EVERT LLOYD TRIUMPHS
The San Diego Union
Monday, February 3, 1986
From News Services
Chris Evert Lloyd used her recently developed strength to take the sting out of Steffi Graf's power strokes and claim a 6-3, 6-1 victory in the final of the $250,000 Virginia Slims of Florida in Key Biscayne.
Evert Lloyd, the top seed and ranked second in the world behind Martina Navratilova, also displayed her psychological toughness and took advantage of the 16-year-old West German's fragile psyche at the end of each set. She won 12 of the final 14 points in the first set and 13 of 14 at the end of the 115-minute match on the cement courts at the Sheraton Royal Biscayne Resort.
Evert Lloyd earned $40,000 for the victory. Graf, the second seed and ranked sixth, picked up $20,000 for her runner-up finish in front of an audience of 4,912.
"I feel like I played really well," Evert Lloyd said. "Steffi hits the ball harder than most of the girls. She can do more damage than most of them."
Graf served to open the match and was broken by Evert Lloyd. In game six, Graf broke back after a long game that included three deuces. Evert Lloyd broke right back in the next game, won at love on her next serve and a gain broke Graf in game nine to with the first set 6-3.
"I guess I just got going after those first six games," said Evert Lloyd. "It took me a while to get my rhythm going out there. After it was 3-3 we played a crucial game, and I was able to break her and then was able to get the final two games of the set as well.
"Steffi is still a young player and I have the experience on her so I should have been able to get it going against her. She hits the ball real hard on her forehand and has a tough backhand slice that just sits down and is hard to return. She's a good young player and she'll be a champion in just a few years."
In the second set, Graf regained her composure long enough to break Evert Lloyd's serve in the first game, but fell apart when a bad line call cost her the second game. The ball, obviously long, was called in. Graf pleaded with the umpire to overrule the call to no avail. She won only four more points the rest of the way, losing two games at love.
"I think that she lost a little bit of concentration after the call," said Evert. "You've got to block it out of your mind, and if she can't do that, it's her problem."
Graf admitted that she didn't react the way she should.
"In the second set, after I got the bad call I didn't play any good," she said. "In the beginning, I was playing well. But at the end, I just didn't know what to do."
Graf, who is 0-5 against Evert Lloyd, said she could see improvement in her opponent's game since the last time they met in last year's French Open.
"I think she's playing the best she ever played," Graf said.
Evert Lloyd said her newfound strength has come from a six-week working vacation spent in the weight room.
"I'm trying to be more of an all-court player, trying to play more aggressively," she said. "I don't want my serve to just start out a point. I want it as a weapon. I think I did that a few times today. I think I surprised her a few times with my first serve, and even once or twice with my second serve."
Evert Lloyd's most impressive service game came at 4-3 in the first set when she hit two service winners and an ace to win the game at love.