hard to say- after all Amanda Coetzer handily dismissed Conchita in the French Open R4 in 97 despite never having beaten her...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old May 1st, 2012, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

You say Martinez hardly ever lost to players lower ranked but she also has a very bad losing record to Anke Huber, who like Date, was regularly lower ranked. I think she had trouble with Iva Majoli over the years too. Pierce has a solid winning record and was most of the time lower ranked too, although she is different from Date, Huber, and Majoli, as when she got far enough to play someone like Martinez, I think you just expected Pierce to win as she had more weaponary and sheer ability.

You are right she either seems to do really well vs some people, and others she cant cope with at all. Coetzer is a player Martinez totally owned. I think she won 90% of their matches, and won their first 11. That is kind of the opposite as I often wonder why Coetzer wasnt a much tougher opponent for Martinez. Coetzer was fitter and faster than Martinez, could keep the ball in play all day, and Martinez couldnt blow her off the court with power. So how did she dominate Coetzer so easily?

At the 96 French Martinez crushed Coetzer as usual, especialy on clay, and Date lost 8-6 in the 3rd set to Davenport. It was too bad Date didnt win that match, as I would have loved to see how she would have done vs Martinez at the French Open. I dont think the 97 result you refer to means much, as Coetzer was having her career year and Martinez was in a major slump, and Martinez even blew a big lead in that match. Playing Martinez in 96 on clay would be way different, but Date is a much tougher opponent for Martinez than Coetzer is.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old May 2nd, 2012, 09:13 PM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

Conchita never liked players who hit a flat ball on the rise with power, that's the reason she always had trouble against the likes of Huber, Majoli and Date, who usually were ranked lower than she was. She just didn't have enough time to prepare for her shots.

Yeah.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old May 2nd, 2012, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

I am guessing Coetzer did so bad against her since Conchita's topspin jumped so far over her head she could barely hit the ball.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old May 3rd, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

Even if I rarely, if anytime, have seen a match between them, I guess you're right, as Amanda was a piece of cake against Sabatini for that reason: Gabriela hit with even more topspin than usual against the South African and that kept Amanda utterly uncomfortable and hitting balls very high with the tip of her racket, due to her short height. The only time she could beat Gabriela, Sabatini wasn't feeling well and kind of fainted after the match; I read that she was eating less than she was supposed to those days because she wanted to get thinner, and payed the price on that Boca Raton event in 1992.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old May 3rd, 2012, 07:28 PM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

I think Kimiko's fast flat shots, even if not "heavy", were hard to handle for players like Conchita or Sabatini, who were "born" on clay courts and had big swings for preparation and the follow-through too, so the Japanese game made them feel uncomfortable to make their shots. Even if Gabriela beat Date on indoor ("fast" courts) for instance, she lost their matches on hard court, no matter if Gabriela was leading comfortably before collpsing (again!) in 1995 Lipton, she also lost in her peak year against a then-ranked-112 Date in Los Angeles 1991,when Gabriela was chasing the Nº1 spot. Her leading 4-3 H2H against Date is far less dominating than with most top players, even much better than Kimiko like Capriati (11-5), Novotna (11-3), or Pierce (4-1).
I think Conchita had the same kind of problem, without the net game abilites that Gabriela could resource to in order to beat the nice Japanese player.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2012, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

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Originally Posted by gabybackhand View Post
I think Kimiko's fast flat shots, even if not "heavy", were hard to handle for players like Conchita or Sabatini, who were "born" on clay courts and had big swings for preparation and the follow-through too, so the Japanese game made them feel uncomfortable to make their shots. Even if Gabriela beat Date on indoor ("fast" courts) for instance, she lost their matches on hard court, no matter if Gabriela was leading comfortably before collpsing (again!) in 1995 Lipton, she also lost in her peak year against a then-ranked-112 Date in Los Angeles 1991,when Gabriela was chasing the Nº1 spot. Her leading 4-3 H2H against Date is far less dominating than with most top players, even much better than Kimiko like Capriati (11-5), Novotna (11-3), or Pierce (4-1).
I think Conchita had the same kind of problem, without the net game abilites that Gabriela could resource to in order to beat the nice Japanese player.
That is one advantage Sabatini had over Martinez. When she had players who had her number from the baseline she had alterior plans, such as coming to the net, she could go to. Martinez when faced with players who had mastered how to cope with her tricky spins and take the ball on the rise effectively vs her such as Seles, Pierce, Huber, Date, and some others seemed to have no Plan B. Not taking control of the points with her forehand (which she had the ability to do but seemed reluctant to for whatever reason, even in dire circumstances), certainly not coming to the net, nor anything else. Hence there was nothing for her to do but lose, thus some very lopsided H2Hs against her, both unsurprising ones (Graf, Seles), and more surprising ones (Huber, Date).
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

I always enjoyed their matches, particularly the Virginia Slims '94 nail-biter where Date saved 5 match points to triumph. I believe Date owned Martinez primarily because Date was always on the sneak attack against those loopy Martinez backhands. With Martinez far behind the baseline, Date was smart to continuously sneak in. When you don't have the weapons of the 'Big Babes', Date's strategy against Martinez was the way to go. This is what Coetzer failed to do against Martinez, hence her losing head-to-head record. Also, I think Date got into Martinez' head so much so that the Spaniard anticipated problems when they played each other.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

What would have happened in their only ever clay meeting if Date had pulled out that tough round of 16 matchup with Davenport and played Martinez in the quarters of the 96 French, this time on Martinez's beloved clay which they had never met on. Would it have been continuation of the usual Date dominance or on her favorite surface would Martinez have finally stemmed the tide. Also if Martinez had beaten Date there she might have been more confident and lost to her at Wimbledon next month.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old May 8th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Re: The Date vs Martinez rivalry

Except for perhaps clay Martinez just never looked that good of a player. I am honestly surprised she stayed as highly ranked and had as much success as she did. When you look at a player like Date you would think watching her game and Martinez's game that Date would do better of the two, so it doesnt surprise me she led their head to head, that Martinez was the one having the better results and career is what surprised me more.
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