Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2
Graf Survives Fendick Scare, Rolls 6-4, 6-2
September 6, 1988 | By JIM SARNI, Sentinel Staff Writer
FLUSHING MEADOW, N.Y. -- Steffi Graf survived her first crisis at the U.S. Open Monday.
It wasn't really a crisis. More like a tiny scare. But it sent a ripple through the National Tennis Center.
Leading 5-3 in the first set, Graf dropped her serve and gave Patty Fendick a chance to even the match.
The folks in the jam-packed grandstand, where several seeds had tumbled during the frantic first week of the Open, urged the former Stanford All-America to give it the old college try.
Fendick reached 40-30 but couldn't get in the end zone. Graf made the goal-line stand, breaking Fendick for the set with a devastating crosscourt forehand.
Graf then finished off Fendick 6-2 in the second set, and the West German is now just three victories away from her Grand Slam.
The Monday holiday was a day of labor for many of the top players.
Defending champion Martina Navratilova was trailing 0-4, before she woke up and overwhelmed Elna Reinach 6-4, 6-1.
Six-time Open champion Chris Evert, the third seed, fought off feisty Austrian Judith Wiesner 6-2, 6-4. Down a break, 3-4 in the second set, Evert won the final three games.
Fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini outdueled Stephanie Rehe 7-5, 6-4.
No. 11 Zina Garrison rallied to beat Arantxa Sanchez 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. The Spanish teen-ager served for the second set -- and match -- at 5-4.
Seventh-seeded Helena Sukova got more than she could handle. Katerina Maleeva mauled the 1986 finalist 6-1, 6-3.
Maleeva's sister, Manuela, the sixth seed, and No. 16 Larissa Savchenko of the Soviet Union completed the final eight.
In Wednesday's quarterfinals, Graf faces Katerina Maleeva; Evert takes on Manuela Maleeva; Sabatini opposes Savchenko; and Navratilova meets Garrison.
"The first week was easy; now comes the work," said Graf, who dropped four games in her first three matches. "I got through a tough part when I won the first set (Monday). The crowd was behind her. She's American, I'm the No. 1 seed, and everyone is trying to stop me."
Graf said the pressure was on Fendick at 4-5.
"The other person is more nervous, because she has to win her game," said Graf, who has lost only one set in 25 Grand Slam matches this year, that to Navratilova in the Wimbledon final.
Fendick said she was not afraid to play the world's best player.
"I think 98 percent of the players who go against Steffi are scared to death," said Fendick, who has climbed to No. 22 in the rankings since turning pro after the 1986 college season. "They don't go out and stick to any kind of gameplan that makes sense. Why would you go in and hit to her backhand when you know she loves to slide in and hit crosscourt all day?
"Players get so scared. I've seen Steffi play matches where she makes her opponent look like they've never played tennis before.
"I got my butt kicked, but at least I tried to do something different. I didn't try to hit it everywhere everybody else does. I volleyed and kept coming in. I played her the right way, but I wasn't consistent."
Navratilova rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, then rubbed out Reinach, who spent the summer leading the Charlotte Heat to another TeamTennis title.
"I was in a daze when the match started because I woke up late from a nap," said Navratilova, who reeled off 10 games in a row. "I wake up at 7:30 in the morning and I don't get to sleep until 12:30 or 1 at night. So I take a lot of naps before matches."
Navratilova had to deal with a swirling wind on the Stadium Court. Evert also blamed the wind for Monday's close matches.
"The wind is an equalizer," she said. "You have to figure on two games a set if you're the favorite. If it wasn't windy, I don't think Martina would have gone four and two.
"Coming from Florida, I've always been able to play the wind a little better. It's probably tougher on serve-and-volleyers."