Originally Posted by Mark37
I was rooting for Chris to win this match, but I knew deep down that Martina had a much better shot at taking Steffi out in the final. I couldn't tell from the tv replay whether the ball was good, or not, but I know Chris rarely complained about calls, while Martina often let her emotions take control.
Does anyone think Chris had a chance against Steffi on grass that year?
I think what pissed Chris off so much was that she knew full-well that may be her last chance to play in the final, which meant a lot to her, whereas Martina, she knew, would have quite a few more shots at it. The issue of whether she would win did not erase her desire, so late in her career, to make an 11th Wimbledon final.
But i do think Chris had a shot that year. ironically,I would not say so about 1987, which is a year i consider to be far better for Chrissie. But her confidence about Graf was low in '87 whereas in '88 she clearly looked forward to playing steffi, having renewed confidence specific to beating Graf.
After being down embarrassingly 1-6 1-5 in the Aussie Open final at the start of the '88 year, Chris began to find the chinks in the armour, and shockingly, reeled off 5 straight games to actually lead 6-5 in that set before Steffi pulled it all together, closing the deal 6-1, 7-6.
When they met at Lipton a few months later, Chris walked in with that 5 game run in mind, and was ready for "a war out there" which ended 6-4 6-4 in Graf's favor, but it was inspiring to Chris because only a few points really dictated who got the 1 break in each set; Steffi got them but she knew that was just the way of tennis...she came away KNOWING she was at a clear competitive level with Steffi.
Their next meeting didn't happen until the 1989 Boca Raton final, where she ended Graf's 44-set winning streak (and Graf had only lost about 7 games going into the final in her previous 4 matches, so she was playing very well) by taking the first set 6-4. A crucial call at 3-3 in the 3rd went against Chris, and she full-on yelled at the Chair in a way i have never seen her before or after, "I don't care
if it's BRIGHT!" in response to the chair's excuse of the line call... a Chrissie equivalent to Connors screaming, "I'm an old man. I have to work twice as hard to win each point as he does...don't rob me of my points!" (paraphrase against Krickstein at the 91 Open). From there, she lost 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 but even steffi said after the match chris could easily have won.
While Chris & Steffi only met once on grass (89 wimb sf) where chris was crushed 1 & 2, Chris had been out for months, couldn't even play the warm-up tournament, played embarrassingly bad against Golarsa until she found her range iin the last few games of the match, and just wasn't at all tournament tough and her strokes unpenetrating and unhoned...it was not a fair statement of where her game was at, as evidenced by the quality in her demolision of Seles at the Open in September.
As it was, Steffi lost a set to Martina in the final, and prior to this 88 SF, Chris had beaten Martina twice in a row in straight sets, so comparing these factors, Chris had a shot. She was VERY determined, again, specifically to target steffi at that time, and she had more centre court experience. She's also under-appreciated as a grass court player, having NEVER failed to make the aussie open in any year she played (5 of those being on grass) and having a 5-5 head to head against one as great as martina on grass OUTSIDE of their wimbledon clashes.
With all that said, i wouldn't give Chris a 50/50 chance...she was 33...but I'd give her at the least
a 39/61 chance, and when we're talking Evert, she could always come up with the big win.