Matches that decided careers - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Matches that decided careers

I almost posted this in GF, but I thought it would be better served here.

Something I've wondered about for a while is the topic of players' careers turning on a defining match. I don't mean just a heartbreaking loss or an emotional win. I mean a match in which the loss sent the player into a tailspin from which she tooks years to recover, if ever, or a win which gave the player a new confidence that turned everything around. Matches that can be seen as a crucial linchpin, for good or for bad, within a career; reverse the result of that match and suddenly everything is (probably) different for years to come.

This topic is meant to be about players from any era, of course, from the present to way-back-when.

The only one I can think of -- and I'm not even sure about this one -- is Jennifer Capriati's SF loss to Monica Seles at the 1991 U.S. Open. JCap lost a 3rd-set tie-break, and I've heard the theory that she was under so much expectation and pressure to win a Major that that loss was the beginning of her early breakdown.

I figured the BFTP regulars would know more about this subject.
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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 04:02 PM
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Iva Majoli french open final
I think it was to much for her

steffi hilton head 86. the first title was apparently high pressure for her because the german press put all pressure on her but unless a certain whiner years later she didn't complain but took the challenge!

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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 04:02 PM
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I'm not sure that the US'91 SF affected Capriati that much; surely it was painful, but she won the Olympics against Graf the following year (her first-and only- victory over her). So I don't think she lost her motivation after '91.

The match that 're-started' Capriati's career was the =Z'01 quarters against Seles. She came back from a set and 2-4 to beat Seles for the first time in a Slam, and then won the other two matches pretty easily.

For Gaby, I would have to say the '93 RG quarters against Mary Joe Fernandez. she had it in her hands, and had beaten Arantxa, who was wainting in the SF, 6-1, 6-3 two weeks before. So she had a reasonable shot at least to the final, and after Seles' stabbing, people (and me too) were expecting her to step up.

For Hingis, it seems obvious that the RG'99 final hurt her a lot, but I think that the OZ'02 final was the one that really ended her career.
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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 05:27 PM
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For all of people's thoughts on Iva and the 1997 RG victory, I respectfully disagree... she finished out 1997 playing decent tennis, even winning four matches at WIMBLEDON! It was 1998 that seemed to wipe her off the top 10 list, even if she had Davenport on the ropes in Paris while defending her title... maybe one of these days she will have a "career-changing match" that puts her back IN the top ten?
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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 05:41 PM
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i think steffi's win in the german open, '86, against martina was pivotal. she really creamed martina, with all the pressure of home fans and media, in a huge tournament. although she didn't win a slam till the following year, EVERYONE knew there was a bona fide star on the tour from that day.
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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 11th, 2003, 10:24 PM
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I always think that Zvereva's 6-0 6-0 loss to Steffi in the Roland Garros final of 1988 pretty much finished her off as a potential singles great. She seemed to take everything a tad less seriously afterwards, as if shenever wanted to be in that position again - understandably, I guess. I also wonder if it had anything to do with her ascension to being one of the doubles greats; less pressure, working as a team.

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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 12th, 2003, 02:22 AM
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Jelena's demolition of Hingis at such a ytoung age was definately pivotal on her success to the top ten. It had to have done wonders for her confidence ...ofcourse it isnt the only important win, but the most meaningful: scene Wimbeldon vs #1 seed!! cant have got better than that

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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 2003, 11:12 PM
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For Arantxa I would possible say either the 1989 French Open final against Steffi or her 1988 French Open match where she beat Chris Evert. I would normally say the 89 final but that match against Chris was definitely an eye opener considering how much history Evert had there.

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post #9 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2003, 12:35 AM
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S.Williams-Graf Indian Wells finals ´99. I think this match proved to the world that the 17 year old was for real. This is amazing because this was the first final Graf lost when completely healthy in her last 22! Truely impressive if you consider that this was only Serena´s second full year and to go on and beat such a legend!!
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post #10 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:06 AM
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iva's rg win was definately way too much for her, she would have had a better career had she lost and won a gs later.
hingis's loss to graf in fo led to her downfall. her loss to jen last year at ao ended her career as a top player
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post #11 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 16th, 2003, 07:42 PM
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I think that the Seles-Maleeva QF match in Hamburg in 1993 was changed the careers of many players.

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post #12 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 10:27 PM
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Some noteworthy mentions...

Jana Novotna's net rushing win over Graf at the 91 Aus Open, signalled the arrival of Jana and tarnished the invincibility of Graf to the other players. Then for Jana two losses to Graf and Rubin after having huge years, gave her that dreaded label.

Seles first match against Graf at the 89 French, a 63 36 63 loss signalled that Seles was a player in the making.

ASV win over Steffi Graf in the 89 French.

A 15 year old Chris Evert's win over Marg Court in 70, after marg's grand slam. The nerves of steel were on show during the 71 US Open in which Chris saved upteen match points to beat Mary Anne Eisel.

Graf's back2back wins over Martina and Chris in the 88Liptons, both str8 set thrashings signalled that she would soon overtake these legends.

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post #13 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 10:41 PM
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"tarnished the invincibility of Graf to the other players."


no she already lost that by blowing 7 setpoints in two grand slam finals the year before.
she had already become a choker, that match was just the ice on the cake

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of the truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night
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post #14 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 10:45 PM
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no in fact she lost it already in australia 90 no matter that she won in a tier 2 field

"steffi has lost her magic"

patty fendick after the quarters

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of the truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night
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post #15 of 71 (permalink) Old Mar 23rd, 2003, 02:30 AM
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I think in hindisight, Hingis losing to Graf in the 99 French FInal has been a definitive moment in her career, Hingis has never been the same since.

Oh sure, she has made it to slam finals, but I beleive it eroded her confidence to close out those big matches in slam finals.
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