Australian Open Legends – Steffi Graf
This week’s Australian Open Legend is none other than Hall of Famer Steffi Graf. She holds four Australian Open titles, just like her husband, Andre Agassi! Between the two of them, they hold eight Australian Open titles. Steffi Graf’s 1988 Australian Open is especially important given that it would be part of her 1988 Grand Slam, where she won all four Grand Slams in one calendar year. No woman, or man in the Open era has accomplished this feat. Graf stands alone.
In addition to her four titles, Steffi would participate in the 1993 Australian Open final where she would lose to Monica Seles in three hard fought sets. Also of note is the fact that Steffi would be absent from the Australian Open on five occasions between 1983 and 1999 due to injury. Let’s take a look at each of her four Australian Open titles!
1988 Australian Open: Graf vs. Evert
Steffi came in as the number one seed while Evert came in as the number three seed. Steffi did not lose a set on her way to the final. Evert would lose only one set and would upset Navratilova in straight sets in the semis. In what was supposed to be a blockbuster final, Graf easily handled Evert in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6.
1989 Australian Open: Graf vs. Sukova
Defending champion Graf would come in as the number one seed while Sukova would be the number five seed. Graf would again storm through the draw without losing a set on her way to the final. By this time, Steffi was routinely winning sets at love from her opponents. Sukova would have no response for Graf, losing in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
1990 Australian Open: Graf vs. Fernandez
For the third straight year, Graf would come in as the number one seed. She would have a tough three set semifinal against Sukova. However, Graf’s dominance on the WTA tour was established after three years of winning everything in sight. Mary Joe Fernandez would be no match. Graf would punish her 6-3, 6-4 for her third straight Australian Open title.
1994 Australian Open: Graf vs. Sanchez Vicario
Graf’s success at Australian Open had started to wane. She had lost to Seles in the 93 final and to Novotna in the 91 quarters. Meanwhile, Sanchez, her opponent had now established herself as the number two player in the world. They would be seeded one and two respectively. This would be the second time these two would meet in a Grand Slam final. Sanchez Vicario would famously beat Graf at the ’89 French Open for her first Grand Slam. There would be no shocking win for Sanchez Vicario though. Graf would go on to take revenge and blow her off the court 6-0, 6-2.
Like always, don’t forget to jump on to the TennisPAL app to stay up to date on tennis news, find groups of friends to play with, and get a virtual coach to help with your tennis game.