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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 08:13 PM   #2404
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Does 1987 + 25 really equal 2012?

The Record (New Jersey) - Thursday, November 19, 1987
Author: By Bill Pennington

Steffi Graf loves to shop when she's in New York. The world's top-ranked woman tennis player spends her free time here chasing down baubles at Bloomies.

"The best stores on the tour," Graf said.

Shopping may be the best way for her to spend the days leading to Sunday's final of the Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden. Graf could get a better fight at the perfume counter at Saks Fifth Avenue than she did last night from Zina Garrison, her first-round opponent.

Don't be afraid to call this one an annihilation; that's what it was. The first set took 18 minutes, the match lasted all of 47 minutes.

Graf won the first eight games, dawdled a bit, and then advanced to tonight's quarterfinal round against Helena Sukova with a 6-0, 6-3 wipeout.

It's a wonder Garrison, a 24-year-old from Houston, won any games last night. Only an apparent lapse in concentration by Graf kept the score from being 6-0, 6-0.

Graf, 18, no doubt was planning today's midtown excursion.

"I am the number one player," she said when asked to assess the 1987 season minutes after trampling Garrison. "This is an important tournament for me. An important point and a buildup to next year. "

How is Graf going to play better next year?

"I can do more," she said. "I lost twice this year. "

Graf s 1987 match record is 72-2.

Two of the tour's better players though their games seemed far off Graf's pace also advanced last night. In the opening match, Sukova rallied to defeat Lori McNeil, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. Fourth-seeded Pam Shriver held on in the third set to defeat Katerina Maleeva, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, avoiding what would have been an embarrassing collapse.

Graf said she learned from watching the matches Monday, when Chris Evert lost to Sylvia Hanika, and Tuesday, when Martina Navratilova struggled through the second set of her victory over Caterina Lindqvist.

"I think I realized anything could happen," Graf said. "I was anxious to play, anxious to get it over with. I'm glad it was easy today. "

Was it ever. Garrison won nine points in the first set and just four points after the first game of that set.

"She's just so quick," Garrison said. "Several times I hit shots that would be winners against anyone else. Steffi turned them into winners for her. "

The second set was chaotic. Graf was up 2-0, and then the players split the next four games.

"I was thinking ahead too much," Graf said. "I was trying to close it out all at once. I wanted to get out of here without having to keep playing well. "

Shriver's match was not supposed to be so spirited. Some are saying Shriver, the only American-born player left in the field, is new, improved, and mentally tougher.

Shriver had most of the 12,027 fans at the Garden believing in her new image after the first set last night. But then she stumbled in the second set.

And in the third set, after the players split the first six games, Maleeva had two break points. Shriver served two aces to escape. Then she broke Maleeva and coasted to victory.

So maybe Shriver is new and improved after all.

"I think I was just tired from playing doubles last night until 1 in the morning," Shriver said. "I was definitely shaky tonight.

"It brought back memories from a couple years ago. I hope it's just a freak thing, because I don't want to go back to where I was before losing matches I shouldn't lose."

Tonight's other quarterfinal match pairs Italy's Rafaella Reggi and West Germany's Sylvia Hanika.
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