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-   -   Graf v. Seles 1992 FO Final - on Tennis Channel right now. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=417956)

bluetrain4 03-22-2012 06:31 PM

Graf v. Seles 1992 FO Final - on Tennis Channel right now.
 
Always fun to watch old matches. Just amazing how pinpoint accurate both players were and how consistent they were, and how they get better as the match gets tighter.

First thing that struck me was the sound of the highly strung gut vs. the sound of strings today. Steffi using her Dunlop here, before she switched to Wilson. And Monica is using her "regular" OS, not her comically large 135 sq inch version she used briefly after her comeback.

Monica wins this match 10-8 in the third. Of course, Graf has quite the revenge about a month later, thrashing Seles 6-2, 6-1 in the Wimbledon final.

Mustard 03-22-2012 06:57 PM

A classic match. Monica was dominant early on and looked to be storming to the title, but Graf turned it into a war. Seles blew match points earlier on in the third after being a break up and Graf got the break back and threatened to win herself, but Seles eventually grinded Graf down and won 10-8.

Their Wimbledon final a month later was a complete dud of a match. The pre-match anticipation, Seles being mute and the constant second set rain delays made it even worse. Awful.

Moose Malloy 03-22-2012 07:04 PM

Quote:

Just amazing how pinpoint accurate both players were and how consistent they were, and how they get better as the match gets tighter.
Great match, but Graf made 66 unforced errors(last one on match point)

bluetrain4 03-22-2012 07:10 PM

Yeah, it's impressive that Monica can lose those chances to win earlier in the third, and still mentally recover and still win. Though, having just watched, the four Seles match points at 5-3 with Graf serving, Graf plays really great points (the bite on the slice/drive to save the 4th match point is unreal). Seles really did nothing wrong on those points. That 9th game was incredible.

1970CRBase 03-22-2012 08:12 PM

I remember of this 1992 match that Seles was bent double gasping for air a few times as they got deep into the third. By the end she was definitely tired and hanging on with sheer grim tenacity. Both of them were so tough. (no cry babies like Ana or Sabine back then) If Graf had held on just another 3 or four games she might have won. On that day Seles was the better ball striker, Graf had to try to grind her down with better fitness before she got outhit. At the same time she also had to get the ball much deeper against Monica or lose the point, hence her large number of ufe. Same situation in their 1989 RG SF when there was one game around 4-3 in the third where one of their points went to something like 20 or 30 strokes with devastating shots from Seles that Graf stayed with with her superior speed until Seles simply couldn't move anymore and Graf hit a fh dtl. After that rally, Seles didn't win another point. On clay the battle lines imo were one better at attacking, the other better at defending, it was a matter of who could carry it that particular day.

1970CRBase 03-22-2012 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluetrain4 (Post 6415783)
Yeah, it's impressive that Monica can lose those chances to win earlier in the third, and still mentally recover and still win. Though, having just watched, the four Seles match points at 5-3 with Graf serving, Graf plays really great points (the bite on the slice/drive to save the 4th match point is unreal). Seles really did nothing wrong on those points. That 9th game was incredible.

That particular Graf slice if it is the one I think you are talking about cc Monica dumps a fh into the net, the way the ball sliced into the ground and didn't rise was just about impossible.

just watched it again, Monica didn't get her racquet on that slice.

PowerPlay 03-22-2012 08:26 PM

I thought the same thing about the sound of the ball strikes with the 90's strings...sounded so different! It was so refreshing to see them on TV. Seles was my inspiration and I wish we had her or a version of her on the WTA now.

bluetrain4 03-22-2012 08:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1970CRBase (Post 6415936)
That particular Graf slice if it is the one I think you are talking about cc Monica dumps a fh into the net, the way the ball sliced into the ground and didn't rise was just about impossible.

just watched it again, Monica didn't get her racquet on that slice.

Yeah, looks like it didn't bounce as she anticipated. Graf hit that from further above the net than her normal rally slice and hit it hard and downward. If it would have been hit straight down in front of her (Graf), it probably would have come up more, but it traveled pretty far on a downward angle and really didn't come up at all.

Jack Romeo 03-22-2012 10:18 PM

is monica already using an oversize like 107-something? i thought she was using 102-105. but it was already kinda big for that time because majority of players were still using 95 or smaller.

what i gather most from watching old seles matches was that she was not as one-dimensional as i remember her to be. she mixed up her angles. she especially loved targeting the side T's. she also hit some heavy topspin loopers to break up the rhythm. she used all of this to set up her flat drives to the corners.

graf was always playing catch up in this match. i think she just didn't execute as consistently as she needed to. i remember it was her unforced error count from her forehand that told the main story of this match.

bluetrain4 03-22-2012 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Romeo (Post 6416148)
is monica already using an oversize like 107-something? i thought she was using 102-105. but it was already kinda big for that time because majority of players were still using 95 or smaller.

what i gather most from watching old seles matches was that she was not as one-dimensional as i remember her to be. she mixed up her angles. she especially loved targeting the side T's. she also hit some heavy topspin loopers to break up the rhythm. she used all of this to set up her flat drives to the corners.

graf was always playing catch up in this match. i think she just didn't execute as consistently as she needed to. i remember it was her unforced error count from her forehand that told the main story of this match.

She did have decent variety. She played short angles, she sliced, a few loopers (as you mentioned), she hit various spins, and, of course, those flat slapshot winners. And, pre-comeback she was very good defensively.

Like you, I always remember Seles being more one dimensional - the flat, hard winners down the line or angled cross court. But, she played a lot of positioning rally shots with more margin and less speed (though still pretty powerful) than her flat winners. I noticed a lot of times she's get pulled wide to what would have been her forehand (ad court), and she'd hit a looping cross court deep forehand to recover. And, she loved hitting medium paced rollers into the forecourt in order to open up the court.

What I remember correctly is that she had horrible net instincts. Weird, she had no problems taking groundstrokes out of the air if she got caught mid-court, and she'd swing volley a few times when actually at the net. But, she retreated so much. There was one point where she had to come and take a ball in the service box, she crushed it but Graf got it back, If she just would have closed to the net, any sort of volley, no matter how ugly, would have been fine, but she retreated and missed the ball coming back at her, which she was hitting from her shoe laces near the service line as she's moving backward.

I thought this was a high quality match despite Graf's 66 UEs (as Moose pointed out). She wasn't missing because she was necessarily "off" or tired. She knew what she was up against and at times was just pressing, trying to hit closer to the lines or deeper than maybe she normally would as to prevent Seles' attack.

Jack Romeo 03-22-2012 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluetrain4 (Post 6416158)

What I remember correctly is that she had horrible net instincts. Weird, she had no problems taking groundstrokes out of the air if she got caught mid-court, and she'd swing volley a few times when actually at the net. But, she retreated so much. There was one point where she had to come and take a ball in the service box, she crushed it but Graf got it back, If she just would have closed to the net, any sort of volley, no matter how ugly, would have been fine, but she retreated and missed the ball coming back at her, which she was hitting from her shoe laces near the service line as she's moving backward.

she didn't have the competency at net in this match but she did eventually learn it a bit. it's a shame because i thought she improved on this a lot by the time of the 1993 australian open where she beat graf again in three sets. in that match, she looked a lot more comfortable at net and wasn't retreating anymore. she also hit some regular volleys and not all just drive volleys. there was even one point where she played a perfect serve-volley combination.

Lionheart392 03-23-2012 02:26 AM

Very dramatic match, although I felt it was more of a slugfest than a real classic. I think their semi in 1999 was higher quality.

boredone3456 03-23-2012 02:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lionheart392 (Post 6416323)
Very dramatic match, although I felt it was more of a slugfest than a real classic. I think their semi in 1999 was higher quality.

It was a slugfest and a huge battle of willpower. Against anyone else on the tour Monica would have ended the match much sooner, Grafs sheer heart and determination made it a dogfight of a match all the way through the 3rd set. Graf made Monica earn that title she kept coming and would not stop...Monica kept her cool despite blowing chances to finish Graf off earlier. Maybe not the highest tennis quality but it was a match of emotions and will power to win.

dannykl 03-23-2012 03:02 AM

Should Steffi come in more and volley more in that match?
Or should she use her topspin backhand a bit more in that match?

I find she could come in and close the net in some points but she didn't, especially after hitting a powerful forehand she didn't back it up with a volley. If she did, she might be able to win more points.

boredone3456 03-23-2012 04:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dannykl (Post 6416345)
Should Steffi come in more and volley more in that match?
Or should she use her topspin backhand a bit more in that match?

I find she could come in and close the net in some points but she didn't, especially after hitting a powerful forehand she didn't back it up with a volley. If she did, she might be able to win more points.

Both. Her forehand was her kill shot and she could have moved up after quite a few of them instead of hugging the baseline. Some of her forehands put Seles so far off balance a volley would have been opportune and win the point then and there. Not moving in made so much extra work for herself and cost her points. However Seles was also a good passer so maybe she didn't want to take the risk?

Her slice backhand was effective but it was also predictable in the sense that you know that shot was what you were gonna get off that wing. Varying it up with more spin or just plain hard flat strokes probably would have given Monica a lot more trouble. But again her slice was her go to and in a major final maybe she didnt want to experiment to muxh knowimg she was close anyway?

But yes she should have done both of those things

Lionheart392 03-23-2012 04:46 AM

Before the Wimbledon final a weeks later, Steffi said one of things she learnt from this match was to be more aggressive and come in more. And in the Wimbledon final, she did volley well. She did everything well that day.

muddlehead 03-23-2012 08:57 AM

the 4th match point slice back hand from steffi referenced a few times above hit a small pile / mound of clay har-tru granules. that's why it didn't bounce.

gopokes 03-23-2012 11:09 AM

I loved the pace of play - smooth, not too much time in-between points, etc. Pretty fan-friendly to watch - And these girls were tired, yet they could step-up and serve only a few seconds after a grueling point. I wish they still made the 200g - I loved that racket!
I also appreciated the mental toughness of both girls - both could have faded away at times, yet they both stayed strong until the end. Fun to watch!

Lionheart392 03-23-2012 11:20 AM

I also recall the crowd really gunning for a Graf victory, she had a unique rapport with the French crowd.

Mustard 03-23-2012 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lionheart392 (Post 6417419)
I also recall the crowd really gunning for a Graf victory, she had a unique rapport with the French crowd.

Because Graf was the underdog. It was a different story in 1989 and 1990.


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