Speaking of good writing, I love the "Graf, who has treated this year's event like Christmas" line.
Capriati Is 'Bummed' by Sabatini
July 2, 1992
New York Times
WIMBLEDON, England, July 1— Jennifer Capriati took a quick walk off a short plank this afternoon, thumped from Wimbledon's quarterfinal round in less time than it had taken for her to lace up her designer sneakers.
Gabriela Sabatini needed just four serves to seal herself a place among the familiar field that will contest the women's semifinals on Thursday.
"It was a real bummer," said Capriati, whose pleas to have her quarterfinal against Sabatini halted Tuesday night after the players had split sets went disregarded. Instead, the pair dueled into the darkness before play was finally suspended with Sabatini ahead by 5-3 in the third set and poised to serve for the match. Accentuating the Positive
The 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory sent Sabatini ahead to meet the defending champion, Steffi Graf, the player who defeated her in last year's tense three-set final. That loss was Sabatini's only loss to the German in their last eight encounters, but it was a match that inspired Graf to rebuild a tennis career that had seemed in definite danger of succumbing to outside distractions and internal self-doubts.
"Wimbledon is a tournament that makes you positive even if you aren't that way naturally," said Graf, who has treated this year's event like Christmas and has been fixated on a single gift for months. "Who I play is not so important as how I'm playing." Graf leads, 21-11, in her ever-growing rivalry with Sabatini and is 43-4 over all on the rapidly fraying lawns of Wimbledon. Martina Navratilova, if she had to vote for anybody but herself to win here, has already picked Graf as the strongest candidate of a formidable crew.
Graf said she was less willing to speculate: "Anybody who gets this far has to be in their form."
15th Semifinal for Navratilova
As is the women's draw. Sabatini's victory guaranteed that the semifinal round would be contested by the tournament's top quartet of seeded women for the first time since 1988, the year Graf seized the first of her three titles. In the other semifinal, the fourth-ranked Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon champion, will play top-seeded Monica Seles, champion of five consecutive Grand Slams events but a first-time semifinalist here.
Navratilova, 35 years old and determined not to acknowledge age as a liability, is playing her 20th Wimbledon and has reached this penultimate stage of the competition for the 15th year. But the veteran was disinclined to consider Seles's relative inexperience on this surface as crippling to her pursuit of the third leg of a Grand Slam for 1992.
"She hasn't lost a Grand Slam for a while," said Navratilova, who hasn't won one since Wimbledon in 1990, "and she seems to be pretty much at home on grass. She's hitting the ball a ton. But I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. It's not like you're going to be boxing or anything where you may get your head knocked off. She just hits a ball. What's the worst thing that can happen to me?" Navratilova's 108-10 singles record here attests to her capacity for surviving potential trouble.
The worst thing that can happen to Graf, according to Sabatini, is Sabatini.
Not an Ordinary Tournament
"I'm looking forward to playing Steffi," said Sabatini, who has her eye on Graf's title and Seles's No. 1 ranking.
"This is Wimbledon. It's not the same as if I play in just a regular tournament against her," said Sabatini, who has successfully incorporated a serve-and-volley strategy into her topspin repertory and insists that her mental mettle is second only to that of Seles's.
"I'm a lot tougher this year," she said. "I'm going to take a lot of risks. This is the time for me to, you know, move on."