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post #331 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2013, 12:24 AM
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Re: 1992

Daily News of Los Angeles
Saturday, June 6, 1992
Salvatore Zanca, Associated Press

The women's final at the French Open is as simple as 1-2-3.

No. 1 Monica Seles meets No. 2 Steffi Graf today, and the winner will gain French Open title No. 3.

For Seles, the top seed, it could be her third consecutive victory at the French Open. The last woman to win three in a row was Hilde Sterling of Germany from 1935 to 1937.

Seles has won the last four Grand Slams she has entered, bypassing Wimbledon last year. She has won 34 consecutive matches in the major tournaments, her last loss coming to Linda Ferrando at the 1990 U.S. Open.

Graf, who won here in 1987 and 1988, has won 10 Grand Slam titles compared to Seles' five. Her last title was Wimbledon last year.

She held the No. 1 spot for 3-1/2 years before Seles took over in March 1991.

It is the ninth time over the last five years that the No. 1 ranked woman meets the No. 2 in the final of a tournament.

Graf thinks experience will pay off for her.

"I think I have the experience of a few years being there and definitely I will be ready for it," Graf said.

Seles views it differently.

"When I go out on the court, I really don't think what I have to do. I say to myself to go for every shot and give everything that you have," Seles said. "Just run everything down and give everything. I always believe in that philosophy."

Graf seems to rise to the occasion in these one-two affairs. In the last six, Graf has come out on top. As No. 2, she beat Seles twice in 1991, in San Antonio and Hamburg. Those were the last two times they met.

Overall, Graf holds a 5-2 edge over Seles. But Seles' first Grand Slam title came over Graf at the 1990 French Open.

Last year, Seles beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the final after the Spaniard routed Graf in the semifinal. On Thursday, Graf beat Sanchez Vicario, 0-6, 6-2, 6-2, in the semis, the second match in a row she was pushed to three sets.

"Right now it is a very good feeling to be in the final," Graf said. "I know lately I have not been showing the form I need to get to the final and do well there."

Said Seles: "I haven't played her this year and I haven't seen her play this week. I am just going to have to play some great tennis.''

Seles reached the final by beating third-seeded Gabriela Sabatini, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Seles has lost just five matches in Grand Slams, three of them in 1989 when she was 15 years old. She lost to Graf at the 1989 French Open and Wimbledon and to Chris Evert at the 1989 U.S. Open.

Seles is 37-2 this year, with the two losses coming to Sabatini at the Italian Open and Jennifer Capriati at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Graf is 31-3 this season, bowing twice to Sabatini and once to Jana Novotna.

French Open Notes: Unfazed by her semifinal loss to Graf a day earlier, Sanchez stormed back Friday to win three matches in one day, one in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles.

Saturday's schedule is almost as tough. She and fellow Spaniard Conchita Martinez are to play a women's semifinal in the early afternoon against Novotna of Czechoslovakia and Larisa Savchenko-Neiland of Latvia.

Shortly afterward, Sanchez and Australian Todd Woodbridge are to face Americans Lori McNeil and Bryan Shelton in the mixed doubles final on Center Court.

On Friday, she and Woodbridge had to play both quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

It's the second year in a row that Sanchez has reached the semifinals in three events. In singles, she beat Graf last year before losing the final to Seles.

Seles relaxes before a tough match by listening to music, but she's not saying what kind.

"I better not say this time because I'll be in trouble," said Seles, who previously has stated a preference for Madonna. "But Top 40 music, generally."

The same day she was knocked out of the French Open, Sabatini was named the Kraft Tour's Player of the Month.

Though she lost her three-set semifinal battle against Seles on Friday, Sabatini triumphed in their previous meeting in the Italian Open final.

Sabatini edged Graf, despite her back-to-back tournament victories in Hamburg and Berlin in May.
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post #332 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2013, 12:26 AM
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Re: 1992

Saturday, June 6, 1992

PARIS -- Steffi Graf says she is just happy to be here. Playing in today's French Open final. Win or lose.

This is the woman who won the Grand Slam and the Olympics in 1988, 10 Grand Slam titles in all, the same person who was No. 1 for 186 weeks, longer than anyone in the history of tennis.

Thrilled to be playing two-time defending champion Monica Seles at Roland Garros today. Win or lose.

''To be in the final was more or less my goal,'' said the second-seeded Graf, who won the French Open in 1987 and 1988, then lost the final the next two years.

''I know that I have been showing lately the form that I needed to be in the final. Once you are in the final, I think I have the experience of a few years being there and I will be ready for it.''

Graf, who will turn 23 next week, is relaxed, not driven like she was when she was No. 1.

''I have a bit of a different attitude,'' Graf said. ''I enjoy it right now, a lot more than I did last year at this stage. I am in a lot better shape, and I am very calm outside of the court. I don't really have any ups and downs.''

Last year, Graf was routed by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals. Her father, Peter, who continued to be involved in a scandal with a model, got into a fight with Jim Levee, the Boca Raton fan who used to back Graf, but is now in Seles' corner.

This year, all is quiet.

Today's final brings the two top players together for the first time in over a year. Graf has not played Seles since beating her in the final in Hamburg on May 5, 1991.

No one expected the next showdown to take this long.

Graf won Wimbledon last year, but Seles was missing. Seles won the U.S. Open, but Graf was upset in the semifinals. Seles won the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 1992, but Graf was sick.

Graf and Seles were at opposite ends of the draw at Roland Garros, and this time, they have both hurdled every obstacle to meet in the middle.

Graf beat Sanchez in the semifinals after losing the first set 6-0. Seles rallied from 2-4 down in the third set to take care of Gabriela Sabatini.

Seles is where Graf was in 1989, when she was upset by Sanchez -- going for the French hat trick. Seles is trying to become the first woman to win three straight French Opens since Hilde Sperling did it in the mid-1930s.

Seles is also hoping to win her fifth consecutive Grand Slam title, the best streak since Graf won six in a row, when she dominated the sport.

Now, Seles is the best player in the world, although she hasn't played Graf in over a year. Graf is 2-0 against Seles, winning another match in San Antonio, since Seles took over the No. 1 ranking in March, 1991.
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post #333 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2013, 12:28 AM
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Re: 1992

Seles expecting to run and run against Graf - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Saturday, June 6, 1992
From Andrew Longmore in Paris

SHOULD Monica Seles win her third successive French Open title today against Steffi Graf, she would join a select club. Only six players have managed the feat, including Seles's heroine, Suzanne Lenglen, who won four in a row from 1920 to 1923, and none has done so since Hilde Sperling, of Germany, 55 years ago.

A third victory over Graf in their eighth encounter would send the world No.1 to Wimbledon, her most difficult task of the year, with half a grand slam completed. Seles, the woman in possession, is the favourite here, just as Graf, the Wimbledon champion, would be if they met again on the centre court grass in a month's time.

Graf will be able to play without inhibition, without fearing defeat and she has deliberately encouraged the thought that her third French Open title and first since 1988 would come as the biggest surprise of all.

``It's just a very good feeling to be in the final and that was more or less my goal," Graf said. ``But now that I am in the final, I have the experience of being there and I will be ready for it." Graf also says that she is enjoying her tennis more than this time last year.

She has been playing doubles, reaching the semi-finals with Anke Huber, and has even suggested she would like to play mixed doubles with John McEnroe at Wimbledon, diversions that would have had no place a few years ago.

``Outside the court, I am just very calm. I don't really have any ups and downs," she said. Quite what shape her game is in we will find out properly today.

Under the guidance of Heinz Gunthardt, her new coach, Graf is trying to become a more complete player.

Her ability to hit down the line and cross-court on the forehand kept Sanchez Vicario off balance for much of the second and third sets in the semi-final, and Seles, whose anticipation makes up for her lack of speed, has not experienced the revised Graf yet. They have not played each other for more than a year.

Both came through moments of crisis, Graf against Zvereva and Sanchez Vicario, Seles against Kijimuta and Sabatini. If it comes down to pure willpower, you would have to favour Seles, who is ruthless when she falls behind.

Graf is the better athlete and has won their last two matches. ``I will have to prepare myself for a lot of running because I don't think Steffi has many weaknesses. I will have to serve well, run down a lot of balls, not make errors and hit quite a lot of winners," Seles said. She is quite capable of doing all those.
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Re: 1992

Seles Beats Graf In All-out Fight To Capture The French Open Title
Steffi Graf Kept Battling Hard In A Dramatic Third Set.
The Champion, However, Refused To Give An Inch.
June 07, 1992
Larry Eichel

PARIS Steffi Graf called it a special match. Monica Seles said she would never forget it.

Wherever it ranks in the annals of Grand Slam tennis, this final was scintillating stuff.

For 2 hours, 43 minutes, Seles and Graf, the world's No. 1- and No. 2- ranked players in women's tennis, slugged it out on Center Court at Roland Garros. The third set alone took more than an hour and a half.

Finally, on her sixth match point of the long afternoon, Seles prevailed to win her third straight French Open title, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.

"This was the most emotional match I've ever played," the giddily exhausted Seles said later. "I've never been in a 10-8 set before."

A few days from now, Graf might be able to look back with some pleasure on her gritty, emotional, crowd-pleasing performance, particularly the way she saved four match points when she was down, 5-3, in the third set.

But in the immediate aftermath, facing several hundred reporters, she looked and sounded distraught.

"Right now, there is no satisfaction," she said somberly. "That is for sure. I mean, it is great the way I came back, the way I fought every time. And, I mean, I think it was a very good effort. . . . But I am disappointed the way I played when I was leading."

After trailing the entire match, largely because of an astounding 66 unforced errors, the 22-year-old German finally took the lead at 6-5 in the third set, and again at 7-6. Both times, though, with the title in sight, she barely made Seles work to hold serve and even the set.

The remarkable match kept alive Seles' hope of winning all four Grand Slam events this year, assuming she can stand the pressure later this month at Wimbledon, the one major tournament she has never won.

That pressure will come as much off the court as on.

It was at Wimbledon last year that Seles gained international notoriety through her mysterious last-minute, unexplained withdrawal from the tournament, a move that prompted lurid speculation about her health, both mental and physical.

She knows the British tabloids can barely wait for her to set foot in the British Isles. She claims to be ready for whatever is coming her way.

"I know that there are going to be questions again from last year," she said yesterday. "I tell myself 'I am prepared for it.' You know, hey, this year, I am going there to play tennis. It doesn't matter what anybody is going to write."

But that is another story. There was nothing mysterious or lurid about what unfolded yesterday.

The match did not start out like a classic.

The first set was all Seles. With her distinctive two-hand backhand, her two-hand forehand and her two-syllable grunt, she dominated Graf, who kept hitting her forehand into the net or over the baseline. Games whizzed by. The set was over before many in the fashionably late Parisian crowd had settled into their seats.

Graf, though, was always the aggressor, or at least trying to be. Eventually, that approach, combined with her strong serve, got her back into the match.

Graf, winner here in 1987 and 1988, broke Seles in the fifth game of the second set, sending the crowd into prolonged chants of "Stef-fi, Stef-fi!" Seles broke back in the next game, but Graf responded in kind, winning on her opponent's serve again to lead, 4-3.

The next game was as spectacular as any in the match, with Graf alternately winning points with powerful forehands and cross-court volleys - and losing them with unforced errors. In the end, though, she held serve and went on to take the set.

All of which set the stage for the majestic third set.

Seles broke Graf in the third game of the third set and cruised to a 5-3 lead. Here, as before, Graf was carrying the action, either hitting winners or making errors, leaving Seles to play her accustomed role as indefatigable baseline retriever.

In the ninth game, on her own serve, Graf performed her dazzling escape act. She gave Seles four match points - and gave is the operative word. Each time, with the crowd groaning, Graf made an error to put Seles on the verge of a victory. And each time, with the crowd roaring, Graf abandoned all caution to hit a clear winner and keep the match alive.

Graf, seemingly blessed with unstoppable momentum, broke Seles to tie the set, 5-5, then held serve to take her first lead at 6-5.

Said Seles later in her own distinctive way: "I was really kind of not too happy when I had so many match points and, you know, I let Steffi get back in the match. I really felt, you know, maybe I have lost this match, hey."

Despite the crowd's cheering Graf's every move, Graf never came close to closing Seles out.

The 18-year-old Yugoslav held serve in a love game to make it 6-6. Graf held to lead again, 7-6, but Seles held again with ease.

"Every time, I gave her those games," Graf said. "I didn't really try, like the games before, to run everything down and to go for every shot. But it is difficult if you have to do that all the time."

By this point, both women were visibly dragging, the points seeming to develop in slow motion. On it went.

Seles, who looked the more tired of the two, won on Graf's serve to take an 8-7 lead, but Graf, again finding something extra when pressed, broke back to tie it again at 8-8. Then Seles broke Graf's serve one more time, sealing the game with a blistering backhand winner.

This time, Seles, serving for the match at 9-8, made no mistake, jumping to a 40-15 lead. Graf dodged the bullet a fifth time with a forehand winner. Then, on the sixth match point, she hit a forehand straight into the net, unforced error No. 66 of a match that seemed like it would never end.




Final: Jakob Hlasek, Switzerland, and Marc Rosset, Switzerland, def. David Adams, Australia, and Andrei Olhovskiy, Russia, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 7-5.


Final: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Spain, and Todd Woodbridge (2), Australia, def. Lori McNeil, Houston, and Bryan Shelton, Huntsville, Ala., 6-2, 6-3.


Final: Monica Seles (1), Yugoslavia, def. Steffi Graf (2), Germany, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.


Semifinals: Conchita Martinez, Spain, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4), Spain, def. Jana Novotna, Czechoslovakia, and Larisa Savchenko-Neiland (1), Latvia, 6-3, 6-2.


Semifinals: Mose Navarra, Italy, def. Lars Burgsmuller, Germany, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. Andrei Pavel, Romania, def. Nicolas Kischkewitz, France, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.


Final: Enrique Abaroa, Mexico, and Grant Doyle, Australia, def. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Russia, and Alex Radulescu, Romania, 7-6, (7-0),6-3.


Semifinals: Rosana De Los Rios, Paraguay, def. Catalina Cristea, Romania, 6-4, 6-3. Paola Suarez, Argentina, def. Lindsay Davenport, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.


Final: Laurence Courtois, Belgium, and Nancy Feber, Belgium, def. Lindsay Davenport, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., and Chanda Rubin, Lafayette, La., 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.

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Re: 1992

FRENCH OPEN : Seles Wins Grand Finale : Tennis: She continues her streak in the major tournaments by outlasting Graf, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.
June 07, 1992

PARIS By the time Monica Seles and Steffi Graf got around to really playing in the French Open final Saturday at Roland Garros Stadium, they were entangled in a third set neither was going to lose easily.

By the time they walked off the court, tired and emotionally spent after 2 hours 43 minutes of rough-and-tumble tennis, neither would forget what had transpired on Center Court.

Seles won her third consecutive French Open title by outlasting Graf, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, in a match with enough theater for a Shakespeare festival.

The third set kept the 16,500 Center Court fans on edge for 91 minutes, as much for its emotional swings as its brilliant action.

It was fitting that Seles, ranked No. 1, and Graf, ranked No. 2, reached a juncture in their match where winning was the hardest part.

"We both deserved to win," Seles said.

The lead switched three times in the first set, and each time one player took advantage, the other responded with aggressive shots that neutralized her opponent.

Graf, stripping the facade of a cool persona, played with a vengeance when her hopes were jeopardized. She saved five match points, including four in the ninth game that took 16 points to decide.

She dug out of deficits of 3-1 and 5-3 to continue pursuit of her third French Open title. She had not won here since 1988, and she wanted this so much that she challenged the chair umpire and lines officials whenever she thought a Seles winner was questionable.

But for all the resolve Graf could muster, Seles, 18, had a little more. And when it ended, when Graf returned a second serve meekly into the net with a forehand, not enough could be said about Seles' fortitude.

Sure, she was tired, she said.

"I think at that point, everybody is tired," Graf said.

Seles, who has won every Grand Slam tournament final she has played, won her sixth major event--her fifth in a row. The only crease in the string was last year's Wimbledon, which she skipped because of an illness she never fully explained.

"It is the most emotional match I played ever . . . in any tournament," Seles said. "If I would have lost, it would be very tough."

Graf, who has won 10 Grand Slam tournaments in 17 final appearances, someday can tell her how it feels. Saturday's was as disappointing as any loss she has experienced. Although acknowledging her remarkable effort in the third set, Graf was disheartened.

"There is no satisfaction," she said.

After coming so close, Graf, 23, did not lose it as much as Seles won it.

Seles kept her opponent on the defensive from the first set, taking a 1-0 lead after 27 minutes of play. The two started tentatively, content with patty-cake rallies. When Seles increased the pace, Graf had no answer.

Graf tried to mix her shot selection to take the power out of Seles' two-handed strokes. Graf sent slicing balls across the net, hoping to interrupt Seles' rhythm.

But it was Graf's big serve that resuscitated her. That, and sound returns. Graf broke Seles three times in the second set, and the match settled into a struggle.

When Seles broke Graf in the third game of the third set, it appeared she would soon become the first woman to win three in a row at Roland Garros since Hilde Sperling in 1937. Then came another swing when Seles failed to end it in the ninth game. She said she started thinking about all those match points.

"A lot of times, I cannot forget the chances that I had," Seles said. "Looking back now, Steffi hit some great shots."

Just when Graf, who had 66 unforced errors to Seles' 30, was down to her final shot, she responded with a big winner. Relying on a rifle forehand, Graf attacked the corners. Seles bounded for each ball but was unable to reach the ones that hit the deep corner lines.

"I think the key thing was really to hold my serve," Seles said. "I was on the run too much."

Graf's shots were so precisely placed that Seles had to resort to a one-handed backhand for extra stretch. Sometimes, she was able to keep a rally alive and eventually win the point. Mostly, though, she was running in circles.

By the end of the match, Seles was run down--alert, but exhausted. Graf's returns came at her in slow motion, she said.

Seles served for the match at 8-7, but was broken. She broke back, and it was hers to win. Graf hit a backhand slice in the net for Seles' fifth match point at 40-15. Graf saved it with a forehand pass. Then Seles she missed her first serve at 40-30.

Her second serve was good, and suddenly it was over as Graf's forehand return went into the net. She ran to the net to hug Graf.

"She is definitely a tough one," Graf said.

Said Seles: "It couldn't have been a better final."


Petr Korda, who has not faced a seeded player during the tournament, meets with top-seeded Jim Courier in the final. C8
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Re: 1992

Top-seeded Seles successfully defends her title
Tulsa World
Saturday, June 6, 1992

PARIS (AP) - Monica Seles outfought Steffi Graf 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 in an epic final today and became first woman in 55 years to win three consecutive French Open titles.

After a slow start by Graf that cost her the first set, the world's No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players waged a spectacular battle that had the center-court crowd gasping and shouting.

The third set was the longest set in a women's final here since 1956, when Althea Gibson beat Angela Mortimer 6-0, 12-10.

"I've never played a set like that in my life," Seles said of the 91-minute third set. "It was just a great match. It was too bad for whoever lost."

Graf paid tribute to Seles' combativeness.

"You've seen it in other matches," Graf said. "She's been down - she always comes back, even if it's close, even if she's tired."

Seles, entrenching her hold on the top ranking, now has won six Grand Slams in her career, including the last five in which she has appeared - she missed Wimbledon last year. Having won the Australian Open in January, she is halfway to this year's Grand Slam.

On Sunday, top-seeded Jim Courier, a heavy favorite to retain his title, also will seek to move halfway toward the Grand Slam in the men's final against No. 7 seed Petr Korda of

The second-seeded Graf, serving while down 3-5 in the last set, saved four match points to extend the contest, bringing the fans to their feet in a standing ovation.

She swiftly broke Seles, then survived a break point to hold serve for a 6-5 lead. With no tiebreak used here in the last set of matches going their limit, the players headed into overtime, holding serve until Seles broke Graf to take an 8-7 lead.

Seles won the first point, but Graf answered with a sensational passing shot and broke back to 8-8. Again, Seles broke back, then served out the victory. Graf, down 15-40, saved a fifth match point, but on the sixth she hit a forehand into the net.

The match lasted 2 hours, 43 minutes.

"I was especially tired mentally because of all the match points," said Seles, saying Graf was in better shape. "But I could have stayed out there, if I had to, a longer time."

Graf, who had a majority of the fans behind her, acknowledged the high caliber of play but said she was disappointed.

"It's great the way I came back and fought," she said. "But I should have played better when I was leading (in the third set).

"It was a great match, but it's really difficult, 10 minutes after it, to feel good about it."

Seles opened powerfully, winning 12 of the first 14 points to sweep the first three games of the match. Graf settled down, too late to vie for the set but with enough time to put her on even terms in the fiercely contested second.

A key point came in the second game, when Graf saved a break point with a series of aggressive shots and held serve to level at 1-1. The two traded service breaks to reach 3-3, then Graf broke again to take a 4-3 lead after a Seles groundstroke floated just long.

The linesman called the ball good, but Graf drew a circle around the mark with her racket, then gestured for the umpire to come over to inspect.

In the third set, Seles benefitted from two crucial balls that hit the net cord. One was hit by Graf and would have given her a break point in the second game. But it popped in the air and fell back of Graf's side, helping Seles hold serve for 1-1.

In the next game, Seles obtained a decisive service break of her own, reaching break point on a shot that hit the cord and fell just over for a winner.

Seles is the first woman to win three consecutive French Opens since Germany's Hilde Sterling did it from 1935 to 1937.
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Re: 1992

Seles wins 3rd straight Graf loses, 10-8, in third set of epic French final
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sunday, June 7, 1992
CHRIS CLAREY, Special to The Union-Tribune

It was the kind of match that sends children dashing for the public courts with rackets in their hands and fresh scripts in their heads. It was the kind of match winner Monica Seles and loser Steffi Graf will remember with photographic clarity.

"So many emotions here," Seles said after her 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 victory in yesterday's French Open final. "I have the match in my hands, and a game later, here I am losing the match again. It was really totally up and down."

But Seles, the Yugoslavian-turned-Floridian, never stays down for long on the crushed red brick at Stade Roland Garros. The exhilarating, exhausting, 2-hour, 42-minute victory made her the first woman since Germany's Hilde Sperling in 1937 to win three straight French Open singles titles. It also reaffirmed her dominance of the women's game.

Since being upset by Linda Ferrando of Italy in the third round of the 1990 U.S. Open, Seles has competed in five Grand Slam events (she withdrew from Wimbledon last year) and won all five. Overall, she is 6-for-6 in Grand Slam finals, and she won't turn 19 until December.

"She is definitely a tough one," said the once-invulnerable Graf, who saved five match points before succumbing. "Even if it is close, even if she is tired, she is always going for it. That is definitely a big, big quality."

Seles, who earned $372,896, needed little of her hallmark resiliency in the first set, winning nine straight points and controlling the exchanges from the backcourt. Graf looked awkward and unsettled, changing rackets in the second game and missing easy shots. On the last point of the set, the German buried a straightforward slice backhand in the middle of the net.

But Graf, with new coach Heinz Gunthardt, is a stronger player emotionally than last year, when she was embarrassed here 6-2, 6-0 by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the semifinals. Instead of fading, Graf began serving better, moving more purposefully and swinging more freely. What she didn't do was alter her baseline approach against the groundstroke-bashing, pace-loving Seles. Graf did occasionally try to change the rhythm and draw Seles to the net, but generally she did what she has done since turning professional in 1982 at age 13 -- blasting forehands and slicing her backhand with authority. Surprisingly, it nearly worked.

"I really didn't think the match would last so long because I felt so comfortable in the first and second set," Seles said. "Steffi just started doing a little bit different things and really playing very well."

The key game in the second set was the seventh, when Graf broke Seles' serve -- thanks to a controversial call -- to take a 4-3 lead. Graf saved three break points in the next game, then broke Seles again at love to win the set.

"Steffi! Steffi! Steffi!" the fans began chanting midway through the second set, taking up a cry that would be reprised many times. It was a novel experience for a woman long accustomed to playing the thankless role of on-court bully.

"I really can't say that I have had that support ever before," Graf said. "It was just amazing, and I think it helped me, too. I mean you feel so much better, and you just let that feeling go through you."

Graf needed all of that good feeling when she served at 3-5 in the third set. Four times she faced match points after flubbing forehands. Four times she played aggressively and emerged unscathed.

And when she broke Seles' serve easily in the next game to even the match at 5-all, it appeared Graf might regain the title she won in 1987 and 1988. Seles was clearly tired, a victim of the consistently long rallies that kept her running from corner to corner and regularly forced her to abandon her two-handed grips to gain more reach. But Seles, who had rallied from third-set deficits against Akiko Kijimuta and Gabriela Sabatini earlier in the tournament, again summoned her reserves, turned up the volume on her hallmark two-toned grunt and kept swinging for the lines.

"Inside, I could have gone another 10 games," she said. "After so many hours and it being so close, you just give it everything you have, your last breath."

All followed form until Seles and Graf traded breaks in the 15th and 16th games. Then in the 17th, Seles ended yet another marathon exchange with a forehand winner to break Graf again and take a 9-8 lead. This time, there would be no reprieve. Trailing 40-15, Graf saved her fifth match point with a streak of a down-the-line forehand, but on the next point she slid right and made her 66th and final unforced error, hitting a forehand into the net.

For the third straight year, Seles turned to her father/coach Karolj in the stands and raised her arms in triumph. For the third straight year, she accepted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and held it aloft.

"This is the best final I've ever played," she told the crowd that had rooted against her. "I always love coming here. I always play wonderful, and this year was no exception."
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Re: 1992

I'll work in one short desription of the match from an odd-and-ends type of article: "...it turned into a knockdown dragout more like the Knicks and Bulls in Game 6 before peace was restored and Bud Collins told Monica how good she looks as a brunette."

Sunday, June 7, 1992

PARIS -- Steffi Graf turned to hit the forehand. It is her best shot and Graf was hoping it would rescue her again.

Graf had battled defending champion Monica Seles for two hours and 42 minutes, through 35 games Saturday. The two best players in another French Open masterpiece.

Graf had saved five match points, and now she was facing another one to keep this endless third set going, to keep this breathless crowd roaring at Roland Garros.

Seles was standing crosscourt, so Graf fired her forehand down the line. The ball hit the net.

Graf had taken her best shots, but the gun was empty and Seles was still standing -- 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.

It was Seles' third successive French Open title, the first female triple since Hilde Sperling 55 years ago, and perhaps her greatest moment.

Seles met every challenge during the Great Clay Fortnight. She shook off Akiko Kijimuta, down 1-4 in the final set in the round of 16. She survived Gabriela Sabatini, down 2-4 in the final set in the semifinals. And, Saturday, she stopped Graf in their first meeting in 398 days.

''It was the most emotional match I've ever played, not just in a Grand Slam,'' said Seles, who stretched her streak to five Grand Slams in a row, the three she entered in 1991 and the first two this year.

''I've never played 10-8 in the third before. I would have stayed out there longer if I had to, because in this match, you had to give it everything, your last breath. Both players deserved to win, and it's too bad one of us lost. If I had lost, it would have been very tough.''

It was tough on Graf, who won back-to-back French Opens in 1987 and 1988 but has lost three finals in four years.

Graf rallied brilliantly after losing the first set in 26 minutes. She outfought Seles in a tense second set, then hung in at the final set when Seles served for it at 5-4. Graf saved four match points, all with winners.

''It is great the way I came back, the way I fought every time,'' Graf said. ''I think it was a very good effort, but there is no satisfaction. I was disappointed with the way I played when I was leading.''

Graf forced Seles to hold serve at 6-5 and again at 7-6 in the no-tiebreaker final set (only the U.S. Open of the four Grand Slams believes in sudden-death overtime).

Seles held easily at love for 6-all and at 15 for 7-all, then broke Graf at 30 for 8-7.

Seles could not close the door the second time she served for the match. Seles won the first point, but Graf took the next four, starting with a big backhand down the line.

''She just zoomed it by me, I don't even know if I saw the ball or anything,'' Seles said. ''If I had won that point, I may have won the match right there. But you know, it was pressure. It was excitement in there.''

There was more excitement to come. Seles refused to budge on Graf's serve and earned another break point when Graf missed a forehand long. Another furious rally ensued; Seles worked her way inside the court and buried Graf with a backhand crosscourt.

''Monica is a tough one,'' Graf said. ''Even if she's tired, she is always going for it. That is a big quality she has.''

Seles succeeded on her third try to serve out the match. At 15-all, Seles nipped the line with a backhand, and when Graf netted a backhand on the next point, Seles had two more match points.

Graf pounded away on the first, finally nailing a winner with her fifth straight forehand.

Seles served again, wide to Graf's backhand. Graf followed with a forehand as both players set up for a crosscourt rally. Graf sliced a backhand on the next exchange, then ran around on her forehand to pounce on the next -- and the last -- ball.

In the 1987 final, Graf defeated Martina Navratilova 8-6 in the third set. In 1989, Graf lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 7-5 in the third.

Graf knows how it feels to win the close ones, and lose them, too.

Saturday Graf found out how it feels to have the crowd in your corner. Tennis fans love underdogs.

''I've played in a lot of tournaments and played in a lot of places,'' Graf said. ''But I've never had a crowd like this one.''

Seles earned the crowd's admiration. Three French Opens at age 18 is extraordinaire.

''The first one is going to stay special because I was very young,'' said Seles, who upset Graf in the 1990 final. ''I don't think I ever expected to win it at that time. But this final is always going to stay in my memory, too. It was so close. When I saw the draw, I knew it would be tough to win again. There were a lot of times I didn't think I would be here today.''
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Re: 1992

Seles stifles brave Graf in classic final - French Open
The Sunday Times
London, England
Sunday, June 7, 1992
Sue Mott

A GLEAM of omnipotence now glows in the eyes of Monica Seles. It might have been the reflection of the Suzanne Lenglen trophy as she held it tightly to her chest in the weak Parisian sunshine, but the manner of her magnificently gripping, see-saw French Open final against the world No2, Steffi Graf, suggested otherwise.

"It was the best final I have ever played," she said, having won a match lasting almost three hours 6-2 3-6 10-8. "It was so close. We both deserved to win." But it was to Seles that the former champion, Chris Evert, handed the silverware and Graf, biting her lip and tearful, could only say to a crowd chanting her name: "I have played a lot of tournaments, played in a in a lot of places and I have never had a crowd like this. Never ever."

The crowd could return the compliment. Rarely have they witnessed a more emotional and thoroughly entertaining final, featuring the best two players in the world, thunderous hitting and successive twists in the plot, including Graf saving five match points.

"It's very special," Seles said. "This final will always stay in my memory. It was the most emotional and closest match I have ever played. Here I had the match in my hands, then I'm losing it. It was totally up and down."

At 18, the champion now becomes the seventh woman in an elite group those who have won the French Open three times and she began as though that much was her right, little guessing she was about to become embroiled in the longest match of her life.

She took her bouquet from a tiny ballboy with a practised air and a nod. She was smiling unremittingly ... to the crowd, for the cameras, to her overflowing box of followers just behind the server's arm. On the opposite side of the aisle, Graf's mother pulled her grey suit lapel tightly round her throat. She was about to watch her daughter, aged 22, contest Grand Slam invincibility or so it seemed to those who have watched Seles win every significant final she has contested since the US Open in 1990.

It was evident that all Paris was rooting for Graf. The brunette at the other end of the court had captured the French title for two successive years, but the hearts of the locals have proved more resistant.

Yet, initially, the wishes of the crowd were not heeded. If Graf had been sightseeing up the Eiffel Tower, just visible over the chestnut trees, she could scarcely have been further removed from serious competition. She was broken to love in her first service game, seemingly stunned by the awkward length and trajectory of the defending champion's groundstrokes.

"You get hectic, in a way," she had said after her semi-final battle with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. And the pattern was repeating itself, with Graf booming forehands into the trampled dust well behind the baseline. The red clay amphitheatre resounded to the famous Seles double-edged grunt as she hastened to the first set within 26 minutes. But in the course of the demolition there were signs of vulnerability.

Her service was becoming increasingly prone to attack from the German. At the best of times the Seles service cannot be classed a weapon, it merely opens her case for the prosecution, and as the chant "Steffi, Steffi" echoed round Roland Garros, the Seles service first strained, then cracked.

It was not an easy surrender, however. Rallies of astonishing power, accuracy and duration replaced the one-sided rout of the first set. The pace would abruptly change as both women tried drop shots as sweet as the chocolate mousse served in the boulevard cafes. Even Jim Courier, watching from the players' box, permitted himself to look impressed. Here was a contest instead of the one-way cruise which both men's semi-finals had become.

It was the final set which confirmed the match as a thriller. In the ninth game, Seles was all but half-way up the steps to claim the trophy. Four match points she gathered on Graf's service, and four times Graf was able to survive the tension to wrest the point away.

The crowd roared with unrestrained fervour as Graf seemed to turn the match in her favour. An overlong forehand allowed Seles to break for an 8-7 lead, then a feeble drop shot from the defending champion permitted Graf to break back immediately.

After 2 1/2 hours we had a dead heat. But not for much longer. The older woman felt the searing pressure more and, having first surrendered her service, she finally shovelled a forehand into the net on match point No. 6, leaving Seles the champion with barely the strength to celebrate.

When she does revive, she can reflect that, having won the Australian Open in January, this victory presents her with the first two legs of a Grand Slam. So, considerably richer and with a fresh varnish of invincibility, Seles has departed Paris in search of a grass court.
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Re: 1992

The Deseret News
Salt Lake City, UT
Sunday, June 7, 1992
Stephen Wilson, AP sports writer

This was a match no one deserved to lose.

Monica Seles and Steffi Graf dueled for two hours and 43 minutes Saturday, matching each other shot for shot, fighting for the lead game after game.

Finally, after an epic third set lasting 18 games and 91 minutes, Seles emerged with a 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 victory for her third straight French Open title.

"It's the most emotional match I've ever played," said Seles, who is now halfway to winning the Grand Slam. "This one's always going to stay in my memory."

"It really couldn't have been a better final," she said. "It shows women's tennis is getting more and more exciting. It's just too bad for whoever lost. Both deserved to win."

Even in defeat, Graf agreed it was a memorable match.

"If you play 10-8 in the final set, it definitely is special," she said. "Those are very special matches, even if you lose."

Seles became the first woman to capture three consecutive French Opens since Germany's Hilde Sterling accomplished the feat from 1935 to 1937.

Seles, strengthening her hold on the No. 1 ranking, has now won six Grand Slams in her career, including the last five in which she has appeared. She missed Wimbledon last year, but will be competing there in two weeks to try to win the third leg of the Grand Slam.

Saturday's third set provided some of the greatest drama in tennis - men's or women's - in recent years.

"I've never played a set like that in my life," Seles said.

There were furious rallies, fantastic gets, lunging winners, frequent shifts in momentum. Despite fatigue, both players were so pumped up they showed their emotions after nearly every point.

Graf would yell "Yes!," clench her fist and slap her hip after a winner. When Seles lost a point, she would shriek "Noooo," close her eyes and grimace in agony.

The lead swung back and forth. Seles was up 5-3. Graf saved four match points in the next game and moved ahead 6-5 and 7-6. Seles broke and went up 8-7. Graf broke back for 8-8. Seles broke again and then finally held serve to close out the match.

"I never thought it would last so long," she said. "I was getting a little bit tired. But I could have stayed out there if I had to."

The 18 games in the final set was the most in a women's final here since 1956, when Althea Gibson beat Angela Mortimer 6-0, 12-10.

The 35 total games was one short of the record for a French final since the Open era began in 1968. The 36-game mark was set in 1973 when Margaret Court beat Chris Evert 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

Graf paid tribute to Seles' refusal to give up.

"You have seen it in other matches," she said. "She is definitely a tough one. Even if it's close, if she's tired, she is always going for it. That is definitely a big, big quality."

Graf found no satisfaction in her own gutsy performance.

"I mean it's great the way I came back, the way I fought every time," she said. "I think it was a very good effort, especially being down 5-3 in the third set. But I'm disappointed the way I played when I was leading."

"Every time I gave her those games," she said. "I didn't play those points good enough. I didn't really try like the games before to run everything down and to go for every shot. But it's difficult if you have to do that all the time."

The crowd was overwhelmingly in Graf's favor, repeatedly breaking into rhythmic clapping and chants of "Steffi! Steffi!"

"I really can't say that I have had that support ever before," Graf said. "It was just amazing."

Seles controlled the first set, winning 12 out the first 14 points. Graf started to raise the level of her play at the end of the first set, even breaking Seles at love in one game.

The German seemed to get a psychological boost early in the second set when she saved a break point to prevent Seles from taking a 2-0 lead. Graf gained the edge when she broke for 4-3. She saved three break points to hold for 5-3, then broke Seles at love to win the set. Seles didn't even bother to chase Graf's forehand winner on set point.

Seles was up a service break at 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 in the final set. Then came the four match points on Graf's serve. She erased the first with a deep forehand, the second with a forehand putaway, the third with a forehand into the corner, and the fourth with a skidding slice backhand approach shot.

"I said to myself, 'Just go for it,' " Graf said. "On those points I really didn't give her a lot of chances. I was trying to be the one who is aggressive."

"Steffi played some great shots under pressure and I played too safe," Seles said.

Seles served for the match in the next game, but Graf kept dictating the points with her big forehand and broke at 15 to even the set at 5-5.

The two continued on serve until Seles broke for an 8-7 lead as Graf missed on a short forehand. But Graf broke right back, hitting a perfect backhand drop shot on one point. In the next game, Seles crushed a short crosscourt backhand after a long rally to break for a 9-8 lead.

Serving for the match for the third time, Seles went up 40-15. On match point No. 5, Graf responded by ripping a clean forehand winner. But on the sixth, she pounded a forehand into the net.

"It was totally up and down," Seles said. "One or two points really decided it."

Seles won $372,896, putting her over the $5 million mark in career earnings. Graf won $186,457.

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Re: 1992

TENNIS; Graf Is Game, but Seles Is Set and Match at the French
June 7, 1992
New York Times

PARIS, June 6 Monica Seles provided a guttural soundtrack for this most grand of Grand Slam finales today, and in the end, she didn't lose her voice or her French Open crown.

Steffi Graf provided a silent and tireless threat, and after climbing back from a paralyzing first set, valiantly rescued herself from five match points. But because of the killer instincts of Seles, the No. 1 player in the world, the herculean effort by the German to reclaim a title she last held in 1988 was in vain, and she lost, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.

For nearly three hours, the 18-year-old Seles used her spring-loaded strokes to try to discourage Graf, and she finally gained her third consecutive French Open title, and the sixth Grand Slam title of her career, when Graf made an habitual move at just the wrong time.

On the sixth match point, Graf skirted her backhand in order to attack the ball with her most intimidating shot, a full-blown forehand, but instead of putting Seles into reverse, the shot was smacked into the net and cost its disappointed launcher the match.

"I was trying to be the one who was aggressive," said the 22-year-old Graf, who is ranked No. 2 and would have gained her 11th Grand Slam title with a victory. "I just wish I would have played better on those big points; it definitely was a special match, but it's really difficult to feel great about it 10 minutes after it's over."

The victory by Seles required 2 hours 43 minutes of effort from the participants and, more important, made the exhausted Yugoslav the first woman in 55 years to win three straight French Open titles. The last woman to have such a hold on the event was Hilde Sperling of Germany from 1935-37.

In the final set, which lasted 91 minutes, Seles served three times to end the match and had to struggle to get past Graf's most determined Grand Slam campaign since she defeated Gabriela Sabatini in last year's Wimbledon final.

"But she's definitely a tough player, and even if it's close, and even if she's tired, she's always going for it," Graf said about Seles, who later agreed with that somewhat grudging but clearly accurate evaluation.

"I could have stayed out there longer if I had to," Seles said. "I have that kind of personality, that even if it's taking my last breath on the court, I'm going to run for the ball."

Seles now seems invincible whenever her calendar shows a Grand Slam date. The victory today was her fifth straight in the Grand Slams in which she has played, and the fifth she has won in the last six over all. (She didn't play at the 1991 Wimbledon.) The teen-ager has won all six Grand Slam finals she has been in.

"I think it was the most emotional match I've played ever, not just in a Grand Slam, but in any tournament," said Seles, who is halfway toward a sweep of the 1992 Grand Slam tournaments. The last player to achieve such a sweep was Graf in 1988, when she also won an Olympic gold medal.

Seles has won the Australian Open twice and won the 1991 United States Open, but she has never won at Wimbledon, and that, she said just after walking off the clay today, is already the foremost goal on her one-track mind.

"I can't have a letdown now, because Wimbledon is always so close at the back of your mind," Seles said of the grass-court tournament, which starts on June 22. "I am going in differently to Wimbledon this year. Hopefully I won't just be satisfied with a quarterfinal loss. Hopefully, I'll be thinking that I can go to the end."

She is not made of marble, but according to her father and lifelong coach, Karolj Seles, Monica's resilience has made him feel a little like Michelangelo.

"You take this player and you sculpt them, and if they have inside of them what makes the champion, like Monica does, you get a great joy from them," he said.

Seles, with her boot-black hair, two-fisted hammer-strokes and high-impact shrieks and groans, is far from a statue of a player. But with the exception of a serve that Graf pestered for 15 break points and successfully undermined six times, she is a near-complete player, who flashes laser groundstrokes from either side, has full command of her drop shot and hasn't yet needed a reliable volley in order to dominate.

After a shaky performance in the opening set, Graf struck back in the second by settling into a steady pattern and breaking down Seles's forehand with a variety of backhand slices and topspin forehand bullets. This was a set jammed with lateral wind sprints by both players, but Graf tied the match by breaking Seles's serve at love in the ninth game with another forehand winner.

The final set was the fixating one: neither player could bear to lose it, but Seles was the one who held all the match points.

Graf fell behind by 5-3, then played a desperate serving game, where forehand overhits gave Seles three of her four match points in the game. But Graf saved them all and held serve to get to 5-4 with a forehand blast that sent Seles scuttling into the corner.

Graf broke Seles's serve again, then twice pulled ahead in the set. But despite overcoming one other match point, Graf could never subdue the three-time champion.
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Re: 1992

This is a very US-specific article, but we must vent our frustrations.

Sunday, June 7, 1992

PARIS -- It was the best French Open women's final since Chris Evert upset Martina Navratilova 7-5 in the third set in 1986.

Just like that year, the two best players in the world battled to the end Saturday, and you didn't know who was going to win until Steffi Graf hit the final ball into the net.

Great tennis, wonderful atmosphere, terrific theatre.

NBC taped it.

No. 1 Monica Seles against No. 2 Steffi Graf for the first time in 398 days, two French Open champions in a dramatic showdown.

And NBC taped it.

Taped sports stink. Tennis, because there is no clock, most of all.

NBC is showing today's men's final live at 9 a.m., but do you really want to wake up early for Jim Courier against Petr Korda? That's not a competition, it's a coronation.

Last year's Courier-Andre Agassi five-set thriller was superlative, but why is the men's final worth a live telecast and the women's not?

Five of the last eight women's finals have been French masterpieces, belonging in a room at the Louvre:

-- Evert over Navratilova in 1985.

-- Evert over Navratilova again in 1986.

-- Graf over Navratilova 8-6 in the third in 1987.

-- Arantxa Sanchez Vicario over Graf 7-5 in the third in 1989.

NBC should do some research.

NBC televises both finals from Wimbledon next month as part of its Breakfast at Wimbledon tradition. But you get only half a croissant from Paris.

NBC obviously refuses to televise the French Open women's final live because it would cut into the Saturday morning cartoons. Can't get all those kids mad.

But who can figure out NBC? This is the network that is televising the entire upcoming Summer Olympics from Barcelona on tape.

NBC has this attitude that the French Open is not as important as Wimbledon. The Big W is bigger in the eyes of the public, but the French Open carries as much weight in the tennis world.

The French Open also is a better test of tennis ability than Wimbledon, which is boom-boom tennis on grass, a quaint surface, a game for people with short attention spans.

But the real issue is tennis equality, and the women continue to lag behind the men.

The men usually provide more suspense over the entire fortnight at a Grand Slam, but you can usually count on the women for a more exciting finish.

The French Open foursome of Seles, Graf, Gabriela Sabatini and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario -- the top four seeds all reaching the semifinals -- ended the tournament on a high note.

''It couldn't have been a better final,'' Seles said. ''It just shows that women's tennis is getting to be much more exciting. It's great and we need that.''

Wimbledon should be a good encore, with Seles back in the chase against a field loaded to stop her.

Seles has won the last five Grand Slam events she's entered, but she missed Wimbledon with a mysterious injury last year. Seles was upset by Zina Garrison in the 1990 quarterfinals, so she still has something to prove at 18.

Graf, the defending champion, should have a better chance on grass, as should Sabatini, a good volleyer, who should have beaten Graf in last year's final.

Of course, Navratilova, the all-time champion with nine titles, believes she should win again. Navratilova, who skipped the Australian and French opens, lives for Centre Court in her final years.

Jennifer Capriati, who knocked off Navratilova in last year's quarterfinals, proved that she has the game for grass, and if her serve is on and if she can get her confidence back, she could be a major factor again.

The men's tournament, meanwhile, will be won by the guy with the hottest serve.

''Women's tennis is so interesting because you don't know who is going to win,'' Seles said.

Seles usually does. She did again Saturday, but it was a tennis match that was good to the last point. You should have seen it live.


1. Monica Seles d. 2. Steffi Graf 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.

Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset d. David Adams and Andrei Olhovskiy 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-3), 7-5.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Todd Woodbridge d. Lori McNeil and Bryan Shelton 6-2, 6-3.

Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario d. Jana Novotna and Larissa Savchenko-Neiland 6-3, 6-2.

''I could have stayed out there longer if I had to. In this kind of match, you have to give everything you have, your last breath.'' -- Monica Seles.

-- Seles has beaten five players to win her last five Grand Slams: Jana Novotna (1991 Australian Open), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (1991 French Open), Martina Navratilova (1991 U.S. Open), Mary Joe Fernandez (1992 Australian Open) and Graf (1992 French Open).

-- Saturday's match tied the longest third set in a women's final. Angela Mortimer defeated Dorothy Knode 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 in 1955. Mortimer, who is married to BBC broadcaster John Barrett, was at Roland Garros Saturday.

-- Graf committed 66 unforced errors to 30 for Seles. Graf served 76 percent, Seles 75 percent.

-- The French Open men's title has been successfully defended six times: Jan Kodes (1970-71), Bjorn Borg (1974-75), Borg (1978-79), Borg (1979-80), Borg (1980-81), Ivan Lendl (1986-87). Four other times, the defending champion reached the final but lost: Ken Rosewall in 1969, Guillermo Vilas in 1978, Mats Wilander in 1983, and Ivan Lendl in 1985.

-- Lendl was the last man to successfully defend a Grand Slam title -- the 1989-90 Australian Open.

-- Boris Becker is the last man to win consecutive Grand Slam titles, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1989.

Jim Courier vs. Petr Korda: They split two inconsequential matches in 1991.

Television: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
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Re: 1992

Now Seles must improve her Wimbledon image - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Monday, June 8, 1992
Andrew Longmore

IT MUST be a sobering thought for Monica Seles, in the aftermath of her victory over Steffi Graf in a long and draining French Open final, that the biggest obstacle on the course is still to come. Wimbledon looms next, as daunting as Becher's Brook, and, after last year's spectacular fall from grace, there are one or two fences in need of repair.

Typically, because she does not lack courage, Seles will tackle the championships head-on, hoping to forget what she calls the ``bad memories" of 12 months ago when her last-minute withdrawal through injury prompted a riot of speculation and suspicion.

Unfortunately for Seles and her management company, the rights and wrongs of that episode gained undue attention as it coincided with the worst week's weather in the history of the championships. But they are now past and Seles is understandably anxious to get on with the business of winning the third leg of the grand slam.

``I have to put all that happened last year behind me and hope people realise that I played twice before, will play next year and that I want to play. The people at Wimbledon have always received me well, but, after all the reports, I don't know what to expect," she said.

Much has changed since her last match at Wimbledon, a defeat by Zina Garrison in a quarter-final in 1990. At that time, she had just become French Open champion and regarded Wimbledon in much the same way as Wimbledon regarded her, as a refreshing novelty. In the intervening two years, Seles has succeeded Graf as No.1 and become the dominant player in the game.

She has won all of the last five grand slams in which she has played and set up an unbroken sequence of 35 victories, unmatched by either Martina Navratilova or Chris Evert. One more title and she would even outdo Graf, who won five in succession before being beaten by Seles herself in the final at Roland Garros in 1990.

If that defeat marked the start of a new order, Seles's 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 victory on Saturday, achieved after two hours and 43 minutes, might well herald another phase in the rivalry. On a surface that suited the Yugoslav better, Graf proved to be very nearly her equal again and, when the pain has passed, she will surely be comforted by the character of her defeat. Unlike two years ago, there was no headlong rush to oblivion. Far from it.

She saved four match points at 5-3 in the final set, twice broke back when the defending champion was serving for the title, to lead 6-5 and 7-6 and only faltered on the sixth match point in the face of Seles's utter refusal to be beaten. The French crowd appreciated the bravery of both players, but, as the match went on, their warmth for the former champion overwhelmed their admiration for Seles.

``I have played in a lot of places and I have never had a crowd like this. Never ever," Graf said. The tennis itself was one dimensional, but strangely compelling, like a box of chocolates with two layers of strawberry creams. You could have gorged yourself on a diet of groundstrokes, but if you craved a volley ... there were but three and one of them was involuntary.

Graf's forehand, which provided a steady stream of winners and losers, was the telling stroke, Seles's tenacity the decisive hidden factor. ``Physically, Steffi is three times stronger than me, but I have a will to win and to run for every ball," Seles said. The best image of the final, though, was that of Karoly Seles leaping to his feet to applaud a point won not by his daughter but by her opponent. Such enthusiasm is infectious, even in the sober surroundings of Wimbledon's centre court.
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post #344 of 648 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2013, 12:51 AM
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Re: 1992

Rocky Mountain News
Sunday, June 7, 1992

More than ever, Monica Seles is the superstar of women's tennis. More than ever, she is keeping her private life private.

After her thrilling 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 triumph over Steffi Graf in the French Open final, Seles treated an overflow news conference to detailed accounts of the game, her past problems and her future plans. But when questions strayed from tennis, she drew the line.

"This is a personal question . . . ," a reporter began.

"No personal questions," Seles said.

The reporter persisted - all he wanted to know was what language Seles considered her mother tongue.

"I mean, I'm saying no personal questions," Seles repeated.

She then recounted how hurt she was by a series of stories last year after she withdrew on short notice from Wimbledon and dropped out of the public eye.

"The stories that were written, they were totally untrue," Seles said. "It was difficult."

Why was she so insistent about skirting personal questions?

"Being a public figure, a lot of people want to know about you," she said. "I want to play tennis for many years. I don't want to have everything happen to me at age 18 and everybody knowing what I did that night and where did I go to eat. I don't think that's fair. I want to have a life outside of tennis."
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Re: 1992

French crown winners set their courses on Wimbledon
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Monday, June 8, 1992
Associated Press

PARIS - Almost before they caught their breath after defending their French Open titles, Jim Courier and Monica Seles confronted the same question.

Can you win Wimbledon?

On the red clay of Stade Roland Garros, the world's two top-ranked players again proved they are unconquerable.

Seles was pushed to the limit by Steffi Graf on Saturday before prevailing 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, becoming the first woman in 55 years to win three straight titles here. Courier breezed past nervous Petr Korda 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 in a lopsided two-hour final yesterday for his second straight title.

Each superstar is now halfway to a possible Grand Slam sweep. But next up is the legendary grass at Wimbledon, a tournament neither has come close to winning.

Seles reached the quarterfinals in 1990, but skipped it last year. Courier fell in the quarterfinals last year.

Though Courier likes to avoid hyperbole at his news conferences, he left no doubt that Wimbledon is very much on his mind. Asked about his prospects on grass, he said, "I like my chances on any surface, against anybody in the world."

Could he win Wimbledon this year, he was asked yesterday.

"I'm certainly going to give it every effort," he said. "I played well there last year. I feel I can play well there again. I'll do my best."

Seles sounded equally determined, even though many tennis experts feel her powerful baseline game needs adjustments to succeed on grass.

"If I want to win it, I am going to go in differently this year to Wimbledon," she said. "Hopefully not just satisfied with a quarterfinal loss or anything, but hopefully thinking that `Hey, I can go until the end' - but still having fun, not having pressure."

Graf won Wimbledon last year, in Seles' absence, and said she was eager to get back there.

"It's always special to me," she said. "I've been looking forward to Wimbledon for a long time."

Although the 22-year-old German was disappointed by her cliffhanger loss to Seles, she was delighted to find she had become a crowd favorite. Throughout Saturday's 2-hour, 43-minute battle, the center court fans made clear they preferred her over Seles.

"I really can't say that I have ever had that support before," Graf said. "It was just amazing."

Aside from Courier, most of the men with strong chances at Wimbledon weren't around Roland Garros by Week Two. Stefan Edberg and Michael Stich were upset in the third round, while Boris Becker withdrew before play began.

"The two big favorites for grass are Becker and Edberg," said Korda after his trouncing by Courier. "Grass is completely different from the other courts."

Courier, who lost only one set in his seven matches here, has now won three career Grand Slam titles and 23 consecutive matches.

Korda, who reached the final without facing a seeded player, showed flashes of brilliance in the opening set. But in the second set, after breaking Courier to take a 1-2 lead, Korda lost his own serve with consecutive double faults.

The No. 7 seed from Prague, Czechoslovakia, lost the next six games, winning only seven points in the process. In all, he committed nine double faults and made 49 unforced errors, compared to only 17 for Courier.

"I played big feet today," Korda said. "I was very nervous. . . . I couldn't play my game. I was trying everything, but nothing was working."

"It was a tough first set," Courier said. "Once I got that under my belt, things seemed to go my way."

Did he feel unbeatable?

"Not unbeatable, no, not at all. I felt that I was playing very well, and someone was going to have to play very well to beat me," Courier said. "I'm very proud of the way I played to win, instead of not to lose."
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