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post #526 of 648 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 2013, 05:49 PM
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Re: 1992

Oklahoma Slims Full Of Olympic Spirit
The Daily Oklahoman
Thursday, February 20, 1992
Mike Baldwin

Most Americans can't make it to Albertville, France, but local sports fans can see Olympic athletes competing this week in Oklahoma City.

No, there's not a special bobsled race scheduled at Will Rogers Park. Four women competing in the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma will represent their respective countries at the Summer Games in Barcelona.

Gigi Fernandez, the tournament's No. 2 seed, will represent the United States in doubles, and possibly singles.

"For the first time, I'm looking at the Olympics differently. Usually I just watch as a spectator, and just enjoy it," Fernandez said. "Now I feel the pressure they're feeling, and I get real excited when someone wins the gold medal and they play the national anthem."

The Oklahoma Slims' top seed, Zina Garrison, who won her first-round match Wednesday night, could be Fernandez's partner. Jennifer Capriati will be one of the two U.S. singles players, but the other singles player and Fernandez's partner have not been determined.

"I could play with either Zina or Mary Jo (Fernandez). I have an outside shot at playing singles, but they picked me on this team to play doubles," Fernandez said.

Fernandez's forte has been doubles. She has won 23 career doubles titles and has been ranked No. 1 in the world in doubles. Fernandez has won just two singles titles, and her highest singles ranking has been 17th.

"People always ask why I'm better in doubles," Fernandez said. "My main talent is my hand-eye coordination, and that shows up more in doubles. The most important thing in doubles is to have fast hands."

Fernandez, who will turn 28 on Saturday, was born in Puerto Rico. She had to choose between representing the United States and her native country.

"All Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but I've lived in the states since I was 19," Fernandez said. "The main issue for me was I have been representing the U.S. in the Federation Cup since '86. It was a hard decision, and it was kind of political in Puerto Rico."

Other players in the field who will participate in the Olympics include fifth-seeded Nicole Provis, who will play for Australia, and Manon Bollegraf, who will represent the Netherlands.

"It's going to be fabulous to play in the Olympics. It will be a great buzz just to see the other sports, swimming, gymnastics, all of it," Provis said. "I want to do really well, but it's going to be exciting to be part of the opening ceremonies and everything."

Bollegraf, who won the Oklahoma Slims in 1989, agrees.

"I would stop everything just to go to the Olympics. If I lose the first round, I will still hang around to watch it all," Bollegraf said. "For me it's the greatest achievement I've ever had. I'm looking forward to seeing the atmosphere in the village where all the athletes stay.

The ultimate thrill is to win a gold medal.

"Tennis hasn't been an Olympic sport, so I never grew up thinking Olympic medal. I always grew up thinking Wimbledon. Now when I see it on TV it's a whole different perspective. I hope we can win a gold medal."
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post #527 of 648 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 2013, 05:49 PM
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Re: 1992

Who Will Win Is Anybody's Guess
The Daily Oklahoman
Friday, February 21, 1992
Mike Baldwin

In what is being labeled the most balanced Virginia Slims of Oklahoma field in the event's seven-year history, it's difficult to select the eventual champion.

A random polling proved the point as Kraft Tour veteran Pam Shriver, The Greens tennis pro Tommy English, Oklahoman sportswriter Mike Baldwin, former Oklahoman tennis writer Jerry McConnell and a Greens consensus made up of Shirley Ellis, Vicki Martin and Jerrie Smith made selections.

"It's always fun to come to a tournament when you don't know who is going to win," Shriver said. "There's seven players who have a shot at it. Manon Bollegraf, the seventh seed, is great indoors. Debbie Graham has a big serve and some powerful weapons.

"If you go on how they played last week in Chicago you would say Lori McNeil hands down. She was phenomenal and almost beat Martina Navratilova in the semifinals. Zina (Garrison) is the most experienced and the No. 1 seed.

"Gigi (Fernandez) hasn't played well as of late, but if she gets her game together she has a chance. It's easy to go with the No. 1 seed, so I won't. I'll go with hard-hitting, Top 25 Amy Frazier. I think she's ready to win."

English is also picking Frazier, the fourth seed, who won here two years ago.

"She won here before and is a local favorite who has relatives in Enid and Edmond. That pumps her up," English said. "Plus Amy is playing well."
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Re: 1992

Garrison, McNeil Win in OK Slims
Tulsa World
Friday, February 21, 1992
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Top-seeded Zina Garrison had no trouble advancing to the third round of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma tennis tournament, beating Japan's Rika Hiraki 6-2, 6-1 Thursday.

Garrison needed only 48 minutes to win 6-2, 6-1.

"I'm really starting to enjoy my tennis," said Garrison, who will meet Ann Grossman tonight.

"For me, the strokes are all there. But to keep winning, it's important that I feel like I'm having a good time. And now I'm feeling great."

No. 2 seed Gigi Fernandez moved to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over Robin White. Oklahoma State product Lori McNeil, seeded third, advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Elna Reinach.

Fourth-seeded Amy Frazier beat Louise Allen in straight sets, and No. 5 seed Nicole Provis advanced with a straight-set victory over Kristin Godridge.
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Re: 1992

Only the Strong Survive Slims - Top 7 Seeds Make Quarterfinals
The Daily Oklahoman
Friday, February 21, 1992
Mike Baldwin

A qualitative quarterfinals, a tennis fan's delight, takes center stage this afternoon at the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma at The Greens.

The top seven seeds have all advanced to today's quarterfinals, and most observers feel all seven are capable of playing for the $27,000 top prize Sunday afternoon.

All seven players are ranked in the Top 50 in the world, and seventh-seeded Manon Bollegraf has won here before. The top five seeds all reached the quarterfinals by posting impressive straight-set wins in Thursday's second round.

Top-seeded Zina Garrison, 28, faces Ann Grossman, the only unseeded player, in the only evening match at 7.

"You guys (Oklahoma City fans) have been really lucky. You can't get a closer field. All the top players are right behind each other," Garrison said. "It's just a matter of who is playing well that particular day."

Garrison, the world's 14th-ranked player, has 10 career Kraft Tour titles, but has not won since she won in Birmingham 20 months ago.

"It's just a matter of time, but I haven't played in a tournament like this in about two years. In the major tournaments (Monica) Seles is winning those," Garrison said. "I've been playing well but not winning. I'm very positive, but you take it one match at a time."

Second-seeded Gigi Fernandez has won 23 doubles titles, but just two singles titles, having won last year in Albuquerque and in Singapore in 1986.

"I'd sure like to win here, but it's a great field," Fernandez said. "You will have to play great tennis because everyone left is capable of winning this."

Fernandez, ranked 18th in the world, faces Bollegraf, who won here in 1989 and was the runner-up in '90, in today's second match at approximately 1:30.

Third-seeded Lori McNeil, 28, won here in 1988 and has seven career titles. McNeil, ranked 22nd in the world, reached the semifinals in Chicago last week.

"All players feel they can win when you don't have a (Monica) Seles or a Martina (Navratilova) so you don't want to overlook anyone," McNeil said. "I'm not serving as well as I was last week, and I still have some things to work on."

McNeil faces her doubles partner, Australian Nicole Provis, who could be the tournament's sleeper pick, in today's third match at approximately 3:30.

"She's another baseliner," McNeil said. "On this court balls bounce much higher than they did last week which gives the baseliners a chance to hit their ground strokes. It will be interesting."

Provis, the fifth seed, bagged her first Kraft title earlier this year in Brisbane. Provis, 22, is ranked 39th in the world, and romped 6-1, 6-0 on Thursday.

"Lori likes to attack so I also have to be aggressive, but not make too many mistakes. We've split before but we haven't played in two years or so," Provis said. "The courts are rather quick, and the balls get heavy quickly, so it's the person who makes the least errors."

Kraft tour veteran Pam Shriver is picking fourth-seeded Amy Frazier, 19. Frazier, ranked 25th in the world, already has won two titles, including the 1990 Oklahoma Slims.

"It's nice to come back to a place where you've played well, but that was two years ago. I don't even think like that because everyone here is so good," Frazier said. "I just have to play one match at a time."

Frazier, ranked 25th in the world, plays sixth-seeded Debbie Graham at noon. Graham, a powerful, 6-foot, 21-year-old California native, is ranked 40th, but is the only one of the "Super Seven" that has not won a title.

"I'm just taking it one match at a time," Graham said. "I'm 0-3 against Amy. She beat me in three sets last week in Chicago so I have nothing to lose. We've known each since we were really young. We always pull for each other so it's more than a tennis match when we play."
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Re: 1992

3 Ex-Champs Make Semis
The Daily Oklahoman
Saturday, February 22, 1992
Mike Baldwin

Three former champions played like champions Friday at the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma.

Manon Bollegraf, who won the Oklahoma Slims in 1989, and Amy Frazier, the '90 champion, won in straight sets, while Lori McNeil, who won here in '88, survived a pulsating, third-set tie-breaker to advance to today's semifinals.

The three former Oklahoma Slims champions will be joined by top-seeded Zina Garrison, who defeated Ann Grossman 6-2, 6-0. McNeil faces Bollegraf at 2 p.m. at The Greens. The Garrison-Frazier match starts at 7. Both matches precede doubles semifinals.

McNeil, the tourney's third seed, narrowly escaped fifth-seeded Nicole Provis, her doubles partner, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, winning the tie-breaker 7-5. McNeil trailed 5-3 in the tie-breaker, but won the last four points.

"It was a tough day," McNeil said. "Momentum was tough to get because I missed a lot of first serves. That stops me from coming to the net . . . To play two weeks in a row takes its toll when you stay in a tournament pretty long."

Provis led 2-0 in the third set, but McNeil won five of six games to go up 5-3. Provis tied it 5-5, and both held serve to force a tie-breaker that ended a grueling 2 hour, 13-minute match.

"I just had to stick it out and not put too much emphasis on. I wasn't serving well or returning well. I tried to play each point," McNeil said. "When you're struggling you just try to hang in there."

Bollegraf struggled herself earlier this week, but the tourney's seventh seed looked impressive against second-seeded Gigi Fernandez, rolling to a 6-2, 6-2 win.

"Gigi is a great player. When she gets ahead of you it's really tough so I really tried to start off quickly," Bollegraf said. "It was a good win today. I really thought about this match and focused from the beginning."

The turning point came early in the second set when Bollegraf, trailing 1-0, won a 10-deuce game in which Fernandez failed to capitalize on six break-point chances.

Fernandez began screaming in Spanish and smashed her racquet on the ground repeatedly, eventually tossing it under the umpire's chair. Seated on the sidelines, she pulled out several racquets, slamming each one into the ground.

"I wanted to stay up on her," Bollegraf said. "After that game she kind of handed it to me. She got upset. I was lucky to win it, and then she kind of gave it (the match) away."

The Oklahoma City event is Bollegraf's most successful. The Netherlands native won here in '89, was the runner-up in '90, and reached the semifinals last year.

Garrison has rolled into the semis. She has won five of her six sets by 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2 scores, the other being a 6-4 count.

"My last two matches are the best I've played in a long time because I'm really hitting through the ball," Garrison said. "But I play Amy tomorrow. That will be a lot tougher, but the important thing is I'm enjoying playing."

Frazier, the fourth seed, defeated sixth-seeded Debbie Graham, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. Graham was plagued by eight double faults in the first set, but she still almost won the set.

"We've been really good friends for a long time (since national juniors tournaments) so it's hard to play each other, because I want her to win," Frazier said. "I'm playing well and improving every match."
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Re: 1992

McNeil gains Slims semifinals, respect for doubles partner
The Dallas Morning News
Saturday, February 22, 1992
Debbie Fetterman

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Houston's Lori McNeil gained respect for her new doubles partner, Nicole Provis of Australia, during a quarterfinal match Friday at the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma.

After battling each other for more than two hours, third-seeded McNeil won four consecutive points in the final-set tiebreaker for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Provis at The Greens Country Club.

"Sure, she's still my partner," grinned the physically drained McNeil. "She mixed her serve up well and returned well."

McNeil will be one of three former champions in Saturday's semifinals. McNeil, the 1988 victor, will face No. 7 seed Manon Bollegraf of The Netherlands. Bollegraf, the 1989 titlist, upset No. 2 seed Gigi Fernandez of Aspen, Col., 6-2, 6-2 earlier Friday.

In the other semifinal, the 1990 champion, fourth-seeded Amy Frazier of Rochester, Mich., will face top-seeded Zina Garrison of Houston, who beat Ann Grossman of Grove City, Ohio, 6-2, 6-0. Frazier defeated longtime friend Debbie Graham of Fountain Valley, Calif., the No. 6 seed, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

McNeil also will play a semifinal doubles match with Provis on Saturday. McNeil and Provis, playing their fourth event together, are the top seeds. They will face Kathy Rinaldi and Jill Hetherington, the No. 3 seeds.

"I'm still getting to know her," McNeil said. "I just asked her to play."

McNeil attributed her struggle in part to Provis and in part to her schedule. She advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia Slims of Chicago last week before falling to eventual champion Martina Navratilova, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Oklahoma City is McNeil's fifth event of the year.

"Playing two weeks in a row takes its toll when you stay in it," McNeil said. "I didn't really serve or return serve very well . . . I had to stick it out. I tried not to put too much emphasis on my serve. I needed to keep battling."

Especially in the tie-breaker. McNeil trailed, 5-3, after her sixth double fault. She won the next point when Provis' service return landed wide. McNeil then charged ahead, 6-5, on consecutive overhead winners, closing out the match with a service winner.

Provis had ample opportunities in the third set. After squandering an early service break, Provis was up triple break point to go ahead, 4-3. But McNeil fought off four break points to hold serve and then broke Provis' serve to lead, 5-3. Provis broke back, forcing the tie-breaker.

"Momentum was tough to get," said McNeil, a serve-and-volleyer. "I was missing my first serve, and that stops me from coming into the net."

In earlier action, Frazier captured her fourth consecutive victory over Graham. The two became friends seven years ago playing national junior tournaments.

"Nobody understands how hard it is," Graham said of playing Frazier. "Right, now it's mental. If I had any draw, she would be my toughest opponent. I'd rather play Steffi (Graf) or Zina."
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Re: 1992

An American Success Story - Garrison Faces McNeil in Slims Final
The Daily Oklahoman
Sunday, February 23, 1992
Mike Baldwin

Opponents since childhood, Houston natives Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil will continue their friendly rivalry today in the championship of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma.

It marks the first time in the Oklahoma Slims' seven-year history that two Americans have reached the final. But when Garrison and McNeil square off at 1 p.m. at The Greens, with $27,000 going to the winner, it will be more than a tennis match.

"My coach taught us both when we were 10 . . . We know each other's game really well. It's always very competitive," McNeil said. "Our styles match up really well. She has a lot of court speed, good court coverage, and is such a great competitor."

McNeil, the tourney's third seed, advanced to the final by defeating seventh-seeded Manon Bollegraf 6-3, 7-5, while Garrison withstood a solid challenge from 19-year-old Amy Frazier, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.

Garrison, the tourney's top seed, is listed higher in the world rankings (14th), but McNeil, ranked 22nd, has won five of six meetings, including a 6-1, 6-3 quarterfinals win last week in Chicago.

"I'm the underdog because people expect her to beat me because she's beaten me so many times," Garrison said. "I'm just going to go out there and fight her. I will try some different things than I tried last time."

McNeil says past matches won't have a bearing.

"Each time you walk on the court you don't even think about your record or anything," McNeil said. "Whoever you play feels they have a chance to win."

John Wilkerson, McNeil's current coach and Garrison's former coach, taught both players the game in a Houston parks and recreation program. Both players, age 28, rely on an aggressive serve-and-volley game.

So why has McNeil owned an edge head-to-head?

"I've always been basically on top. She's been just slightly behind me. I think she always really wants to beat me so she always plays really well," Garrison said.

"My goal when I came here was to be here until Sunday. I've had family members come up every day. I didn't want to tell the ones tomorrow, `You can't come because I'm not in,' so I just tried to hang in there."

Garrison breezed in her first three matches, but Frazier, a solid baseliner who is ranked 25th in the world, won 24 of 30 points to win the second set 6-0.

Frazier, on a roll, having won nine of 10 games, was up 3-1 in the third set and serving, leading 30-0 when she hit an easy overhead slam off the net wide. She followed with a double fault. Garrison won that game and five of the last six.

"That was the turning point, because we were in the third set before you know it, and I still wasn't winning points," Garrison said. "I just tried to keep one more ball over the net, and before I knew it she got a little bit tighter than I did."

"That's an understatement. I was really lucky tonight. She has a great backhand. You just really don't know where it's going to go. You can't read it at all."

Both McNeil and Bollegraf have enjoyed tremendous success in Oklahoma City. McNeil, in the championship for the fourth time, is 18-3 at the Oklahoma Slims. Bollegraf, reaching the semis for the fourth straight year, is 15-3.

McNeil gave Bollegraf no openings in the first set, winning 20 of 21 points off her serve, and won a seesaw second set, staving off two set points at 5-4. The former Oklahoma State star won here in '88 and also reached the final in '86 and '87.

"I felt I needed to get a lot of first serves in. That's a (big) part of my game, and I returned pretty well," McNeil said. "In the second set it wasn't that I didn't serve well. I just missed a lot of first serves. That puts more pressure on my return of serve."
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Re: 1992

McNeil earns berth in Oklahoma Slims final, says serve will be key
The Dallas Morning News
Sunday, February 23, 1992
Debbie Fetterman

OKLAHOMA CITY -- When Houston's Lori McNeil serves well, her serve-and-volley game clicks. The Netherlands' Magnon Bollegraf knows only too well.

McNeil lost only one point off her serve in the first set as she surged past Bollegraf, 6-3, 7-5, on Saturday in a semifinal of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma at The Greens Country Club. McNeil, the No. 3 seed, advanced to her fourth Oklahoma final. She will face top-seeded Zina Garrison of Houston or fourth-seeded Amy Frazier of Rochester Hills, Mich., in the final of the $150,000 Kraft Tour event Sunday.

McNeil has a winning record against both. She has not lost to Frazier in three matches and holds a 5-1 edge over Garrison, including a 6-1, 6-3 victory last week in the Chicago Slims quarterfinals. Garrison and McNeil grew up playing tennis at a public park in Houston under John Wilkerson, McNeil's coach.

"It's difficult playing Zina," McNeil said. "We know each other's games very well. Either one will be a really tough match. I'll have to get a lot of first serves in. That will give me the freedom to be a lot more aggressive on my return of serve."

Serving and returning were the keys to McNeil's semifinal victory. When she got her first serve in, she took control of the net. Only when McNeil's serve faltered did Bollegraf challenge, creating two set points in the second set.

"She comes in so fast, and she hits the ball so low," Bollegraf said. "For me, it's very difficult, especially with my double-handed backhand, to hit a passing shot. I maybe, the whole match, had three or four passing shots."

Late in the second set, Bollegraf broke McNeil's serve to even the set, 4-4, and held to lead, 5-4. McNeil again struggled in the 10th game, missing seven of 14 first serves. But she produced solid serves on Bollegraf's two set points.

"I tried to hang in there and see what happened," Bollegraf said. "I made it to two set points because she didn't get first serves in that game and gave me a chance to win the second set. But I just couldn't make it."

McNeil then put Bollegraf on the defensive, pouncing on second serves with well-placed, low returns.

"I see she's ready to come in, so I have to do something with my serve," Bollegraf said. "When you're too scared, you don't get it in, or you get it in and she puts it away. The serve and the return. She did it much better than I did."

Bollegraf knew what to expect. McNeil, who has won five of their six meetings, beat her most recently, 6-3, 6-4, in last year's Virginia Slims of Denver final.

"At least I had a chance," Bollegraf said. "In Denver, she played like she did in the first set the whole match. At least she didn't walk over me like she did in Denver."
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Re: 1992

Garrison struggles, McNeil cruises to all-Houston Oklahoma Slims final
The Dallas Morning News
Sunday, February 23, 1992
Debbie Fetterman

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Top-seeded Zina Garrison's goal of playing in Sunday's Virginia Slims of Oklahoma final almost vanished at the hands of fourth-seeded Amy Frazier. Garrison, the elder serve-and-volleyer, ultimately pulled out a 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 victory over the up-and-coming American baseliner on Saturday night at The Greens Country Club.

After winning the first set, Garrison dropped the second set at love and trailed, 3-1, 30-love, in the third set when an apparant Frazier overhead winner hit the net and bounced wide. Frazier followed with double-fault, opening the way for Garrison to break back.

"I was wanting one point," Garrison said. "It got to where I couldn't even get a point. My feet went one way, my racket the other. I had no clue where the ball was going or how to hit it . . . I just tried to keep one more ball over the net. Before I knew it, she got a little bit tighter than I did."

Garrison advances to the first all-American final in the Oklahoma Slims seven-year history. She will face fellow Houstonian Lori McNeil, who eased past seventh-seeded Manon Bollegraf of The Netherlands, 6-3, 7-5, in Saturday's earlier semifinal.

Garrison and McNeil grew up playing tennis together at a public park in Houston under John Wilkerson, McNeil's coach. The two, who are still friendly, have similar styles and are very competitive.

Although she is the top seed and ranked higher (14th in the world), Garrison considers herself the underdog against the 22nd-ranked McNeil. Garrison has beaten McNeil only once in six meetings. McNeil won the their most recent match, 6-1, 6-3, at the Chicago Slims quarterfinals last week.

"People expect her to beat me because she's beaten me so many times," Garrison said. "Considering she killed me last week, I was hoping I had a chance to play her . . . I think that I've always basically been on top, and she's been slightly behind me. She always really wants to beat me, so she always plays well."

Garrison said she badly wants to win her first singles title since a Birmingham, England, tournament in 1990. She said she will have to play better than she did Saturday, especially than in the second set, in which she won only six points. Garrison, who eased through her first three matches, was tested for the first time in this tournament.

Serving and returning Bollegraf's serve well were the keys for McNeil. When she got her first serve in, she easily took control of the net. Bollegraf took advantage of McNeil's second serve in the second set to create two set-point opportunities.

"I'll have to get a lot of first serves in (against Garrison)," McNeil said. "That will give me the freedom to be a lot more aggressive on my return of serve."
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Re: 1992

Zowie, It's Zina in Slims - Garrison Finally Gets Best of Longtime Rival McNeil
The Daily Oklahoman
Monday, February 24, 1992
Mike Baldwin

Zina Garrison finally beat longtime rival Lori McNeil and finally won a tournament. But it didn't come easy.

The two Houston natives gave The Greens crowd their money's worth and more before Garrison won a third-set tie-breaker 12-10 to collect the $27,000 top prize Sunday afternoon in the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma final.

"I was really lucky. It could have gone either way," Garrison said. "It's kind of different to go through the whole tournament and you haven't lost. It feels really good, but I've been working really hard. I've been waiting for something to happen."

It's Garrison's 11th career Kraft Tour title, but her first in 20 months. Garrison, winning the match 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, defeated McNeil for just the second time in seven career meetings.

"It's not so much beating Lori as much as winning, because I haven't won a tournament in a long time," Garrison said. "Even if it's a lesser tournament, I've been having trouble with people like Amy Frazier and Lori."

Momentum swung back and forth in the match-deciding tie-breaker. Garrison saved two match points, and McNeil saved three. The 2-hour, 17-minute match ended when McNeil hit a backhand shot into the net.

"If I had to pick out one thing, I kind of forced my two match points and rushed the net," McNeil said. "I could have been a little more patient."

McNeil was up 6-5 and 10-9 in the tie-breaker. Garrison led 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8. Garrison said she won't forget the 6-5 point. She ripped a backhand to the baseline.

"I looked (at the lineman). I was just praying the guy called it good," Garrison said. "I looked at Lori, and she was the doing the same thing. As soon as I saw her put her head down I knew it was in."

McNeil was serving for the match at 6-5 in the third set, but Garrison jumped on top love-30 en route to breaking her serve. It forced the tie-breaker.

"That was one of my better games. Before that, Lori was serving really well," Garrison said. "I just told myself, `I want to keep it low, hit through the ball,' and see what could happen."

McNeil and Garrison have played each other since they were 10 years old in a Houston parks and recreation program, so they know each other's games.

"It's emotional when we play. That's the difference when you play someone you know really well," McNeil said. "You have to try and keep your emotions under control."

It was an emotional week for Garrison, who said she liked being in the spotlight again as a No. 1 seed.

"But I've got a long, long way to go being No. 1 in other (Tier I) tournaments," Garrison said, laughing. "The good thing here was I got to play a lot of matches. I had the pressure, and I rose to the occasion. I need more matches like that."

McNeil, finishing as the runner-up here for the third time in addition to winning here in 1988, led in all three sets.

The Oklahoma State product led 5-2 in the first set, but Garrison won five straight games to win the set. McNeil grabbed the only service break in the second set to win 6-3, and led 4-2 in the third set.

"I'm starting strong, but I need a strong finish against top players," McNeil said, referring to a similar loss last week to Martina Navratilova. "If you give them a little space they'll make a run for it. I just need to keep learning."

Garrison had lost to McNeil 6-1, 6-3 last week in Chicago. The difference this time was that Garrison held a 24-15 edge in winners in the decisive third set.

"She killed me last week. It was a match where I just got beat," Garrison said. "Today I at least wanted to show up, and the first couple of games it was here we go again. But I served a lot better and played a lot smarter this time."

Ironically, McNeil won the doubles title on a third-set tiebreaker. McNeil and Nicole Provis defeated Manon Bollegraf and Kartina Adams 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). In singles, McNeil has moved up to No. 20 in the world rankings.

"Losses like this are disappointing, but you have to learn from them. I don't think people learn from their wins," McNeil said. "I need to work on my volleys. In retrospect, it's good I got to the finals, but it's real disappointing."

Virginia Slims of Oklahoma

At The Greens


Singles : Zina Garrison (1), Houston, Texas, def. Lori McNeil (3), Houston, Texas, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10).

Doubles : Nicole Provis, Australia, and Lori McNeil, Houston, Texas, (1) def. Katrina Adams, Houston, Texas, and Minon Bollegraf, the Netherlands, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6).
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Re: 1992

Resurgent Garrison holds off McNeil to win Virginia Slims of Oklahoma
The Dallas Morning News
Monday, February 24, 1992
Debbie Fetterman

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Zina Garrison, once ranked No. 4 in the world, has been training hard to regain her former stature. She rehired former coach Willis Thomas in August, but on-court success still evaded her.

Until Sunday.

Top-seeded Garrison saved two match points before edging childhood rival Lori McNeil in Sunday's Virginia Slims of Oklahoma final, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10), at The Greens Country Club. Garrison took the title on her fourth match-point opportunity.

"I was lucky enough to pull out the last few points," said Garrison, who will move up one spot to 15th in Monday's updated world rankings. "It could have gone either way."

Garrison captured her 11th career title, her first since Birmingham, England, in 1990. She upended fellow Houstonian and nemesis McNeil, the third seed, for the first time since a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the second round of the Slims of Chicago in 1990. Garrison has lost to McNeil five times in seven pro meetings, including a 6-1, 6-3 defeat in the Chicago quarterfinals last week.

"For me, just to win was really good," Garrison said. "I haven't won a tournament in a long time. Even if this is a lesser tournament ($150,000), I still haven't been beating people ... It feels really good. I've been working hard. I was waiting for something to happen -- if it was ever going to happen."

After the draining singles match, McNeil and partner Nicole Provis of Australia came out on top in a suspenseful doubles final. McNeil and Provis pulled out a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory over Houston's Katrina Adams and Manon Bollegraf of The Netherlands.

Garrison said she sensed McNeil was more tentative than last week. But McNeil built a 5-2 first-set lead and another rout seemed possible. Garrison fought back, however, winning five consecutive games to close out the first set.

After dropping the second set, Garrison trailed 4-2 in the third. McNeil also had a chance to serve for the match at 6-5. But Garrison broke back to force the tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Garrison squandered three match points and found herself down match point at 10-9. She hit an overpowering backhand down-the-line passing shot, and everyone held their breath.

"I was just praying that the guy called it in," Garrison said. "I looked at Lori, and she was doing the same. When she put her head down, I figured it was in."
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Re: 1992

Garrison outslugs fellow Houstonian McNeil
Houston Chronicle
Monday, FEBRUARY 24, 1992
Houston Chronicle News Services

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For sheer convenience, Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil could have played at McGregor Park at Houston and settled things between themselves.

But it was more than just a couple of kids from Houston developing their tennis game like it was years ago. After all, it was the final of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma.

So, at Greens Country Club, the friendly rivalry was played out as the top-seeded Garrison needed nearly 2 1/2 hours to defeat McNeil 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 and win the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma singles championship.

"The tiebreak could have gone either way," Garrison said. "I was lucky, but it feels real good to win again. I've been working real hard and still have a lot of work to do."

The victory was the 11th in Garrison's career and avenged a 6-1, 6-3 loss to McNeil last week in the Virginia Slims of Chicago tournament.

"The difference in today's match was my serve and my shots were falling in, where last week at Chicago nothing worked," said Garrison.

It was the first time in the seven-year history of the tournament that the final was all-American, not to mention all-Houston.

The Houston connection won out again in the doubles final when McNeil teamed with Nicole Provis of Australia to beat Katrina Adams of Houston and Manon Bollegraf 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

Adams, formerly from Chicago, moved to Houston last year. McNeil, the No. 3 seed, had previously beaten Bollegraf of the Netherlands 6-3, 7-5 to gained her fourth appearance in the singles final.

Ivanisevic upsets Edberg

STUTTGART, Germany -- Seventh-seeded Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia fired 32 aces to upset No. 2 Stefan Edberg of Sweden 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Eurocard Classic.

Ivanisevic, ranked ninth in the world, dominated, punctuating his performance with five aces in the final game.

"He played very well and he served a little too good today," Edberg said.

But Ivanisevic, who received $144,000 from the total purse of $1.04 million, didn't quite see it that way.

"My record is 28 aces in two sets against (Andre) Agassi in Sydney last October, so this isn't good enough," he said, smiling.

Stanford downs TCU

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Michael Flanagan clinched Stanford's seventh men's USTA-ITCA National Indoor Championship when he edged Texas Christian's Laurent Becouarn en route to the Cardinal's 5-1 victory.

TCU was the first non-California team to reach the final since Louisiana State in 1988. The last non-California team to win the event, the indoor equivalent of the NCAA Championships, was Southern Methodist in 1983.

The Cardinal (8-0) will move from No. 3 to No. 1 in the college rankings, while No. 6 TCU (7-1), which shocked No. 1 UCLA in the quarterfinals, will advance to No. 2.

The Cardinal also got wins from Alex O'Brien, Robert Devens, Jason Yee and Vimal Patel. Luis Ruette secured TCU's lone point with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over Chris Cocotos.

Sampras repeats at U.S. Pro

PHILADELPHIA -- Pete Sampras fired 25 aces in beating Amos Mansdorf 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) and winning his second U.S. Pro Indoor championship in three years.

Sampras won his first tour title two years ago at Philadelphia, beating Andres Gomez. Last year, he was runner-up to Ivan Lendl, losing in five sets.

The second-seeded Sampras received $141,500. He also climbed to the No. 3 world ranking, his best since joining the pro tour in 1988. The 16th-seeded Mansdorf, an Israeli in his first U.S. final since turning pro in 1983, collected $76,000.

In doubles, the second-ranked Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won their third straight title by defeating eight-ranked Jim Graff and Richey Reneberg 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). The winners took home $57,400.


Not being able to play in the 1992 Olympics has Martina Navratilova upset: "I think the selection system stinks. The rule is self-serving and very unfair." She referred to the rule that makes Navratilova and Monica Seles ineligible for the Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain, because neither competed in the Federation Cup.
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Re: 1992

Daily News of Los Angeles
Friday, February 28, 1992
Marc Stein

Look past the hula-hoop earrings and brighter-than-stoplight lipstick. There is a tennis player behind that signature look.

Angelica Gavaldon, the mascara girl of the women's tour, confirmed it by returning to the sport she left in a huff last February. As a rookie, Gavaldon's salon attachments and colors failed to mask the agony that followed her losses. Now she's back, perhaps to prove that burnout isn't a permanent affliction.

"I'm the type of person that's never satisfied," said Gavaldon, who retired 12 months ago with the complaint that full-time travel and tennis isn't a proper life for a 17-year-old.

"I would lose a match here and there and I would be so mad. It was a joke."

Only there wasn't much humor involved. Pressure and disappointment were about all Gavaldon was feeling. When she celebrated her 18th birthday on Oct. 3, it was as an ex-player.

No one could explain it. Gavaldon was different from her peers, a free spirit thought to be immune to the strain that has plagued so many others.

When she started, the Coronado resident made an immediate splash, reaching the quarterfinals of the 1990 Australian Open with wins over Hana Mandlikova and Gigi Fernandez. But she was known just as much for her superstitions, such as kneeling to pray in a bathtub before matches.

The earrings, the lipstick, the eyeliner - they gave her an aura. And in Australia, most people loved it.

John Feinstein, author of the best-selling tennis book "Hard Courts," recounts the story Gavaldon revealed to the media about her grandmother, who said, "Girl, whatever you do, don't leave the house without your earrings on." Gavaldon never did again, prompting the late Ted Tinling to call her ''Lolita."

"She's real feminine, she's little and she's fun," said Angel Lopez, the head pro at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club who has coached Gavaldon since her return to the sport.

"But she's tough."

Gavaldon finished 1990 at No. 51 in the Virginia Slims rankings, having peaked at No. 46. Then she collapsed. In 1991, Gavaldon opened with first- round losses in her first three tournaments and departed for home in February after dropping a three-set match in the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma to Sweden's Catarina Lindqvist, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0.

At that point, Gavaldon had fallen to No. 89. Her match record was 1-4.

"The first two months (away from tennis), it was OK," said Gavaldon, who didn't touch a racket for five months and completed the courses she needed to earn her degree at Bonita High School. "I didn't want to even think about tennis.

"But tennis has been my life. I realized I can't just give it up like that."

When she "retired," Gavaldon reportedly said, "I couldn't face one more hotel, one more airport or another tennis club. I wasn't enjoying it anymore. My friends were so jealous, but it's not like you get to see anything. It's only a job." And although Gavaldon has maintained that she never made those comments - "Tennis magazine quoted me talking to the New York Times, which I never did," Gavaldon said - she concedes that "sometimes you say things you don't mean."

Lopez, who helped Zina Garrison achieve a No. 4 ranking in 1989 and 1990, cleared up the confusion quickly. By late October, Gavaldon, the daughter of Mexican-American parents, had qualified for the Puerto Rico Open.

A first-round loss in San Juan to Barbara Rittner didn't cause a relapse. She finished 1991 by qualifying for the Arizona Classic and winning a satellite tournament in Mexico, and this year Gavaldon has qualified for each of the four events she has entered. Now ranked No. 258, Gavaldon won her first main-draw match in the $350,000 Evert Cup before losing Wednesday to 14th-seeded Helen Kelesi.

"I think you have to leave it to find out this is not bad," said Lopez, who named her 2-year-old daughter Angelica "because I want her to be a little tennis player."

"Angelica has been gung-ho ever since," Lopez said. "You can tell she wants to be there."

Lopez wasn't as sure during Gavaldon's 90-minute struggle against Kelesi, in which Mexico's No. 1 player took a 2-0 lead, then lost her spark. Lopez spent most of the match scribbling notes, the majority of them addressing intensity. Maybe, the coach wonders, Gavaldon is not cured.

Throughout the loss to Kelesi, Lopez yelled to his student to fire up. ''She doesn't play well when she's not emotional," he said.

Though she listened and nodded, nothing changed. And afterward, the ''bubbly" in Gavaldon's personality clearly had vanished.

"Sometimes, when I feel this way, I tell myself that I'm better off doing this," Gavaldon said. "The time away made me realize this is what I want to do."
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Re: 1992

1992 Canadian Open. Graf and Navratilova would both pull out late (and be fined, IIRC).

Montreal tourney returns tennis players to the real world
The Toronto Star
Saturday, August 15, 1992
Garth Woolsey

Most of the world's best women's tennis players are getting together in Montreal this week for the $660,000 Matinee Ltd. International tournament, their first major convention P.B. (Post Barcelona).

They are definitely dissimilar events, the Canadian open women's championship and the Olympics. Montreal is a regular stop on the women's tour and the Matinee (formerly the Player's Ltd. Challenge) is one of its better-than-average fixtures.

For the women's tour, Montreal is an appropriate transition from Barcelona back to reality. From the quest for gold and glory back to the chase for dollars and computer points.

The early-round matches, Monday through Friday, will be carried on TSN while the Saturday semi-finals (noon to 5 p.m.) and Sunday finals (1 p.m.-4 p.m.) are on CTV.

Tennis has been a full-medal sport at the past two Olympics and, as such, has provided a mid-season break from the tournament mill. But not everyone who participated came away satisfied with the Olympic experience.

For one thing, the Spanish organizers chose clay as the playing surface, a choice that favored their own best players and one that did not fit into the pros' preparations schedule. The French Open, long past, was the last major pre-Barcelona tournament on clay; the summer season is strictly hardcourts.

But beneath the surface, so to speak, there was more to the pros' objections.

Only one of the men - No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia - ranked in the top 24 made it as far as the quarterfinals, an unheard of development in the regular course of events. The fallen stars complained of the surface, the timing (between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open), the wilting weather, the length, the best-of-five format, the distractions, the poor accommodations, the lack of the usual incentives (that is, serious prize money) . . . .

Interestingly, by comparison, the women's side had few upsets - the eight quarter-finalists included the top seven ranked players. This might reflect the dominance of the best players over the rest of the field; it might suggest that the superior women are superior no matter the surface; it might reflect well upon their motivation as compared with the men's; it may be that the women, playing best-of-three matches, were less affected by the heat . . . many interpretations are possible.

But one thing that miffed Steffi Graf was the suggestion that tennis players have grown too pampered to appreciate the Olympic experience.

"Maybe it looks like tennis players have a great life, but we came from somewhere," Graf said, responding to the suggestion that the tour players perform well only in luxurous surroundings. "We all came from tougher times than now. If you saw some of the places I used to stay, you wouldn't believe it."

For the record, Graf stayed in a private home in Barcelona. For the record, too, the apartments in the athletes' village in Barcelona were not air conditioned, but classified as luxury accommodations that will go for $250,000 to $300,000 after the Games.

In any case, Montreal represents the return to normal for another four years. Most of the usual names will be there: Graf, who has won four of the last five Wimbledon titles; the indomitable Martina Navritalova, a four-time winner of this tournament; Arantxa Sanchez- Vicario; the Maleeva sisters; Mary Joe and Gigi Fernandez; and, the top Canadian players, including Mary Pierce.

Pierce? She's not often mentioned along with Patricia Hy or Rene Simpson Alter or Helen Kelesi, but she may be the best Canadian-born woman currently on tour. The trouble is that the 17-year-old, born in Montreal to an American father and a French mother, has chosen to play under the French flag.

This, apparently, will be Pierce's first return to the birthplace she left in infancy.
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Re: 1992

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sunday, August 16, 1992
Gregg Wong

Through little fault of her own, Ann Henricksson has been missing in action this summer.

Henricksson, the Mahtomedi native, is still playing the women's pro tour as she approaches the age of 33.

Lately, however, Henricksson and many other women pros have been out of work.

``With Federation Cup and the Olympics, it's been kind of a bleak summer for some of us,'' Henricksson said last week from her home in San Francisco. ``Only (World) TeamTennis and a few clay court tournaments in Europe have been going on the last month.

``I lost in the qualifying at Manhattan Beach (Calif.) this week, and that was the first time I've played since the grass court tournaments in England.''

Henricksson played at Birmingham and in the Wimbledon qualifying. She missed the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time since 1982.

Just two years ago, Henricksson had her best grand slam showing ever, reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

These days, Henricksson often has to play the qualifying events because she is ranked 178th in the world in singles (and 118th in doubles). She has earned $18,120, giving her more than $500,000 in her career.

``My ranking leaves me right on the edge now,'' Henricksson said. ``I can get in some of the smaller tournaments, but I have to go through the qualifying for the bigger ones, like the U.S. Open.''

This weekend, she was in Toronto, trying to qualify for this week's Canadian Open. After that, she will play in the U.S. Open qualifying. She missed the Open last year for the first time since turning pro in 1981.

Even if she does not make the Open singles draw, she plans to play doubles with veteran pro Louise Allen.

``I'm still hanging in there and having a good time,'' Henricksson said. ``I've been playing fairly well recently.

``Beyond that, I plan to go full bore the rest of the year. Then I'll evaluate myself and see if I want to play another year or not.''

League sectionals

Forty-seven teams and more than 500 individuals from throughout the area will play in the United States Tennis Association Adult League sectionals Friday through next Sunday in Bloomington and Eden Prairie.

Men's and women's teams with ratings from 3.0 to 5.0 will play round-robins to determine qualifiers for nationals, which will be played in October in three cities - San Antonio, Tex., Tucson, Ariz., and Palm Springs, Calif.

Five sites totaling 36 courts will be used for the local sectionals: 98th Street Racquet Club, Jefferson and Kennedy high schools and Valley View and Dred Scott parks.

As a bonus, the Northwest Tennis Association will offer free weekly training camps before nationals for each of the qualifying teams.

No let serves?

The rules committee of the USTA is considering eliminating the let serve.

Thus, if a serve hits the net and lands in the service box, the receiver must play it - just like players must play all other shots during a point that hit the net and land in the court.

According to Bob Rockwell of Bloomington, a former chief umpire of the U.S. Open and a member of several USTA committees, such a rule change would be equitable to both the server and receiver.

``A survey of 198 matches at the 1984 Open showed there was an average of four times per match that a serve hit the net cord and came down in play,'' Rockwell said. ``Of those four points, the server won two and the receiver won two. There was no benefit to either player.''

A server would gain if the serve ticks the net and just trickles over, well out of reach of the receiver. The receiver gains when the serve hits the net and pops up for an easy putaway.

Tip of the week

Today's your last chance this summer to watch plenty of top-flight tennis under the sun and skies.

Several finals of the National Public Parks championships are today at 98th Street Racquet Club starting at 9 a.m. The women's open final is at 11 a.m., the men's final at 1 p.m.

Look and learn from these top players.

Drop shots

Jane Smith, the teaching pro who has rejuvenated tennis in northwestern Wisconsin based out of the Hayward Golf and Tennis Club, has found the much-needed pro to assist her next summer, Scott Meyer, a Stillwater native and co-captain at Winona State.

After Meyer graduates in May, he will join Smith to help in the development of tennis in the Hayward area. Among their plans is to put on clinics in every town in the area that has a court.

St. Paul teaching pro Ernie Greene will play in two major tournaments this fall - the national 70 clay courts in Arlington, Va., next month and the USPTR nationals at Hilton Head, S.C., in October.
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