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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #3032
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

SHRIVER STUNS GRAF TO GAIN SLIMS FINAL
The Miami Herald
Sunday, November 20, 1988
From Herald Wire Services

Steffi Graf's dream season ended with a nightmare.

Graf, fighting the flu and Pam Shriver's booming serves, was eliminated from the Virginia Slims Championships Saturday. Shriver scored a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) semifinal victory in New York's Madison Square Garden to snap Graf's 46-match winning streak, the fourth-longest in the modern era of women's tennis.

"What I've achieved this year is incredible," said Graf, the Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medalist from West Germany. "I wanted to have a better ending, but it's not my choice."

It was only Graf's third defeat in 75 matches this year and her first since she lost to Gabriela Sabatini in April.

Sabatini, who handed Graf her other loss in March, will play Shriver in today's final. She beat Helena Sukova, 6-4, 6-2, in the other semifinal.

Graf, 19, who caught the flu earlier in the week week, had little zip on her groundstrokes. Her backhand was particularly weak, often falling softly into the net.

"I was not myself in the first set," she said. "I was nervous and shaking. I had chances in the second set, but I let them get away."

Asked how she felt physically, she said, "Disgusting. I wasn't feeling well, but I wanted to play because if you play and try, it's better (than defaulting)."

Shriver, who hadn't beaten Graf in three years, said she didn't think her opponent's illness was a major factor.

"I don't think it was a question of fitness because no point lasted more than eight seconds," said Shriver, who later teamed with Martina Navratilova to win the doubles final over Larisa Savchenko and Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union.

After Graf hit a long forehand return to end the 96-minute match, Shriver raised her arms in celebration as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

"You have to treasure moments like this because they don't happen every day," said Shriver, 26.

The match opened with two service breaks and continued on even terms until Shriver broke again to take a 5-3 lead.

She double-faulted to start the next game, but took the next four points to win the set.

There were no breaks in the second set although Graf had an easier time holding serve, winning three games at love and giving up only one point in her other three service games.

Shriver won the first three points of the tiebreaker, but Graf battled back to take a 5-4 lead. The West German's erratic play resurfaced, however, and she made three consecutive errors to end the match.

"I was nervous and excited," Shriver said of the tiebreaker. "The crowd was going nuts, but I was focusing on just three things -- the ground, the ball and my racket strings . . . Oh, and on her."

"I won because I thought I could win, and because after I lost my opening service game I never lost my serve again," Shriver said. She had seven double faults, but offset them with six aces and 20 service winners.

Shriver, acknowledging the raucous support from the fans, made a victory lap around the court and hugged every ball boy and ball girl in sight.

MORE TENNIS

Second-seeded John McEnroe reached the final of the Little Caesars Championship tournament at Detroit with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over unseeded Kelly Evernden.

In the other semifinal, third-seeded Aaron Krickstein defeated unseeded Leif Shiras, 6-1, 6-0.
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