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post #61 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Friday, March 6, 1992

It was a day of few surprises at the Virginia Slims of Florida Thursday.

Most of the top seeds advanced, most of the lower-ranked players didn't and nobody talked about nude sunbathing photographs.

Today's quarterfinals feature the top five seeds, and six of the top seven.

The mildest upsets came when No. 16 seed Barbara Rittner beat No. 5 Leila Meskhi 6-2, 6-3, and unseeded Amanda Coetzer beat No. 8 Judith Wiesner 6-3, 6-1 at the Polo Club.

Other than that, the tournament followed form.

Second-seeded Gabriela Sabatini, No. 3 Mary Joe Fernandez, No. 4 Conchita Martinez, No. 5 Nathalie Tauziat and No. 7 Zina Garrison advanced to join top seed Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals.

Most of the winners had little trouble, but Garrison needed three sets to beat Brenda Schultz 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

That win sets up today's most attractive match, with Garrison facing the unenviable task of playing Graf. (Carling Bassett-Seguso made the player draw, and when she saw Garrison could meet Graf, Bassett-Seguso said: "She's going to be mad at me.")

Graf has won eight of 10 matches against Garrison, including the last three. Garrison beat Graf the first time they played in 1985, and her only other win over Graf came in the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1990.

"The court's pretty slow and we're both pretty quick," Garrison said. "We've always had real good matches with some really good points and I'm looking forward to playing her."

Sabatini beat 16-year-old Chanda Rubin, the tournament's youngest player, 6-2, 6-2 in a match Sabatini said was tougher than it appeared.

"She was not making many mistakes," Sabatini said. "She was very consistent. I had to play very well each point to win."

Sabatini saved her best shot for the last, sending a running backhand down the line to win the match.

"That was a good point," Sabatini said.

Rubin, from Lafayette, La., left disappointed with the loss, but happy with her tournament.

"It was a good experience," she said. "I had a good time."

Today, Sabatini will face Coetzer, a 22-year-old South African ranked 61st in the world.

Martinez, who will play Rittner, had to go to a tiebreaker in the second set to beat Kimiko Date, but prevailed 7-3. Martinez (ranked No. 8) has played well recently. Last week, she lost to Monica Seles in the finals in Indian Wells, Calif.

"I feel comfortable," Martinez said. "Everybody is difficult but I think I have a chance to do something."

Fernandez played her old friend and practice partner, Laura Gildemeister, and won 6-3, 7-5.

In the second set, Fernandez led 5-3, but Gildemeister came back, breaking Fernandez's serve, then holding hers to tie the match at 5 before Fernandez won the last two games.

"She can go for streaks where she hits winners and gets all her shots," Fernandez said, "but then she makes unforced errors."

Fernandez faces Tauziat, ranked No. 14, who last year beat Fernandez in the quarterfinals.

"Hopefully," Fernandez said, "I'll get her back."
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post #62 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald - Saturday, March 7, 1992

Gabriela Sabatini looked down at her shoes. No answer there. She looked at the sky. No answer there. Shoulders drooping, legs and hands hurting, Sabatini finally leaned in for the next serve, soon to lose to the 61st-ranked player in the world in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims of Florida at the Polo Club Boca Raton.

Leg cramps, hand cramps and Amanda Coetzer had combined Friday to puzzle, frustrate, exhaust and finally defeat Sabatini, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Steffi Graf was a little confused for a while, too. Things went from easy to three sets as Graf's 6-0, 5-2 lead over Zina Garrison turned into a long, hard match that Graf nearly gave away before prevailing, 6-0, 5-7, 7-5.

Graf will face Miami's Mary Joe Fernandez, who defeated Nathalie Tauziat, 6-4, 6-2, in one semifinal today. Coetzer will take on Conchita Martinez, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Barbara Rittner, in the other.

Disbelief abounded after both the upset and near-upset of the day. Sabatini couldn't believe she was afflicted with such painful, all-over-the-body cramps for the first time in her career. Graf couldn't figure out how she let a flawless first set turn into a tough two-hour match.

"I've been training very hard. I was ready," said Sabatini, the defending Florida Slims champion who lives on Key Biscayne. "I just wonder why this happened."

Coetzer, a five-foot-two South African, had a little to do with it. Coetzer forced long points with consistent groundstrokes in the first set that left Sabatini breathless.

"I was feeling very tired," Sabatini said. "She was opening the court very well, so I was running a lot."

Coetzer, 20, who had not defeated a top-10 player before, showed no emotion throughout the match, although she had most of a sellout crowd of 6,181 roaring by the third set.

"Get the cameras on the kid!" a man in the bleachers shouted after Coetzer had broken Sabatini to go up, 4-2, in the final set.

Sabatini's topspin-heavy strokes were answered time and again by the short, conservative swing of Coetzer, who was as surprised as anyone that she was beating up on the No. 3 player in the world.

"I never really knew I had her," she said. "At my level, I can't really plan to win a tournament."

The top-seeded Graf, on the other hand, has her eyes on the title, especially now that second-seeded Sabatini is out. Still, she was dismayed by her inability to put Friday's quarterfinal away convincingly.

"It's disappointing to let it slip away," she said. "You play so well to a certain point, and then you let the opponent get into the match -- that's what's disappointing."

Garrison was disappointed for other reasons. She came back for a 4-2 lead in the third set -- to the delight of the crowd -- but failed twice to hold serve when it counted.

"I felt I should have won it," Garrison said. "I still need to be a lot more aggressive when I'm up and go for my shots."

Garrison admitted that she was ready to pack up her racquet and go home after winning no games in the first set.

"I was thinking I was just going to go to the net and say, 'I'm sorry I didn't give you any competition today,' " she said.

Garrison got into the match just in time, however, by going to the net more and trying more shots -- like an impossible forehand drop shot from the service line that pulled the crowd out of its seats.

"She played some crazy shots," Graf said.

In the end, Graf's strong forehand and offensive slices halted Garrison's comeback just before she hit the tape. Down 6-5 and serving, Garrison didn't win a point.

"It felt very quick," Garrison said. "The points were just breezing by."

And that was rare on a day when nothing seemed to come easy.

Even Fernandez, who played after both close matches, got a little uneasy when she took a 5-2 lead in the second set.

"I said, 'All right, pretend this is a game you have to win and don't fool around,' " she said.

A German magazine published a picture of a woman sunbathing in the nude and said it was Graf.

The Munich-based Bunte, a news and lifestyle magazine, published what it said was a photo of Graf lounging by a swimming pool at Graf's private Polo Club home in Boca Raton.

The hazy picture shows two unidentifiable women, one sitting in a lounge chair and another on a lawn cot looking skyward and holding what appears to be a red towel in an attempt to cover up.

Bunte said the seated person in the picture was Graf's mother, Heidi, 47.

The photos were published late Thursday, the same day Graf blasted what she said was a photo taken of her from a helicopter 11 days ago.

Friday's results

Singles quarterfinals: Steffi Graf (1) d. Zina Garrison (7), 6-0, 5-7, 7-5; Amanda Coetzer d. Gabriela Sabatini (2), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Mary Joe Fernandez (3) d. Nathalie Tauziat (5), 6-4, 6-2; Conchita Martinez (4), Spain, def. Barbara Rittner (16), Germany, 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles quarterfinals: Meredith McGrath/Rennae Stubbs d. Alexia Dechaume/Kristin Godridge, 6-2, 6-3; Eva Pfaff/Catherine Suire d. Silvia Farina/Linda Ferrando, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7); Larisa Savchenko/Natalia Zvereva (1) d. Jo Durie/Lise Gregory, 6-3, 6-3.

Today's schedule

2 p.m.: Conchita Martinez (4) vs. Amanda Coetzer; Linda Harvey-Wild/Conchita Martinez vs. Meredith McGrath/Rennae Stubbs (8).

7 p.m.: Steffi Graf (1) vs. Mary Joe Fernandez (3); Larisa Savchenko/Natalia Zvereva (1) vs. Eva Pfaff/Catherine Suire.
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post #63 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Re: 1992

Sun-Sentinel - Saturday, March 7, 1992

BOCA RATON -- Steffi Graf survived; Gabriela Sabatini didn't.

What a wild ride for two Virginia Slims of Florida champions and a sellout crowd of 6,181 left breathless at The Polo Club on Friday.

Sabatini was denied a shot at an unprecedented fourth title by steady Amanda Coetzer and an attack of cramps in the third set of a baffling 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 defeat.

Graf, meanwhile, still has a chance to win her record-tying third title after an amazing roller-coaster 6-0, 5-7, 7-5 victory over courageous Zina Garrison.

Mary Joe Fernandez and Conchita Martinez completed today's semifinal foursome with more routine victories.

Fernandez avenged last year's loss to Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 6-2, while Martinez defeated Barbara Rittner 6-1, 6-0.

Fernandez takes on Graf at 7 p.m. Martinez meets Coetzer at 2 p.m. Both sessions are sold out.

Graf held double-match point at 6-0, 5-2, 15-40 before Garrison staged a remarkable rally. Garrison was two points from a 5-3 lead in the third set.

"I need to have some tough matches and that's what I got," said Graf, who is playing only her second tournament of an illness-plagued season.

"Up 6-0, 5-2, but in a crazy way, this was good for me."

Fueled by the crowd, Garrison nearly completed one of the great comebacks in tennis history.

"I felt I should have won," said Garrison, who defeated Graf at Wimbledon in a 1990 classic. "I didn't go for it. When you're playing No. 2 in the world, they're not going to give it to you; you have to take it."

Garrison was up a break twice in the final set, at 2-1 and 3-2. Serving at 4-3, Garrison saved two break points with an overhead and a service winner, but doublefaulted at deuce, then netted a forehand to lose the edge.

Graf held for 4-all at deuce, saving a break point with a forehand volley, and winning the next two points on backhand errors.

With husband Willard yelling "Pump it up, Z," Garrison held for 5-all with a devilish forehand drop shot on her fifth game point.

Then was the end of the drama, however, as Graf won seven of the last eight points, breaking Garrison at love to finish the match.

"The last game went very quick," Garrison said. "The points flew by."

"I played aggressive again," Graf said. "I was more on the defensive after 6-0, 5-2. I should have come in more, but she was making these crazy passing shots that kept me back. She went for her shots and made some great ones."

Bothered by a troublesome skirt, Graf got a new one at 3-4 in the final set from her father, Peter, who raced across the street to Steffi's house for the garment.

"I've been running 20 miles a day, but this was harder," Peter said. "To win a match like that, when she was up and down, is good for Steffi."

"I felt great after I put on the new skirt," said Graf, who performed the change neatly at courtside, wrapping the new skirt over the old one.

A fresh skirt would not have helped Sabatini in the third set. She needed new legs and a new right arm.

Midway through the final set, Sabatini began limping, as the cramps hit one leg, then the other. The pain shot up her right arm, and she tried to hit one shot left-handed. Sabatini called for the trainer at 5-2, but there was no quick fix.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Sabatini said. "I've never had cramps that bad before. I wonder why it happened. I've been feeling good and practicing well."

"This is the best win of my career," said Coetzer, 20, an unseeded South African ranked No. 61. "I know I played a good match. (Sabatini's cramps) don't take anything away from it."

Coetzer lost the first-set battle that lasted an hour, but won the war.

"She wasn't hurting me from the baseline, and I knew that if I could hang in there in the second set, I had a good chance," said Coetzer, who won her first three matches in straight sets.

"Winning the first game of the second set was very important."

Sabatini led 2-0 in the final set, but never won another game. Coetzer broke from 40-love for a 3-2 lead, then saved two break points as she held for 4-2.

"I started losing control at 3-2," Sabatini said. "I thought about quitting, but I felt I should try it."

-- Amanda Coetzer d No. 2 Gabriela Sabatini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

-- No. 1 Steffi Graf d. No. 7 Zina Garrison 6-0, 5-7, 7-5.


-- Conchita Martinez vs. Amanda Coetzer, 2 p.m.

-- Steffi Graf vs. Mary Joe Fernandez, 7 p.m..


"When someone comes back from 6-0, 5-2, 40-15, who wouldn't cheer for that somebody?" -- Steffi Graf after edging Zina Garrison.


-- In head-to-head matchups, Steffi Graf leads Mary Joe Fernandez 6-0 and Conchita Martinez leads Amanda Coetzer 2-0.

-- Graf reached her sixth consecutive Virginia Slims of Florida semifinal. She missed the 1990 tournament with a broken thumb.

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post #64 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Re: 1992

Sun-Sentinel - Saturday, March 7, 1992

BOCA RATON -- Conchita Martinez lasted one round at the Virginia Slims of Florida last year. Claudia Porwik stopped the Spaniard in her first match.

Martinez returned this year, and all she sees are green lights. She defeated Barbara Rittner 6-1, 6-0 Friday night to earn a berth in this afternoon's semifinal against Amanda Coetzer.

Martinez, the fourth seed, figured she would have to play defending champion Gabriela Sabatini, but Coetzer and the cramps took care of that.

"I had a chance, but I have a better chance now," Martinez said.

All the attention has been on the Big Three of Sabatini, Steffi Graf and Mary Joe Fernandez, but Martinez has lost fewer games -- 12 -- than anyone.

"I'm playing well and feeling very comfortable," she said. "Last year, I didn't start the year very well."

Martinez is rolling through the doubles with her partner Linda Harvey-Wild as well. They meet Meredith McGrath and Rennae Stubbs in this afternoon's semifinal.

-- Martinez drew the afternoon semifinal because she is also playing doubles. The tournament did not think it would be fair for Martinez to play singles and doubles in the night session, then have to come back for Sunday afternoon's final (if she wins).

-- Mary Joe Fernandez led Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 5-2, but she did not let up. She saw what happened to Steffi Graf.

"This is the game you have to win," said Fernandez, who closed out the match in the next game. "I wasn't going to fool around. People may not recognize all the names, but everyone is a good player. There are no easy matches anymore."

Fernandez faces Graf for the first time since losing in the semifinals at Wimbledon last summer.

"I played a good match at Wimbledon," said Fernandez, who is 0-6 against Graf. "For the first time, I felt I could give her some trouble. The more you play someone, the better your chance."

Fernandez said that the serve will be the key to tonight's match: "Mine and hers. Steffi has a big serve and it's hard to break, but the court here is pretty slow."

-- Who is Amanda Coetzer?

The 20-year-old South African reached the quarterfinals here two years ago before losing to Mary Joe Fernandez 6-0, 6-1.

Coetzer is only 5 feet 2, but she covers the court well and plays without nerves.

"I wasn't nervous against Sabatini," she said. "I knew I could only enjoy it."
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post #65 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Saturday, March 7, 1992

Steffi Graf beat Zina Garrison in three sets Friday in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims of Florida.

But it took Graf three sets after she led Garrison 6-0, 5-2 and 40-15.

"Five-two and 40-15?" Graf was asked about the 5-7 loss in the second set.

"Yeah," Graf said, rolling her eyes and putting her head in her hands, aware that it isn't often she has to go to 7-5 in the third set to win a match she dominated early.

Graf didn't like that the match went into a third set, but she said that after not playing this year until Feb. 10-16 in Chicago, she was glad to have a tough match.

"In a stupid kind of way, it's good," Graf said. "That's what I need. I said at the beginning of the tournament that I need some tough matches, and I'm glad I got one."

* Conchita Martinez reached the finals last week in Indian Wells, Calif. With the upset of Gabriela Sabatini Friday, the only player between Martinez (No. 8 in the world) and her second consecutive finals is unseeded and 61st-ranked Amanda Coetzer.

What did Martinez think when she saw Sabatini had lost?

"That I had a chance to win," Martinez said after she had defeated Barbara Rittner 6-1, 6-0. "I think I'm playing very well."

* The Polo Club usually is a pro-Sabatini crowd, but as Coetzer's upset over Sabatini proceeded, the support for Coetzer grew.

"It was pretty funny," Coetzer said.

Same with Garrison, who started to gain crowd support as she came back against Graf, a Polo Club resident.

"If you were watching somebody lose 6-0, 5-2 and 40-15, and they came back, wouldn't you start rooting for them?" Graf said.

"I think they enjoy tennis," Garrison said. "I can see why Steffi lives here. The people appreciate you; they don't nag you."

* Coetzer's win gave her a rare chance to think about winning a tournament. She reached the finals only once in 1991, losing in Puerto Rico to Julie Halard. When the tournament began, winning wasn't dominating her thoughts.

"At my level I can't really plan to win the tournament," Coetzer said.

* Matchups in today's semifinals:

Graf and Mary Joe Fernandez have played six times, with Graf winning all six. Fernandez has never won a set from Graf, but the two have played only twice the last two years.

"I'm going to have to play aggressively, like I always say," Fernandez said. "I won't beat her just getting the ball back and hitting with her."

All week players have called the Polo Club center court a slow hard court. Fernandez did not feel it would give her any advantage.

"On a fast court she can hit more winners, but on this court she can run more balls down," Fernandez said.

Martinez has played Coetzer twice, winning both on hard courts.

* Both of Friday's sessions sold out. Attendance through five days is 54,004. With three more sellouts expected today and Sunday, the tournament will draw 72,547 and shatter the attendance record of 59,783 set last year.
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post #66 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:34 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Saturday, March 7, 1992

Gabriela Sabatini expected a tough match Friday against Amanda Coetzer.

She didn't expect Coetzer to cramp her style, though.

Coetzer won the biggest match of her career in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims of Florida , beating Sabatini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and knocking the defending champion and No. 2 seed out of the tournament.

Though Coetzer played well, Sabatini was slowed by cramps in both legs and her right (racket) arm.

Coetzer advanced to today's 2 p.m. semifinal at the Polo Club Boca Raton, where she will play No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez. Martinez beat Barbara Rittner 6-1, 6-0.

"I think I have a better chance now (that Sabatini has lost)," Martinez said. "But, everybody plays good."

In tonight's 7 o'clock semifinal, top seed Steffi Graf faces No. 3 Mary Joe Fernandez. Graf survived a three-set match, as Zina Garrison rebounded from a 6-0 first-set loss to win the second set 7-5 before Graf took the third 7-5. Fernandez beat Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 6-2.

Coetzer, a 20-year-old South African ranked No. 61, took advantage of Sabatini's cramps, which worsened as the two-hour, 13-minute match continued in midday heat.

By the middle of the third set, Sabatini could hardly move her legs. At one point, a cramp gripped her arm and she tried unsuccessfully to hit the ball left-handed.

"The hand was closed and it wouldn't open," Sabatini said. "It was scary."

Sabatini said the cramps, which had happened only once before to her (in a 1990 loss to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in Canada), were a mystery. She drank her normal amount of fluids before and during the match, and she said she was ready to play the tournament.

"It's a little disappointing," Sabatini said. "Why did that happen?"

Trailing 4-2 in the third set, Sabatini asked for a trainer, but all the trainer told her to do was stretch and drink water. Sabatini thought about quitting, but she wanted to keep trying.

"It was surprising, and disappointing," Sabatini said. "I was ready. I prepared very well to play the tournament. I just wonder why that happened."

Coetzer said she would think about the win, not Sabatini's injury.

"I know I played a good match," Coetzer said. "It won't take anything away from it."

Graf took just 39 minutes to win the first set and take a 5-2, 40-15 lead in the second.

"Realistically," Garrison said, "I was thinking of going to the net and saying, `Sorry I didn't give you any competition today.' "

Inexplicably, Graf let the second set slip away. A match that could have ended in less than 50 minutes took two hours and five minutes and plenty of hard work.

Garrison came back to win the second set 7-5, then took a 4-3 lead in the third set.

"At first there was not much going wrong in my game," said Graf, a Polo Club resident. "What she was going for didn't work at all. Then I got a little on the defense, and she was going for her shots. She didn't miss. She played great shots, but I wasn't aggressive enough.

"That's what I turned around at the end of the match."

In addition, a ball boy upset Garrison in the third set. Leading 4-3 and serving at deuce, she missed a first serve and turned for another ball.

He stared into space.

Garrison stomped on the ground, and he continued to stare.

Garrison finally yelled, got the ball and missed her second serve.

After she put a forehand into the net, the match was tied and Garrison angrily looked at the ball boy.

"He just wasn't there," Garrison said, adding the incident affected her rhythm. "It was a huge point and his focus was somewhere else."

Garrison said, though, that she lost because she didn't play the key points aggressively enough.

"I felt I should have won it," Garrison said.

Graf was just happy to win.

"Even though it was close," she said, "and I should have beaten her easy, I'm happy and I am looking forward to (today)."

Fernandez said she knew what had happened to Graf, and when she led the second set 5-2 she thought of it.

"I said, `All right, you've got to win and not fool around here,' " Fernandez said.
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post #67 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:37 PM
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald - Sunday, March 8, 1992

The rain finally went away -- after three hours -- and Mary Joe Fernandez did a little later, losing, 6-0, 7-5, to Steffi Graf in Saturday night's rain-delayed semifinal of the Virginia Slims of Florida at The Polo Club Boca Raton.

In the earlier semifinal, Conchita Martinez ended the upset run of Amanda Coetzer, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, setting up today's 2 p.m. final between Martinez and Graf.

Martinez and Graf have met five times, with Graf winning every match.

The rain-soaked 2,000 or so who stayed for the Fernandez-Graf match must have been wondering during a hasty first set why they bothered.

The top-seeded Graf surrendered only three points in the 17-minute first set to Fernandez, who double-faulted four times and couldn't handle Graf's 90-plus mile-per-hour first serve.

"She hit some balls on the frame and she made some double faults," Graf said. "She wasn't really into it."

Fernandez, seeded third, finally got into it in the second set, breaking Graf in the first game.

"Once you get a game you feel like it's a new match," Fernandez said. "It's a new set. Whether you lose (the first set) 6-0 or 7-6, it's over with and you have to start fresh."

Graf took leads of 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 in the second set, but Fernandez kept fighting back, holding serve despite being down two break points and then breaking Graf at love to go up, 5-4.

The crowd was on Fernandez's side by then, giving her a standing ovation when she and Graf retook the court. Graf ended the comeback right there, however, winning the next three games.

Fernandez said she had a hard time getting into the match after the rain delay. Graf, who simply walked across the street to her home, wasn't bothered by it.

"I felt good," Graf said. "I just stayed home a while and watched some TV."

Well before the rain began to fall, Coetzer did in three sets, but not until proving to Martinez that she had earned her earlier victories over eighth-seeded Judith Weisner and second- seeded Gabriela Sabatini.

Coetzer, ranked No. 61 in the world, relied on patience, easy strokes and quick feet throughout the match. Her first serves rarely exceeded 74 mph and occasionally dropped into the low-60s. Her groundstrokes were laced with purpose, not power.

In fact, with Coetzer it was hard to tell when the warm-up ended and the match began. Seemingly content to keep the ball in play, Coetzer patrolled the baseline, letting almost nothing past as she waited for Martinez to make mistakes.

Martinez made quite a few in the first set, committing 29 unforced errors, four fewer than she made in the last two sets combined. She quickly lost the first four games, including two service games at love.

"It's really difficult," Martinez said. "You have to wait and try to win all the points because she doesn't miss a lot."

After dropping the first game of the second set, however, Martinez got consistent, Coetzer got sloppy and suddenly Martinez, 19, the No. 8 player in the world, had a 3-1 lead.

"I was thinking, 'I have a chance,' " she said. "I said, 'OK, come on, let's do it.' "

She did it, winning nine of the last 11 games.

"When I started playing more aggressive, it was a lot better," Martinez said. "I started very bad. It's impossible to play that bad all the match."

While Martinez was tightening up her game, Coetzer's was unraveling, and fast. In the third set she hit no winners and committed 18 unforced errors.

"I let my mind slip a bit and she started playing more defensively, not making as many mistakes," Coetzer said. "I was thinking of winning the match and she just started to hit back as many balls as she could."

The loss ended Coetzer's wild upset ride. Not even Coetzer's family expected her to make it this far.

After her victory over Sabatini Friday, Coetzer said she called her parents in South Africa with the news. Her dad answered the phone.

"I feel sorry for you. How bad was it?" Coetzer's father asked.

"Well, I won," Amanda said.

There was a silence before the elder Coetzer spoke again.

"He said he has a bad heart and I should speak to my mom first," Coetzer said.

Saturday's results

Singles semifinals: Conchita Martinez (4) d. Amanda Coetzer, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0; Steffi Graf (1) d. Mary Joe Fernandez (3), 6-0, 7-5.

Doubles semifinals: Linda Harvey-Wild/Conchita Martinez d. Meredith McGrath/Rennae Stubbs, 6-3, 6-4.

Today's schedule

11 a.m.: Larisa Savchenko/Natalia Zvereva (1) vs. Eva Pfaff/Catherine Suire.

2 p.m.: Conchita Martinez (4) vs. Steffi Graf (1); followed by Linda Harvey-Wild/Conchita Martinez vs. Savchenko/Zvereva- Pfaff/Suire winner.
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post #68 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:41 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Sunday, March 8, 1992

Conchita Martinez said she lacked passion early in her Virginia Slims of Florida semifinal match against Amanda Coetzer.

Had she watched Steffi Graf later Saturday night, Martinez would have learned how to start a match.

No matter.

Both Martinez and Graf won to advance to today's 2 p.m. final at the Polo Club Boca Raton.

Martinez, the No. 4 seed playing in 105-degree, on-court, afternoon heat, came back to beat unseeded Amanda Coetzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

In the evening semifinal, No. 1 Graf waited out a three-hour rain delay at her Polo Club home, then beat No. 3 seed Mary Joe Fernandez 6-0, 7-5.

For Graf, the rain delay, which left half the sellout crowd sitting home when the match started at 10:10 p.m., was no problem. She sat in her living room across the street and watched all but the last 10 minutes of Beverly Hills Cop 2.

She then won the first set in 17 minutes, losing just three points.

"I was so relaxed," Graf said. "I felt really good."

While Graf relaxed on her couch, Fernandez fidgeted.

"There wasn't much to do," Miami's Fernandez said. "My family was here, so I just sat in the players' lounge and chatted and waited."

Fernandez found her game in the second set, taking a 5-4 lead with the serve. But Graf broke Fernandez and won the next two games to advance.

"Every match I've started 6-0 or 6-1 in the first set, and it's like I don't realize I'm playing that well," Graf said. "It's like wait a minute, it's not supposed to be so easy."

"I was a little unfortunate not to win the second set," Fernandez said, "but that's the way it goes."

Graf has won all seven times that she has played Fernandez, without losing a set. Graf said Fernandez's style helps her game.

"I like the way she plays," Graf said. "Her rhythm. She plays very solid. I like the way she plays so she really gets me into my rhythm."

Graf has never lost a set to Martinez,

either. Graf has won all five matches against Martinez, the last a 6-0, 6-3 victory in the Virginia Slims championships last November.

"She's been playing very good lately," Graf said. "She plays high topspin and can play great points, but sometimes she can miss easy points. I have to be aware."

Martinez, from Barcelona, Spain, earned her second consecutive berth in a final-- she lost to Monica Seles last week in Indian Wells, Calif.--

Early in the match, though, Martinez looked sloppy. She made 29 unforced errors in the first set, and trailed 4-0.

"I didn't have enough passion," Martinez said.

Once she gained that passion, Coetzer couldn't compete with Martinez's groundstrokes, as neither player strayed far from the baseline.

"After I won the first set I was thinking of winning the match," said Coetzer, a South African who upset second-seeded Gabriela Sabatini to reach the semifinals. "She started to hit back as many balls as she could."

In truth, neither player played well, preferring to hit moon-ball shots rather than attack. In three sets, Martinez approached the net 14 times, Coetzer seven.

Martinez made 62 unforced errors, an unusually high number for a winner. Coetzer did her part by making 46 unforced errors. The difference-- Martinez had 26 winners compared to Coetzer's 11. Only 20 of 172 points were won at the net.

Martinez took control early in the second set. She trailed 1-0 when chair umpire Lynda Hinshaw gave her a warning for receiving coaching from the stands.

Her coach of five months, Francisco Lopez, was sitting in the first row at the end of the court. Martinez said he only said "come on" in Spanish.

"Because they don't understand Spanish, they gave me a warning," Martinez said. "We only talk before a match, not during."

Whether it was coincidence or not, Martinez won 12-of-14 games after the warning. Martinez said it was because she started so badly, not because the warning inspired her.

"It's impossible to play that bad all the match," she said.

Before Lopez, Martinez trained with Miguel Mir. She said the switch has been positive.

"He's helping me a lot," Martinez said. "With my game, and out of the court. We're great friends. When all that goes good, everything goes good. On the court, everything is easy."

Neither player seemed unhappy with the day, though Martinez obviously was happier.

"I'm not disappointed, even though the third set was 6-0," Coetzer said. "I tried all I could. She played well and I kind of played into her hands."

"(This year) I wanted to play happy, play good and everything is easy," Martinez said. "Now I'm happy, I'm playing good and I have a good response."

* Thirty minutes after her singles match, Martinez played a doubles semifinal. Martinez and Linda Harvey-Wild beat Meredith McGraff and Rennae Stubbs 6-2, 6-4.

The other doubles match between Larisa Savnchenko-Neiland and Natalia Zvereva and Eva Pfaff and Catherine Suire was postponed until 11 this morning because of rain.

* Fernandez was named the winner of the "Infiniti Award: A Commitment to Excellence."

Fernandez was presented with a Tiffany crystal during an on-court ceremony before the semifinal match against Graf.

As part of the award, Infiniti will donate $1,000 to the Women's Sports Foundation, established in 1974 by tennis great Billie Jean King to promote sports for women and girls.

The award is presented at all Infiniti-sponsored women's tennis tournaments.
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post #69 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:44 PM
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Re: 1992

Graf Beats Fernandez, Rain Delay Steffi To Seek Her 3rd Boca Slims Title Today
March 8, 1992

BOCA RATON -- In Germany, a million fanatic tennis viewers stayed up to 1 this morning to see Steffi Graf play live in the Virginia Slims of Florida.

What they got looked something like the Henley Regatta.

"We stayed on for three minutes and showed the seat cushions floating across the court," said RTL announcer Gerd Szepanski, who reported from under a green plastic sheet. "All we needed were the sails."

RTL switched to an old Tarzan movie instead, and the tennis fans went to sleep.

The Slims faithful, who hung around in the rain and the mud for three hours, got a Graf rerun, as the top-seeded German stopped Mary Joe Fernandez for the seventh time without a loss, 6-0, 7-5.

Graf will try for a record-tying third Virginia Slims of Florida title against Conchita Martinez today at 2 p.m. (sold out, TV: Sunshine Network). Martinez beat unseeded Amanda Coetzer 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Graf won the first set in 17 minutes, losing only three points.

"I'm winning the first set so easily this week," said Graf, who has won the first set at love in three matches. "I can't believe I'm playing that well."

Fernandez fought back in the second set and served for it at 5-4. But Graf played her best again and claimed the final three games and the match.

"Once I got a game, I felt it was a new match," Fernandez said. "It was unfortunate that I didn't win the second set."

Graf is 5-0 against Martinez without losing a set. The closest match was 7-6, 7-6 in Leipzig in 1990.

"Conchita can play some great tennis," Graf said. "I won't be overconfident."

Martinez and Coetzer played in the sun -- courtside temperature was 105 when the match began at 2 p.m.

"It was a lot of hot," Martinez said.

The Spaniard was a lot of cold at the start. Coetzer won the first four games before Martinez found her range.

"I started very bad," said Martinez, who committed 29 of her 62 unforced errors in the first set. "It's impossible to play that bad the whole match."

Martinez swept the next four games to even the set, but Coetzer broke Martinez in the next game and served out the set.

"At 4-0, I started to think about winning the set, and my mind slipped a bit," Coetzer said. "Luckily, I got it back at 4-all. Then, after I won the first set, I started to think about winning the match."

Coetzer broke Martinez to open the second set, but a code violation for coaching in the second game seemed to fire up Martinez. She won the next three games and never trailed again.

"That upset me," Martinez said. "We speak before the match, but not during. Maybe the linesman didn't understand Spanish."

"I was telling Conchita to 'c'mon, c'mon,' " said Francisco Lopez, Martinez's coach. "She was not concentrating at that moment. Conchita played better after the warning. She won the second set and the third set. I should shake the umpire's hand for the warning."

The final set was decided by the first game. Coetzer missed a forehand wide on the fourth break point, ending 10 minutes of suspense.

Martinez won the last five games in 20 minutes. In all, Martinez won 16 of the last 21 games, 14 of the last 18 points.

"I was more tired mentally than physically," Coetzer said. "I pushed myself to go for shots too early in the rallies. I shouldn't have played so offensively."

Coetzer committed 18 of her 46 errors in the last six games.

"She played well to win 6-love, but I played into her hands," Coetzer said.

Coetzer, who started the tournament ranked No. 61, will move into the top 40 with the best-ever ranking this week. And now she can savor her quarterfinal victory over defending champion Gabriela Sabatini.

Coetzer called her parents in South Africa with the news Friday.

"My father said, 'I feel sorry for you, how bad was it?' " Coetzer said. "Then I told him I won. There was quiet. Then my father told me to talk to my mother first because he has a bad heart."

Martinez is playing back-to-back finals. She and Linda Harvey-Wild are in the doubles title match.

"I play happy, I play good," said Martinez, who lost to Monica Seles in the Evert Cup final last Sunday in Indian Wells, Calif.

Lopez, who started working with Martinez last October, is one reason for the happiness.

"We have a coaching relationship with feeling," Lopez said. "Conchita had problems before. She was lost. Now she is happy on and off the court. She knows what she wants more."

Considered mainly a clay-courter, Martinez is playing well on hardcourts, too.

"Conchita plays very different tennis," Lopez said. "Imagination tennis. She does not play like a machine, and the people like that."

Martinez lost to Seles 6-3, 6-1, but Lopez believed that Martinez had Seles worried.

"It was 4-3 in the first set, and Conchita missed two ads," Lopez said. "Monica looked a little nervous. Conchita is playing well, and she has an equal."



-- 4. Conchita Martinez d. Amanda Coetzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

-- 1. Steffi Graf d. 3. Mary Joe Fernandez 6-0, 7-5


-- Linda Harvey-Wild and Conchita Martinez d. 8. Meredith McGrath and Rennae Stubbs 6-3, 6-4


11 a.m., Court 23, Doubles semifinal Larisa Savchenko-Nieland and Natalia Zvereva vs. Eva Pfaff and Catherine Suire

2 p.m., stadium Conchita Martinez vs. Steffi Graf or Mary Joe Fernandez
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post #70 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:50 PM
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Re: 1992

Rain, and rain only, delays Graf
St. Petersburg Times
Mar 8, 1992

Mary Joe Fernandez waited all day and into night Saturday to play Steffi Graf, and then played a match that was hardly worth waiting for.

Heavy rains delayed the start of their Virginia Slims of Florida semifinal for three hours. When play began at about 10 p.m., all Miami's Fernandez could offer the 3,000 or so of her South Florida neighbors who stuck around was a 6-0, 7-5 loss.

Fernandez was left wondering what went wrong, while the top-seeded Graf skated into today's final against fourth-seeded Conchita Martinez, who dusted off unseeded upstart Amanda Coetzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

"(The rain delay) didn't really bother me," Graf said. "I just wanted to get it on."

Fernandez, seeded third, no doubt hoped the rain delay would work in her favor. Heaven knows she could use some help against Graf, who has thumped her in each of their seven meetings.

Graf nixed that idea from the beginning. In the first set, Graf didn't even give Fernandez enough points (three) to collectively win a game. The opening set took 17 minutes.

Fernandez came out tentative, and Graf gobbled her up, snapping at every soft groundstroke Fernandez pushed over the net.

Fernandez picked up the pace in the second set, breaking Graf's serve at the start. But by then, Graf was already in her groove and Fernandez was on a one-way street out of the tournament. After just more than an hour, Fernandez knocked a forehand into the net, ending the match at about 11:12 p.m.

The only thing that bothered Graf was that the start of the match caused her to miss the end of the movie Beverly Hills Cop.

"I missed the last 10 minutes," said Graf, who is 5-0 against Martinez and is going for her third Slims of Florida title.

It was unfortunate for tournament officials that the Graf-Fernandez match lacked drama, because the Coetzer-Martinez match was short on it, too. It went the distance, but it was about as mundane as any three-setter could be.

Granted, the 61st-ranked Coetzer did add some intrigue to the afternoon with her quick start, prompting some to wonder if she was going to pull the plug on the favored Martinez just as she had done to a dumbfounded Gabriela Sabatini a day earlier. Unlike their previous encounters, Martinez was flubbing virtually every other shot, racking up 29 unforced errors - 23 off her forehand - in the first set alone.

"I missed too much; many mistakes," Martinez said. "I figured it was impossible to play that bad all match."

Coetzer, 20, raced out to a 4-0 lead and then made the first of two deadly mistakes.

"I started thinking about winning the set," she admitted. "I let my mind slip and she started playing more defensively."

As a result, Martinez closed to 4-4 and stretched what should have been an almost effortless opening set into a grind. Although Coetzer eventually won the set, the effort combined with 100-plus on-court temperature took its toll later.

After breaking Martinez's serve to start the second set, Coetzer again made the mistake of looking too far ahead. "I was thinking of winning the match," she said. "Then she started playing more and I couldn't hit the shots."

Martinez ran away with the second set and when the third began, Coetzer had already had enough. "I was struggling to get my breath," she said.

For Martinez, today's final is her second in as many weeks. Last Sunday she reached the final of the Evert Cup, where she lost to top-ranked Monica Seles.

Regardless of how she does today, she has already logged her best showing ever here. Last year, in her only appearance at this event, she was upset in her first match by Claudia Porwik.

"I came here very comfortable with the way I'm playing," Martinez said. "The draw was good to me and now I'm in the finals and I'm very happy with that." - Information from the Associated Press was used in this roundup.
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post #71 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Re: 1992

GRAF WARMS TO TASK, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
The Palm Beach Post - Monday, March 9, 1992

"Vamos!" screamed Conchita Martinez as her backhand volley settled softly on the court.

Martinez had just won the first set of the finals of the Virginia Slims of Florida Sunday, and she let out a cry (which means "Let's go") and pumped her fist.

Problem was, it was Steffi Graf who got her going.

And Graf got Martinez running, and running. Back and forth, side to side, front to back, Graf ran Martinez into the ground en route to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory at the Polo Club Boca Raton. The victory for ranked Graf, ranked second, was her 62nd title, and her third in the Slims of Florida.

"This was very important," Graf, the No. 1 seed, said after receiving $110,000 for winning. "Not overly important. But it's a good start for me, in that it's only the second tournament I've played this year."

Martinez, ranked eighth, lost for the second consecutive week in the finals. She lost 6-3, 6-1 to Monica Seles in Indian Wells, Calif.

"Being in the finals is not enough good," said Martinez, the No. 4 seed from Barcelona, Spain.

Martinez gave Graf little challenge after Graf took a 4-1 lead in the second set. Graf won eight of the next nine games as Martinez became flat-footed and slow.

"In the second set I got really tired," Martinez said. "She started playing better and better and I couldn't do a thing."

For the second consecutive day, Martinez played a doubles match right after her singles match. The two matches the day before, combined with the long week the previous week, seemed to catch up to her.

"She's tough but if I wasn't so tired I think I'd have played much better," Martinez said.

Graf noticed Martinez tiring-- "I was too," Graf said-- and she took advantage.

"I kept her running and running," Graf said.

In the first set, Graf and Martinez were matching groundstrokes.

"I didn't try anything to change her rhythm," Graf said.

In the second set, Graf changed her approach and tried drop shots and some volleys.

"I decided to go for other shots," Graf said. "I just said, `OK, I'll keep the ball in play and let her run.' "

It seemed significant. Last year, when Graf lost the No. 1 ranking, she was criticized for not changing. This year, she's hired a new coach-- Heinz Gunthardt-- and seems to be trying some new shots, though her forehand remains her foundation.

"He has been very positive," Graf said. "He has a lot of belief and he's helped me a lot. He's put more ideas into my game, and given me a few tactical things."

Graf even said as she becomes more comfortable, she will venture off the baseline and toward the net.

"I made a mistake (today)," she said. "I should have had so many easy volleys but I didn't try it."

Graf called the win important because it really is the start of her year. She missed almost two months because of German measles and went from November (the Virginia Slims Championships) until mid-February without playing a tournament.

She practiced for the past 10 days at the Polo Club with a new Dunlop racket, but discarded it the day before the tournament.

"I came in not so sure about my game," she said.

She leaves ready for the Lipton International Players Championships, and much more sure about herself, and her game.

"It definitely is very important," Graf said. "Because I pulled out some close matches and that's what I need to do. It's nice to know that when a match is close, I'm still there."

* The Slims of Florida set an attendance record for an outdoor women's tournament by drawing 72,547 to the seven-day event. The old record of 59,783 was set last year. Tournament officials wanted to move to a new site in 1993 -- it will be in Coral Springs in Broward County-- so that its attendance can exceed 100,000.

* Martinez fared no better in the doubles final than she did in singles. She and Linda Harvey-Wild lost to Larisa Savchenko-Neiland and Natalia Zvereva in the finals 6-2, 6-2.
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post #72 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: 1992

The Palm Beach Post - Monday, March 9, 1992
Author: Dave George

The Gabriela Sabatini signature rose, which was to have been featured at the Virginia Slims of Florida tournament, never bloomed in sufficient quantities. Better that than what happened to Conchita Martinez.

She blossomed in stunning surprise during the week and then wilted and died in the heat of Sunday's final. Steffi Graf dropped the first set for dramatic effect and then flipped Martinez like a Spanish omelet, winning the obligatory third set 6-0.

The end was quick and cruel and predictable, the perfect allegory for a tournament that stands ready to leave the Polo Club after six highly successful seasons and complete the familiar migratory pattern of most Palm Beach County tennis and golf events. When the last yuppie closes on the last house in the development, time to haul off the Port-O-Lets, baby. It's over.

"I definitely will miss having the tournament here," said Graf, whose own Polo Club residence is so close that she walked home after the match to shower and change into cutoff jeans before meeting the press. "I have gotten to know all the ushers here. I know everybody around. It's sad."

Sad, yes, but ultimately irrelevant, just like the Virginia Slims' seven-day attendance record of 72,547, more people than have seen an outdoor women's tennis event anywhere on the planet.


If the tournament moves to Coral Springs next spring as announced, there will be bigger grandstands, bigger parking lots, i.e. bigger bucks.

Court-side among the champagne box-holders would have been the perfect photo op for a president who wants to sell the recession as a rumor on the eve of Super Tuesday. This tournament was a sellout even though Sabatini, the defending champion, lost in the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon.

There were more Slims tickets sold than in 1990, when Jennifer Capriati made her professional debut at Boca Raton. More than 1989, when Graf beat Chris Evert in three sets at the Polo Club.

What packed the stadium Sunday was a mismatch between the only woman other than Margaret Court and Maureen Connolly to complete a calendar year Grand Slam and a teenage clay-court specialist who was so unsure of her status as a singles player that she packed her Polo Club schedule with doubles matches as well.

Martinez played a doubles semifinal with partner Linda Harvey-Wild Saturday night, a few hours after winning a singles semifinal over Amanda Coetzer. Sunday, perhaps her most important afternoon as a pro, was little more than a sweaty afterthought. Martinez mailed in the third set against Graf, standing flat-footed as forehand returns sailed past, and barely had time to change into a dry shirt before her doubles final was called on the court.

Fifty-five minutes after she collected $44,000 for losing to Graf, Martinez went through the motions in the tag-team final. Losing 6-2, 6-2 to Natalia Zvereva and Larisa Savchenko was worth $8,250 and, more importantly, the right to pull off her socks and soak her feet. For the week, Martinez played 439 minutes of singles and 345 of doubles.


"I no play Lipton," Martinez said. "I go home (to Barcelona). The last two weeks were very busy, playing singles and doubles. I am happy to make the finals but this is not enough good."

Graf used the middle of the match to work on tactics introduced to her game by new coach Heinz Guenthardt. He's got at least 57 of them, including drop shots and other subtle slices heretofore unknown with a champion who normally dispatches opponents with forehand floggings.

Graf got her first 1992 victory and third overall at the Polo Club without having to play Sabatini, who left the premises Thursday staring at a right hand that had cramped up like a lobster claw. Still, there was a brutal three-set quarterfinal with Zina Garrison to toughen Graf for the Lipton and a $110,000 winner's check to soften the disappointment of no longer having a tournament more conveniently located and dependable than Domino's.

When a player has won 62 professional titles and gotten to that total eight years younger than did Navratilova, the all-time victory leader, a few casual Sunday brunches like this one seem due.

"I'm always surprised how long I've been in this game," said Graf, who turned pro at 13. "Ten years is such a long time."

Long enough to be a lofty goal for the next South Florida Virginia Slims tournament site. Demographically, the Polo Club never had a chance.
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post #73 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:56 PM
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Re: 1992

Victorious Graf Leaves Own Mark At The Polo Club
March 9, 1992

BOCA RATON -- They named a rose after Gabriela Sabatini. Now they should name the stadium court after Steffi Graf.

Graf won her third Virginia Slims of Florida title, beating Conchita Martinez 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday in the last tournament match ever played at The Polo Club.

The most successful women's outdoor tournament in the world (a record 72,547 for the week) moves to bigger quarters in Coral Springs next year, but it was fitting that Graf close the door at The Polo Club.

This is where Graf lives, and no one has enjoyed a better home-court advantage. Graf played five Slims here and made the final each time. Only Sabatini beat her.

"I'm going to miss this place," said Graf, who beat Sabatini in 1987 and Chris Evert in 1988. "I live across the street and I know everyone here, from the ushers to the police guys. It's sad to leave."

Graf said she will cherish her first title over Evert, a magnificent three-set duel in the hot sun, but No. 3 was pretty special, too.

Graf needed this one. She had not won a title since Brighton last October. The new year began with a viral illness and the German measles.

"This was a very important win," said Graf, 22, who has 62 career titles, third-best in women's tennis behind Martina Navratilova and Evert.

"This is only my second tournament of the year. I've been practicing hard, but I didn't know where I stood. I pulled out some close matches, and I have the feeling that when it gets close, I am still there."

"Beating Zina Garrison (6-0, 5-7, 7-5) in the quarterfinals was the most important match," said Heinz Gunthardt, Graf's new coach. "Steffi showed she could win when it's tight. After she was sick and she came back, Steffi was still insecure about how well she could play."

Graf erased all doubts in the final two sets against Martinez. Graf had started three matches with 6-0 sets this week, but she was uncharacteristicly tentative in the first set against Martinez.

The 19-year-old Spaniard kept the ball in play without pace, and let Graf dictate the points. Graf went for too many winners from poor positions and committed 17 errors.

Graf became more patient in the second set, worked the points more and did not give Martinez anything.

"Steffi had become a little stereotyped," Gunthardt said. "I don't want to change anything in her game, but I want her to have more confidence in mixing it up when the match gets tight."

Graf committed only nine errors the rest of the match, while Martinez, getting tired and taking more chances, made 13 errors in the second set and 14 more in the final set.

"I played really good in the first set, but then I was really tired and I couldn't play the same," Martinez said.

Martinez lost energy with good reason. She played a total of 12 hours and four minutes, reaching the finals in both singles and doubles -- Martinez and Linda Harvey-Wild lost to Larissa Savchenko-Neiland and Natalia Zvereva 6-2, 6-2 in doubles -- this week.

Graf, playing singles only, was on the court for six hours, 29 minutes.

"The last two weeks have been very busy," said Martinez, who reached the final in Indian Wells, Calif., losing to Monica Seles last Sunday.

Martinez is 0-6 against Graf, but she took her first set Sunday.

Graf's victory makes Lipton, which begins Friday in Key Biscayne, interesting. For the first time this year, Seles and Graf will be playing in the same tournament (Graf missed the Australian Open with her illnesses).

"It's a long way to go to think of playing Monica in the final, but I'll look forward to it if it happens," Graf said. "We only played twice last year. It's strange it doesn't happen more often."

When Graf finished her interviews and was ready to drive home, she couldn't find the keys to her black Corvette.

No big deal, since she lives across the street. She'll have to be more careful in Coral Springs. Yes, she's going to miss this place.
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post #74 of 648 (permalink) Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:59 PM
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Re: 1992

The Miami Herald - Monday, March 9, 1992

You didn't need to look at the scoreboard to figure out who was winning this match, the final of the Virginia Slims of Florida at The Polo Club Boca Raton.

Conchita Martinez was a fist-pumping, quick-stepping sliver of confidence in taking a one-set lead over Steffi Graf Sunday.

Just under an hour later, however, Martinez had dissolved into a head-shaking, shoulder-tossing, racquet-dropping image of defeat, giving in to fatigue and Graf for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 loss.

In winning her 62nd career title and the $110,000 first prize, Graf used composure and swooping groundstrokes to wring all the early energy out of Martinez.

Martinez, who in five previous meetings with Graf had never won a set, took Graf and the sellout crowd of 6,181 by surprise with her 39-minute first-set victory. Graf was netting forehands, trying drop shots that Martinez was running down, and hitting balls off the frame of her racquet.

"She took a lot more advantage in the beginning," said Graf, ranked second in the world. "She was going for shots a lot more than I did. I just let her run around and didn't really do anything. I was all the time on the defensive."

Martinez was playing aggressively, getting balls deep to Graf's backhand and ripping forehand winners.

"I played a really good first set," Martinez said. "At least with Steffi you can play to her backhand. She slices and it's not too difficult."

Things got more difficult in the second set. By then, Martinez, who had also played four doubles matches last week, was exhausted and Graf was back on her game.

"I wasn't playing up to my best, but I wasn't thinking about losing, definitely not at that stage," Graf said. "It was far too early and I knew she was getting tired."

Graf broke Martinez at love to start the second set and held serve for a 2-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, an attempt to do the wave by a portion of the crowd seated at the north end of the stadium fizzled. Martinez held serve to pull to 2-1, the second and final wave attempt went a bit farther before fizzling again, and Martinez failed to convert a break point that would have tied it at 2-all.

"In the second set, I'm really tired and she started playing better and better," Martinez said. "I couldn't do anything."

It was about that time that you got the idea that Martinez wasn't winning this match anymore. After a forehand into the net to go down, 40-15, in the fourth game, she threw her head up and hands down and let out a cry that sounded like "Ahhaaww." After a backhand into the net that gave Graf the advantage, Martinez's eyes shot skyward and her racquet fell to the ground.

"I think when you're tired, you are frustrated," Graf said. "You get tired and you make mistakes. You're not concentrating as well."

Graf was all concentration and confidence in the last set, winning 14 straight points after falling behind, 15-0, in the first game. Both players seemed to be playing for a quick ending; the last set was over in 19 minutes.

"(Graf) is tough," Martinez said. "But if I wasn't so tired I would have played much better."

Martinez, No. 8 in the world, who lost to No. 1 Monica Seles in the final at Indian Wells early last week, said she was drained from playing too many matches. After Sunday's final, she had about an hour of rest before she and Linda Harvey-Wild lost, 6-2, 6-2, to Larisa Savchenko-Nieland and Natalia Zvereva in the doubles final.

For Graf, a Polo Club resident, it was just another day of work on the stadium court, where she practices daily. And despite a rain-delayed semifinal Saturday night that didn't end until 11:15, Graf said she got a good night's sleep and was well-rested for Sunday's match.

"It is very important because I pulled out some close matches (during the tournament) and that's what I needed to do," Graf said. "I needed to have the feeling that when the match is getting closer, I'm still there."

An attendance record for an outdoor women's Slims event was set with 72,547 attending the tournament. The previous record was 59,793, set during last year's Florida Slims.

Last edited by Ms. Anthropic; Nov 30th, 2012 at 07:11 PM.
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post #75 of 648 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Re: 1992

Family Circle Cup 1992 articles:

Williams Sisters Join the Family Circle
April 6, 1992
New York Times

The Family Circle Magazine Cup at Hilton Head, S.C., has made a habit of serving as a coming-out party for the tennis stars of the future: the 1991 and 1992 champion, Gabriela Sabatini, made her debut as a 14-year-old runner-up, Steffi Graf won her first tournament here, and a teen-age Chris Evert commenced a tear that delivered a record eight Family Circle titles.

But this year, Jack Jones, a co-founder, didn't just rob one cradle to make a splash, he robbed two. In an exhibition doubles match anchored by legends Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals, winner of the 1973 first Family Circle Cup, he introduced a pair of legends-before-their-time, 10-year-old Serena Williams and 11-year-old Venus Williams.

The Williams girls, already courted by agents and showered with equipment by outfitters eager to gain a foothold while they're still in the training wheel stage, moved last September from Compton, Calif., to the Rick Macci International Tennis Academy near Orlando, Fla. These prodigies don't waste any time at Disney World: They're either on the court or in the classroom 10 hours a day.

King, who offered numerous tips to both girls during Saturday's dress rehearsal for yesterday's exhibition, said they possess aggressiveness and a volleying aptitude beyond their age.

"I don't think I even knew what tennis was at that age," said King, who won the exhibition match, 6-2, with Serena, "but the important thing is that they go slowly and do the right thing. That's what makes champions."
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