Graf–Seles rivalry

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Graf–Seles rivalry

Steffi Graf and Monica Seles are retired professional tennis players who between 1989 and 1999 engaged in a rivalry for the best female tennis player. They competed in 15 matches. Seles, a left-handed player, demonstrated precise shot-making. Graf, in contrast, had a formidable forehand and backhand in addition to her penetrating serve.[1]

Head to head[edit]

Graf–Seles (10–5)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Surface Round Winner Score
1 1989 French Open Clay SF Graf 6–3, 3–6, 6–3
2 1989 Wimbledon Grass 4TH Graf 6–0, 6–1
3 1989 Brighton Carpet (i) F Graf 7–5, 6–4
4 1990 Berlin Clay F Seles 6–4, 6–3
5 1990 French Open Clay F Seles 7–6, 6–4
6 1991 San Antonio Hard F Graf 6–4, 6–3
7 1991 Hamburg Clay F Graf 7–5, 6–7, 6–3
8 1992 French Open Clay F Seles 6–2, 3–6, 10–8
9 1992 Wimbledon Grass F Graf 6–2, 6–1
10 1993 Australian Open Hard F Seles 4–6, 6–3, 6–2
11 1995 US Open Hard F Graf 7–6, 0–6, 6–3
12 1996 US Open Hard F Graf 7–5, 6–4
13 1998 New York City Carpet (i) QF Graf 1–6, 6–4, 6–4
14 1999 Australian Open Hard QF Seles 7–5, 6–1
15 1999 French Open Clay SF Graf 6–7, 6–3, 6–4

Breakdown of the rivalry[edit]

  • Hard courts: Graf, 3–2
  • Clay courts: Equal, 3–3
  • Grass courts: Graf, 2–0
  • Carpet courts: Graf, 2–0
  • Grand Slam matches: Graf, 6–4
  • Grand Slam finals: Equal, 3–3
  • Year-End Championships matches: Graf, 1–0
  • Year-End Championships finals: None
  • Fed Cup matches: None
  • All finals: Graf, 6–4
  • All matches: Graf, 10–5


WTA Rankings[edit]

Year-end ranking timeline[edit]

Player 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Steffi Graf 124 93 22 6 3 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 28 9
Monica Seles 86 6 2 1 1 8 1PR 2 5 6 6 4 10 7 60

History[edit]

Graf won eight of nine majors before Seles won her first. Seles surpassed Graf as the No. 1 player in 1991, and won seven of eight grand slam titles during the period of 1991–1993. Graf in the end did recapture the No. 1 ranking from Seles in June 1993, after Seles was forced out of the sport due to her stabbing.

Notable matches[edit]

1990 Berlin Final: Seles ended Graf's 66-match win streak, taking the title in two sets. It's also Seles' first victory over Graf.

1990 French Open Final: Seles defeated Graf for her first major title. And Seles became the youngest-ever champion in French Open history.

1992 French Open Final: Seles made an excellent start, Graf recovered, Graf saved six championship points before Seles won an epic struggle by 10–8 in the third set, to win her third consecutive French Open Women's Singles title. This match was voted the best women's match of the 20th Century.

1992 Wimbledon Final: Graf easily defeated Seles 6–2, 6–1, in a one-sided final. The match was notable for Seles refusing to grunt after massive media criticism of her grunting in the days before, and for constant rain delays during the second set.

1993 Australian Open Final: A high quality final where Seles came from a set behind to defeat Graf and win her third consecutive Australian Open Women's Singles title.

1995 US Open Final: The first post-stabbing match between Seles and Graf. Graf won a close final in three sets, despite losing the second set 0–6.

1996 US Open Final: Graf won 7-5, 6-4, with Graf playing at the peak of her powers. The match was more one-sided than the scoreline suggested. The end of the match and the trophy ceremony saw pouring rain.

1998 Chase Championship Quarter Final: Graf recovered from a poor start to win a close match 1–6, 6–4, 6–4.

1999 Australian Open Quarter Final: Seles won 7–5, 6–1, and finished the match strongly, for her only post-stabbing victory over Graf.

1999 French Open Semi Final: Graf defeated Seles in a three-set match after coming from a set behind. This was their last ever head-to-head match. Graf went on to win the title.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ten great tennis rivalries". The Independent. July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-08. Monica Seles v Steffi Graf. Time span: '89-99 (15 matches) Head to head: Graf 10 Seles 5 Grand Slam finals: Six; three wins each. Wimbledon: One,'92; Graf won.The greatest tribute we can pay to Monica Seles is that, take it as read, without that appalling injury inflicted by a lunatic we would have been treated to even more sensational battles than these girls gave us anyway. But she has never moaned about her fate. Steffi had the better of their rivalry overall but note that at the sharp end of Slams it was even. Monica's attack was epitomised by standing further inside the baseline than anyone else I can recall. 

External links[edit]

[1] profiles at WTA site

[2] Head to Head record