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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #196
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Re: 1992

Seles storms into the semi-finals - Wimbledon 1992
The Times
London, England
Wednesday, July 1, 1992
Andrew Longmore, Tennis Correspondent

AND on the eighth day, it rained. Not hard but enough to postpone the opening two women's quarter-finals for over three hours. By the time play was called off at 9.01pm, the gloom was Stygian, the street lights had been switched on and Gabriela Sabatini was on the verge of joining the other three leading seeds in the semi-finals.

The Argentinian was leading Jennifer Capriati 5-3 in the final set and serving for the match when the referee, Alan Mills, succumbed to the American's increasingly frantic appeals for a postponement. Not surprisingly, Sabatini was less than amused by the decision. To come out today possibly to play one game is unsatisfactory for crowd and players. Tennis's equivalent of the penalty shoot-out.

It was a difficult day for officials, who wanted to give the centre-court crowd full value and complete their women's schedule, particularly because the forecast for today is not good. But their gamble that the third set would end quickly was thwarted by Capriati's spirited fightback from 3-0 and 4-2 down. In retrospect, it would have been wiser to call it off when the No.6 seed had levelled at the end of the second set, though Capriati's father, Stefano, had advised his daughter to continue.

There had been much hanging about earlier in the day, but none on court when the rain did stop. Monica Seles and Steffi Graf took 55 minutes each to beat Nathalie Tauziat and Natalia Zvereva respectively, while Martina Navratilova had rather more of a struggle to overcome Katerina Maleeva. It was as well Seles finished when she did because Tauziat had asked the umpire to silence the Yugoslav's grunt.

"I complained to the umpire and he was going to have words at the next changeover, but the match was finished by then, so he never had a chance," Tauziat said.

If Sabatini wins today, the Argentinian will play Graf in a repeat of last year's final and Seles, the top seed, will take on Navratilova for the first time this year. She leads 6-5 in their matches, but they have never played on grass. It will be Seles's first Wimbledon semi-final and Navratilova's 15th.

Seles had never been beyond the quarter-final at Wimbledon and has been trying to convince herself over the past few weeks not to be satisfied simply by reaching the last eight. Tauziat, the No. 14 seed, is a neat all-round player, but does not have the weight of serve or the aggression to hustle Seles out of her purposeful stride.

The French player from Bayonne (a Bayonette, perhaps) took 15 minutes to find her bearings on the centre court, forgetting that if you give Seles 15 minutes, she will take five games. Hitting ferociously off both sides, serving with surprising force she has recorded the fastest serve (107 mph) on centre court and picking off winners at will, she played the tiger to Tauziat's mouse. She lead 5-0 before Tauziat, amid much applause, won her first game and began to work out what she had to do.

Early in the second set, she even began doing it, keeping Seles on the move as much as possible and showing more discretion in going to the net. She even gained enough in confidence to complain about Seles's grunting. "I think the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) have to do something about it," Tauziat said.

For a while, Seles looked bemused and her passing shots began to go astray, but she pulled herself together just in time and, with ruthless efficienty, broke twice to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final, 6-1, 6-3.

The fallibility of the nine-times champion's serve against Maleeva yesterday does not augur well for her chances of survival. The Bulgarian went to the net more than usual and broke back as Navratilova, her nerves jangling, served for the match at 5-4.But Navratilova reasserted her dominance in the tie-break for a 6-3, 7-6 victory. She is looking forward to test Seles too, grunt and all.

"This is an opportunity to find out how good she really is. I also find the grunting a distraction. In practice, she doesn't make a noise, so she doesn't have to do it. You depend on hearing the ball on the racket."
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #197
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Re: 1992

TENNIS: Capriati-Sabatini a Struggle Amid Some Easy Victories
New York Times
July 1, 1992
ROBIN FINN

WIMBLEDON, England, June 30— Until a resolute Jennifer Capriati stepped onto Center Court, curtsied to the royalty, and refused to leave until darkness descended on her come-from-behind tangle with Gabriela Sabatini with the Argentine about to serve for the match, everything about the women's quarterfinals at Wimbledon was strictly academic.

It rained today, the matches were delayed by three hours, the competitors spent some edgy downtime with their paperbacks, card games and crossword puzzles in the locker room, and finally the top-ranked players got down to business and eliminated the underdogs.

Monica Seles, still in unquiet contention for a 1992 Grand Slam after her successful defense of her Australian and French Open titles, advanced to her first Wimbledon semifinal, 6-1, 6-3, by pounding a distresed Nathalie Tauziat of France with a deafening combination of grunts and ground strokes.

Steffi Graf, the defending Wimbledon champion, treated her opponent, Natalya Zvereva, with efficient disdain, 6-3, 6-1. And the nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova handled Katerina Maleeva, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

Graf's opponent in one semifinal will be the winner of the Sabatini-Capriati match, which will resume on Wednesday with the Argentine leading, 5-3, in the third set. Sabatini was ready to serve, but Capriati, responding to a signal from her father and coach, Stefano, pleaded for and was granted a suspension at 9:01 P.M. Too Much Noise

In the first of the quarterfinal matches, Tauziat couldn't find an answer to Seles on the court, but said after the match that she had been speaking for her entire peer group when she appealed to Umpire David Crymble late in the second set about the sensory deprivation she was suffering because of Seles's noisy playmaking.

"I don't think I'm going to win a match because I was grunting, and I don't think she lost today because I was grunting," said Seles, who has endured attempts to measure her audio emissions with a machine locally dubbed a gruntometer.

Seles said she was more concerned with treating this Grand Slam, the only one she has not dominated, just like the previous five she has played and won elsewhere.

"That's why I'm here," she said. "You always try to go until the end."

Tauziat, who couldn't match Seles for power or accuracy, agreed that even a silent Seles would have beaten her.

"Anyway, she's better than me," said the 14th-seeded player, now 0-3 against the world's No. 1 player. "But my complaint was that as the match advanced, she screamed a lot -- a lot; the more the point is long, the more she makes the noise, and I couldn't listen to the ball when she hit the ball."

Graf found her match "was a little bit easier than I expected." The three-time champion had a tougher time fending off the international media's obsession with her love life than she had in handing Zvereva her ninth consecutive defeat in as many confrontations.

Navratilova handled her challenger in straight sets as well. She controlled the first set, wavered in the second when Maleeva began to challenge her at her own specialty, serve-and-volley, but played an impeccable second-set tie breaker to reach her 15th Wimbledon semifinal.

Navratilova's victory guaranteed her another meeting with Seles, who wields a 6-5 edge in a see-sawing rivalry that has never before brought them together on the 35-year-old veteran's surface of choice.

"Going on history, I'm a big favorite," said Navratilova, whose nine Wimbledon crowns constitute a record that is more likely to be improved on by her than challenged by anyone else. "But if you go on this year or last year, I'm the underdog. I look at this as an opportunity to test how good she is on grass. And I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. It's hard to rush someone who hits the ball 200 miles an hour, but I'll be coming in as much as I can."

Sabatini Loses Edge

Sabatini was only a game from challenging Graf, who defeated her in the 1991 final, when Capriati's accurate protests about the failing light on this perpetually gray day caused the match to be suspended with Sabatini leading, 6-1, 3-6, 5-3. Capriati's fighting instincts were invisible in the opening set, where Sabatini controlled the trajectory of the proceedings from her very secure post at the net. But once the 16-year-old began pushing the ball deeper in the second, Sabatini grew too familiar with the baseline and lost her edge.

The players traded service breaks in the third set, with Capriati saving one break point with a sideline-splitting overhead only to be foiled by a forehand pass on the next one, and then Sabatini held with ease for a 5-2 lead. Capriati asked for a stop of play but was denied, then held for 5-3 with a service winner before her renewed appeal worked.

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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 06:31 PM   #198
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Re: 1992

Wicked witch summons forces - Wimbledon 1992
The Times
London, England
Wednesday, July 1, 1992
Simon Barnes

MONICA Seles has become the Wicked Witch of Wimbledon. The womens' singles beginning to warm up now the semi-finals are almost upon us has become, at least in the eyes of spectators, an unfolding tale in which the forces of goodness give all they have to destroy the wicked witch.

Can any one of Wimbledon's old favourites withstand the power of the grunting, double-fisted, all-conquering, maniacal Floridan Serb? Who will rid us of this turbulent teenybopper? Is there any one old friend out there with enough magic?

If there is hope, it is in the White Queen, Steffi Graf. Graf and Seles both advanced to the semis yesterday. Both dropped but four games. Graf beat Natalia Zvereva 6-3, 6-1. She is seeded to meet Seles in the final. If that happens, one thing is certain, she will have the crowd with her.

Funny, that. When Graf was an all-conquering, unknowable teenager herself, most people cheered her opponents. When Graf won her grand slam in 1988 she inspired admiration, but little affection. Now she is loved.

It is a trick many champions have learned. The secret is fallibility. No Wimbledon champion gets much affection until he or she has shown a slice of vulnerability: that is one of the laws of SW19. You have got to lose a few times. Ideally, you must have personal troubles as well. That is the problem Seles faces. Nobody will love her until she gets blasted all over centre court.

The other thing she needs is a brash unbeatable teenager to come along and do it. When that happens, it is a a certainty that Wimbledon will hate the teenager and take poor, sad, gallant Monica to its warm but capricious bosom. That time seems a long way off.

Graf is loved instead and, unlike Seles, she becomes more and more of a delight to watch. She is wonderfully athletic, moves beautifully and, what is more, she looks like a grown-up. A woman. She has known joys and despair and has lived through a lot of them in public.

Wimbledon always likes to have a queenly figure, and Graf is the nearest thing we have. Martina Navratilova cannot offer that sense of serenity and inevitability we associated with Chris Evert. Remember how Wimbledon once hated Evert? She was a brash, hateful teenager then. But in the end, she became a White Queen. Now Wimbledon is associating Graf with the same qualities.

Her backhand is regally dismissive, her forehand is a tooth-rattling slap in the face: take that, you unchivalrous hound. Off with her head. She won the last six games of her match yesterday on the trot, as it it was her right to win them.

There is nothing queenly about Seles. The keynote of her game is snarling, grunting aggression. There is no grace. She has neither her appearance nor her personality organised. And you cannot possibly look graceful playing double-fisted on both flanks.

Her tennis is not at all lovely. Why should it be? She is like a typhoon, or a flood, or a bolt of lighting. Something you can't insurance against. Seles plays tennis as if she were an Act of God.

The two are joint-favourites at 15-8. That seems about right. The Seles power game is not ideal for grass but it is the Seles power mind that counts. And it is that mind, made, it seems, of stainless steel and concrete, that Graf must worry about. It is something the Wimbledon crowd has already turned against. Ah well. They will love her in a few years. Give her time, and a couple of defeats.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 06:32 PM   #199
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Re: 1992

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Wednesday, July 1, 1992
Josh Young

A sampling of the best that London's gossip tabs have to offer from Wimbledon:

STEFFI'S MYSTERY MAN

Steffi Graf lunched with a mystery man at Cafe Pasta in Wimbledon Village on Monday. The three-time Wimbledon champion was pictured with the curly-haired man in yesterday's Daily Express.

Graf, in cutoffs and a T-shirt, kept cool in the 90-degree heat by dining on salad and a plate of pasta before heading to Wimbledon for her fourth-round match in which she defeated Patty Fendick 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. According to the tabloid, Graf and the mystery man were holding hands until the food arrived.

Things heated up when the tabloid repeatedly tried to photograph Graf and the mystery man. The two reportedly left the restaurant separately to avoid being photographed together, but met at Graf's nearby rented house.

ROYAL TICKETS

Princess Diana is due at Wimbledon before the fortnight ends, and who could blame her? With the Princess of Wales' marriage with Prince Charles reportedly on the rocks, she might not be able to get Centre Court tickets next year.

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, knows what that is like. Fergie's recent split with Prince Andrew has made her persona non grata with the royal family. With her good friend Jimmy Connors sidelined in the first round, Fergie reportedly has lost all her ticket connections.

Princess Di would sit in the front row of the Royal Box, alongside the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the chairs of the All England Club. An All England Club spokesperson said that it was highly unlikley that Prince Charles would attend because he doesn't like tennis.

THE BRITISH ARE COMING!

In the wake of Jeremy Bates' fourth-round finish, tennis enthusiasts in Britain have high hopes for the future.

Bookmaker William Hill has taken money for two potential British champions, reporting a bet of up to 100 pounds (about $190) at odds of 500-1 for promising teenager Jamie Delgado to win the Wimbledon men's singles in or before 1999. Hill also received a bet of 100 pounds at odds of 10,000-1 from Londoner Robin Davison-Lungley for his 3-year-old, James, to be the next British Wimbledon singles champion.

"If Mr. Davison-Lungley is correct, I'll be handing him a check for 1,000,000 pounds (about $1,900,000) on the Centre Court in a few years' time," Hill spokesperson Graham Sharpe said.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 06:38 PM   #200
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Re: 1992

Speaking of good writing, I love the "Graf, who has treated this year's event like Christmas" line.

Capriati Is 'Bummed' by Sabatini
ROBIN FINN
July 2, 1992
New York Times

WIMBLEDON, England, July 1— Jennifer Capriati took a quick walk off a short plank this afternoon, thumped from Wimbledon's quarterfinal round in less time than it had taken for her to lace up her designer sneakers.

Gabriela Sabatini needed just four serves to seal herself a place among the familiar field that will contest the women's semifinals on Thursday.

"It was a real bummer," said Capriati, whose pleas to have her quarterfinal against Sabatini halted Tuesday night after the players had split sets went disregarded. Instead, the pair dueled into the darkness before play was finally suspended with Sabatini ahead by 5-3 in the third set and poised to serve for the match. Accentuating the Positive

The 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory sent Sabatini ahead to meet the defending champion, Steffi Graf, the player who defeated her in last year's tense three-set final. That loss was Sabatini's only loss to the German in their last eight encounters, but it was a match that inspired Graf to rebuild a tennis career that had seemed in definite danger of succumbing to outside distractions and internal self-doubts.

"Wimbledon is a tournament that makes you positive even if you aren't that way naturally," said Graf, who has treated this year's event like Christmas and has been fixated on a single gift for months. "Who I play is not so important as how I'm playing." Graf leads, 21-11, in her ever-growing rivalry with Sabatini and is 43-4 over all on the rapidly fraying lawns of Wimbledon. Martina Navratilova, if she had to vote for anybody but herself to win here, has already picked Graf as the strongest candidate of a formidable crew.

Graf said she was less willing to speculate: "Anybody who gets this far has to be in their form."

15th Semifinal for Navratilova

As is the women's draw. Sabatini's victory guaranteed that the semifinal round would be contested by the tournament's top quartet of seeded women for the first time since 1988, the year Graf seized the first of her three titles. In the other semifinal, the fourth-ranked Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon champion, will play top-seeded Monica Seles, champion of five consecutive Grand Slams events but a first-time semifinalist here.

Navratilova, 35 years old and determined not to acknowledge age as a liability, is playing her 20th Wimbledon and has reached this penultimate stage of the competition for the 15th year. But the veteran was disinclined to consider Seles's relative inexperience on this surface as crippling to her pursuit of the third leg of a Grand Slam for 1992.

"She hasn't lost a Grand Slam for a while," said Navratilova, who hasn't won one since Wimbledon in 1990, "and she seems to be pretty much at home on grass. She's hitting the ball a ton. But I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. It's not like you're going to be boxing or anything where you may get your head knocked off. She just hits a ball. What's the worst thing that can happen to me?" Navratilova's 108-10 singles record here attests to her capacity for surviving potential trouble.

The worst thing that can happen to Graf, according to Sabatini, is Sabatini.

Not an Ordinary Tournament

"I'm looking forward to playing Steffi," said Sabatini, who has her eye on Graf's title and Seles's No. 1 ranking.

"This is Wimbledon. It's not the same as if I play in just a regular tournament against her," said Sabatini, who has successfully incorporated a serve-and-volley strategy into her topspin repertory and insists that her mental mettle is second only to that of Seles's.

"I'm a lot tougher this year," she said. "I'm going to take a lot of risks. This is the time for me to, you know, move on."
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #201
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Re: 1992

SABATINI WORKS QUICKLY AND PUTS AWAY CAPRIATI
Philadelphia Inquirer
Thursday, July 2, 1992
Mike Jensen

The game was full of anticipation and suspense. But in a three-set tennis match, it was just one game.

Gabriela Sabatini, seeded No. 3, and sixth-seeded Jennifer Capriati returned to Centre Court yesterday to finish a match that had been suspended by darkness the night before.

One game. Two minutes. Four points. And they were done. Sabatini won all four points to complete a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory, moving her into today's semifinals against second-seeded Steffi Graf, the defending champion. Fourth- seeded Martina Navratilova and top-seeded Monica Seles will meet in the other semifinal match.

"I can't believe I just played one game," Sabatini said.

Almost everyone at Wimbledon had agreed that the match between Sabatini, who is mixing her shots exquisitely, and Capriati, the 16-year-old who belts her shots as hard as anybody in the women's game, should have been stopped after two sets on Tuesday evening.

The umpire was not one of those people. So they kept playing until the light was just about completely gone.

At the time, Sabatini was serving for the match.

Yesterday, Sabatini, not known as the fastest of starters, came out and didn't miss a serve. Capriati hit a backhand long. Capriati slipped a forehand into the net. Sabatini hit a backhand volley for a winner. Capriati returned a serve into the net.

That was it. Just 12 minutes after they had walked onto the court, Sabatini and Capriati bowed to the royal box and walked off.

Capriati's take on the whole thing: "A real bummer."
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #202
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Re: 1992

SABATINI MAKES QUICK WORK OF CAPRIATI
Sun-Sentinel
Thursday, July 2, 1992
JIM SARNI

WIMBLEDON, England -- Four points, two minutes.

That's all it took for Gabriela Sabatini to finish off Jennifer Capriati in the final set of their quarterfinal match at Wimbledon Wednesday.

''It was kind of weird,'' said Capriati, 16, after the 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 darkness-delayed defeat. ''Just before the match, I was all ready and psyched, saying 'Come on, you can come back and do it.' Then it's over in four points. It was a real bummer.''

Sabatini served out the match at love. Capriati hit a backhand long to end a long rally on the first point. Capriati netted a forehand passing shot on the second point. Sabatini cut off a passing shot with a nifty backhand volley on the third point, and Capriati netted a forehand return on match point.

''I'm really happy the way I played,'' said Sabatini, who will meet defending champion Steffi Graf in today's semifinals. ''I tried to attack and I took a lot of risks.''

Sabatini was not happy when Capriati finally got the match stopped at 5-3 Tuesday night.

''It was just one more game to finish, but she said she couldn't see anything, so there was nothing I could do about it,'' Sabatini said.

''I have trouble seeing anyway, and it is tougher for me at night,'' said Capriati.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:17 PM   #203
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Re: 1992

Evidence suggests Graf and Seles will contest final - Wimbledon 1992
The Times
London, England
Thursday, July 2, 1992
Andrew Longmore, Tennis Correspondent

IT TOOK Gabriela Sabatini two minutes to end Jennifer Capriati's lingering hopes of revival yesterday. Their match had ended in disarray the previous evening with the Argentinian poised for a place in her third successive Wimbledon semi-final and the pair must have felt like gatecrashers at a stag night as they sneaked onto the centre court, the thin piece of lettuce between two meaty men's quarter-finals. Thin it was too, Sabatini taking all four points before they trooped off again.

Sabatini, the No.3 seed, now meets Steffi Graf in a repeat of last year's final, aware that her service or lack of it at the vital moment cost her the Wimbledon title. She twice dropped her serve one game from the title and there was little sign against Capriati of improvement over the last year. The American had ten chances to break in the match, but took just four.

Graf and Sabatini are such old rivals, victory and defeat is decided mainly in the mind. If the venue was Florida where Graf has lost seven times, Sabatini would be odds-on favourite, but, at Wimbledon, the German has won both times and she has the spur of being the defending champion. Sabatini is the better volleyer, should she care to use one of her most potent weapons, Graf has the better serve. "Serve is important, but I think it will be decided by the returns," Graf said.

The other semi-final, Monica Seles against Martina Navaratilova, promises an altogether different tempo. The tactics are not difficult to predict: Navratilova at the net, daring Seles to pass. Despite her pre-tournament promise to volley more, Seles ventured to the net just once in 116 points against Gigi Fernandez in the fourth round. She will not need to change her game today because Navratilova is ever willing to provide a target.

If the 35-year-old former champion's serve does not improve significantly from the quarter-final, it could be over quickly and painfully for those who hate to see a great champion hurt. "It's not like you're going to be boxing or anything where you may get your head knocked off. She hits a ball. I don't play her; I play the ball. I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. What's the worst thing that can happen to me?" The question hung in the air.

Navratilova's hopes stem from Seles's vulnerability to serve-and-volleyers. Her last grand slam defeat was inflicted by Linda Ferrando, a left-hander who, for one brief spell in her career, gave a passable imitation of Navratilova. Navratilova emerged as Seles's most persistent foe last year, beating her twice, but she was left stranded by the force of the Yugoslav's groundstrokes in the final of the US Open. The heart would want one last hurrah for the old champion, the head, alas, points to a replay of the French final between the world's top two.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:20 PM   #204
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Re: 1992

Sabatini finishes off Capriati, will meet old rival Graf in today's semifinals
The Sun
Baltimore, MD
Thursday, July 2, 1992
Don Markus

WIMBLEDON, England -- Talk about anticlimax. If the Kentucky Derby is called the most exciting two minutes in sports, then the end of yesterday's Wimbledon quarterfinal between Gabriela Sabatini and Jennifer Capriati could be called the most predictable.

15-0.

30-0.

40-0.

Game, set, match, Sabatini.

"It was almost the way it was the night before,'' Capriati said.

The night before was when Sabatini blitzed through the first set, dropped the second and was serving for the match at 5-3 when play was suspended. Capriati complained she couldn't see. Sabatini didn't seem to care.

So, they came out for five-minute warm-up and a two-minute game. A long backhand by Capriati was followed by a forehand into the net, a winning backhand volley by Sabatini and, on match point, a weak serve that Capriati put into the net.

"It was just one more game to finish, and I mean I was almost finished [when the match was stopped],'' Sabatini said. The completion of her 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory means that Sabatini, the third seed, isn't finished yet at the All England Club. She will meet second seed and defending champion Steffi Graf in one semifinal after top seed Monica Seles plays nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the first.

The winners are scheduled to meet Saturday for the championship.

"I feel I am very close [to winning Wimbledon ], especially mentally,'' said Sabatini, 22. "I think this is the time to move, and I think I'm on the right way.''

Though Graf has dominated their seven-year rivalry, winning 21 of the 32 matches they have played, Sabatini has won eight of the past nine. Graf's only victory was a tight, three-set classic in last year's Wimbledon final that went to 8-6 in the third.

"I think I have the game to beat her on grass,'' Sabatini said. "I was very close last year, and I'm just going to be very aggressive again and try to be very tough mentally. If you have the match there to win, you just have to finish.''

Said Graf: "I mean it seems like she's been playing really well. She's been having an easy time so far. She's won every match very clear, and she's going to be in very good form. So, definitely, it's going to be a tough one.''

Graf will have to do what Capriati couldn't: take advantage of Sabatini's biggest weakness, a weak second serve. But the shot that gave Capriati fits -- an undercut chip from the baseline -- could be troublesome for Graf as well.

"I think it [the key] will be a matter of returns,'' Graf said. "I think the serve is very important, but I think for both of us the return is going to be the big key.''

The key to the Seles-Navratilova matchup could be whether the chair umpire allows the world's No. 1 female player to grunt as loudly, and as often, as she wants. It has been a running debate here at Wimbledon as to how much the grunts grate on Seles' opponents.

If Navratilova can tune Seles out, as well as bring her in to the net, then the 35-year-old fourth seed has a chance. If Seles can hug and baseline and blast away, then it could be another short match.

But Navratilova, who has won only two of their past eight matches after winning the first three, isn't giving away any pre-semi secrets.

"A coach won't tell you exactly what the strategy's going to be next week against the Washington Redskins,'' said Navratilova, looking to increase her Wimbledon singles titles to 10. "Obviously, she is good when she has time, so I'm going to try to rush her. But it's hard to rush somebody when they hit the ball 200 miles an hour.''

Seles said: "I'll have to raise my game quite a few levels for Martina. I haven't played her in a while now. I've seen her play, and she's moving well and serving very well.''

The matchups are certainly intriguing: Graf and Sabatini have displayed signs here last year that their rivalry could be heating up. In Seles and Navratilova, there is a player on the road to the Grand Slam who has won everything but Wimbledon, and one who has merely won everything.

No matter what happens, it shouldn't be anticlimactic.

After yesterday, nothing could be.

NOTES: In women's doubles, Navratilova and Pam Shriver advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over 14th seeds Anke Huber and Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of Germany. Navratilova and Shriver, who have combined for five doubles titles here and are the fourth seeds this year, will meet fifth seeds Mary Jo Fernandez and Zina Garrison.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #205
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Re: 1992

Pardon me, this is a holdup
The Miami Herald
Thursday, July 2, 1992
EDWIN POPE

WIMBLEDON, England -- I've been waiting for 12 years to see something really nasty happen in this tiny village, and the only place it happens is on the tennis courts.

On-street manners here can only be described as totally awesome.

When I walked to a bank to cash some travelers checks, I found a sign on the bank door: DUE TO THIS MORNING'S OCCURRENCE, THE BANK WILL NOT BE OPEN THE REMAINDER OF TODAY.

I asked an old lady across the street what happened, and she said, "There was a holdup this morning, but the two men in ski masks were quite gentlemanly, I am told."
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 07:28 PM   #206
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Re: 1992

Seles and Graf Find Different Ways Into Final
By ROBIN FINN,
Published: July 3, 1992
New York Times

WIMBLEDON, England, July 2— Steffi Graf, the silent champion, and Monica Seles, the grunter whose bark is apparently just as devastating as her bite, used different sound tracks today to reach the same destination: the women's final at Wimbledon on Saturday.

While Graf punched onto and off Center Court like an efficiency expert working from a 73-minute timer, Seles, who seems to wear controversy like an extra set of clothing, needed nearly two hours and full support from her vocal cords to reach her sixth consecutive final in the Grand Slam events she has participated in. Seles, who did not play at Wimbledon last summer, has collected a winner's trophy in each of her previous five Grand Slam finals, and obtained the last of them at Graf's expense after their 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 marathon at last month's French Open.

Today, Graf, the defending Wimbledon champion, played the purest of power games to perplex Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, the same player the German defeated, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6, in last year's final. This time Graf, emboldened by a pungent first serve that allowed her to play more creatively than usual, dazzled Sabatini in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

As usual, Seles did not provide a quiet performance here despite a prematch hubbub regarding the decibel level of her grunts. But her persistent opponent, the 20-year Wimbledon veteran Martina Navratilova, was reluctant to make a quick or quiet exit from her favorite court, site of her acquisition of a record nine Wimbledon singles titles.

Seles, No. 1 in the world and just one victory away from claiming the third leg of the Grand Slam for 1992, eventually whittled away the fourth-seeded player's resolve with her trademark boomerang ground strokes and gained a 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 victory that spoiled Navratilova's hopes of "going for double digits."

When the match ended, Navratilova, who twice complained to the chair umpire, Fran McDowell, about noise pollution from Seles's lusty grunts and gutturals, buried her head in a green towel. Although she vowed to return next year, Navratilova was clearly less than delighted to add an 11th singles loss to her rather prepossessing assortment of 108 victories here.

"I think she would have beaten me even without the grunt," said the 35-year-old Navratilova, "but you cannot hear the ball being hit. I know when the level of intensity goes up, your level of making noises goes up, but she's making it on every single shot."

Seles, who has been pressed to apologize for everything from her nonappearance here last year to her tight tennis skirts, calmly reiterated that she doesn't employ her grunt as an incendiary device aimed at distracting opponents.

"I would really love to get rid of it so I don't have to go through this," said the 18-year-old Seles. "But you know, it was such a tense match. I tried to keep it down, and I hope that next year when I come back here I won't be grunting."

Navratilova found herself in the unflattering position of being perpetually required to break back on Seles's serve throughout the match, where her only spurt of dominance came as she won the second-set tie breaker.

Consecutive Breaks

"My problem was that I could not get even; it was always an uphill struggle throughout the whole match," said Navratilova, who produced her most sublime volleys while taking a 6-2 lead in the tie breaker. Seles denied Navratilova her first set point with a richocheting backhand return, but allowed her to convert the second when, accompanied by a piercing squeal of dismay, she rapped a crosscourt backhand wide of her intended mark.

Navratilova managed to break her opponent as Seles attempted to serve for the match, but Seles, a Yugoslav who now lives in Florida, immediately struck back by undermining Navratilova's serve for a fifth time.

A scorching backhand pass down the line, as unreachable as a comet, streaked by Navratilova to end this raucous ordeal on Seles's second match point.

"It seems that when it gets close, the player that is No. 1 handles the pressure better than the contenders," Navratilova asserted.

Navratilova said Seles's ambidextrous power source proved as big a stumbling block as the deafening exhalations that accompanied each of her two-fisted lasers.

"I knew she'd turn it up a notch if I got close," said Navratilova, who has, with a mixture of resignation and envy, accused Seles of hitting the ball harder the more tired she gets.

"A couple of times just the pace of her ball beat me," Navratilova said. "I was there, I got my racquet back, but I just could not see it. She hits the ball so hard, even when she doesn't place it well, that the sheer pace ends up beating you."

'One of the Best'

The 22-year-old Sabatini, who had defeated Graf in seven of their last eight meetings but didn't bring sufficient confidence to Center Court today, said: "It was one of the best matches I've ever seen from her. Everything was working for her; I tried to come to the net and just nothing happened."

Graf, 23, who counts the grass as her ally against Sabatini's topspin, never faced a break point this dank afternoon, but converted 3 of the 11 break points she held against her rival.

"I'm going for my shots, going for my forehands, and I'm feeling pretty good," said Graf, a three-time champion who will be appearing in her fifth Wimbledon final.

As for the proper method for dealing with Seles's grunt, Graf was circumspect: "I don't know if I'll complain," she said.

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Old Dec 13th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #207
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Re: 1992

Independent
Tennis: Wimbledon '92 / Grunt and Graf in way of Seles dream: The determination of Monica Seles came over loud and clear as she beat Martina Navratilova yesterday
JOHN ROBERTS, Tennis Correspondent
Friday 03 July 1992

HAVING joined the Navratilova Abatement Society, Monica Seles will now attempt to complete the third leg of the Grand Slam tomorrow by tackling two difficult opponents in the final. One is Steffi Graf, the defending champion, the other is her habit of grunting.

Stifling the world No 1's 'uh-uhhng' became the cause of the championships from the moment journalists arrived on Court One with their gruntometers for her opening match against the Australian Jenny Byrne.

The situation grew more serious in the quarter-finals, when Seles was advised to curb her noises by the umpire, David Crymble, following a complaint by her French opponent, Nathalie Tauziat. Yesterday, in the semi-finals, she received two further cautions on the way to defeating Martina Navratilova, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, after the nine-times champion indicated to the umpire, Fran McDowell, that the grunting prevented her from hearing the ball.

If an umpire decided to give Seles a public warning, any subsequent misdemeanours would be punishable by penalty points until the official felt the distractions were deliberate. The referee would then be summoned, and the player could be disqualified under the rule regarding 'hindrance'.

'Her argument,' Navratilova said, 'is she is not doing it on purpose. But she can stop it, you know. She can stop it on purpose.'

Few would deny that the sound of Seles is one of the least aesthetic features of the sport. Though far removed from John McEnroe's obscenities, Seles's constant stream of exclamations, a cross between 'Je t'aime' and Tarzan, is offensive to the ears of spectators and opponents alike.

She accepts this, and has promised to do something about it, though it may take a little time to adjust: she has been grunting since her first appearance on the international scene as a 10-year- old in a Sport Goofy tournament in Orlando.

Is it fair to put so much additional pressure on her, here and now, as she approaches her first final in the world's most prestigious championships, the one which, because of its unique grass courts, may be the most difficult of the four majors for her to win? Smoking is offensive to many people, but would it be right to deny an expectant father a cigarette?

'There were two or three times (against Navratilova) when I said, 'Monica, don't grunt, don't grunt',' Seles said. 'In some parts of the match I was successful, and in some parts I was not. Twice the umpire said, 'Miss Seles, would you keep it down?' I tried, but I guess when it came really close I probably was grunting again, without realising I was doing it.'

Being the determined character she is - as demonstrated when defeating Graf, 10-8, in the deciding set of the French Open final last month - Seles is unlikely to allow the issue to cloud her thoughts, though even the slightest lapse of concentration can be costly in a tight match.

The match against the 35-year- old Navratilova was closer and more imaginative than many people considered it would be, and Wimbledon's most prolific champion was the first to acknowledge that Seles had advanced to the final on merit: 'Grunting or not, she is a great player and certainly deserved to win today. I think she would have beaten me even without the grunt.'

Granmartina, as my Australian friend Alan Trengrove described her, enriched her 20th visit to the All England Club with a performance only marginally short of producing an upset. She failed chiefly as a consequence of approaches as cramped as the French roads to the channel ports.

Playing Seles, who is half her age, on a grass court for the first time, Navratilova was immediately put under pressure by an opponent who gleefully passed her - left, right and down the lines - at every opportunity, and was broken in the opening game.

She then misdirected two backhand volleys in failing to convert opportunities on Seles's serve in the fourth game, losing her own serve again in the seventh game after saving four break points. When Seles served out the set in 28 minutes, spectators feared they might be witnesses to a humiliation.

Navratilova attacked in the fourth game of the second set, and Seles saved a break-point with an impressive backhand down the line to conclude a rousing rally. It was at the end of this game that the umpire first called Seles to the chair and requested less noise.

Though Seles saved another set point in the 10th game, passing her opponent as she raced to the net behind a sliced backhand, a confident tie-break (7-3) enabled Navratilova to level the match.

Navratilova was far from pleased to see a ball land inside the court after she had allowed it to pass down the line at 15-30 in the fifth game of the final set. 'That is the one shot I would like back,' she said. 'For whatever reason, I thought the ball was hit harder than it was.' Three break- points followed, each of which Seles saved.

The match climaxed with five consecutive breaks, the first noisily achieved by Seles to lead 4-2. Navratilova waited until she had broken back in the next game before again asking the umpire if she would do something about the ear-bashing. Seles, frowning like a suppressed soprano, was unable to comply for long, and the handshake was cool when the players met at the net.

The crowd rose to applaud Navratilova as she left the Centre Court, wondering, perhaps, if she would be back. She waved, blew a kiss, and promised to return.

Though Graf's 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Gabriela Sabatini was low-key by comparison, the German's tennis was not. She raised the level of her performance and forced the Argentinian on the defensive with a barrage of shots; chiefly on the forehand, it is true, but hit from various angles.

The match bore little resemblance to last year's final, in which Sabatini twice served for the match before losing in three sets. Graf, approaching the form which enabled her to press Seles so hard in Paris, showed no inhibitions when opportunities came to finish points at the net.

Volleying remains a psychological block for Seles, though her ground-strokes are difficult to counter, as Navratilova and Graf know only too well.

The champion, inevitably, was asked if she would complain if Seles grunts too loudly tomorrow. 'I don't know,' she said. But didn't the grunting get loud in Paris? 'It did at the end, it really did. But we'll see . . .'

Results, Order of Play, page 31
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Old Dec 13th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #208
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Re: 1992

The limerick doesn't quite work, but he gets style points for trying.


Sound and the furor - Unfairly, Seles is victim of Wimbledon `huh-ihhh!'-jinks
Austin American-Statesman
Saturday, July 4, 1992
Bill Conlin, KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

There was a young moaner named Seles
Who hit the ball hard as the fellas
With piercing inflections
She squealed out selections
That would make even Meg Ryan jealous.

WIMBLEDON, England - It was the first day in the history of this tradition-bejeweled Centre Court that the chair umpire began a match like this:

"Ladies and gentlemen, quiet please - and that includes you, Miss Seles."

Well, it didn't really happen that way. But the reality that unfolded while Monica Seles was climbing over the imposing presence of Martina Navratilova and into a date with Steffi Graf proved just as ridiculous.

Before we get into the details of this glottal battle between soprano vibrato and contralto ego, outsider and elitist, the pertinent match details:

Seles earned her berth against Graf in today's Wimbledon final with a 6-2, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4 victory over Navratilova, who has played and won more singles matches than any woman in the history of the tournament, 116.

The 35-year-old doyen of the tour has been a wonderful spokesperson for women's tennis and an outspoken and generous supporter of myriad philanthropic and social causes, including gay rights.

But this was not one of her finest hours.

At best, Martina was a bully who used an obscure, ambiguous and rarely, if ever, invoked distraction rule to twice intimidate an opponent who, at 18, is younger, better and, oh, yes, ranked No. 1 in the world.

At worst, she is a hitwoman for a thinly disguised conspiracy involving the Women's Tennis Association inner circle and the ultraconservative Wimbledon Old Boys Club. This is, after all, the place where all-white garb was mandated at the end of Queen Victoria's reign because it is the only color that does not clearly show women's perspiration patches.

Wimbledon referee Alan Mills has made it easy for the WTA Ma-Femosa to make an issue of Monica's probably unbreakable habit of wailing like a banshee on each point. He has singled out Seles for criticism - and outright threats - on two occasions. On the eve of her showdown with Martina and in the echoes of Nathalie Tauziat's late, ill-advised and mean-spirited quarterfinals protest, Mills amplified what he said as the fortnight began. It is too Brit-boring to repeat in its stilted entirety, but there is no way to skew the context.

"If Monica upsets another player . . . then she will be given a warning," Mills said. "Then there will be a point deducted. And another. And so on. If the grunting continues, then the umpire will call myself and Women's European tour director Georgina Clark to the court. If it . . . continues . . . the umpire has the ultimate sanction of defaulting the player."

They don't have the guts . . .

It was no accident that a woman named Fran McDowell was in the chair for Seles-Navratilova.

Nor was it at all surprising that after Monica stormed to a 6-2 first-set victory, her moans rising from the demure squeak of a Minnie Mouse to the full throat of the triumphal march from "Aida," Navratilova made eye contact with McDowell and a small hand gesture.

"Here comes a warning," I said aloud and, it turned out, correctly. At the end of the fourth game of the second set, the score 2-2, on serve. McDowell beckoned Seles to the chair amid scattered applause that fell far short of a consensus. Reduced to a squeak and just an occasional "Hon-WHEEEEEE!" Seles started missing her returns and lost the set in a tiebreaker.

Down a break toward the end of the match, Martina once more glanced toward the chair after Monica hit a shriek-punctuated passing shot that would have been a winner even with Marlee Matlin trying to chase it down.

It was bush-league gamesmanship, a ploy better suited for a Saturday morning women's doubles league match than Centre Court at the world's most prestigious tennis tournament.

They are trying to break this gifted kid who goes her own way and who is savaged behind her back in the locker room for her aloofness and independence. They don't even know what country she represents because she refuses to get drawn into the politics of what used to be Yugoslavia. (And how deeply was Goran Ivanisevic's tongue buried in cheek when he said Wednesday he was going to go home to fight for Croatia after Wimbledon, but could do more for the image of his country playing tennis? Sure, Goran, would an exhibition on the runway of Sarajevo Airport be out of the question?)

Seles said she was unaware that Martina signaled the chair for each warning, and what's that Oscar Wilde wrote about the coward doing it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword?

"She (McDowell) said, `Miss Seles, would you keep it down?' " Monica said. "Then I tried and I think at one point she said, `OK, keep continuing doing that.' "

I asked Navratilova the question that raised her hackles and moved her semantically against the interview room wall, back arched and hissing defensively.

Question: ''Would it have been an issue if she was ranked 50th?''

Answer: ''It would still bother me. I think the reason - it is always an issue. There is a player, an Italian player, Katia Piccolini. She is always getting warned, also. She makes a lot of noise.''

Just like a piccolo, right?

Question: "You played her 11 times. This is the first time you have complained?"

Answer: "Are you putting me on the defensive here?"

Answer to her question: "I do not believe you have complained about it at any previous match. You did complain twice today, so obviously it must have reached a level of intolerability."

Answer: ''It gets louder when it gets close. I mean, I was watching the French Open, I would have complained, you know. Jennifer Capriati did not realize she could complain about her or say something. It is not a matter of complaining. I want to be able to hear the ball. Sometimes the ball is still in play. . . . I am not saying I lost because of her grunting. . . . I would have said this, and we would have been talking about it if I won.''

Listen to Martina bawl. The women want equal prize money, but, if Navratilova is any yardstick, they have inferior hearing to the touring men. How else can we explain how not one male on the tour in 17 years has complained about John McEnroe's primal bellowing - much louder than Seles. Or the outrageous exhalations of Jimmy Connors?

I think Mac and Jimbo would have a unique way of dealing with a "No Grunt" warning.

The Irish call it the old heel-on-toe Adam's apple smash.
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Old Dec 13th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #209
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Re: 1992

IT'S DOWN TO SELES AND GRAF
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Friday, July 3, 1992
Mike Jensen

The sound, an overpowering two-tone groan, lasts for a couple seconds.

It can be heard any time Monica Seles swings a racket. It's part squeal, part grunt, and yesterday it got to Martina Navratilova during her semifinal match with the world's top-ranked women's tennis player.

Until umpire Fran McDowell summoned Seles during the second set and said, quietly, "Would you please keep it down."

Seles turned down the volume after the reprimand and still took a thrilling three-set victory over Navratilova, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, to keep her Grand Slam hopes alive.

She advanced to her first Wimbledon final, where tomorrow she will face Steffi Graf, the three-time champion. Graf played one of her best matches ever at the All England Club yesterday in taking care of Gabriela Sabatini, 6-3, 6-3.

Navratilova, who had never complained about Seles' grunting in their 11 previous matches, quietly talked to McDowell about it a few minutes before the umpire called Seles over to the chair.

"I was on my heels a couple of times because I thought she hit it hard and she did not," Navratilova said. "I couldn't hear (the ball being hit)."

Seles, seeded No. 1, said there were two or three crucial points after the warning when she told herself, "Monica, don't grunt, don't grunt."

There were also times when Seles wasn't acting like the player who had won the last five Grand Slam tournaments she'd entered. She often looked tentative as she stayed on the baseline, while the fourth-seeded Navratilova was moving to the net, pumping her fists, pumping herself up.

"I had a hard time even winning points from the back court, not coming to the net," said Seles, who skipped Wimbledon last year. "And the one thing today that I think kind of let me down is the serve. I was mostly just dropping my first serves in, and I really wanted to serve much stronger."

The last set could have gone to either player. Navratilova squandered three
break points in the fifth game. Six of the last seven games went to duece. In the one game that didn't, Seles was serving for the match, ahead by 5-3 in the set, and won one only point, as Navratilova, dancing around the net, volleyed for a couple winners.

With the break, Navratilova was back on serve. But she hit a forehand volley into the net and missed wide with a backhand, then watched Seles hit a backhand winner. Navratilova saved one match point with a backhand volley that had Seles shaking her head. But on match point No. 2, Seles passed Navratilova with a backhand.

"I was just a little slow on some of the volleys," Navratilova said. ''She hits the ball so hard even when she doesn't place it well. Just the sheer pace of the ball ends up beating you."

The match between Sabatini, the No. 3 seed, and Graf, seeded second, was much quieter, lacking in drama. Graf made sure of that.

She lost eight points on her serve the entire match. In the last game, with Sabatini serving, Graf blew five match points before she passed Sabatini with a cross-court forehand, just as she had been doing all afternoon.

"Sometimes I just felt like I did not know what to do," Sabatini said. ''I tried to come to the net . . . and just nothing happened."

Sabatini said she had never seen Graf play so well. Everything was working for her. She whipped returns right by Sabatini before she had a chance to move. Cross court, down the line, it didn't matter.

"I think I'm really going for my shots," said Graf, who last month lost to Seles in a scintillating French Open final, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, that lasted 2 hours, 43 minutes. "I'm really going for my forehands. I'm doing that pretty well."

Sabatini, who was mixing her shots beautifully in her earlier matches, had beaten Graf seven of the previous eight times they played, but the one victory by Graf was in last year's Wimbledon final. Sabatini has never beaten Graf on grass.

"I think I have a stronger serve," Graf said. "I think that's really important on that surface, and I think I'm able to be more aggressive than her, I think, with the kind of game that I have."

Even when Sabatini was able to pull off a sensational shot, it wasn't enough. With her back to the net, she hit a ball between her legs from the baseline, and it cleared the net. Graf smacked it back. Sabatini returned. The rally continued, and Graf hit another forehand winner.

"I did not have much chances," Sabatini said.
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Old Dec 13th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #210
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Re: 1992

Seles to meet Graf in final - Top seeds play Saturday
Houston Chronicle
Friday, JULY 3, 1992
DALE ROBERTSON

WIMBLEDON, England -- Monica Seles grunted and, in the end, Martina Navratilova groaned. Steffi Graf, in turn, kept her mouth shut and ground up Gabriela Sabatini into little bitty pieces.

Three-time champion Graf was a deathly silent semifinal assassin at Wimbledon on Thursday, ripping Sabatini 6-3, 6-3. Seles, as per usual, pumped up the volume in her much tenser 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 defeat of the 35-year-old nine-time champion Navratilova.

Two dichotomous means, the same desirous end, a Saturday showdown for the women's title. Seles, ranked No. 1 in the world and top-seeded, is in the finals here for the first time. Graf, second ranked and second seeded, is 3-for-3 on the last day, the last fortnight's included.

The American-dominated men's semifinals, pitting John McEnroe against Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras against Croatian Goran Ivanesovic, are today, starting at 6 a.m. CDT.

The 23-year-old German, Graf needed only 1 hour, 14 minutes to dispatch Sabatini, or about as much time as Navratilova spent complaining about and Seles spent defending the 18-year-old's barnyard noises. The more crucial the point, the more boisterous Seles became, Navratilova said.

"It gets louder when it gets close," Navratilova said. "It just gets louder and louder. You cannot hear the ball being hit. If you judge by the noise that is emanating from the other side of the court, the ball should be coming pretty hard. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. . . All I know is she doesn't make any noise when she's practicing.

"I am not saying I lost because of her grunting. I would have said this and we would be talking about it if I'd won."

Her post-match news conference was confrontational, and Navratilova charged reporters with accusing her of sour grapes, saying at one point, "Am I on trial or is her grunting on trial?"

Actually, it was a little of both. Wimbledon officials had asked Seles to cool it before the fact after complaints from her quarterfinal victim, Nathalie Tauziat, but no action was taken during the match except for a couple of verbal warnings from the referee.

"I really tried hard to keep it down today," Seles said. "I think in some parts of the match I was successful and in some parts I was not. But I do hope that next year when I come back here I won't be grunting anymore.

"I don't do it on purpose. I don't even realize I'm doing it sometimes."

Seles, a Serb who lives in Florida, has been making more than her fair share of noise on the women's tour since she won her first professional event, the Virginia Slims of Houston, as a 15-year-old in April 1989. She hasn't lost a Grand Slam match since the 1990 U.S. Open third round, winning the last five major tournaments she has entered.

She withdrew from Wimbledon abruptly last summer with a mysterious injury that she later said was shin splints.

"Grunting or not, she is a great player and certainly deserved to win today," said Navratilova, the most prolific Wimbledon champion in history. "She probably would have won today without the grunting. She hits the ball harder than anyone off both sides. A couple of times just the pace of her ball beat me.

"My problem was I never could get even. It was an uphill struggle for me the whole match."

She lost her serve in the first game and didn't finally convert break points of her own until the second-set tie-breaker, when she won the last three points against Seles' serve to force the third set.

In it, she twice answered Seles' breaks with strong breaks of her own, but Seles got to her a final time in the last game. Navratilova saved one match point with a volley winner but succumbed, fittingly, to a blistering Seles backhand passing shot down the line. Seles' two-fisted backhand was devastating all afternoon, producing repeated winners.

"I think there were a lot more winners than unforced errors out there," Navratilova said, although she admitted too many of her approaches landed long. "If I had made her play a few more balls, I would have had more of a shot (to win)."

The defeat wasn't necessarily her last at Wimbledon after 19 tournaments, going back to 1973. She won in 1978 and 1979, then from 1982 through 1987, an unprecedented six in a row.

"I'm planning on being back next year," Navratilova said.

As, no doubt, will the frustrated 22-year-old Argentine Sabatini, who lost to Graf in last year's final and is still looking for her first Wimbledon title. She was never in the hunt Thursday, failing to push Graf to break point even once.

"She was putting all her first serves in (Graf hit 80 percent), and I didn't have much chances," Sabatini said. "I never saw her play so well. Everything was working for her."

With the victory, Graf gets a chance to avenge Seles' 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 triumph in Paris. She said she will attack Seles more here than on the red clay of Roland Garros, but her serve will be the key to success.

"It's important that I have another steady day like today, like I've been showing in the last few games," Graf said. "She hasn't played as much on the grass, but she is so strong on any surface."
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