Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2015, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

Full match on Youtube now.



Any opinions on the match or the match up?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2015, 02:57 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

I remember watching this. I think the youtube was edited for quality points. I remember that Evert made a lot of mistakes and Seles just went for everything. Seles had several drop shots for winners, and Evert's drop shot hurt her overall. It was an example of one player having nothing to lose. Seles played great. Evert was hitting the ball pretty well, but she looked tentative on key points. No one had seen a player like Monica before (though Evert had played Monica in her first event that year).

Two observations that I think were true:
1 - Evert often struggled on clay more late in her career. I remember after losing to Manuela Maleeva one time that Chrissie said that she just couldn't stay on the court hitting the ball back forever anymore.
2 - Evert also said that her good play was a good as ever late in her career, but the bad days came more often.

Monica was amazing. She had nothing to lose and really took control as the aggressor. She was a contender from the very start of her career.

I always thought that Monica played better against a consistent opponent. I saw her live in her third tournament the VS New Orleans in '88. She beat Amy Frazier (16 years old) in the windiest conditions I've ever seen. Both players hit the ball harder than I've ever seen and powered through the wind. She destroyed Lori McNeil, but lost to Anne Smith in the semis. Anne junk-balled her to death with tremendous slices and spins. Seles never got a rhythm. She retired at 61 43 with an "upset stomach", but Anne told me later that she felt Monica just didn't want to lose. I was sitting beside Monica's hitting partner at the time and he was really surprised that she just quit.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

It was obvious that when Chrissie was on her game that she could handle Monica (see the '89 USO).

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Feb 22nd, 2015, 03:47 AM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Anne junk-balled her to death with tremendous slices and spins. Seles never got a rhythm
Reminds me of how Conchita Martinez took Jennifer Capriati to the woodshed early on.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 2015, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by preacherfan View Post
I remember watching this. I think the youtube was edited for quality points. I remember that Evert made a lot of mistakes and Seles just went for everything. Seles had several drop shots for winners, and Evert's drop shot hurt her overall. It was an example of one player having nothing to lose. Seles played great. Evert was hitting the ball pretty well, but she looked tentative on key points. No one had seen a player like Monica before (though Evert had played Monica in her first event that year).

Two observations that I think were true:
1 - Evert often struggled on clay more late in her career. I remember after losing to Manuela Maleeva one time that Chrissie said that she just couldn't stay on the court hitting the ball back forever anymore.
2 - Evert also said that her good play was a good as ever late in her career, but the bad days came more often.

Monica was amazing. She had nothing to lose and really took control as the aggressor. She was a contender from the very start of her career.

I always thought that Monica played better against a consistent opponent. I saw her live in her third tournament the VS New Orleans in '88. She beat Amy Frazier (16 years old) in the windiest conditions I've ever seen. Both players hit the ball harder than I've ever seen and powered through the wind. She destroyed Lori McNeil, but lost to Anne Smith in the semis. Anne junk-balled her to death with tremendous slices and spins. Seles never got a rhythm. She retired at 61 43 with an "upset stomach", but Anne told me later that she felt Monica just didn't want to lose. I was sitting beside Monica's hitting partner at the time and he was really surprised that she just quit.

A little late but thanks for this post. And that's an interesting story. Regarding your point 1, do you think the switch to graphite had a lot to do with that?

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

ya know, there may just be only so many 30-50 stroke rallies in a 19 year career, and Evert had pretty much found her mental limit of them. It does not have to be more complicated than mental burn-out in a woman that had more long extended rallies in her career than most anyone else I can think of. Evert lived by the sword, and beginning in the late eighties she began to die by that sword.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2015, 10:34 AM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2015, 06:02 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
A little late but thanks for this post. And that's an interesting story. Regarding your point 1, do you think the switch to graphite had a lot to do with that?
It's just my opinion, but I'm going to say that the biggest part of it all was just the fatigue (mental and physical) that unending rallies caused for an older player. An older Evert had more variety and weapons than the young Chrissie, and I think just didn't have the mental drive to stay out there all day. Maybe racket technology had a little to do with that because by the late 80s, more players could hit clear winners from behind the baseline which didn't often happen with wood. But I still think that the difference was mainly mental.

Fast forward to the '89 USO meeting between Evert and Seles and you see a crisp Evert hitting darts all over the court. Nothing passive. There was a real game plan and execution which were absent at Houston.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2015, 08:35 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
A little late but thanks for this post. And that's an interesting story. Regarding your point 1, do you think the switch to graphite had a lot to do with that?
I know I wasn't asked, but Evert changed from graphite in late 1983, and adapted her game accordingly so successfully that she remained #1 or 2 in the world for the next 3 years and in the top three for 5 years, won two more RG titles alongside another Italian, two German titles, and multiple titles on green clay. I'd say that she proved her capacity to rally with a graphite racket. She became more aggressive, because it was smart tennis to be more aggressive and of course that led to more errors and double faults.

Those errors are separate from the kinds of inexplicable errors from mental lapses that added to the total in specific matches.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2015, 05:36 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

I used to own this match, and it isn't pretty. Monica definitely lacked some of the heat on her groundies that she would have the following year. She was still only around 5'4" at this time and weighed probably 105 lbs or so...very different physically from the Monica of '90-93 as she grew to be about 6'0 I think and her weight increased (and stabilized, before the stabbing) commensurately. She moon-balled quite a bit, but at this point I would say her game was not what it would become, that is a relentless, all-out ground stroke assault, marked by an extraordinary ability to hit with pace and accuracy. The accuracy was there (and the point construction, she was always good at opening up the court), but the pace wasn't what it would become during her peak.

Chrissie was ridiculously inconsistent in this match and just seemed generally out of sorts, and really should've won this match. Still, it's an amazing early win for a young Seles, but neither player was anywhere near the player they were or would become.

Chris and Monica are far and away my two favorite players of all time, but watching this match is a rather grim experience. I actually prefer to watch the U.S. Open match from later in the year because at least Chris was playing near peak form.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2015, 06:50 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by JakeMan90-93 View Post
I used to own this match, and it isn't pretty. Monica definitely lacked some of the heat on her groundies that she would have the following year. She was still only around 5'4" at this time and weighed probably 105 lbs or so...very different physically from the Monica of '90-93 as she grew to be about 6'0 I think and her weight increased (and stabilized, before the stabbing) commensurately. She moon-balled quite a bit, but at this point I would say her game was not what it would become, that is a relentless, all-out ground stroke assault, marked by an extraordinary ability to hit with pace and accuracy. The accuracy was there (and the point construction, she was always good at opening up the court), but the pace wasn't what it would become during her peak.

Chrissie was ridiculously inconsistent in this match and just seemed generally out of sorts, and really should've won this match. Still, it's an amazing early win for a young Seles, but neither player was anywhere near the player they were or would become.

Chris and Monica are far and away my two favorite players of all time, but watching this match is a rather grim experience. I actually prefer to watch the U.S. Open match from later in the year because at least Chris was playing near peak form.
That was a fascinating match at the Open. Evert played it tactically as though she was holding her wooden racket and it was 1975 and the eighties never arrived. She stood further back, kept the ball deep and in play moving Monica from side to side and allowed long lost mental 70's concentration do the dirty work. I think she came up to the net on her own volition once each set and hit relatively few outright winners. It all worked, didn't it?

Seles actually hit the ball more on the rise, stood further in the court and tried three tactics. Of course there were those laser groundies that shot from her cannon. Evert said was like playing Graf's forehand off both wings. She had told her coach in practice to "just hit the ball hard and the pace kept her more alert. Seles also used those moonballs to which your referred to moderate effect with the help of the wind. Maybe you remember one even bounced over the back wall without Evert able to get her racket on it. Chris looked a bit peeved and embarrassed. both players used their share of droppers, but Evert's were more productive.

The unsung hero of the match was Evert's anticipation and movement. Chris ran down those bullets, those drop shots and made Seles pay the price for her aggression in an endless string of unforced errors. Once again Evert showed she was the best problem-solver of two eras.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2015, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

Thanks all for your inputs. I'd love to watch both matches in full. Chris definitely took a different approach in the U.S. Open match. I love how Monica kept putting up those moon balls in that match but Chris was too good on the day.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2015, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
I know I wasn't asked, but Evert changed from graphite in late 1983, and adapted her game accordingly so successfully that she remained #1 or 2 in the world for the next 3 years and in the top three for 5 years, won two more RG titles alongside another Italian, two German titles, and multiple titles on green clay. I'd say that she proved her capacity to rally with a graphite racket. She became more aggressive, because it was smart tennis to be more aggressive and of course that led to more errors and double faults.

Those errors are separate from the kinds of inexplicable errors from mental lapses that added to the total in specific matches.
Thanks. Yeah I know when she switched but I agree with preacher fan here that the long rallies took a physical and mental toll by 1989.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Dec 28th, 2015, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

I am blessed. The full match is now on Youtube:



You guys weren't kidding, Chris was making so many errors. It's still great to watch these two in their only clay court encounter.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Dec 28th, 2015, 06:50 PM
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Re: Evert v Seles - 1989 Houston final

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
Thanks all for your inputs. I'd love to watch both matches in full. Chris definitely took a different approach in the U.S. Open match. I love how Monica kept putting up those moon balls in that match but Chris was too good on the day.
This match sort of seems like when the first time Evert played Court. Chris had nothing to lose, and Margret probably did not realize how good the young Chris was, so did not take her too seriously before the match began. Great champions have these days when a newcomer, with great potential, surprises them.
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