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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 09:20 PM   #1
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Championships History

1971 - 1974

It could be argued that the WTA and ATP tours we know today owe their existence in part to the town of Stalybridge in the English Midlands for it was there, in October 1968, six months after the advent of open tennis that the first in a series of points-linked tournaments for both men and women culminating in a final championships took place. The idea of this Dewar Cup series was to bring tennis to the British provinces, exploiting the down time between the US season and the beginning of the Australian one by staging indoor events which could extend the tennis season into the wet British autumn and winter.

The circuit, repeated the following year, was a success and probably one factor in influencing the ITF into running its first points-linked Grand Prix in 1970 leading to an end of season championships - for men only, surprise, surprise. The women got in on the act in 1971 (without a YEC) but not before the Virginia Slims rebels had set up their own rival tour following the success of three tournaments in the autumn of 1970. In that first full year, there was no tour championships as such but in 1972, $100,000 was put up to stage the first Virginia Slims Tour Championships on the green clay of Boca Raton, Florida in October. It was the richest prize money purse ever for a women's event at that time.

The event was run along the lines of a regular tournament with invitations extended to some players who had not, as of yet, signed up to the tour. There were 16 competitors in all. Among them was Chris Evert and it was she who, still an amateur, walked away with the title. Billie Jean King and Margaret Court, the favourites, both fell victim to the Evert family as Court had to retire against Chris' younger sister Jeanne because of cramps in their first round match and Billie Jean fell in straight sets 64 62 to Chris in the semis. Australian Kerry Melville, who had been US Open finalist a few weeks before, came through to lose to Chris in the title match.

In 1973, the war between the Slims players and the ITF/National Federations intensified and for most of the year there were two rival tours, the Slims featuring Rosie Casals, Billie Jean King and Margaret Court and the ITF Grand Prix featuring Evonne Goolagong, Virginia Wade and Chris Evert. By the time of the tour championships peace had been restored and Chris once again claimed victory on her native Florida Clay. Neither King nor Court played the singles. King didn't show up but Court had to withdraw on the eve of the evnt because of an injury sustained . In order to show her support for the event, she stayed to publicise the event and called lines!!! With these two - and Evonne Goolagong - missing, Chris Evert retained her title by beating Melville 61 62 and Nancy Richey 63 63 to pocket the $25k first prize.

The event changed surface and location in 1974 with a switch to the indoor courts in Los Angeles. A new champion was also crowned when Evonne Goolagong beat Billie Jean King 62 46 63 and Chris Evert 63 64 back to back to claim her first tour championships. Another novelty was the appearance in the quarter finals of Czech teenager Martina Navratilova, who turned 18 during the event. Martina lost to Virginia Wade 64 63. She was to qualify every year for the following 21 seasons, a record.

1975-77

The slims tour had grown from 3 events in 1970 to 20 in 1971, 22 in 1972, 24 in 1973 and 18 in 1974, running from January through October on all surfaces. All these were in the US and tournaments staged elsewhere - including the grand slam events - were either part of the ITF Grand Prix circuit or independant events. From 1974 on, however, the tour contracted - both in terms of the number of tournaments and in the period it ran. This was a result of the arrival of World Team Tennis, a venture promoted by tour founder Billie Jean King, which occupied the calendar from April-June and again in the summer.

The new look slims tour featured 10 regular tournaments plus the tour championships, all played indoors and condensed into the January-March period. The format may have changed but Chris Evert remained, reaching her 4th consecutive slims final and beating Martina Navratilova 64 62 to win her third tour title. For the first time, the championships included a round robin component, containing the top 8 players after 8 others had been eliminated in a knock-out round.

Evert made her 5th consecutive final the following year but fell to Evonne Goolagong-Cawley 63 57 63, the only woman ever to have beaten her before in the event. Evonne had won the slims series and the entire year was characterised by a battle between Evonne and Chris for the top spot in women's tennis.

In 1977, Evonne was on maternity leave, Margaret Court departed for the same reason in February and Billie Jean, who had retired in 75 was still only beginning a serious comeback attempt. Chris, unchallenged at the top of women's tennis, made it 6/6 Season-Ending Champs finals, downing Sue Barker 26 61 61 to take home the $50k first prize and title number 4. Sue, regining French Open Champion, had upset Navratilova to reach the final.

1977 also saw the reemergence of an international women's tour which also culminated in a season-ending championships. In fact, the initial Colgate- sponsored tour had started in October 1976 and comprised 24 events, including the four majors. The first colgate championships, held in Palm Springs in November 1977 saw Chris take home the honours by soundly beating Billie Jean King 62 62 on the Californian hardcourts.

1978-82
During the period 1978-82, the two-tour system operated: the indoor circuit (sponsored by Avon from 1979 on rather than Virginia Slims) occupying the period from January-March and the international tour (sponsored by Colgate until 1980 and then by Toyota) taking up the rest of the year. Wimbledon Champion Navratilova beat Evonne Goolagong 76 64 to win the Slims Championships, staged in Oakland, in 1978 and US Open Champion Evert won the Colgate Championships at Palm Springs with a 63 63 final victory over Martina.

In 79, Martina won both events - defeating Tracy Austin 63 36 62 in Madison Square Garden in March and 62 61 in Washington DC (held in early January 1980) at the conclusion of the Colgate Series. The following year it was Tracy who did the double, gaining revenge over Martina 62 26 62 in New York and beating Andrea Jaeger 62 62 in Washington.

Andrea also reached the tour championships final in New York 1981 but fell to Martina and Tracy defended her series title at the end of the year with a come from behind victory over Navratilova 26 64 62.......

....to be continued

Final Results


V Slims 1972: Chris Evert beat Kerry Melville 75 64
V Slims 1973: Chris Evert beat Nancy Richey 63 63
V Slims 1974: Evonne Goolagong beat Chris Evert 63 64
V Slims 1975: Chris Evert beat Martina Navratilova 64 62
V Slims 1976: Evonne Goolagong beat Chris Evert 63 57 63
V Slims 1977: Chris Evert beat Sue Barker 26 61 61
Colgate 1977: Chris Evert beat Billie Jean King 62 62
Avon 1978: Martina Navratilova beat Evonne Goolagong 76 (5-0) 64
Colgate 1978: Chris Evert beat Martina Navratilova 63 63
Avon 1979: Martina Navratilova beat Tracy Austin 63 36 62
Colgate 1979: Martina Navratilova beat Tracy Austin 62 61
Avon 1980: Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova 62 26 62
Colgate 1980: Tracy Austin beat Andrea Jaeger 62 62
Avon 1981: Martina Navratilova beat Andrea Jaeger 63 76 (3)
Toyota 1981: Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova 26 64 62
Avon 1982: Sylvia Hanika beat Martina Navratilova 16 63 64
Toyota 1982: Martina Navratilova beat Chris Evert 46 61 62
V Slims 1983: Martina Navratilova beat Chris Evert 62 60
V Slims 1984: Martina Navratilova beat Chris Evert 63 75 61
V Slims 1985: Martina Navratilova beat Helena Sukova 63 75 64
V Slims 1986: Martina Navratilova beat Hana Mandlikova 62 60 36 61
V Slims 1986: Martina Navratilova beat Steffi Graf 76 (6) 63 62
V Slims 1987: Steffi Graf beat Gabriela Sabatini 46 64 60 64
V Slims 1988: Gabriela Sabatini beat Pam Shriver 75 62 62
V Slims 1989: Steffi Graf beat Martina Navratilova 64 75 26 62
Kraft 1990: Monica Seles beat Gabriela Sabatini 64 57 36 64 62
Kraft 1991: Monica Seles beat Martina Navratilova 64 36 75 60
Kraft 1992: Monica Seles beat Martina Navratilova 75 63 61
Kraft 1993: Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 61 64 36 61
WTA 1994: Gabriela Sabatini beat Lindsay Davenport 63 62 64
Corel 1995: Steffi Graf beat Anke Huber 61 26 61 46 63
Corel 1996: Steffi Graf beat Martina Hingis 63 46 60 46 60
Corel 1997: Jana Novotna beat Mary Pierce 76(4) 62 63
Corel 1998: Martina Hingis beat Lindsay Davenport 75 64 46 62
WTA 1999: Lindsay Davenport beat Martina Hingis 64 62
Sanex 2000: Martina Hingis beat Monica Seles 67(5) 64 64
Sanex 2001: Serena Williams beat Lindsay Davenport walkover
Sanex 2002: Kim Clijsters beat Serena Williams 75 63
WTA 2003: Kim Clijsters beat Amélie Mauresmo 62 60
WTA 2004: Maria Sharapova beat Serena Williams 46 62 64
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Last edited by Andy T : Oct 29th, 2005 at 08:40 PM.
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Old Oct 24th, 2005, 02:22 PM   #2
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i miss those 5 set matches
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 12:00 AM   #3
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I miss those 5 set matches too!!! I don't know why they don't reinstate them!!
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 05:26 AM   #4
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please go on!
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 11:18 AM   #5
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5 sets?
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Old Nov 10th, 2005, 01:26 PM   #6
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Wow, now that I think about it, suprised Venus Williams never got to the final or won it.
Maybe because she rarely ever plays this tourny.
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Old Nov 10th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy T
Corel 1996: Steffi Graf beat Martina Hingis 63 46 60 46 60
oh yes
this match had all : , ,

sigh
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