3
0
0

40 LOVE Moments: The First Championships

October 15, 1972. It was a Sunday, Ben by Michael Jackson topped the Billboard Hot 100, Jackie Robinson made his last public appearance, and Chris Evert won the very first WTA Championships.

Published October 15, 2013 12:05

40 LOVE Moments: The First Championships
Chris Evert

BOCA RATON, FL, USA - It was 41 years ago to this day - Sunday, October 15, 1972 - when the very first WTA Championships wrapped up, with Chris Evert winning the inaugural edition of the event.

While some may just assume Evert was the favorite for the title - she did win everything there was to win in the '70s and '80s, after all - she wasn't the No.1 seed this time, nor the No.2 seed, or even the No.3 seed. The American, who was just 17 years old at the time, was seeded No.4 at the event.

That year it was a 16-player single elimination draw held on the green clay of the Boca Raton Hotel & Club - and the total prize purse was $100,900, which would be about $550,000 today with all inflation considered. Also, it was called the Virginia Slims Championships, as the WTA was founded in 1973.

The No.4-seeded Evert stormed through her first two matches in straight sets - 61 61 over Laurie Fleming, 62 62 over Karen Krantzcke - and set up a semifinal clash with the great Billie Jean King, who was actually the No.1 seed at the event. But Evert's path of destruction through the draw wasn't about to finish - she would get the better of King in straight sets in that Saturday semifinal clash, 64 62.

Meanwhile, the other half of the draw was turned upside down in the first round, with Betty Stove taking out No.2 seed Nancy Gunter and Jeanne Evert - sister of Chrissie - ousting No.3 seed Margaret Court. They would in turn fall to the No.6 and No.7 seeds, Kerry Melville and Francoise Durr, with the No.6-seeded Melville moving through to the final with a 62 63 semifinal win over the No.7-seeded Durr.

In one of the closest matches of the tournament Evert edged Melville in straight sets, 75 64, to win the inaugural edition of the WTA's season finale - she would eventually capture three more titles at the tournament in 1973, 1975 and 1977, and reach another four finals in 1974, 1976, 1983 and 1984.

And while neither of them had won a Grand Slam title prior to that day, both Evert and Melville would win majors in their careers - the Australian one major, and the American a whopping 18 majors.

Share this page!

Related news

  • All In With Alla: Student Of The Game

    May 05, 2016
    WTA Insider David Kane | Alla Kudryavtseva gave her take on the biggest hot-button issues of the spring as she and Vania King reach a fifth straight WTA quarterfinal in Madrid.
  • Romania Rules In Madrid

    May 05, 2016
    WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | The largest Romanian represenation in the quarterfinals of a Premier Mandatory fight for spots in the final four at the Mutua Madrid Open.
  • Madrid Thursday: Romanian Romp

    May 05, 2016
    Simona Halep leads the pack as a record four Romanians advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open - can the last seed standing seize the moment?
To The Top
3