40 LOVE Moments: New York Shocker
Published October 16, 2013 12:02
NEW YORK, NY, USA - One of the greatest players never to win a Grand Slam was the one who put a stop to the greatest Grand Slam season of all time - here at the WTA Championships 25 years ago.
Going into the WTA Championships in 1988, Steffi Graf was on an epic roll - not only was she coming off the only Golden Grand Slam in the history of the sport, she was also riding a 44-match win streak. And with a pair of wins over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Manuela Maleeva-Fragnière in her first two matches of the tournament, that monster grew to 46 matches in a row - was anyone going to stop her?
The No.5-seeded Shriver took it to the No.1-seeded Graf right from the start, blasting big serves and coming in off of anything and everything and slamming overhead after overhead into the open court, seemingly unintimidated at all by the World No.1's streak - and before long she was up by a set, 6-3.
Graf turned up the heat in the second set - her rare topspin backhand pass was in full flight, her legendary forehand and footspeed sharpened up and that serve was hitting its mark too. But this time there was no stopping a brave, determined Shriver, who ended up closing Graf out in straight sets in that semifinal clash, 63 76(5), coming up with some absolutely phenomenal volleying in the tie-break.
On match point, Shriver hit a return and rushed the net - Graf blasted a forehand that sailed long, and after the handshake, Shriver soaked up every second of a huge victory in front of her home crowd.
"I wanted a better ending, but what I already achieved this year is incredible to me," Graf said.
Shriver would lose the final to Gabriela Sabatini, but while Graf did pull off the greatest season of all time, likewise the great Pam Shriver pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all time that day.