Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread - TennisForum.com
TennisForum.com   Wagerline.com MensTennisForums.com TennisUniverse.com
TennisForum.com is the premier Women's Tennis forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.Please Register - It's Free!
Reply

Old Oct 15th, 2007, 01:40 PM   #1
Rollo
Moderator - BFTP
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,385
Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute
Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

These two wunderkids were supposed to produce the rivalry for the 90s until Seles came along.


Head to head


(produce stats here)
Rollo is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 

Old Oct 15th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #2
country flag alfajeffster
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,301
alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

[from Gabybackhand]
About Gaby's inside-in forehand (thanks for the trouble Alfa, but I had the different forehands, inside-out and inside-in clear in my mind), I agree there are not many, but immediately came to mind the really great one Gabriela hit against Zvereva, 2-2 or smthg 2nd set, Zvereva serving 40-0. Gaby could have hit a regular shot, as she was not clearly in a position to hit a winner, but she suddenly moved to her left and hit an awesome inside-in forehand. Of course it was not her most usual winner, but she really could hit any shot at will, that so evident (except for the serve really ). Just as it was unusual for Steffi to hit any kind of winner off her backhand, but she hit all kind of incredible winners on her unmatched forehand side.
__________________
"Only those with a chaos inside can give birth a star"
Nietzsche

I agree, you did have the distinction clear. That's why I didn't respond to your intial post- I realized you knew what you were talking about. One thing that is important to note is that (IMO) at a certain stage in her career Gabriela Sabatini stopped improving. I'm really not sure what happened, but I remember distinctly noticing in the early 90s that she just seemed to lose interest in improving her game, and working at technical flaws. Maybe she was (like Anna Kournikova and Elena Dementieva after her) simply incapable of getting good service motion into her head. I don't know. At the same time she was winning matches against Steffi Graf, she was also doing pretty well with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez, and both players were quick to turn the tables when they noticed the stagnance that had crept into Sabatini's game.

Steffi Graf went through a similar stagnant period after her win over Mary Joe Fernandez at the Australian Open in January 1990, and went on somewhat of a decline in her game for about a year and a half before righting herself and getting back on track with improving and working on her game. I think a lot of this had to do with the decline of Martina Navratilova as well. I don't think any other player pushed Steffi Graf as much as Martina could, and Navratilova just wasn't there for her much at all after 1989, and in all probability the thought of just trading groundies with other baseliners ad nauseam was less interesting. Steffi was notoriously stubborned as well, and I just think it took her a while to come full circle with her defensive skills in the structure of baseline battles. Prior to 1992, she was pretty much able to beat anyone from the baseline by smacking outright winners from everywhere on the court, something that Sabatini had to really struggle with, normally preferring to rely on her excessive topspin to drive her opponents 20 feet behind the baseline.
__________________
There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #3
country flag Warriorroger
Senior Member
 
Warriorroger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 366
Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold Warriorroger is a splendid one to behold
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Loved their matches, loved it when they met.
Warriorroger is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #4
country flag spencercarlos
Sabatini lover Forever
 
spencercarlos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Venezuela
Posts: 15,165
spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
These two wunderkids were supposed to produce the rivalry for the 90s until Seles came along.


Head to head


(produce stats here)
Honestly there was no need to make this thread.
I was discussing about Graf´s complete game with LVDtennis and along the way came the Sabatini conversation.

Graf dominated most of this rivary, there is no discussion about this one.
__________________
Gabriela Sabatini 2006 HOF
18 Grand Slam SF´s, Won 27 titles, 1 GS Sin, 1 GS in Dubs,2 Masters
Sabatini vs Martinez ?
Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 9
Straight Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 6
Seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 5
Straight seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 4
Tier II and above titles
Sabatini 24 Martinez 17
Record at the Masters
Sabatini has 2 titles 2 Runner up and 3 SF
Martinez has 0 titles, 0 RU, and 0 Sf
Record against the best players
Sabatini 40% Martinez 21%
Head to Head
Sabatini leads 9-6 over Martinez
FWTT Hard 111(111 + ny)Carpet 104(104 + ny)Clay 107(107 + 4) Grass 100(100 ny)
spencercarlos is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 12:04 AM   #5
Rollo
Moderator - BFTP
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,385
Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute Rollo has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Honestly there was no need to make this thread.
I was discussing about Graf´s complete game with LVDtennis and along the way came the Sabatini conversation.

Graf dominated most of this rivary, there is no discussion about this one.Today 05:14 PM
I can respect that SpencerCarlos-but I also have to respect posters (and there have been more than one) who want the admiration thread to remain just that-a place to celebrate Steffi.

Actually though this thread is overdue-while Graf may have "dominated" the rivalry-she WAS CHALLENGED by Sabatini. How many women beat Graf more tha 10 times after all?
Rollo is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 03:47 AM   #6
country flag spencercarlos
Sabatini lover Forever
 
spencercarlos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Venezuela
Posts: 15,165
spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute spencercarlos has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
I can respect that SpencerCarlos-but I also have to respect posters (and there have been more than one) who want the admiration thread to remain just that-a place to celebrate Steffi.

Actually though this thread is overdue-while Graf may have "dominated" the rivalry-she WAS CHALLENGED by Sabatini. How many women beat Graf more tha 10 times after all?
No other woman than Sabatini beat Graf more than 9 times (which was Navratilova) and Gaby finished up with 11 wins over Graf.

Gaby lacked the balls and really smarter coachs in her earlier carreer that have taught her to play agressive tennis and come to the net much more in her earlier years.

Angel Gimenez her coach from 1987-1989 simply did a stupid job of working her "alto-alto" balls (higher-higher).
And her decrease in from was very evident while in 1987 she was losing matches because of fitness, she improved this aspect of her game in 1988.

In fact beats Graf twice, one of them Amelia Island which i always remmember her looking tired, down and out 3-6 6-4 3-0 for Graf and break point for 4-0, Gaby decides that its time to play short points, plays agressive, comes to the net a lot, and finishes 7-5 in the third.

1988 Usopen Final, she wins the second set by playing some attacking tennis, and finishing some points at the net, although she was not chipping and charging. The plays the whole third set in the back of the court (Graf comfort zone) and she is dead tired Graf destroys her 6-1.

The funny part is that the first point of the third set features a very long rally which ends up with Graf hitting a drop shot, Gaby slices to Graf´s backhand and receives an easy ball to volley.. that was Gaby´s consistent pattern between 1990-1992 against Graf (and some other players as well).

By 1989 Gaby was a consumate moonballer, this Angel Gimenez had the job welldone by then, she manages to moonball Graf on her way to a 7-5 third set win in Amelia Island but honestly the quality of this match is very poor in comparisson to the great match played the year before.
Gaby barely scapes at the French Open against Bratke and then is straight setted by Mary Joe, and Nideffer did the same at Wimbledon that year.
Lost for the first time against Arantxa after leading 6-3 5-2.

Definetly this period between 1989 and the middle part of 1990 before Wimbledon and before joining forces with Kirmair were terrible for her.

Still after all of this is very difficult to understand how come a winning tacting is being abandoned so ridiculously by a player and her coachs as well. Oh Gaby it was not mean to be..
__________________
Gabriela Sabatini 2006 HOF
18 Grand Slam SF´s, Won 27 titles, 1 GS Sin, 1 GS in Dubs,2 Masters
Sabatini vs Martinez ?
Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 9
Straight Seasons in the top ten: Sabatini 10 Conchita 6
Seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 5
Straight seasons in the top 5: Sabatini 6 Conchita 4
Tier II and above titles
Sabatini 24 Martinez 17
Record at the Masters
Sabatini has 2 titles 2 Runner up and 3 SF
Martinez has 0 titles, 0 RU, and 0 Sf
Record against the best players
Sabatini 40% Martinez 21%
Head to Head
Sabatini leads 9-6 over Martinez
FWTT Hard 111(111 + ny)Carpet 104(104 + ny)Clay 107(107 + 4) Grass 100(100 ny)
spencercarlos is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #7
country flag Robert1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: England
Posts: 1,667
Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
[from Gabybackhand]
Steffi Graf went through a similar stagnant period after her win over Mary Joe Fernandez at the Australian Open in January 1990, .
I remember reports about the AO 1990 saying that Graf's game stagnated at this tournament (she played 3 sets vs. Sukova in the semis and the final was relatively close) already. I agree she improved her game from spring 91 on. She had to as her game became attackable by Sabatini, Seles, and Navratilova.
Robert1 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 01:31 PM   #8
country flag alfajeffster
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,301
alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1 View Post
I remember reports about the AO 1990 saying that Graf's game stagnated at this tournament (she played 3 sets vs. Sukova in the semis and the final was relatively close) already. I agree she improved her game from spring 91 on. She had to as her game became attackable by Sabatini, Seles, and Navratilova.
It was also about this time that "the book" on how to play Graf started being read and applied in earnest by quite a few of the other top players. From 1987 through the beginning of 1990, she was absolutely dominant, and didn't have to play that much in the way of defensive tennis, as her offense usually did the trick. Steffi Graf was a very, very stubborned player, and I think from the beginning of 1990 through the end of 1992 she simply didn't grow her game to keep up with the challenges. To be fair, she had won nearly everything there was to win for three straight years, and with Navratilova and Evert pretty much out of the picture, there really wasn't anyone to pose a serious challenge for her until Seles showed up, and Graf's game indeed stagnated. So many of those matches she played and lost to Sabatini during this period were ones where she came out firing bullets, and almost seemed to get bored for just long enough for Gabriela to get her teeth into the match and to her great credit, she jumped on the opportunity. As Mary Carillo once noted about Monica Seles' game "When the pressure is on, she has the instincts of a doberman. So many of us go the other way." I think when Steffi finally settled on Heinz Gundhardt, her game absolutely bloomed and became much more complete.
__________________
There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #9
country flag alfajeffster
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,301
alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute alfajeffster has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencercarlos View Post
...Still after all of this is very difficult to understand how come a winning tacting is being abandoned so ridiculously by a player and her coachs as well. Oh Gaby it was not mean to be...
I think in retrospect it comes down to two things- first and most obvious, the service motion. She never really did have it down at any stage in her career, and against players who could attack the return like Graf and Seles, it was a definite liability. Secondly, while her court coverage and anticipation and variety of shot were great, she had big feet that required lots of effort in order for her to move quickly around the court, and it was quite natural for her to remain in defensive mode 10-15 feet behind the baseline and hit excessive topspin shots that cleared the net by just as many 10-15 feet on most occasions. She hit many of these shots while falling off onto her back foot, and the agression came in the length of the brushing motion that gave her all that topspin, and conversely, excessive slice without pace. She just wasn't an attacking player by design, and I don't think that is something that can ever be taught- it has to come naturally. You have to want the ball at the net in order to develop into a really great volleyer. If you don't want it, you more often than not resort to defensive drop volleys and develop a fear of getting passed. Graf had that fear of getting passed in spayds
__________________
There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #10
country flag Robert1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: England
Posts: 1,667
Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light Robert1 is a glorious beacon of light
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
It was also about this time that "the book" on how to play Graf started being read and applied in earnest by quite a few of the other top players. From 1987 through the beginning of 1990, she was absolutely dominant, and didn't have to play that much in the way of defensive tennis, as her offense usually did the trick. Steffi Graf was a very, very stubborned player, and I think from the beginning of 1990 through the end of 1992 she simply didn't grow her game to keep up with the challenges. .
You mean mid 1991 (you wrote that it stagnated until mid 91). Her game in 1992 was much better than in 1988, for instance.
Robert1 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 02:32 PM   #11
country flag micah63
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 217
micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1 View Post
I remember reports about the AO 1990 saying that Graf's game stagnated at this tournament (she played 3 sets vs. Sukova in the semis and the final was relatively close) already. I agree she improved her game from spring 91 on. She had to as her game became attackable by Sabatini, Seles, and Navratilova.
"Stagnation" is not the right word when you have blown your opponents off the court for 2 or 3 years and suddenly, within months, you struggle against them. Only if you suggest that all those opponents suddenly had found the magic wand ....
micah63 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 02:41 PM   #12
country flag micah63
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 217
micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all micah63 is a name known to all
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1 View Post
You mean mid 1991 (you wrote that it stagnated until mid 91). Her game in 1992 was much better than in 1988, for instance.
No, she was still very inconsistent in 92. Graf lost to Capriati at the Olympics and to Sanchez at the USO. And had several losses to Sabatini. Not even speaking of how she lost the first set 0-6 against Sanchez in the FO semis (and choked away the final against Seles).

Comparable to Henin of today. Sometimes brilliant but now and again definitely sub-par. Golden Grand Slam Graf of 1988 was perfect, however. Power AND almost no unforced errors.
micah63 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 03:07 PM   #13
Kart
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 27,368
Kart is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

I've only ever paid any attention to their rivalry in Florida.

Can't think why .
Kart is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #14
country flag samn
Senior Member
 
samn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: London
Posts: 2,965
samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute samn has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kart View Post
I've only ever paid any attention to their rivalry in Florida.

Can't think why .
The state of Florida has a lot to answer for.
a) Getting George W. Bush into the White House the first time,
b) The allegedly "lovely, lovely, lovely" (barf) Chris Evert,
c) The lopsided Graf/Sabatini rivalry in that state,
d) Nick Bolletieri and his stable of mindless bashers

Anything else I've missed? Oh, yes, the media and WTA circus that was the Virginia Slims of Crapriati.
__________________
Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
samn is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 16th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #15
country flag HanaFanGA
Senior Member
 
HanaFanGA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,468
HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold HanaFanGA is a splendid one to behold
Re: Gaby vs. Steffi: the Graf-Sabatini Rivalry Thread

Speaking of the 1989 Amelia Island match, Gaby was pumping in some big first serves. I think she had something like 7 aces in the match. So can anyone tell me where that serve went? I next saw her play at the French, and she just didn't have it. Even when she was playing better again, Gaby's serve at the US Open was nothing like it was during that tournament at Amelia.

Has anyone ever seen their 1986 match at the US Clay Courts or their 1987 Hilton Head SF match?
__________________
"I cannot survive in this world with my honesty." Hana Mandlikova
HanaFanGA is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Copyright (C) Verticalscope Inc
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBCredits v1.4 Copyright ©2007, PixelFX Studios