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Old Sep 1st, 2013, 03:42 PM   #2851
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A Different Graf Takes Court
USA TODAY
Wednesday, August 31, 1988
BILL HALLS, Gannett News Service

NEW YORK - This is not the same Steffi Graf who lost in the finals of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship to Martina Navratilova for the last two years [sic].

At 19 and in pursuit of the sport's first Grand Slam since Margaret Court achieved the feat in 1970, she appears much more self-assured and comfortable.

In her opening match Wednesday she breezed past Australian Elizabeth Minter 6-1, 6-1 in 41 minutes before 18,642 fans on the Stadium Court of the National Tennis Center.

Graf said she tries not to think about the Grand Slam. "It is the U.S. Open I am trying to win," she said. "I have to think about the next match. If it is to be, it will be."

There doesn't appear to be any trace of nervousness.

"I'm happy the match was fast," she said. "It wasn't a good match."

"I think she's going to win this tournament," Minter said. "I suppose (Gabriela) Sabatini (of Argentina) has the best chance of beating her on this surface. Eventually, she'll be beaten ... some day."

"She was intimidated," Graf said. "I could feel it during the match. Some players come out and just go for broke. Sometimes, she (Minter) didn't know it was her serve or what the score was."

The U.S. Open surface is Deco Turf II, a fast hard court that favors Graf's power game, particularly her potent forehand, delivered off a circular arm motion similar to a windmill pitching delivery in fastpitch softball.

Sabatini and Navratilova are the only two players who have beaten Graf in the past two years, both twice.

"My topspin game bothers her (Graf) a little bit," Sabatini said. "I will go in there and know that I can win the match and mentally that is very important."

Navratilova appreciates Graf's talent but remains bitter that she was not credited with a Grand Slam when she won six major tournaments in a row in 1983-84. She won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open in 1983 and the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1984. But the Australian Open, now played in January, was played in December back then and tennis officialdom refused to credit her with a Grand Slam because she did not win the four tournaments in the same calendar year.

"I find that pretty amazing," she said. "When I won it, it was Grand Slam Martina, and now I don't even exist. I am just trying to figure out how you can win six (majors) in a row and not win the Grand Slam."

Navratilova said Graf will face mounting pressure as the two-week U.S. Open moves closer to the final.

"With Steffi going for the Grand Slam, all the pressure is on her," she said. "She is always facing underdogs."

To help relieve the pressure, Graf plays pinball, reads Hemingway and practices dance steps. And she has no illusions about her chances.

"Anyone can beat me," she said. "Sabatini, Martina and Chris (Evert) all have a good chance. And (Pam) Shriver and (Lori) McNeil are tough."

Graf said two losses to Sabatini in March made her more determined to than ever.

"That made me see that I wasn't working as hard as I should have," she said.

"There was something missing. Motivation, something. After that loss I felt again I wanted to go out there and practice. I really helped me."

At about the time Graf was destroying Minter, Evert was dispatching Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-4, 6-1 in another first round match. This is her 18th year at the U.S. Open. She has won it six times.

"Chris is exceptional," the West German said. "She has been in tennis for so long. I do not think I will be around as long as she has been around. She's extraordinary. Always on top of her game and near the top of the computer (rankings). Chris is just so steady and mentally tough."

Evert said Graf is a "very gracious champion and a very mature, wise girl who has learned how to relax and take each match as it comes."

Court, the Australian champion, won the Grand Slam in 1970.

Before that, only three other players achieved the feat. Don Budge was the first in 1938. Maureen (Little Mo) Connelly won it in 1953 when she was three months younger that Graf would be if she won this year. Rod Laver won it twice, as an amateur in 1962 and again as a professional in 1969.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 12:18 PM   #2852
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

The first member of the Stop Steffi brigade trips up. But Pam will be back just a little later in her role as WTA politician.

Highlighted below is a great example of a fundamental difference between the Sorority Sisters and Steffi. I love that quote. It's a beautiful response to Navratilova's "I won the Slam, too! Now everybody acts like I don't even exist!" complaining.

McEnroe and Becker Lose At U.S. Open - Shriver, Gilbert Also Go Down In First Big Upset-Filled Day
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
Friday, September 2, 1988
Gary Pomerantz

FLUSHING MEADOW, N.Y. - The castle walls shook at the second round of the U.S. Open on Thursday and four knights bid adieu. Men's No. 5 seed Boris Becker left with a limp. Women's No. 4 seed Pam Shriver left with tears in her eyes. Men's No. 11 Brad Gilbert left muttering to himself, victimized by a Peruvian baseliner.

But most nostalgically for the locals, No. 16 John McEnroe left his hometown court a pitiable shell of his former greatness, beaten in five sets by Mark Woodforde, an Australian lefty who will never be compared with Rod Laver. McEnroe even taunted the umpire over one call, saying, "Did I do something to you in a previous life to cause this?"

Indeed, this Open began to take a more defined shape on a day when women's No. 1 seed Steffi Graf strafed Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-1, in a 52-minute clinic, then blanched when asked about her reputed rivalry of ego and accomplishment with No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova, who also advanced in straight sets Thursday.

"I don't care about that," said Graf, in quest of the final link of the Grand Slam. "What she has achieved is great. I just try to achieve myself."

Seeded players such as No. 5 Gabriela Sabatini, No. 10 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, No. 11 Zina Garrison among the women and No. 8 Miroslav Mecir, No. 10 Henri Leconte, No. 12 Guillermo Perez-Roldan and No. 14 Andres Gomez among the men all advanced. So did Mikael Pernfors, formerly of the University of Georgia, who dispatched unseeded Jim Courier 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

In fact, No. 2 Mats Wilander was the only seeded player to encounter major difficulty and still survive. The steady Swede outlasted South African Kevin Curren 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a 3 1/2-hour match. Curren saved five match points before finally falling.

Now, the exit of Becker sets up a projected semifinal match between Wilander and fellow Swede Stefan Edberg, who knocked off Guy Forget of France 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. Barring upset, the other men's semifinal presently projects to feature No. 1 Ivan Lendl and No. 4 Andre Agassi.

McEnroe, a four-time U.S. Open champ, lost a two sets to one lead and fell to Woodforde 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1. It was the second time in three weeks that McEnroe, 29, has lost to Woodforde, ranked 36th in the world. One stat announced the final fall of McEnroe's Open Empire: this represented the first time he's lost a five-set Open match in 10 attempts.

"If in a year or 15 months I'm still losing these kinds of matches maybe I'll re-evaluate," McEnroe, 29, said of his tennis future. "But for now this is what I want to do."

Becker, meanwhile, seemed helpless throughout his match. Suffering from blisters on his left foot and "any problem you can imagine" with his right foot, the two-time Wimbledon champion took a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 whipping from Darren Cahill, the son of a former Australian football hero. Becker, who had virtually no lateral movement and received several ice treatments during the match, said, "All (Cahill) had to do is keep it a little bit away from the center and I couldn't reach it."

To the 22-year-old Cahill, however, this was in-your-face retribution for disparaging comments he claimed Becker had made about his game earlier this year. "I had something to prove," said Cahill, ranked No. 33 in the world. He had lost to the West German in straight sets in the Queen's Tournament prior to Wimbledon. "(Becker) gave me a little bit of a stink when I chose (Pat) Cash to win Wi mbledon. He said that our match (at Queen's) in the semifinals was like a first-round match. I was very keyed up to play today and I wanted to win badly."

Peru's Jaime Yzaga, the 69th-ranked player in the world, rallied to defeat Gilbert 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-2. Primarily a clay-court specialist, Yzaga (pronouned E-Zaguh) broke Gilbert's serve six times over the last three sets. He reached the round of 16 at the 1985 U.S. Open.

Shriver seemed emotionally stripped after suffering her earliest defeat here since 1979. She lost to Leila Meskhi, a 20-year old Soviet, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, despite having held a 4-2 lead in the decisive set. Shriver has suffered through a miserable summer of ill health and ill fortune, however.

Choking back tears of frustration, Shriver said, "In my two matches here I've had some anxiety attacks that I've never had before like wondering whether the ball I threw up (to serve) would be where I wanted it.

"In my career, most of the time I've been able to bank on my serve and at this point I'm withdrawing from an empty bank account. (Meskhi broke her service seven times). There's nothing there."
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 12:20 PM   #2853
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

MCENROE, BECKER OUT OF U.S. OPEN UNSUNG AUSSIES SCORE UPSETS
Lexington Herald-Leader
Friday, September 2, 1988
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Two unheralded players from Down Under put Boris Becker and John McEnroe down and out at the U.S. Open yesterday.

Becker, hobbling on painfully sore feet, was booted from the tournament by Australian Darren Cahill 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in a second-round match at the National Tennis Center.

McEnroe, a four-time Open winner, was eliminated by Aussie Mark Woodforde 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-1 in a night match that took nearly four hours.

It was McEnroe's first five-set loss at the Open after nine wins and his second straight loss to Woodforde, who beat him at last month's Canadian Open.

"I'm disappointed I didn't play my best," said McEnroe, the 16th seed. "I felt my volley let me down and that hurt me a lot. I expected more out of myself at the end."

Woodeforde said he was pleased with his play after falling behind two sets to one.

"If was difficult playing out there with the noise and the planes," he said. "The first three or 3 1/2 sets weren't good tennis, but after that I changed tactics and raised the level of my game."

Cahill avenged a straight-set loss to Becker at a pre-Wimbledon grass- court tournament in June.

Slowed by a blister on his left foot and swelling on both feet, Becker was no match for his 22-year-old opponent.

"What can you do? It's the U.S. Open and you have to do your best," the two-time Wimbledon champion said. "It's just that my best wasn't good enough today."

Third-seeded Stefan Edberg breezed past Guy Forget of France 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, while No. 2 Mats Wilander got a scare from hard-serving Kevin Curren before prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

"It's tough against Curren because he hits so hard," said Wilander, who is now 12-1 in five-set Grand Slam matches. "I couldn't get any rhythm."

In women's play, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova cruised into the third round but fourth-seeded Pam Shriver was upset by the third-best player in the Soviet Union.

Graf, going for the first Grand Slam since 1970, beat Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-0, and Navratilova, seeking her third straight Open title, ousted Elly Hakami 6-2, 6-1.

Shriver, who reached the Open finals as a 16-year-old in 1978, was eliminated by Leila Meskhi 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

"This summer has been one continual goof-up," said Shriver, whose only earlier exit from the Open was a first-round loss to Julie Harrington in 1979. "In my two matches here, I've had some anxiety attacks like I've never had before."

Becker's feet were sprayed with a freezing substance several times during the match, but it didn't help.

"When I was pushing for a couple of shots, all of a sudden the pain came very strongly. Then I couldn't play the next few points," said Becker, who withdrew from the Canadian Open because of similar foot problems.

"All he had to do was hit the ball a little away from the center and I couldn't reach it. I don't think it was a difficult match for him."

Cahill, ranked 33rd in the world, said Becker's injuries didn't detract from his victory.

"Sometimes, he was giving the impression he was only going 50-50, but to me it always looked like he was trying," he said.

Cahill, who won his first singles title in July in Switzerland, said the victory was even sweeter because Becker had some unkind words for him after their semifinal match at Queen's Club earlier this summer.

"He blew me away at Queen's and after the match he had a few things to say," Cahill said.

"I picked Cashy (Pat Cash) to win Wimbledon and he got uptight about that. He also said our semifinal match was like a first-round match and I wasn't a great player, so I had something to prove here."

Becker, who has yet to win the Open in four tries, said his foot injuries won't stop him from playing for West Germany in the Olympics later this month.

"I'm going," he said. "I'd play with a broken leg."

Brad Gilbert, who beat Becker in the fourth round at last year's Open, was another upset victim yesterday. The No. 11 seed lost to Jaime Yzaga of Peru 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-2.

Also advancing to the third round were eighth-seeded Miloslav Mecir, No. 10 Henri Leconte and No. 14 Andres Gomez. In a first-round match that was suspended by darkness Wednesday, No. 12 Guillermo Perez-Roldan beat American Ken Flach 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

Other women's winners included fifth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini, No. 10 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, No. 11 Zina Garrison, No. 13 Mary Joe Fernandez and No. 16 Larisa Savchenko.

Meskhi, a 20-year-old who is ranked behind Natalia Zvereva and Savchenko in the Soviet Union, rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the final set and dug out of a 0-40 hole in the final game.

"The idea was to stay as close as possible, not lose my serve and take chances on Shriver's serve," Meskhi said through her translator, Soviet team coach Olga Morozova.

Shriver won two tournaments and reached three other finals before coming down with mononucleosis just before Wimbledon. She has struggled ever since, reaching a low point last month with a loss in Los Angeles to 15-year-old Amy Frazier.

"I just have to keep going," Shriver said. "I know it goes in cycles. I hope I'll wake up one morning and it will improve."

Graf lost the first game against Bollegraf, then won the next 12. Ever the perfectionist, though, Graf was not satisfied with her performance.

"I did not enjoy it today," she said. "My timing was not too good. I was hitting the ball late. But at the end, I was getting used to it."

Navratilova needed 54 minutes -- two more than Graf -- to put away Hakami.

"I think I'm physically better now than I've been in a long time," said Navratilova, who has been training with former basketball star Nancy Lieberman. "Technically, I'm hitting the ball well."

Navratilova, who has won four of the last five Opens, said Graf's recent domination of the sport has inspired her to work harder.

"When I was No. 1, I worked hard," she said. "But now that I'm No. 2, I'm working harder like Avis."

It took Wilander 3 1/2 hours and six match points to beat Curren, who hates the noisy atmosphere here so much that he once suggested a bomb be dropped on the place.

"His concentration and stamina were amazing in the fifth set," said Curren, a 1985 Wimbledon finalist. "Nothing ever gets to him."
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 12:02 PM   #2854
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Whirlwind year puts Graf on the brink of greatness - Steffi Graf
The Times
London, England
Saturday, September 3, 1988
Linda Pentz

New York - Steffi Graf, the 1988 Wimbledon champion, stands poised on the brink of greatness. Already celebrating a 12-month reign as the world's No.1, she is, at the age of 19, the winner of 27 singles titles. The most recent, at Mahwah, New Jersey, gave her more than $1 million prize money for 1988.

This year Graf has dominated the game, winning the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon as well as five other tournaments. A victory in the US Open next Saturday would bring her a calendar grand slam. She would be the first woman to achieve it since Margaret Court, in 1970, and the youngest since Maureen Connolly, in 1953.

Graf's standard reply to questions about the grand slam is: "First, I have to do it. Then I will tell you how it feels."

She is not, however, without a sense of history and her place in it. "I hear a lot about who has done it and I know what it meant to Don Budge and Margaret Court," she said. "And I am sure what it is going to mean to me is the biggest thing you can achieve."

Graf's approach to the US Open, therefore, has been to treat it as the most important championship of her life. She has never won a title here and she still sees Martina Navratilova, whom she beat in the Wimbledon final, as her main obstacle.

"Our matches are always very close, but I like the hard courts here more than grass," Graf said. "I feel all right about the way I am playing."

Graf has lost twice in 1988, both times to Gabriela Sabatini, her teenage rival. While they will play together in the doubles, Graf will countenance no suggestion that Sabatini is a threat.

"Definitely not," she said. "It's Martina. Gabby, okay, I lost twice to her, but every time for a different reason. It doesn't mean anything. She's not the toughest one. Martina's still the second best player and then Chris."

Graf admits that "in two or three years, maybe it's a different story". But she is hardly flustered by the bevy of improving teenagers, who include Natalia Zvereva, Mary Joe Fernandez and Aranxta Sanchez.

Graf beat Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in the final of the French Open and she defeated Sanchez 6-2, 6-0 last week. "There are some other players, like Mary Joe and Nicole Provis, who, if they are a bit fitter, can improve also," Graf said, without showing any real sign of expectation.

Graf is already challenging Navratilova for the title of "Athlete Supreme" in the ranks of women's tennis. Her forehand is feared and her backhand and serve have developed into weapons over the past 12 months, but it is her footwork which is most to be admired.

"I don't work on it," Graf said. She practises other areas of her game with her coach, Pavel Slozil. "I, too, can still improve my backhand, coming to net, as well as my serve," Graf said.

Graf's life has become a whirlwind since she won Wimbledon. Her homecoming to Bruhl was an endless round of functions and parties, the high point of which for her was a long meeting with her own sporting hero, Max Schmeling, the West German boxer.

Graf, however, hardly had time to celebrate. "When I was in juniors there was more ability to get excited over a tournament win than now," she said.

"After you win Wimbledon everybody's asking already, `What are you going to play next? Are you looking forward to the grand slam?' It is hard to stop and think, `I now have time to enjoy it', because I'm already thinking about the next tournament. The next day after coming home I went to Tokyo, and perhaps it was the best thing to do because it was quiet."

A similar situation will arise after the US Open. Graf must be in Seoul three days later for the Olympic Games. She won a gold medal in 1984 when tennis was an exhibition sport, and is returning "because I will be playing for Germany and meeting athletes from many different sports. But no matter what the outcome of the Open, it will be mentally very tough for me to play Seoul."

It has been tougher still to have a relatively normal lifestyle on and off the tour. Graf, usually accompanied by her father, Peter, struggled at first to form lasting friendships with other players.

"It is different now," she said. "I was never really someone who needed friends. But I'm getting along with the young players well now. I have got a little more open to other people."

Her father is learning to take more of a back seat as his daughter nears the end of her teenage years. "He has always been there, but he is trying to get away more and more," Graf said. "But I still like him there when I play."

Graf has no regrets at having missed out on a so-called normal adolescence. "I have the chance to do everything I want to do," she said.

"I'm not constantly thinking about tennis or playing all-day tennis. I play four hours a day and there is enough time to do something else. I still have a very good time and I'm enjoying it even more now.

"I don't think I've missed out on anything. And if I do, I know I can always go another way."
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:19 PM   #2855
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf wins easily - Leconte latest Australian victim
Daily Breeze
Sunday, September 4, 1988
Rick Warner, Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Steffi Graf routed another opponent in her quest for the Grand Slam, while Henri Leconte became the latest victim of an Australian upset at the U.S. Open Saturday.

Graf won her 31st straight match, breezing past Nathalie Herreman of France, 6-0, 6-1, in 45 minutes to advance to the fourth round at the National Tennis Center.

"Sure, you want a tougher match," said Graf, who has lost a total of four games in her first three matches. "I'm just hoping that the next one will be tougher."

Leconte, the No. 10 men's seed, was beaten by John Frawley, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. The Frenchman was the fourth men's seed to be ousted from the tournament by an Australian.

On Thursday, Darren Cahill beat No. 5 Boris Becker and Mark Woodforde eliminated No. 16 John McEnroe. The next day, No. 7 Yannick Noah quit because of painful knees while trailing Jason Stoltenberg in the third set.

"It's a big help to watch on TV and see Darren beat Becker and Woody beat McEnroe," said Frawley, ranked 45th in the world. "You walk out on the court feeling these guys are beatable."

Leconte was one of five seeds eliminated Saturday.

Eighth-seeded Miloslav Mecir, who reached the final in 1986, was beaten by Emilio Sanchez of Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, and No. 14 Andres Gomez was defeated by Aaron Krickstein, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The ninth women's seed, Lori McNeil, fell to Judith Wiesner of Austria, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4, and No. 15 Sylvia Hanika lost to American Patty Fendick, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-5.

"I was too cautious to go for it -- to take a crack at the ball," said McNeil, who beat Chris Evert in the quarterfinals last year and then extended Graf to three sets in the semifinals. "I guess when you chip and charge, everything has to be perfect."

McNeil, Leconte and Gomez were beaten on the grandstand court, which adjoins the stadium. Eight of the 14 seeds eliminated so far have lost on the same court.

Second-seeded Mats Wilander and No. 3 Stefan Edberg moved into the fourth round with victories over fellow Swedes.

Wilander, the Australian and French Open winner, beat former NCAA champion Mikael Pernfors, 6-4, 6-0, 7-5. Edberg, the reigning Wimbledon champion, downed Johan Carlsson, 6-0, 7-5, 6-2, in a night match.

Wilander, who won a five-setter over Kevin Curren in the previous round, said it was hard to concentrate against Pernfors because they are close friends.

"I thought I played pretty well," Wilander said. "A lot of games went to deuce and I won the tough, important points."

In women's play, Evert beat American Michelle Torres, 6-3, 6-3. But it took the six-time champion 97 minutes to down her 82nd-ranked opponent -- the combined time of Graf's last two matches.

"I can't win the tournament if I play the way I did today," said Evert, the third seed. "My concentration was on and off. I was so sharp yesterday, but today I was sloppy at times."

Graf, seeking the first Grand Slam since 1970, lost only one point on her serve in the first set. She lost the opening game of the second set on a double fault -- one of three on the day -- but was never remotely threatened by Herreman, ranked 119th in the world.

Graf's toughest battle so far has been staving off boredom. To amuse herself, she is experimenting with "crazy things" like rushing the net on her first serve.

"I'm more consistent now," said Graf, who has lost only one set in 24 Grand Slam matches this year.

"My backhand was always my big weakness and I wasn't too strong at the net. But I've worked on those things to put more variety in game."

Joining Graf in the fourth round were sixth-seeded Manuela Maleeva, No. 7 Helena Sukova, No. 12 Barbara Potter and No. 14 Katerina Maleeva. Sukova beat 15-year-old American Amy Frazier, the youngest player left in the women's draw.

Leconte, slowed recently by knee problems, broke Frawley to take a 2-0 lead in the first set. But Frawley broke back in the next game, the first of his six service breaks in the match.

"I was not serving well," Leconte said. "He was returning well and passing me."
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:20 PM   #2856
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Graf whets appetite for Grand Slam - Steffi Graf
The Sunday Times
London, England
Sunday, September 4, 1988
Sue Mott

NEW Yorkers and their lunch are seldom parted. So Steffi Graf was greeted by the thunderous chomping of a thousand hotdogs as she swept serenely through the third round of the US Open at Flushing Meadow yesterday.

But the world's top woman tennis player betrayed not a flicker of interest in this indignity. Her only thought and a deadly one was to brush aside the challenge of poor Nathalie Herreman, the 22-year-old French woman being miserably minced on the other side of the net.

The Parisienne, ranked 119th in the world, was the recipient of only 21 points in a 44-minute match which Graf won predictably 6-0 6-1.

It was a typically efficient performance. The Stadium Court crowd, hampered by sundaes in one hand and super diablo tacos in the other, were reluctant to applaud such a one-sided contest. This is the city where they throw dead fish and chickens at fighting ice hockey players mere ruthlessness fails to excite.

At least Herreman had the wit to try serve-and-volley tactics. But she only succeeded in exposing herself to a battery of high-speed passing shots. "I keep hoping the next match will be tougher," Graf said. As it is, her chief amusement this week came from a concert by the band Earth Wind And Fire at Madison Square Garden.

As the afternoon turned hot and humid Chris Evert, 33, six-times winner of the Open and now happily-married, took her time to beat Michelle Torres from Chicago 6-3 6-3. It was not a pretty sight. More a relentless baseline affair of lingering rallies and double-fisted backhands, a "slugfest" in baseball parlance.

New Yorkers are now preparing to boast. In six days they will almost certainly witness only the sixth Grand Slam in history and the third accomplished by a woman. Only American Maureen Connolly (1953) and Australian Margaret Court (1970) have achieved the rare distinction.

It is unthinkable that Graf's overwhelming dominance of women's tennis will fail to translate into the US Open Trophy, to add to the titles of Australia, France and Wimbledon, which she has already won this year.

"She'll win unless she breaks her leg," said Billie Jean King. "I can't think of a better player to take the Grand Slam," said the first winner of the tennis jackpot, Don Budge much to the horror of Navratilova, who is seeded to meet Graf in the final.

Mats Wilander has only been slightly horrified at the Open so far. Kevin Curren took him to five sets in the second round. But this time the challenge of fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors fell far short of dynamic. Pernfors, who has traded his paunch and punk hairdo for a svelt physique and headband, lost in straight sets 6-4 6-0 7-5. So much for diets.

Flushing Meadow is hardly the place for weight watchers. Junk food stalls belt their noxious fumes in all directions. Unpoliced crowds carry out loud conversations, mill about the aisles and strike up disgustingly sticky involvements with a meatball sandwich.

Therefore, it was a radical compliment to Miloslav Mecir and Emilio Sanchez when a packed outside court suspended all eating and shrieking to watch the intriguing four-set match, which the Spaniard won 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-1.

Henri Leconte, the French Open finalist this year, surprisingly joined the ranks of the depressed, seeded rejects when he lost 6-3 6-4 6-3 in the third round to John Frawley of Australia. "This is the happiest moment of my life," said the rapturous Frawley, yet another of the antipodian clan to cause an upset at the Open.

Happy Aussies apart, all these gripes, ailments and injuries among the men's top 10 are a fine advertisement for the brewing player rebellion. The multi-millionaires want a streamlined tour in 1990, with fewer tournaments and larger purses, which would eradicate blisters at a stroke.

THIRD ROUND. Men's singles: J Frawley (Aus) bt H Leconte (Fra) 6-3 6-4 6-3; M Laurendeau (Can) bt J Yzaga (Peru) 4-6 6-2 6-4 7-5; M Wilander (Swe) bt M Pernfors (Swe) 6-4 6- 0 7-5; E Sanchez (Spa) bt M Mecir (Czech) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-3)

6-1; M Woodforde (Aus) bt D Nargiso (Ita) 6-1 5-7 6-3 6-0; D Cahill (Aus) bt M Ingaramo (Arg) walkover. Women's singles: S Graf (W Ger) bt N Herreman (Fra) 6-0 6-1; H Sukova (Czech) bt A Frazier (US) 7-5 7-5; K Maleeva (Bulg) bt S Wasserman (Bel) 5-7 6-2 6-1; B Potter (US) bt B Nagelsen (US) 7-5 6-3; J Wiesner (Austria) bt L McNeil (US) 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-4; C Evert (US) bt M Torres (US) 6-3 6-3; P Fendick (US) bt S Hanika (W Ger) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-5.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #2857
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

"Maybe the next match (Fendick) will be tougher. We'll see." Although Steffi has just stated she won't worry about "pleasing" the crowd anymore, the deep understanding that this is all about entertainment still tugs at her. "They don't want fast matches, or lopsided matches. They want competition."

Graf, Evert steering clear of upset wave - Top seed still untested in early rounds
Houston Chronicle
Sunday, SEPTEMBER 4, 1988
CHARLES CARDER

NEW YORK - While all those around them were losing their matches, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert were winning quickly in the third round of women's singles Saturday at the U.S. Open.

Graf, the No. 1 seed who is seeking a Grand Slam at the National Tennis Center, lost only one game in defeating Nathalie Herreman of France 6-0, 6-1 and Evert prevailed 6-3, 6-3 over Michelle Torres of Northfield, Ill.

Graf has been winning so quickly she is becoming tired of answering questions about tougher opponents.

"I hope there comes another one, then I won't get asked that question any more," Graf said after her 45-minute match. "Surely, I want to have a tougher match, that is definite. I just keep hoping the next one will be tougher."

Her competition has been so slight that Graf has been scheduling additional practice sessions.

"I will practice some serves and returns after my doubles match," she admitted. "Tomorrow (Sunday) I have the day off and I will practice even more than usual."

She is relaxed, attending both a concert and a movie on Friday when she was not scheduled. She hasn't created false pressure on herself by deliberately losing points. But she admits she "tried things."

"When the score was 4-1 today I was trying to hit a first serve when it was the second serve,'' she said. "And on the return I was trying to go in really hard to hit the backhand."

Evert, who lost to Graf in the final of the Australian Open last January, needed just 1 hour, 37 minutes for her win. Between was a 2-hour, 6-minute match involving Mats Wilander of Sweden. The three quick matches forced the U.S. Tennis Association to move a match, involving the second-seeded doubles team of Graf and Gabriela Sabatini, into the Stadium to fill the time.

Despite her one-sided score Evert said she was not happy with her performance.

"I played better my first two matches," she said. "Today I was a bit sluggish out there. I can't win the tournament the way I played today. I think the second week of the tournament the level of tennis goes up."

She claimed her concentration was on and off.

"My concentration level was so sharp yesterday (Friday) that I made few forced errors. Today I was a bit sloppy at times."

Martina Navratilova received 501 red roses from an anonymous admirer, surpassing Gabriela Sabatini's previous record of 500 which were sent to her at Wimbledon two months ago. Navratilova donated the roses to a New York children's hospital.

When Arantxa Sanchez, a surprise semifinalist at the Virginia Slims of Houston last spring, defeated Susan Sloane, she became the first Spanish woman ever to reach the round of 16 at the U.S. Open. There was lots of reason to celebrate in the Sanchez family Saturday night after brother Emilio defeated eighth-seeded Miloslav Mecir.

Steve Bryan of Katy has drawn seventh-seeded Roberto Jabali of Brazil as his first-round opponent in the Junior Boy's U.S. Open, which starts on Monday. His doubles partner, Alex O'Brien of Amarillo, will play Tomas Zdrazila of Czechoslovakia. There are no Texans in the girls division.

John Frawley's win over Henri Leconte was the fourth by an Australian player over a tournament seed. If Pat Cash had been able to compete here, they might have had to change to name to the Australian Open. Cash withdrew before the start of the tournament with a hamstring injury.

After losing her singles match, Lori McNeil, with partner Betsy Ngelsen, the fourth seeds, returned to the court to defeat Wiltrud Probst of Germany and Elna Reinach of South Africa 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round match of women's doubles. Zina Garrison and Katrina Adams of Chicago, the ninth seeds, lost their second-round match to Cammy and Cynthia MacGregor 7-5, 7-6 (9-7).

Sixteen-year-old Michael Chang has been playing in the shadow of flashier Andre Agassi, who is considered the top American hope. Agassi and Chang are in the third round and if each wins another match, they will play each other for a quarterfinal berth. "And I want to play Andre in the round of 16," said Chang, his voice, for a moment, sounding intense and not so soft-spoken at all. Obviously, Michael Chang would be glad to leave the shadows and recapture the title of best American hope.

Houstonian Sammy Giammalva is still alive in two tournament divisions. He and Marc Flur won their second-round men's doubles match with a 6-2, 6-4 upset of 16th-seeded Joakim Nystrom and Mikael Pernfors. Giammalva, along with the Houston team of Garrison and Sherwood Stewart, is still in contention in mixed doubles.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2858
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

I wonder if two shaggy-haired teenaged tennis players were exchanging any surreptitious side-long glances at this stage...

The Reagan thing was a little more embarrassing for her: Asked to pick a player, man or woman, against whom she would like to play, Graf paused for several seconds and said, "Basically I think playing men against women is not really . . . " She paused again, then said, "Anybody. Ronald Reagan. I don't know." As those in the media interview room burst into laughter, Graf blushed, lowered her head and quickly exited.

AUSTRALIA INC. TAKES FLUSHING MEADOW BY STORM
ALAN TRENGOVE
September 4, 1988
Sydney Morning Herald

NEW YORK, Sunday: Australians continued to be the talk of the town here yesterday after John Frawley outplayed 10th seed Henri Leconte and Mark Woodforde beat Diego Nargiso to reach the fourth round of the US Open singles at Flushing Meadow.

Frawley will play the tough little Spaniard Emilio Sanchez, who toppled 1986 finalist Miloslav Mecir, and Woodforde takes on Mats Wilander, runner-up last year and the reigning champion of Australia and France.

In the same half of the draw Darren Cahill, who received a third-round walkover from Marcelo Ingaramo, looks set for an easy match against Martin Laurendeau, of Canada.

Jason Stoltenberg, 18, who conquered Yannick Noah on Friday, faces Haitian Ronald Agenor in his third-round match.

The last Australian to win the American men's championship was John Newcombe, in 1973, and, although none of the present contingent is quite in his class one or two could spring more surprises yet.

Cahill triggered the Australian assault by defeating West German Boris Becker. That performance had a multiplying effect as his compatriots took heart.

Frawley, who dispatched Leconte 6-3 6-4 6-3, said: "You see Cahill beat Becker, and Woodforde beat McEnroe and you walk out on the court and say, 'These guys are beatable now'. Before, the attitude was negative. The Australians are getting more confident against the top players."

Team spirit is another factor. The Australians are helping each other in a way unknown among any other nation's players - except the Swedes. Woodforde, who lost to Leconte in his Davis Cup debut at Clermont-Ferrand this year, gave Frawley advice.

Roy Emerson, the tennis great from Queensland who now lives in California, also gave him tips on how to play the Frenchman.

Frawley said: "The Australians are a big family out here."

No longer are they struggling to achieve progress without strong official support. Australian Institute Sport coach Bob Carmichael, who had to fly to West Germany from New York at the weekend, telephoned Frawley three minutes before the Leconte match.

"He said, 'Just walk out and be confident,'" recalled Frawley, whose poise from start to finish was impressive.

National coach Ray Ruffels, Woodforde's coach, Barry Phillips-Moore and Davis Cup captain Neale Fraser - whom Woodforde described as "The godfather" -are among the others in the background.

Unlike most of their predecessors, Cahill, Woodforde, Frawley and Stoltenberg are not predominantly grasscourt players and all have sound ground strokes which have been developed on clay and cement.

They are hard-working, self-disciplined and well behaved - important attributes in New York where the distractions make mental toughness essential

"All of us have had a pretty good upbringing," Woodforde said after beating the bad-tempered young Italian Nargiso 6-1 5-7 6-3 6-0.

"We enjoy the game. Some players - like Nargiso - will come off the court and bang their heads against a locker or smash their racquets. Others learn from their losses."

The outstanding feature of Frawley's victory was his return of service, especially off the backhand. Reminiscent of Ken Rosewall's deadly backhand, it recalled a golden era of Australian tennis.

Time after time Frawley rolled his return past the incoming Leconte. The Frenchman's left-handed service is one of the fastest in the world. Leconte persevered in swinging it to Frawley's backhand as though he could not believe that any shot could stay that hot. He got burnt every time.

Leconte was erratic, yet might have hit his way out of trouble had Frawley relaxed his control. The Queenslander, a short, solidly-built young man in a cap, gave no latitude.

The key phase occurred in the second set when Leconte went to a lead of 4-2. Frawley broke back for 4-4 then took Leconte's service again in the 10th game on his fourth set point.

He quickly gained a grip on the third set, dominating Leconte from the baseline and breaking him twice to seal the biggest win of his career.

Woodforde's problem against Nargiso was to guard against a letdown after his defeat of John McEnroe. He suffered two lapses in the second set, in which he lost the first three games, but won the next five, only to drop four more in a row.

He played Nargiso, the 1987 Wimbledon junior champion, at Wimbledon this year and ticked him off after the volatile left-hander hit some "bean balls"at him.

Nargiso was again in an ugly mood and risked penalties for his abuse of the balls and his racquet, and for his outbursts to the umpire. He once threatened to walk off the court if a line call was not overruled.

But if Woodforde could weather McEnroe's tantrums he was not going to be bluffed by a tyro. He calmly went about the job of winning.

His run will probably come to an end against the second-seeded Wilander, who beat fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors 6-4 6-0 7-5.

On the other hand, upsets have become commonplace at this tournament and, like Wilander, Woodforde is not a player to beat himself. The dour Swede cannot afford to be off his game.

Andres Gomez, the No 14 seed, became the eighth men's seed to be dumped. He was beaten by Aaron Krickstein 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4.

There were further upsets in the women's singles too. Austria's Judith Wiesner beat ninth seed Lori McNeil 7-6 3-6 6-4 and American Patty Fendick defeated 15th seed Sylvia Hanika 6-7 6-3 7-5.

Chris Evert benefits from McNeil's elimination. She lost to McNeil here last year and was expecting to meet her in the next round. Evert beat her third-round opponent, Michelle Torres, 6-3 6-3.

Least at risk from an upset is the splendid Steffi Graf, whose 6-0 6-1 win over France's Nathalie Herreman put her within four victories of the grand slam of the world's four major tennis tournaments.

The 19-year-old West German has conceded only four games in three matches and needs additional practice to make up for her lack of exertion on the match court.

"I want a tougher match. I just keep hoping the next one will be tougher,"she said.

Journalists, stumped to know what questions to put to a woman who continues to beat her contemporaries so monotonously, are racking their brains at Graf's post-match interviews.

One reporter asked if she felt any jealousy towards the new American sensation Andre Agassi because he could hit the ball harder. "Oh, no!" Graf exclaimed giggling.

Another wondered whether she ever deliberately lost a couple of points in order to create some pressure for herself. "No", she said, although she did experiment with her game sometimes.

Finally, a reporter asked her to nominate the man or woman she would most like to play in a match. Graf was baffled for a few seconds, but when pressed said: "Anybody ... Ronald Reagan."

The US President would at least provide more interest than some of Graf's recent opponents.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:23 PM   #2859
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

GRAF KEEPS ROLLING IN QUEST FOR GRAND SLAM
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Sunday, September 4, 1988
Diane Pucin, Inquirer Staff Writer

Steffi Graf has seen an Earth, Wind and Fire concert at Madison Square Garden, gone to a movie, had dinner with friends and played 2 hours, 19 minutes of tennis this week at the U.S. Open.

Yesterday, she was on the Stadium Court at the National Tennis Center for 45 minutes while disposing of France's Nathalie Herreman, 6-0, 6-1, to advance to the fourth round. That's not enough time to get a sunburn. This Grand Slam stuff has been a Grand Yawn for Graf so far at the Open.

On Saturday, Graf could become the first person since 1970 - and only the fifth in tennis history - to capture the Australian, French, Wimbledon and United States titles in the same year.

Graf has consistently maintained that she has not given much thought to the Slam, saying things like: "I only play one match at a time" and "I am not thinking that far ahead."

Indeed, Martina Navratilova, who is seeded second to Graf, seems more concerned about the Slam. Navratilova once won six straight Grand Slam events, beginning with Wimbledon in 1983, but she has never won all four in the same year.

"I'm still trying to figure out how I can win six Grand Slams but never the Grand Slam," says Navratilova, irritation in her voice.

Chris Evert, the No. 3 seed, usually the model of diplomacy, seemed to have given some thought to the Slam, too.

"When I was in my prime, in the '70s," she said, "winning the Grand Slam was no big deal. I probably could have won one. But we weren't even playing the French then. We were playing World Team Tennis at the same time as the French. Now, all of a sudden, it's a big deal."

So let's figure that Navratilova, who had yesterday off, and Evert, who advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Michelle Torres, will play with a little extra determination this week.

"Yeah, I think so," Evert said. "There's some pride involved with Martina and I."

Another player given an outside chance of beating Graf, ninth-seeded Lori McNeil, was upset yesterday by Austria's Judith Wiesner, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4.

"I was just a little off," McNeil said. "And her passing shots were very good off the backhand side."

In the semifinals of last year's Open, McNeil, who had upset Evert in the quarters, took Graf to three sets before losing by 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Patty Fendick, who won the 1987 NCAA women's championship while playing for Stanford, knocked off 15th-seeded Sylvia Hanika of West Germany, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-5, in another upset yesterday.

The men lost three seeds, with Emilio Sanchez of Spain eliminating No. 8 Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1; John Frawley of Australia ousting No. 10 Henri Leconte of France, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, and Aaron Krickstein beating No. 14 Andres Gomez of Ecuador, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The main beneficiaries of the upsets were No. 2 seed Mats Wilander, who advanced to the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-0, 7-5 victory over fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors, and No. 3 Stefan Edberg, who quickly dispatched qualifier
Johan Carlsson, 6-0, 7-5, 6-2, last night in another all-Swedish matchup.

Six of the eight seeds in the bottom half of the men's draw are gone. Only Wilander and Edberg are left, and they would seem to have a relatively clear path to a semifinal meeting.

But the way Wilander has played so far at the Open, he doesn't seem to need any help from the draw. Against Pernfors, he hit crisp passing shots, his forehand was pinpoint perfect and his serve was a weapon.

"I won most of the tough points," he said. "Because we are good friends, I was afraid it would be hard to concentrate. I thought, if I could concentrate, I would have a little edge, be able to serve a little better, be more aggressive."

*

Yesterday was another g'day for the Aussies, and not just because of Frawley's upset.

Mark Woodforde, who had knocked off 16th-seeded John McEnroe in the second round, advanced to the fourth round with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Italy's Diego Nargiso.

And Darren Cahill, who upset fifth-seeded Boris Becker on Thursday, advanced to the fourth round without picking up a racket. His third-round opponent, Marcelo Ingaramo, went home to Argentina after his wife gave birth to a boy on Friday.

If Jason Stoltenberg beats Haiti's Ronald Agenor today, there will be four Aussies among the final 16 men.

That number might have been five, had not Pat Cash, ranked seventh in the world, not withdrawn from the Open because of an injured Achilles' tendon.

Frawley, who dominated Leconte from start to finish, gave Cash's 1987 Wimbledon victory some of the credit for Australia's tennis resurgence.

"When Pat did that, I said, 'Hey, we've all got a chance of beating the top players,' " Frawley said. " 'If Pat can do it, so can we.' "

Frawley, who is 23 and ranked 45th in the world, also thinks that the Australian Open's switch from grass to a hard surface similar to that at the National Tennis Center, has had a good effect on the young players in his country.

"We all finally had to learn to play some groundstrokes," he said. "In my brother Rod's day (Rod Frawley is a former touring pro), it was all grass, and all he could do was serve and volley.

"When I was 9, my dad said he was going to teach me to play from the baseline because, in the future, the game was going to be all hard courts, and he was right."

*

Mecir, who lost to Ivan Lendl in the 1986 U.S. Open final, committed 53 unforced errors in his match against Sanchez, whose sister Arantxa has advanced to the fourth round in the women's draw.

"I just didn't feel I played my best," Mecir said. "In the fourth set, I didn't concentrate too hard, because I was unhappy with how the third set had gone. Then, all of a sudden, I am down 4-1 and it's difficult to do something."
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

A rare mention of a doubles match time. Doubtful that she even got much practice on her serve and return.

LECONTE, MCNEIL OUSTED
The Washington Post
Sunday, September 4, 1988

NEW YORK - The Grandstand Court at the U.S. Open on Saturday continued its history of swallowing up seeded players. Players always have hated being there because of the proximity of the crowd, the shadows and . . . because it swallows up seeded players.

It claimed a couple more Saturday, as 10th seed Henri Leconte was knocked out by John Frawley, yet another unseeded Australian, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. And ninth seed Lori McNeil, who was so special on the Grandstand a year ago in beating Chris Evert, was absolutely terrible when all she had to be was ordinary. She fell 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4 to unseeded Judith Wiesner of Austria.

Emilio Sanchez, who's made his living during his career on clay, ate up the eighth seed, Miloslav Mecir, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. Aaron Krickstein bounced No. 14 Andres Gomez 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Patty Fendick of Sacramento, Calif., took care of 15th seed Sylvia Hanika 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-5. They weren't on the Grandstand Court, either. But Saturday's upsets mean that eight of the 16 men's seeds and six of the women's have found their way out even before the round of 16 field is filled.

Top seed Steffi Graf cruised to another 6-0, 6-1 victory Saturday. The foil Saturday was Nathalie Herreman, who had made it past the second round exactly once in 10 tournaments before Saturday. Third seed Chris Evert did manage to break a sweat before defeating Michelle Torres, 6-3, 6-3.

Graf has lost a total of five games in three singles matches. Saturday's first set took 19 minutes. As if to prove a point, she teamed up with Gabriela Sabatini later in the day and took 42 minutes to take care of Niege Dias and Wiesner in doubles.

Second-seeded Mats Wilander had little trouble with Mikael Pernfors, 6-4, 6-0, 7-5. To get to the semifinals, Wilander just has to beat Mark Woodforde and either Sanchez or Frawley.

It looks more and more like an all-Swedish semifinal, with Wilander playing third seed Stefan Edberg down the line. Edberg was to play Johan Carlsson on Saturday night.

''We all see that Ivan (Lendl) is not playing as well,'' Wilander said. ''That makes you more confident. We all know that when he was playing well, he was very hard to beat on this surface (hard court). At this stage he's not playing as well. Maybe by the end of the tournament.''

Leconte was dispatched handily by Frawley, who is part of a group of Australians that plays together, lives together, cheers together and ruins the draw together.

''This is probably the happiest moment in my life,'' said Frawley, who has rocketed from No. 249 in the world in 1986 to 45. ''Leconte is a great player, and to beat him at the U.S. Open . . . Everyone is playing their best in a (Grand Slam event), and beating him here is bigger than beating him on a regular circuit series.''

Leconte was up 4-2 in the second set before things fell apart. He has a bum right knee, but a bionic one wouldn't have helped him Saturday. Frawley served at 69 percent on first serves, and Leconte had 34 unforced errors to Frawley's 11.

''You have to play well all the time now,'' Leconte said. ''If you play under your level, you'll get in trouble. Especially against someone like John Frawley, who's playing well. You have to play your best. You need to be fit, and I'm not 100 percent.''

There are dangerous players left in the men's draw who aren't Australian. Derrick Rostagno, who finds the hard courts of great liking to his serve-and-volleying, takes on ninth seed Tim Mayotte in the top half of the draw Sunday. The winner of the Ronald Agenor-Jason Stoltenberg match could give the Mayotte-Rostagno winner fits, and whoever wins that would then likely will have to deal with top seed Lendl.

Also in the top half is 16-year-old Michael Chang, who beat 13th-seeded Jonas Svensson in five sets late Friday. Chang is so popular in Southern California that his match result was flashed on the scoreboard at Anaheim Stadium during the Los Angeles Angels-Boston Red Sox baseball game.

Chang is s usceptible to cramps late in a match, as he suffered against Svensson, but he'll run down every ball all night. If Chang gets past Tim Wilkinson, and fourth seed Andre Agassi beats Johan Kriek, Chang and Agassi would meet in the round of 16.

McNeil was one match away from having a rematch of last year's quarterfinal with Evert. She had the chances. Wiesner, another clay-court specialist who didn't try to qualify for the Austrian Olympic team because the qualifying surface in Linz was clay while the matches in Seoul will be on hard courts.

In an ironic question, Graf was asked after her match and while McNeil's was going on if she thought McNeil, whom Graf mentioned as a player with an outside shot of winning, had a chance to break into the Graf-Evert-Navratilova-Sabatini echelon.

''She has the game and everything,'' Graf said, ''it is just how she mentally gets through. I think she (would have had) Chris in the quarters or round of 16. I do not know how she is going to get through.''

McNeil took on a new coach, John Lloyd, just to help her more with that mental aspect of the game. When she is kicking her serve and coming in behind it as she is capable, she can push Graf, as she did in the semifinals here last year. When she's not, she loses to people such as Judith Wiesner.

''I was just a little off, my shots were a little bit off today,'' she said. ''She has very good passing shots off the backhand side. Every time I had an opportunity to come back in the third set, I just played a little too cautious. When you chip and charge you have to be perfect, and sometimes I didn't go for it.''

Wiesner was up 4-1 in the third before McNeil woke up and broke, then held for 4-3. She had 15-40 on her racket on Wiesner's serve, but punted the volley into the net.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:40 PM   #2861
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

All those hours spent reading Hemingway in English pay off! (I have often wondered who suggested old Ernest as an English tutorial to Steffi. While a great match-up in one way, maybe someone already given to extreme ellipsis and understatement needed a writer who wasn't all about omission.)

ELIZABETH COURTS SUCCESS
DIANA SIMMONDS
September 4, 1988
Sydney Morning Herald

IF Elizabeth Hayes broke into song, one morning, on Nine's Today show - which is most unlikely because she is a person of some gravity and reserve - it would probably be a verse or two from Buffy St Marie's song:

"Ah'm gonna be a country girl again,

With a big front porch an' a rockin' chair

And rabbits in the pen;

You know that all the lights on Broadway

Don't amount to an acre of green,

Cos Ah'm gonna be a country girl again."

Which is not to say that she doesn't enjoy city life. "I love what it has to offer, but ..." she makes an expansive gesture, "I think it's true that you can't take the country out of the girl. I'm completely happy when I leave the city behind. Sometimes I go home to Taree and just ... breathe."

Although she has left Sydney behind this week, her destination - as any Today show watcher knows by now, is anything but rural.

"Noo Yock! It is exciting, although Flushing Meadow and the US Open will be very different from Wimbledon. I'm not really sure what to expect," she says.

No doubt she'll cope and flourish. Hayes, on the Today show, has gone from occasional stand-in for Patrice Newell to obviously over-awed, haltingly nervous and definitely No 2 co-presenter to George Negus; to her current position as an increasingly confident and commanding presence. The broadcasts from Wimbledon saw to that.

"I loved it. I was very grateful to be there because obviously our needs made things complicated for the sports people. And it was great to be asked to do the Open."

Is she a tennis expert now? A good player?

"Being at Wimbledon makes you think you are - or that you want to be! I would think: oh yes, I can do that, I want to do that. But of course, it doesn't work out quite like that!"

She got a close look at the players, however, both off and on court.

"To me, Stefan Edberg was the most impressive - and I mean way before he won. He presents himself really well - he's polite and very professional, and although he's as aggressive as he has to be on court, afterwards he has this very strong, but gentle, personality.

"Boris Becker was a real surprise, too. On court he's so aggressive, so positive, and yet when he came off - he was just a brilliant loser. And the amazing thing - the frightening thing - is that they're such babies, but they're so mature!"

And the women?

"I found the men more together than the women, mentally. There was always that feeling, which is quite wrong, but everything is set up that way, of course, that the men are more important than the women. And I think that it means the women don't take themselves as seriously because of that. Maybe they don't approach what they're doing in quite the same way.

"It's a very minor, subtle thing though - I don't want to make more of it than that. Chris Evert and Martina aren't at all like that. They go on and play great tennis and then they come off court and they're both very philosophical about it - she played great, I didn't play so great, I lost - and that's that."

And the younger players?

"I found Steffi Graf extraordinary. She's very strong and very sharp - as a personality. She has an easy manner and she expresses herself very well, despite the limitations of her English. Gabriela Sabatini, I don't really know about, but I think Steffi is definitely the one. And, of course, they don't misbehave."

Regular Today viewers get the impression that "misbehaving" is something that doesn't rate highly in the Hayes book. She's looser than she used to be, but there's a straitlaced quality not far below the surface to keep order. It gives the lie to early pictures of her as a totally brainless "bubbly" bimbo.

She isn't desperately impressed by trivia, although she's unfailingly polite: last week's stand-in for George, and long-time mate, John Mangos, stirred unashamedly when the Harper's Bazaar list of Australia's 100 most chic women didn't include her. At the time she kept a straight face - just - while the magazine's editor floundered under the pressure of trying to justify the gravity of the situation. Afterwards?

She came close to a sardonic expression and spoke carefully: "I really think that there are more important things to worry about, quite frankly."

So what does she worry about?

"A lot of things, although right now I can't think of a thing! But ... dishonesty, I suppose. People not being straight, not being fair. Especially when they're on the program and they won't answer a question, or they don't tell the truth. Of course, that means we're really talking about politicians.

Earlier that morning she had crossed swords with Wilson Tuckey over the alleged Keating-Richardson car phone conversation.

"I'm always amazed by how much publicity and airtime we in the media give someone like that. But then I suppose he's a colourful character and at least it makes us stop and think about what we really care about - what's actually important and the truth. Maybe we need people like that to keep us on our toes."

A job that gets her up at three in the morning, while keeping her on her toes, doesn't - she says - mean the living end. She has been described, by those who don't describe her as "a good person", as "frighteningly ambitious". Is she?

"I'm ambitious, sure. I'm ambitious to do a good job - as good a job as I can - but as I get older I can see that if there were two clear choices and one meant sacrificing family, my own life, that kind of thing, then I don't think it would be worth it."

Flushing Meadow - next stop.
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Old Sep 5th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #2862
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Patty Fendick's attitude was commendable. From the way some opponents acted, you would think Steffi was going to physically beat them up or at least call them rude names.

Seeded players hope rain checks 'Graveyard' jinx
The San Diego Union
Monday, September 5, 1988
Mark Zeigler, Staff

The U.S. Open was rained out yesterday.

The wait began at 11 a.m., when the first matches of the Open's seventh day were supposed to begin at the National Tennis Center. It ended shortly after 2 p.m., when tournament (and CBS-TV) officials decided there was roughly enough water on the courts to sink a small battleship.

The lucky ones were those players who had the foresight to stay at their Manhattan hotels.

The unlucky ones were the 18,870 paying fans -- rain checks are not issued at the U.S. Open for the same year. Rather, you can mail in your ticket stub in exchange for one of the first nine day sessions next year. (A lot of good that does the family vacationing here from California.)

Eleven singles and 21 doubles matches were washed away yesterday. Scheduled to play were Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova and Gabriela Sabatini. Michael Chang, the 16-year-old who upset 13th-seeded Jonas Svensson on Friday, was supposed to meet Tim Wilkison in the third round.

Today's schedule, rain permitting (and it is in the forecast again), includes all yesterday's matches, plus 11. Also playing are Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Mats Wilander.

The seeded players hope the rain dampened the eerie effect the Grandstand Court has had on their counterparts. Eight of the 14 seeds to lose thus far have gone down on the Grandstand, now being called "The Graveyard."

The rain moved No. 11 Zina Garrison off it but No. 2 Wilander and Graf on it.

Graf, the women's No. 1 seed chasing the Grand Slam, plays Patty Fendick in the round of 16. Fendick, a two-time NCAA champion now ranked 22nd, upset No. 15 Sylvia Hanika in Saturday's third round.

How does Fendick approach a rendezvous with Graf, who has lost four games in three matches?

"She's beating the hell out of everyone else. What do I have to lose?" Fendick said. "What do I have to be nervous about?"
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Old Sep 5th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #2863
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

How time flies indeed.... seems like only a few years ago when Steffi won her first US Open...

http://askwhowhywhathow.com/2013-us-open/
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Old Sep 6th, 2013, 02:25 PM   #2864
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisfan2808 View Post
How time flies indeed.... seems like only a few years ago when Steffi won her first US Open...

http://askwhowhywhathow.com/2013-us-open/
This is such a beautiful article. I also love Steffi's footnote about her 1st title in flushing meadow without even mentioning the true Grand Slam.
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Old Sep 6th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #2865
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Re: Steffi Graf Admiration Thread Vol 2

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Originally Posted by XTN View Post
This is such a beautiful article. I also love Steffi's footnote about her 1st title in flushing meadow without even mentioning the true Grand Slam.
I really love her blog entry's embrace of Hemingway's iceberg theory. She doesn't have to say anything directly about her matches there, but the weight of all of them (and the ones she watched Andre play) are lurking just beneath the surface. When Steffi Graf says "the physical and psychological stress in professional tennis are often underestimated," if you know anything about her career at all, she doesn't have to say anything more. I know it drove/drives a lot of media types nuts, but she says nothing perfectly.
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