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post #241 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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Re: 1992

Syracuse Herald American
Sunday, July 5, 1992

The animal noises emitted by Monica Seles was the talk of Wimbledon. And every time it's brought up to Seles, she says the same thing, endlessly.

Columnist Edwin Pope had his tape recorder running at Wimbledon. Here's what it captured:

Question: "Monica, the umpire appeared to ask you a couple of times to quiet down. Did it fire you up? Do you think it was fair?"

Seles: "It did not, because, you know, she asked me, I think, twice, about it, but she said, `Miss Seles.' Martina did not complain, I don't think, from her the umpire, but she just said, `Miss Seles, would you keep it down?' Then I tried, and I think at one point I was. She said, `OK, keep doing that,' and then I guess probably when it came really close in a tiebreaker or whatever, I probably was grunting again, which I don't realize I'm doing. I would really love to get rid of it so I won't have to do through this, because I don't think it's pleasant for me, you know, in a match to always concentrate on the grunting issue of thinking, you know, `Will the umpire say something now?' or whatever."

If that's the way she talks, we say keep grunting. How about you? Weigh in on this important issue. Is all this a fuss about nothing? Should the grunt go? Should it stay?

Responses should be 200 words or less, typewritten or clearly legible.

Responses must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday. They will appear in the Herald-Journal Monday, July 13.

Here's how to reach us:

Sports Soapbox/Syracuse Herald-Journal, P.O. Box 4915, Syracuse NY 13221.

Our fax number: (315) 470-3019
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post #242 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Re: 1992

An excerpt:

Wisconsin State Journal
Tuesday, July 7, 1992
With Andy Baggot and Pat Stiegman

In the never-ending battle for accuracy in sports journalism, we present this latest conflict: When tennis star Monica Seles follows through on her forehand, what exactly is she grunting?

Those who wrote about Wimbledon, where Seles lost to Steffi Graf in the women's final Saturday and where Seles caught serious flak for her force-of-habit guttural explosions, could not decide.

Was it: "HUH-IHHH?" (Edwin Pope, Miami Herald) Or "unnhh-HEEE?" (Steve Wilstein, Associated Press) Or "HUNNGGH?" (Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle) Apparently, all interpretations in this case are acceptable.

"It's almost like trying to represent a bird sound," said Peter Schreiber, a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. "There are lots of ways one might present them."

Unlike "uh-huh" or "hee-haw" - examples of widely accepted interpretations for acknowledgement and a donkey's bray - Seles isn't really saying anything. "It's almost like an involuntary reaction," Schreiber said. "It doesn't conform to any one series of sounds humans make."

A uniform spelling of Seles' emissions probably would not come about "unless the next wave of women's tennis players all do the same thing," Schreiber said. "Hopefully, that won't happen."

Schreiber declined to offer his own interpretation. Though he has heard Seles do her thing, "I usually turn down the volume because I don't like hearing it."

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post #243 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2012, 06:54 PM
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Re: 1992

Agassi declined, but Agassi was probably sorely tempted...

Wimbledon Update
The Dallas Morning News
Tuesday, July 7, 1992
From Staff Writer and Wire Reports

Key moments from the final day of matches at the All England Club in Wimbledon, England:

*CENTRE COURT: Following the men's singles final Sunday, Centre Court has been sequestered from competition until the Sunday preceding next year's tournament, when four All England Club women members will play their annual one set of doubles to test the court. Worn with brown spots from a fortnight of pounding, the court likely will need to be returfed in areas to ensure its golf-green smooth texture for next year.

*IN THE CLUBHOUSE: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, the men's and women's singles champions, chatted happily before posing arm-in-arm for photographers according to accounts about Sunday's Wimbledon Champions Dinner at the Savoy Hotel in Central London. Agassi sported a traditional black tie, tuxedo, shiny black shoes and his familiar dangling silver earring. Graf wore a low-cut white evening dress with white pearl earrings and a gold necklace. The fans were said to have shouted: "Give her a kiss!' Agassi declined.

*IN THE PRESS: Andre Agassi dominated the British sports pages Monday with headlines and photos chronicling his thrilling Wimbledon championship. Headlines ranged from "Gambler Agassi is too hot for king of aces,' to "Agassi Trumps Aces,' to "Rebel who snubbed Wimbledon triumphs.' There were photos of his reactions: jumping up in disbelief, crying, kissing the turf, kissing the trophy, smiling with the trophy and his girlfriend in his arms.

John McEnroe stole a bit of Agassi's thunder with his share of headlines when his marathon men's doubles final had to be suspended due to darkness at 13-13 in the fifth set. "Marathon Mac plays on,' "Mac's final fury as time is called,' and "Double time for doubles,' were among the headlines. Winner takes more

Andre Agassi is probably the only American happy about the exorbitant exchange rate. As the Wimbledon champion, Andre Agassi received 265,000 pounds, or approximately $503,500. When the prize money was determined in April, the exchange rate was 1.7 pounds to the dollar for approximately $450,000. At Sunday's 1.9 exchange rate, Agassi will collect an extra $53,500 or so. Lucrative win

Andre Agassi, already an advertising conglomerate whose endorsement income totaled about $3 million a year, was beginning to get a negative image. He took care of that oversight by winning Wimbledon

"Wimbledon was probably worth $1 million right away and in the future will mean $2 to $5 million a year more for him,' said Nye Lavalle of Dallas-based Sports Marketing Group.

The Wimbledon victory provides new vistas for Agassi, Lavalle said. "He has a new realm of opportunity,' he said. "If he continues to win one major a year, he has an opportunity to make Michael Jordan dollars.' Texas ties Richey Reneberg: Houston's Reneberg and partner Jim Grabb finally fell to John McEnroe and Michael Stich in the resumption of Sunday's darkness-delayed record-long, men's doubles final, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 19-17. Sherwood Stewart: Stewart, who lives north of Houston in The Woodlands, teamed with Marty Reissen to win the men's 45-and-over invitational doubles, beating John Newcombe and Tony Roche, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Briefly . . .

Attendance for the '92 fortnight had reached 365,055 on Sunday, surpassing '91 figures by 11,538. No official counts were available for Monday, but avid John McEnroe fans queued overnight for Court 1 tickets. A capacity crowd of 6,508 crammed in to see what could have been as few as two games. They wound up seeing 10 . . . Since 1919, there have been 13 occasions, including Monday, when scheduled play has been extended to complete the program -- 11 because of rain and two because of player commitments.
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post #244 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2012, 08:16 PM
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Re: 1992

Can't believe Graf had a Pct. 2nd-serve pts. won. of 100% in the Wimbly final against Seles !
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post #245 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Re: 1992

Originally Posted by LightWarrior View Post
Can't believe Graf had a Pct. 2nd-serve pts. won. of 100% in the Wimbly final against Seles !
Seems impossible, but it's true, as is the "lost only two points on her serve in the second set" stat.
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post #246 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2012, 12:27 PM
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Re: 1992

Seles had so much potential... She was on her way to reaching her peak in 1993 too. I swear she would have won Wimbledon that year. GOD DAMN IT!
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post #247 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 2012, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1992

*IN THE CLUBHOUSE: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, the men's and women's singles champions, chatted happily before posing arm-in-arm for photographers according to accounts about Sunday's Wimbledon Champions Dinner at the Savoy Hotel in Central London. Agassi sported a traditional black tie, tuxedo, shiny black shoes and his familiar dangling silver earring. Graf wore a low-cut white evening dress with white pearl earrings and a gold necklace. The fans were said to have shouted: "Give her a kiss!' Agassi declined.
That'a pretty funny considering what eventually happened!
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post #248 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Re: 1992

Amelia Island 1992:

Tuesday, April 7, 1992

AMELIA ISLAND -- Carling Bassett Seguso was 15, battling Chris Evert in the final of the WTA Championships here in 1983. The kid lost in three sets, but she won the hearts of the national television viewers that day.

Bassett was back on the clay at Amelia Island Plantation Monday. The tournament is called the Bausch & Lomb Championships now, and Bassett is a 24-year-old mother and wife. Across the net was 16-year-old Lindsay Davenport, the U.S. junior champion.

Times change, but experience doesn't. It still wins three-set matches.

Down 2-6, 0-2, Bassett rallied to beat Davenport 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

''Lindsay is going to be a good player, but she's still a little young and she had a little lapse,'' said Bassett, who won a main-draw match for the first time in three tournaments since her comeback began in March.

Bassett passed up a main-draw wild card to play qualifying over the weekend. Her two victories helped her come back Monday.

''I knew I could win this match,'' Bassett said. ''If I had gone on the court without a match, and I was getting blown away, I might have doubted it.''

Bassett knew she couldn't slug it out with Davenport, a 6-foot Californian.

''She feeds off pace, so I tried to slow it down and make her think more,'' Bassett said. ''There was no way I was going to beat her the other way.''

Davenport, who also qualified, was frustrated by the slow surface.

''Players run balls down more on clay,'' Davenport said. ''Carling was anticipating better as the match went on. But I think I let her back in. She played well, but after the second set I got so upset and made too many errors.''

Bassett built a 4-1 lead in the final set, but lost her serve at love.

''The next game was very important,'' said Bassett, who broke Davenport at 15. ''Click -- she could have come back on by hitting a few more hard balls.''

Bassett, who plays the winner of the Natalia Zvereva-Petra Ritter match Wednesday, will be back on the computer after her third tournament. If she loses, she will be ranked approximately No. 351. A victory over Zvereva would move Bassett up to approximately No. 255.

The comeback, which began with the Virginia Slims of Florida, has been rewarding, although Bassett is without her children for the first time in her life.

''We were driving up I-95 with the whole family last week,'' said Bassett, who lives in Boca Raton. ''We'd gone about 40 minutes in the pouring rain. C.J. wouldn't sit in her car seat and Holden wanted a drink. Robert said he couldn't take six hours of this, so he turned around and brought the kids home. Probably just as well, but I would have been a basket case by now.''

-- Halle Cioffi edged Michelle Jackson-Nobrega of Palm Beach Gardens 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8). Jackson missed two match points, serving for the match at 6-5.
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post #249 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:03 PM
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Re: 1992

This was the shock of 1992 in tennis.

Ashe's disclosure brings shock, support - Magic: I applaude his decision
Daily Breeze
Thursday, April 9, 1992
Bill Barnard, The Associated Press

The sports world was stunned again Wednesday when Arthur Ashe disclosed that he has AIDS, a disease his friends say is striking one of tennis' most admired figures.

Ashe said Wednesday he has known about having the AIDS virus since 1988. He said he was certain he got the virus during heart surgery, either in 1979 or 1983, when blood was not yet being screened for the AIDS virus.

Magic Johnson, who retired from the Lakers on Nov. 7 after learning he is HIV positive, said in a release that he wanted to "extend my full support and prayers to Arthur, his family and friends. It takes great courage and strength to make such an announcement.

"I'm sure Arthur will meet this challenge head on and become a leading voice in the fight to educate, raise funds and increase awareness to all, especially our youth. I applaude his decision to make his condition known and I'm eager to speak with him so that we may join forces in our efforts."

"Arthur is one of the great human beings ever to play the game of tennis," Chris Evert said. "It just seems so unfair that in his young life he has had a heart attack, open-heart surgery and now has to be stricken with this virus.

"I've known Arthur for 20 years and he's always been a gentleman and a great ambassador for tennis. I'm praying for him," she said.

"It's sad anytime you hear someone has the disease," Steffi Graf said at a tournament at Amelia Island, Fla. "They need to find a way to treat it. A lot of great people have been affected by it."

Zina Garrison added: "When I was first told of Arthur's announcement I was just overwhelmed. I have been aware of AIDS, but I never knew anyone so close to me with it. It's kind of shocking. It shows that this disease can hit anyone. This is just another example why everyone should take the disease seriously and face the reality that AIDS has no boundaries.

"He has been a great influence in my life, both on and off the court. . . . He is a very close friend, and my thoughts are with him."

ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale, a long-time friend of Ashe, said Ashe had confided to him that he was thinking of going public.

"He had some practical reasons from the standpoint of wanting to continue to travel. He thought there might be some restrictions on people with AIDS going abroad," Drysdale said.

Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, who has known Ashe since his childhood, said Ashe told him that he plans to remain active and to help educate the public about AIDS.

"I said to him that I thought it appropriate that that effort be made. I said I was very saddened by it and I wanted to help in any way I could. He said, `You could help a great deal by saying I'm positive and that I intend to continue to carry on,'" Wilder said.

Vijay Amritraj, a former tennis opponent of Ashe and now a member of the Association of Tennis Professionals board of directors, said he always admired and respected Ashe as a player and competitor.

"I have always had the highest regard for the way he conducted himself on and off the court," Amritraj said. "He made us all proud to be tennis players. Arthur and some of our dear friends were the founding fathers of the ATP, and we would be nowhere without their strength and vision.

"I only hope that a cure can be found and this disease defeated. I want Arthur to know that he has my full support and the backing of the ATP Tour."

Louis W. Sullivan, secretary of Health and Human Services, said Ashe's story is especially tragic because the disease "was acquired through what should have been a lifesaving procedure -- a blood transfusion."

"Unfortunately, Arthur Ashe received blood during a surgical procedure in 1983, before blood tests for the HIV virus were available," Sullivan said. "Beginning in 1985, all blood donations were required to pass a universally accepted test for the HIV virus.

"Today, thanks to stringent testing and in-depth donor profile questionnaires, the nation's blood supply is safer than ever before. Those receiving blood transfusions do not need to worry that the HIV virus might be present."
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post #250 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:04 PM
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Re: 1992

Graf rolls by Schultz to reach quarterfinals
Friday, April 10, 1992
Compiled by Rachel Shuster

In a match lasting one hour, top seed Steffi Graf reached the quarterfinals of the $350,000 Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, Fla., with a 6-2, 6-2 win Thursday against Brenda Schultz.

The top seed broke Schultz in the sixth game to go up 4-2 in each set, then didn't have much difficulty finishing off her opponent.

"In the beginning of the first set, it was a close match. Once I got the first break, things got a lot easier,'' said Graf, still dissatisfied with her down-the-line forehand. "That's the only thing I can say wasn't working. (But) I tried to use it on some tough points.''

Graf next meets Leila Meskhi, a 6-2, 6-2 winner against Patty Fendick.

Others in the quarterfinals are No. 3 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, a 6-0, 6-2 third-round winner over Ines Gorrochategui; No. 4 Conchita Martinez, who beat Sandra Cecchini 6-2, 6-0, and No. 8 Zina Garrison, who beat Natalia Zvereva 6-3, 6-1.

Defending champion Gabriela Sabatini, the No. 2 seed, earned the last quarterfinal berth by trouncing Kathy Rinaldi 6-0, 6-3 in a night match. She will face No. 5 Jana Novotna next. The other quarterfinal matches are Sanchez Vicario vs. unseeded Sabine Hack and Martinez vs. Garrison.
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post #251 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Re: 1992

Graf: New changes to cause problems
Friday, April 10, 1992
Susan Schott

Grappling with the incorporation of change into her game, the transition from hard courts to clay and her own intractable nature, No. 2-ranked Steffi Graf anticipates rough waters in the months ahead.

"This tournament and others are important for me, but I'm trying to change my game,'' said Graf, 22, the top seed in this week's Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, Fla. "I'll have problems in the next few weeks, but I need to do it. I'm not looking at results right now.''

Knowing that opponents had become too familiar with her forehand-dominated baseline game, Graf, 22, late last year committed herself to change.

A new game plan of charging the net, varying placement of her dangerous forehand and going for more topspin backhands was slowed by an early-season illness that limited her playing time.

This is Graf's first tournament on clay since last year's French Open.

"There were times (in her straight-set win against Brenda Schultz Thursday) when I could have had it a little more easy, but I didn't want it that way,'' she said. "Even if (my experiments) didn't work, I just kept on trying them. I feel good.''
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post #252 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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Re: 1992

Saturday, April 11, 1992

AMELIA ISLAND -- This one was painless.

Gabriela Sabatini drilled Jana Novotna 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships Friday. Quick and clean in an hour and 19 minutes.

No blood spilled, no guts wrenched, like the match at Roland Garros, or the one at Madison Square Garden, or the one in Zurich.

Novotna led 7-5, 5-2 at the French Open last year, blew match points and the match. The year before, Novotna lost to Sabatini in third-set tiebreakers at both the European Indoors and the Virginia Slims Championships .

The closest Novotna got Friday was 1-all in the first set. Forty-one unforced errors didn't help.

''I had a good strategy, and at the end, she didn't know what to do,'' said Sabatini, who committed only 14 unforced errors. ''This was my best match of the week. I was a little more focused and now I'm ready to play some tough matches.''

Sabatini meets Conchita Martinez and Steffi Graf takes on Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in today's semifinals (ESPN at noon).

Hopefully now, the Bausch & Lomb will break out of the blahs. Friday's other quarterfinals were as lifeless as the Sabatini-Novotna match. Martinez (4) defeated Zina Garrison (8) 6-3, 6-1; Graf (1) ousted Leila Meskhi (7) 6-0, 6-2 and Sanchez (3) beat unseeded Sabine Hack 6-1, 6-2.

The losers combined for just 12 games -- the quarterfinals were the most lopsided in 20 tournaments on the Kraft Tour this year.

For the first time this year, the four top seeds have reached the semifinals. No surprise considering these favorites. Graf (14-2), Sabatini (29-3), Sanchez (21-4) and Martinez (20-5) are among the winningest players on the tour, and especially potent in any event near I-95.

Graf won the Virginia Slims of Florida, Sanchez won Lipton and Sabatini won the Family Circle Cup. Martinez reached the finals at both the Virginia Slims of Florida and the Family Circle Cup.

What combination will we get Sunday?

Graf, the champion in 1986, 1987 and 1990, is aiming for her fourth consecutive final against Sanchez, who has beaten the German twice on red clay, both times at the French Open.

The second victory was a 6-0, 6-2 stunner in last year's semifinals, the last time they played.

''I played really well that time and didn't miss a ball,'' Sanchez said. ''But I won't think of that match (today). It was a long time ago.''

Graf is 10-2 against Sanchez, including victories here in 1989 and 1990 (6-1, 6-0 in the final).

Graf, who is experimenting with changes in her game (coming to the net, more topspin backhands), has dropped just seven games in her last five sets.

''I expect some tough times, but I need to do this,'' Graf said. ''I'm not looking at the results right now.''

The Sabatini-Martinez semifinal is a rematch of last week's final in Hilton Head, won by Sabatini 6-1, 6-4.

Martinez is battling tendinitis in her right shoulder and arm.

''I can't serve hard, and it's painful when I hit my forehand,'' said Martinez.

''I will treat it and see what happens. I will fight, but if it hurts too much I will stop.''
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post #253 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:07 PM
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Re: 1992

Top Women's Net Seeds Roll
Tulsa World
Saturday, April 11, 1992
Associated Press

The Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, Fla., were devoid of drama Friday as the top seeds easily advanced to the semifinals of the $350,000 clay-court tournament.

Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario were barely challenged in quarterfinal matches at Amelia Island Plantation.

Graf, the No. 1 seed, and Sabatini, the defending champion, stayed on course to meet in the final for the third time in four years by beating No. 7 Leila Meskhi 6-0, 6-2 and No. 5 Jana Novotna 6-2, 6-1, respectively.

Sanchez Vicario, a finalist in the tournament two years ago, advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over unseeded Sabine Hack, who delivered one of the few surprises of the week
when she upset No. 6 Katerina Maleeva in the third round.

Conchita Martinez, who had difficulty serving because of tendinitis in her right shoulder and elbow, made it a clean sweep of the quarterfinals by the top four seeded players by beating No. 8 Zina Garrison, 6-3, 6-1 in a night match. She'll play Sabatini today.

Graf, a three-time Amelia champion, will face Sanchez Vicario in the other semifinal.

While last week's clay-court tournament at Hilton Head, S.C., produced a number of upsets, this week's women's tour event on the same surface has moved along pretty close to form.

Sabatini, seeded second and ranked third in the world, believes that's because the players who had difficulty at Hilton Head - the year's first clay-court outing - have adjusted to the slower surface.

She said her victory over Novotna, who has lost five consecutive times to Sabatini, wasn't as easy as it appeared even though one important statistic told another story. Novotna had 41 unforced errors to Sabatini's 14. ''It was a lot tougher (match) than that,'' Sabatini said.

But Sabatini was focused. ''She played an incredible match,'' Novotna said, ''and I didn't really do my best.''
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post #254 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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Re: 1992

Sunday, April 12, 1992

AMELIA ISLAND -- Arantxa Sanchez Vicario held serve for 6-all, when Steffi Graf asked that play be stopped. Graf thought it was raining too hard to start the tiebreaker. Sanchez agreed.

So, they waited... and waited... and waited.

The rain never stopped at the Bausch & Lomb Championships Saturday, so Graf and Sanchez will begin their tiebreaker today at 9 a.m., weather permitting.

Graf and Sanchez will complete their semifinal, then defending champion Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martinez will play theirs. The survivors will return for the final at 3 p.m.

Graf was two points from the set at deuce on Sanchez' serve at 5-6. The German had rallied from 40-15, as the rain started falling harder on the clay, but she hit two returns poorly to give Sanchez the game.

The only set of the day was tense. Graf led 2-0, but Sanchez broke right back. Sanchez saved a break point for 4-all, and Graf saved one with her trusty forehand at 5-all, 30-40.

Sanchez fell on the next point, racing for a ball, a sign that the court was getting slippery.

Graf and Sanchez will have all night to contemplate the tiebreaker. They have split two tiebreakers (both 8-6) in their 12 matches.

-- ESPN plans to televise today's final on tape at midnight.
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post #255 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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Re: 1992

Monday, April 13, 1992

AMELIA ISLAND -- Steffi Graf beats everyone in Florida -- everyone, that is, except Gabriela Sabatini.

Since 1986, Graf is 67-0 against everyone but her Argentine rival in Florida tournaments. Against Sabatini, Graf is 1-8.

Sabatini won her eighth straight at the Bausch & Lomb final Sunday, stopping Graf 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 before a sellout crowd of 5,120. Graf hasn't beaten Sabatini in the state they both call their American home since she won the first match, played here in 1987.

''It must be the Florida air,'' said Sabatini, who trails Graf 20-3 in the rest of the world. ''I know I have beaten her many times in Florida. I go into the matches with confidence.''

Sabatini won her third Bausch & Lomb title, all over Graf.

''This one is special because I had to win two matches today,'' said Sabatini, who defeated Conchita Martinez 6-4, 6-3 in a morning semifinal rained out Saturday. Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 6-3 in a match that was halted by rain at 6-all Saturday.

''It's hard to keep focused mentally for two matches.''

Sabatini picked her spots well.

''Gaby started out the match unbelievably and she closed it out unbelievably,'' said Graf, who is 3-3 in six title matches in the last seven years here.

''I let her take control and played too defensively at the end. She's playing very well right now.''

Sabatini completed the Island Double (Hilton Head and Amelia) for the second year in a row, and now has a Kraft Tour-high four victories.

Sabatini (31-3) is the winningest player in women's tennis this season, and leads the Kraft Tour point standings, but she continues to be ranked No. 3 behind Monica Seles and Graf. Sabatini needed to win Sunday to stay ahead of No. 4 Martina Navratilova.

''She fought and fought,'' said Carlos Kirmayr, Sabatini's coach. ''It was tough to play two matches in one day. Now, she has a couple of days off to enjoy this feeling of winning.''

Sabatini was staggering after losing six games in a row in the second set. Sabatini held serve at 30 to open the final set, but Graf answered quickly at 15, then pushed Sabatini to 15-40.

Sabatini saved double-break point and held for 2-1. Both players held again to 3-2, and then both players broke to 4-3.

''I wasn't discouraged when I lost serve at 4-2,'' Sabatini said. ''It was just one game. I just had to keep doing what I was doing.''

Graf opened the day by playing the earliest tiebreaker in tennis history (9:10 a.m.), and it would have been interesting to see her finish it with another tiebreaker. But she never got the chance.

Sabatini broke at 15 for 5-3, then served out the match at 30.

''I played aggressively when I had to,'' Sabatini said.

Sabatini came to the net 20 times in the final set -- winning 15 points -- more than she did in the first two sets (37 times).

''Gaby has to come to the net to beat Graf, on any surface,'' Kirmayr said. ''Gaby has to come in -- if Graf lets her.''

The match was statistically dead even: both players hit 26 winners, committed 32 unforced errors and served 72 percent. Sabatini won two more points, 79-77.

Sabatini converted five of 10 break points (50 percent), while Graf converted four of 11 (36 percent).

''It's a bit mental,'' said Graf, who lost to Sabatini at Lipton, but did not play her at the Virginia Slims of Florida (thanks to Amanda Coetzer, who upset Sabatini the quarterfinals).

''I'm there, but I'm just not making the right shots.''

Steffi Graf leads Gabriela Sabatini 21-11 in their lifetime series, but Sabatini is 8-1 in Florida and has won the last eight. Graf's only Florida victory was in Amelia Island in 1987. Since then it has been all Sabatini:

Year Site Round Score

1988 Boca Raton Final 2-6, 6-3, 6-1

1988 Amelia Island Semi 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

1989 Amelia Island Final 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

1991 Boca Raton Final 6-4, 7-6

1991 Key Biscayne Semi 0-6, 7-6, 6-1

1991 Amelia Island Final 7-5, 7-6

1992 Key Biscayne Semi 3-6, 7-6, 6-1

1992 Amelia Island Final 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
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