United Airlines Tournament of Champions
With Evert Lloyd bypassing the event and Austin still recuperating from a chronic back problem, it seemed inevitable that Navratilova and Jaeger would meet in a re-match of their Family Circle Cup encounter at the Grenelefe resort in Orlando, Florida. The question was: could Martina beat Andrea twice in a row on clay? The question remained unanswered, as Jaeger, who had lost to Navratilova in the final of this event in 1981, was derailed in the semis by fourth seed Wendy Turnbull, 6-3 6-2.
For a while it appeared that Navratilova might not get past the second round, where she met Bettina Bunge, who was rankled at being unseeded. Ranked 12th in the world, Bunge felt she should have been seeded seventh. However, the draw having been limited to 23, only six players were seeded. Thus Bunge met in the first round Mary-Lou Piatek, who would have been seeded eight, and, even worse, her second-round foe was Navratilova. Upset though she may have been over these pairings, Bunge played brilliantly against Navratilova before succumbing 6-2 3-6 7-6(7-2). 'This could have been the final in any tournament', Navratilova said afterwards. 'I played damn well and so did she.'
On the basis of their head-to-head records, Jausovec seemed to pose little threat to Navratilova in the semis after Martina had routed Pat Medrado of Brazil 6-3 6-0 in the quarters. Since losing to Mima in their first meeting at Wimbledon eight years earlier, Navratilova had posted 17 consecutive victories over the petite Yugoslav baseliner. But Mima, always at her best on clay, blunted the force of Martina’s heavy arsenal in the opening set with her deft, guileful shotmaking to win 6-1. Martina, forced to raise her game to its highest level, squared it by taking the second set 6-4. But then, in a pulsating third-set tie-break, Jausovec reached match-point at 5-6. Whereupon Martina showed her mettle as a champion with an ace, followed by a forehand volley which put her at match-point, then a wicked forehand induced an error for the match. A dejected Jausovec ascribed her defeat to bad fortune. ‘Luck decided the match’, she said. ‘Like when she aced me at 5-6 in the tie-break; you have to be lucky to do that.’ Maybe. But somehow champions have a way of producing such shots when everything is on the line.
Turnbull had a slightly less eventful route to the final, superb volleying taking her past Shriver, 7-6(7-4) 6-7(7-5) 6-3 in the quarters, and to an upset triumph over Jaeger, 6-2 7-6 in the semis. Throughout, Wendy dared Andrea to pass her at the net and time and again cut off Jaeger’s groundstrokes with volley winners.
In a battle of serve-and-volleyers, Turnbull was out-gunned and out-steadied by Navratilova in the final. Turnbull’s groundstrokes, unerring against Jaeger, withered under Navratilova’s onslaught as she fell 6-2 7-6, even though she was up a break in the second set.
For Navratilova, the environment was as significant as her shotmaking. ‘I seem to get in a groove if I win in a particular city’, she said, after collecting $50,000 along with her third straight title in the Tournament of Champions. So now the player to beat on the clay courts is the master of the fast, indoor surfaces – Martina Navratilova.
Orlando, 26 April – 2 May
Women’s Singles – Quarter-finals:
M. Navratilova d. P. Medrado (BR) 6-3 6-0
M. Jausovec (YU) d. B. Potter 2-6 6-3 6-4
W. M. Turnbull (AUS) d. P. H. Shriver 7-6 6-7 6-3
A. Jaeger d. L. Bonder 6-3 6-0
Navratilova d. Jausovec 1-6 6-4 7-6
Turnbull d. Jaeger 6-3 6-2
Navratilova d. Turnbull 6-2 7-5
Women’s Doubles – Final:
R. Casals/Turnbull d. K. Jordan/A. E. Smith 6-3 6-3
3 May – 20 June
Martina Navratilova was almost casual in the way she built up to the two big triumphs of her year. She let Chris Lloyd have things almost her own way in Europe before Paris, with Chris, in Martina’s absence, winning both the Italian title in Perugia and the Swiss Championships in Lugano.
There was even encouragement for the swarm of young players as they prepared for the ‘majors’. The 16-year-old Lisa Bonder reached the Perugia semi-finals in company with the experienced Hana Mandlikova, Billie Jean King, and Mrs Lloyd. Andrea Temesvari, also 16, was the beaten finalist in Lugano and Bettina Bunge, almost a veteran at 18, won her first Toyota Series tournament with victory in Berlin over 15-year-old Kathy Rinaldi.
But when it came to the titles that really mattered, there was no mistaking Miss Navratilova’s commitment to success. After taking a week to savour her triumph in the French Championship, her final preparation for Wimbledon was awesome in its single-mindedness. She started the BMW tournament at Eastbourne with the official confirmation that her Paris win had taken her to the top of the women’s all-time prize-money earnings table above Mrs Lloyd, to the head of the rankings list and to the top seeding position for Wimbledon.
She took a week off while Billie Jean King polished her hopes with a Birmingham victory over Ros Fairbank, and Tracy Austin discovered she wasn’t as fit as she would like to be, before arriving in Eastbourne on a cloud of confidence. ‘Now I am back on top I mean to stay there’, Martina said.
Miss Navratilova left no room for any doubts as she ruthlessly carved her way to an eighteenth consecutive final and the climax of a 6-4 6-3 win over Mandlikova, a satisfying revenge for the disappointment of the previous year’s Wimbledon semi-final.
Martina dropped only one set in six matches on Devonshire Park’s immaculate lawns and that, to the delight of the enthusiastic and patriotic crowd, was to Britain’s Jo Durie in the semi-finals. Jo, just a month short of her 22nd birthday, confirmed at Eastbourne that she has the potential and the determination to follow Virginia Wade as Britain’s most impressive contributor to the world tennis scene.
A tough opening against Paula Smith had put Miss Durie into the right groove to stride past Eva Pfaff and Yvonne Vermaak for a place in the last eight against the experienced Betty Stove. It seemed she had met her match as Betty hit a succession of dazzling winners to take the first set to love before many spectators had settled in their seats. But Betty’s efforts of the previous day, when she had been taken to 12-10 in the second-set tie-break by the elegant Anne White, began to show. She was unable to maintain the pressure as Miss Durie regained her composure and won the next two sets for the loss of only three games.
Nor did Martina have things all her own way. Miss Durie, a natural attacking player, drew first blood with a service break to lead 2-1 before losing the first set, and then fought through the tricky wind to take the second. Experience told in the third, but Martina still needed all her reserves to succeed. Miss Durie saved a match-point at 5-2 and another in the next game with a blistering service return.
Hana Mandlikova, meanwhile, was having an equally tough time against Bettina Bunge, who reached the semi-finals on a walk-over when Andrea Jaeger pulled out with a groin strain. The young German girl played some of her most delightful tennis and confirmed high opinions of her game before Hana squeezed through 7-5 4-6 6-2.
Both Martina and Hana are capable of brilliance and, with their personal duels standing at three wins each, the script was right for a classic – until the weather joined the act. The fierce wind coming off the sea made even getting the ball in the air to serve a tricky operation and destroyed any hopes of a memorable final. Martina won, as she had in all but one of her 48 previous matches of the year, but confessed there had been little to be enthusiastic over in her 6-4 6-3 victory. ‘That was just about the worst wind I have ever had to play in’, she said. ‘It was impossible.’
Maybe – for ordinary players. But Martina, in 1982, was to prove extraordinary. She and Pam Shriver successfully added the $9,000 doubles prize to Martina’s $23,000 singles money by beating the 1980 champions, Anne Smith and Kathy Jordan, in a match of amusing, if not always correct, strokes, and went off to Wimbledon where champion Martina did it all again, two weeks later.
It was not surprising that she also headed the Toyota Series standings at the year’s halfway mark over Mrs Lloyd and Andrea Jaeger, the runners-up at Wimbledon and Paris, and over Miss Bunge, Miss Mandlikova and Virginia Ruzici, who crowned a consistent summer by winning the Kim Cup in Monte Carlo in July.
Eastbourne, 14-19 June
Women’s Singles – Third Round:
M. Navratilova (USA) d. L. Romanov (RU) 6-2 6-1
B. Potter (USA) d. R. Fairbank (SA) 6-3 7-6
B. Stove (NTH) d. A. White (USA) 6-3 7-6
J. M. Durie d. Y. Vermaak (SA) 3-6 6-2 6-2
Z. Garrison (USA) d. M. Mesker (NTH) 2-6 7-6 6-4
H. Mandlikova (CZ) d. A. Leand (USA) 6-4 2-6 6-2
B. Bunge (G) d. H. Sukova (CZ) 6-4 6-1
A. Jaeger (USA) d. A. Minter (AUS) 7-5 6-2
Navratilova d. Potter 6-3 6-3
Durie d. Stove 0-6 6-3 6-0
Mandlikova d. Garrison 6-1 6-3
Bunge w.o. Jaeger
Navratilova d. Jaeger 6-3 3-6 6-3
Mandlikova d. Bunge 7-5 4-6 6-2
Navratilova d. Mandlikova 6-4 6-3
Women’s Doubles – Final :
Navratilova/P. H. Shriver (USA) d. K. Jordan/A. E. Smith (USA) 6-3 6-4
Last edited by samn; Dec 20th, 2004 at 05:01 PM.