Best Women's French Open Final

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by McEnroeisanartist, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    What do you think was the best Women's French Open final?

    1985 - Evert def Navratilova
    1987 - Graf def Navratilova
    1992 - Seles def Graf
    1996 - Graf def Sanchez Vicario
     
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  2. Douggo

    Douggo Semi-Pro

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    Was the big Hingis meltdown against Graf at the French? I liked that one.
     
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  3. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    hit the button too soon
     
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  4. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    The three that stand out in my mind are 1) 1992 2) 1987 and 3) 1985 in that order.

    1985 had so much drama and represented a turning point in the Evert -Navratilova rivalry. But Evert's 1986 performance was such a masterpiece that I can't vote 1985 any higher than I did. I agreed with Shriver, Martina did not play well in that 85 match. Tactically, she was off for games at a time and she hit so short and was lucky that she wasn't playing a netrusher that day.

    1987 is my favorite French final of all time. I still believe that Steffi won it because she passed so well from the backhand. Martina played so well from the net and the baseline but she served too many double faults at the wrong time.

    1992 is the match, more than any other, where both players gave everything that they had. I rooted for Graf, but Seles had the heart of a tiger!
     
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  5. BTURNER

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    In fact the '86 final was better in quality( at least the last two sets) than the '85, while the 85 had all that drama. '85 had lots of wind playing havoc, Martina was more nervous, having already lost to Evert earlier. But they were still both bold and inventive, and tore their hearts in two to win.

    '86, Evert was flat as a pancake in the first set, but ended up playing great the last two. Martina's form held steady . I can't remember the 87 final that well. Have to watch it again. I'll bet I'LL ENJOY IT.

    I was too spoiled by all the variety Martina provided clay court tennis finals. As for Seles/ Graf or Graf/ Sanchez Too many routine baseline rallies with an occasional net rush or dropper thrown in. Not that big a contrast between two hander Seles and one hander Graf if they're still bashing for the back court. Even Sabatini would have provided some missing flair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
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  6. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    Seles/Graf 1992, then Evert/Navratilova 1985.
     
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  7. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    I haven't watched all the good ones, but I enjoyed the 1992 duel between Graf and Seles.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1989? very close race
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    yes, you don´t usually have a chance to watch directly a two hours robbery like that.
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    None more dramatic than the 73 Court vs Evert.I still have some flashes of that wonderful match.You could just see what made Margaret Court one of the greatest ever champions and what would made Chris Evert one of the greatest champions as well.For those who say that Court was a mere S&V and no complete player, here is that good one
     
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  11. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    It was at the 1999 French Open final. I think Hingis was leading by a set and a double break (well, at least one) when she lost the plot and choked away her chances. I recall she argued about a controversial line call for ages and crossed into Graf's half of the court ( a big no-no) to belabour the point with the umpire and Graf herself. After that, she just fell apart. At the end, I don't think she even shook hands with Graf but stormed off the court in tears. Her mother had to go and fetch her back for the presentations.

    She made 4 other GS finals (3 at the Australian Open and 1 at the US Open) but lost them all before calling it quits in 2002. Graf's 1999 French Open victory was her last GS title. She went on to reach the final of Wimbledon but lost to Davenport. She retired a few weeks later. I think a certain Mr. Agassi was the only thing she was interested in at that point of her life!
     
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  12. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    That is another great candidate. How has the crowd atmosphere around you?
     
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  13. PDJ

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    For me the 85 final ranks as the best as I recall watching it on tenterhooks praying for an Evert win. When Navratilova went ahead with 3 break points in the final set I thought evert was done. But no. I have never, before or since, experienced such joy at the end of a tennis match. I get goosebumps to this day. Dan Maskell's joy (not a chap given to huge emotion) at Evert's win summed it up for me, and many others. A precious memory. Agree thatmany other finals had better quality but nothing came close to what this victory meant to Evert fans, and probably tennis fans in general who were happy to see a great champion win again against the woman who seemed impossible to beat.
     
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  14. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    It was not the first time Evert had beaten Navratilova in an RG final. She had already beaten her back in 75 and would go on to beat her again the following year, again coming back from a set down to do so. The score of their last RG final almost mirrored that of their first. Each time Evert had to come back from 2-6 down in the first set.

    Evert ended up 3-1 v Navratilova in RG finals. She was always the better player on clay.
     
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  15. PDJ

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    I see your point, but with all due respect I think you missed mine. Evert hadn't beaten for over a year and had been killed by Navratilova in the 84 RG Final. The 85 win was a momentous result for die-hard Evert fans at the time. Truly momentous.
     
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  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    1992 remains my favourite in terms of drama. Seles beat Graf 6-2, 3-6, 10-8.
     
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  17. BTURNER

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    Just a nit pick. Martina was the better claycourter in 1984 with two wins over Evert and RG title. I'd say 82 & '87 were ties. In 82 Martina beat Jaeger in the Rg final but it was Evert with 4 clay tourney wins. Martina beat chris in straights at RG to get to the final, but Evert had a 20 match clay streak in the early spring with 3 tournament wins including a nip& tuck victory over Martina in the final at Houston. Evert had the better record in 73, 74,75, 76,77,78,79,80,81, 83, 85,86,and 88.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Court b Evert 6-7,7-6,6-4.The old queen still refusing to yield the crown to the new princess on her worst turf as opossed to Chris Evert´s best.What a truly magnificent lesson of will and courage from the unforgetable Margaret¡¡¡ ( that is to use Lance Tingay or Ted Tingling language of course )
     
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  19. BTURNER

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    the old queen was the winner of three majors that year.Court was actually the top seed in Paris and a prior champion four previous times evert was the number 2 seed. Many people were surprised Evert reach the finals in both the Italian and Rg on her first trip to Europe. While she was well known in the States for her green clay record and a couple of prior victories over Court already, she had not played on the slower red dirt before the '73 season. . Wade was seeded 3, Goolagong 4, and Richey was the fifth seed. She lost to Goolagong in Rome
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    which again brings me the idea that Evonne is serverely underrated on clay, her record is not as good as Evert but is very good and won the two big events, as well as some of the US clay court tournaments.She was more than able to hold from the back until finding an opening and looked quite flawless while doing so.
     
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  21. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Have you ever seen Evonne's 1982 battle with Chris on green clay in Palm Beach? Sheer beauty. Long rallies with an intent for each shot struck.
     
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  22. BTURNER

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    Great stuff. its on You-tube. Goolagong was obviously in one of her best mindsets to play. it wasn't until that latter stages of the third that she began to fade . As always, it was never about what she was capable of... it was always about how often and for how long. Evert had her hands full that day.
     
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  23. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    Yes, this. The best French Open women's final I've seen in terms of great tennis. In terms of drama, nothing tops the 1999 final, IMO. It had everything going on :shock: The 1989 final was very entertaining as well. Sanchez-Vicario came out of nowhere to stun Graf.
     
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  24. CEvertFan

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    That's another one of my all time favorite matches to watch. Such wonderful very high quality tennis from both ladies.
     
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  25. Goosehead

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    1987 French open Navratilova was serving for the title.
     
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  26. PDJ

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    I actually prefer to watch Evert v Goolagong, rather than Evert/Navratilova as it just seems more graceful/thoughtful. I guess it's because Goolagong cd hit anywhere that Evert's play is entirely different to that against Navratilova. More like chess than tennis. If that makes sense?
     
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  27. BTURNER

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    Yes, and so much of what Martina did, was about sheer power and strength. Martina was so brazenly aggressive that points tended to be shorter. Evert could not develop her game, nearly as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
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  28. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    I felt that Evert-Goolagong was symbiotic and that Evert-Navratilova was well rehearsed. I don't mean that in a negative sense at all, only to discern one from the other. Both were beautiful to watch.
     
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  29. PDJ

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    I know exactly what you mean, and so beautifully put. Personally whilst I appreciate what Navratilova means to tennis, I never really enjoyed watching her play at the time- she was too postured for me. I feel much the same about Serena Williams. Although I prefer her to Sharapova & Azarenka- but I prefer the dentist to either of them....so its not saying much!:)
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    No, but I agree that Evonne and Chris trying to outmind each other was fabulous.Specially since both knew each other´s game so well that there was little room for surprise on the long run.
     
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  31. BTURNER

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    Chris prided herself on her uncanny ability to anticipate her opponents choice of shot. whether she read their minds or their stroke, she seemed to know where to defend and where to go, just a fraction earlier than others. she said of Evonne that was impossible because Evonne had no clue what she would hit herself. It was all intuition and improv with Evonne.

    My favorite quote describing the difference between those two. Evert played tennis like she was playing a classical sonata for piano. Goolagong played like it was a jazz jam session.
     
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  32. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    I think that is a bit too simplistic a description for the way Evonne played. No doubt Evonne was an amazingly gifted performer on the court. But she understood tactics as well. Goolagong won hundreds of matches in her career, and constructed thousands of points against a wide variety of opponents. It wasn't that she "had no clue what kind of shot she would hit."

    However, Evonne did possess the ability to improvise and play on instantaneous intuition, something Chris Evert didn't really have. Chris was the master tactician and precision ball striker. And Evonne could make quick decision changes which would offend confound Evert and undermine her confidence. It could also mean that Evonne would make the most God awful decisions in the middle of a point (and throughout a match) and lose handily to Evert and many lesser players. I believe Evonne enjoyed using her entire arsenal when she played, even if that meant she would line up to hit one shot, change her mind at the last minute and miss badly. And the next time do the same thing, and hit the most amazing shot. I've seen Evonne flub volleys as badly as any shabby 3.5 player. And leap and flick her wrist to knock off as spectacular a shot as Roger Federer.

    Goolagong and Evert had a great rivalry early on. Overall Chris was the better player, and it took her a few years to really believe that. Some of their clay court deals were fantastic, such as the 1975 US Open final. Chris also flattened Evonne on clay with disturbing ease on other occasions.

    Their 1982 Palm Beach duel is a gem. Goolagong had her chances to win that match. And don't forget Evonne was on a comeback after the birth of her 2nd child, and Chris was world #1, having only lost 2 matches on clay in almost 9 years!
     
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  33. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    1985 - Evert def Navratilova
    Too bad NBC didn't air the match live, in its entirety when it was played. I've seen the entire match. But difficult to judge the true nature since most Americans have only seen it in retrospect. That said, it was a great, intriguing match, with high drama coming at the end. Who knew who would win that match when it was 5-5 all in the third? Tactically, not a good match by Martina. And Chris should have won it in straight sets.

    1987 - Graf def Navratilova
    A very high quality match. Martina was #1 at the time. But she hadn't won a tournament all year, and Steffi hadn't lost a match. Graf was a bit tight at times (it was her first major final). And of course Martina was the one who tightened at the end.

    1992 - Seles def Graf
    IMHO, a bit overrated as far as a great match.

    1996 - Graf def Sanchez Vicario
    Another match NBC didn't air in its entirety. Also suspenseful for the ebbs and flows in momentum in final set. One of the grittiest finals ever.

    Of course the BEST OF ALL TIME:

    Nothing will ever top the masterful 1999 French final, where Steffi Graf def. Martina Hingis 4-6,7-5,6-2. The most dramatic match of all-time! Absolutely great theater. And great tennis by Graf, especially from 4-5 down int he second set. A true champion. (Something Hingis was not.) And, as a reminder, Graf is a more recent major singles winner than Hingis. A fact that I am sure NO ONE would have predicted!!
     
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  34. raging

    raging Professional

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    kiki, agreed on Evonne.
    She had more talent in her little finger than Chris had in her whole hand!:)
    Chris was the better tennis player because she was superbly coached and understood the geometry of a tennis court better than anyone. Unbelievably disciplined and a great champion.

    To be honest, I saw the Graf vs Seles match in 1992 and that was one of the better French Open finals. So maybe Mustard could have it?

    It had drama, quality and duration.
    A bit sad as to what happened to Seles later..it was difficult for anyone playing Steffi..What a champion! People may forget how dominant she was in some of her matches on clay and through 88-92 how many good tennis players she destroyed on the stuff.
    Monica got her by just sticking around and throwing everything into her shots, as she always did. Simplistic, I know but she had the weapons and power off the ground to do it.

    Evert and Navratilova played some good ones and they were a great contrast, attacking player trying to get forward, counterpuncher working the angles, depth and using the court.

    I suppose everybody has their favourites depending on their own experiences back then, if they saw it live or on tv.
    I saw the Graf vs Seles match on tv in Oz and commentary was neutral on that network.
    From memory the enjoyment value was high, so I turned the volume down.:)
    The match got better.:twisted:

    It would be interesting to hear someone's views on the match who was there live and didn't have a bias.
    I was/am because I was in awe of Steffi's tennis and playing tennis in Germany through the late 80s, mid 90s, she was everywhere!
    I was biased against Seles because of the screaming, grunting..she was a great player, fighter, but I just tuned out when she played.
    I saw her play live and had to leave after an hour, Azarenka and Sharapova is even worse...
    then I will be watching the juniors on the outside courts.

    But that is just me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
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  35. Willi62

    Willi62 Banned

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    The 99 final was most probably the greatest one. Meaning unforgettable. But quality-wise not so much. In the first half Steffi made too many unforced errors, in the second it was Hingis.

    The 1987 final suffered under the windy conditions.
     
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  36. BTURNER

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    I agree with this. I would add that Evert learned to improvise more as she became more secure at net, later in her career. But she always preferred to think in terms of winning patterns in tennis.
    This match was played at the very ebb of Goolagong's career. Was it her last great match?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
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  37. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    Agree, was probably Evonne's last great match. She did beat Austin in one of those pseudo-tournaments in Australia in summer 1982. And she beat #3 Jaeger on grass in Sydney at the end of 1982. But Evonne was brilliant, even in defeat, against Evert in Palm Beach on clay.

    Also agree Evert was a better improviser and more complete player as her career progressed. But she was definitely one who liked and played according to patterns. In fact, she often mentions that in her commentary. In general it's a big part of her DNA. A guiding force in her life. She has lived by (and succeeded on a grand scale) by knowing the percentages, playing the percentages, and understanding what works, for her. It is one of the attributes that didn't translate well into her broadcasting career. She commentated like *she* was playing the match, and that the players in the match should play like she did. Doesn't work that way. (And Chris almost always predicted the higher ranked player would win, bu virtue of being higher ranked. She was always very predictable in that regard. She liked the order of things.) Chris is a more appealing commentator when she is in the TV studio or away from the match commentary, where she is more relaxed, a lot freer, and much more of an improviser.

    But I digress from the best French finals.

    And as a general comment, the French women's finals in the Open era have been far more intriguing and dramatic than finals at any other major. The vast majority of US Open finals in the last 20 years have been absolute duds!
     
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