espnW: Steffi Graf

Flashback: Steffi Graf's shutout

June, 4, 2014
Steffi GrafAP Photo/Lionel CironneauIt took Steffi Graf just 32 minutes to beat Natasha Zvereva in the 1988 French Open final.

On this day in 1988, Steffi Graf won her second French Open title with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Natasha Zvereva. The match, which lasted all of 32 minutes, set the record for shortest women's singles title match at a Grand Slam in the Open Era. It also marked the first time a French Open finalist failed to win one game, and was the first time since 1911 at any Grand Slam final that a title was decided by a 6-0, 6-0 score. The then-18-year-old Graf was so dominant, she lost just 13 points in the match and she apologized to the crowd in her postmatch speech and to the 17-year-old Zvereva in the locker room. Graf, who had already won the Australian Open in January, would go on to complete the Golden Slam that year -- winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in Seoul.

Flashback: Golden Graf

September, 17, 2013
Steffi GrafAP Photo/Lionel CironneauSteffi Graf beat Gabriela Sabatini, left, in the finals of both the US Open and the Olympics in 1988.

On this day in 1988, the Summer Olympics opened in Seoul, South Korea, and, for the first time since 1924, tennis would be played at the Games. A 19-year-old Steffi Graf stole the show. The West German, who already had won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open that year, defeated Gabriela Sabatini 6-3, 6-3 in the gold-medal match to win the calendar year Golden Slam. She remains the only human to accomplish the feat. Graf retired in 1999 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. She would be joined in the Hall by her husband, Andre Agassi, in 2011.

A long, storied Open career

August, 27, 2013
Serena WilliamsJamie Squire/AllsportSerena Williams beat Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis on the way to her first Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open.
Serena Williams already holds the record for most years between winning her first and last title at the US Open, and after her 6-0, 6-1 first-round win over Francesca Schiavone on Monday, she’s still the favorite to pad her lead with another title this year. As a 17-year-old in 1999, Serena won the $750,000 first-place check after beating Martina Hingis in the final. As a 30-year-old in 2012, Serena won the $1.9 million winner’s check after beating Victoria Azarenka in the final. The 13-year-span between first and most recent titles (Serena also won in 2002 and 2008) puts her well ahead of the second-place player in the Open era, Steffi Graf, who won her first title in 1988 and the last of her five in 1996.

A Golden girl in Spain

July, 25, 2013
Jennifer CapriatiAP Photo/Michel LipchitzJennifer Capriati dropped the first set of the gold-medal match at the 1992 Olympics against Steffi Graf, but rallied to win.
On this day in 1992, the Summer Olympics opened in Barcelona, and a 16-year-old American would become golden. Jennifer Capriati defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinal and upset Steffi Graf in the final. Capriati, who had been in the world spotlight since turning pro as a 13-year-old, would go on to win three Grand Slam titles in her career and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012.

Need a bigger boat?

June, 20, 2013
Steffi GrafAP Photo/Adam ButlerSteffi Graf's fearsome forehand helped her win 22 career Grand Slam titles, second only to Margaret Court.
The blockbuster “Jaws” was released on this date in 1975, and it soon became the highest-grossing film in history at that time, making around $471 million at the box office. Several sports stars who are known by the scary nickname have cashed in as well, including former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, competitive eater Joey Chestnut and skateboarder Aaron Homoki (although his nickname comes from wearing braces). Steffi Graf's biting forehand was known as “Jaws,” as is a Maui beach that attracts daring surfers to its ferocious waves.

Birthday flashback: Steffi Graf

June, 14, 2013
Steffi GrafAP Photo/Lionel CironneauSteffi Graf, representing West Germany, won the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Gabriela Sabatini, left, of Argentina won silver, and American Zina Garrison and Manuela Maleeva, far right, of Bulgaria shared the bronze.
Only one person has ever won the Golden Slam in a single calendar year -- and that is birthday girl Steffi Graf. Today, she celebrates her 44th, but 25 years ago, in 1988, she was busy hoisting up trophies at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Not only did she sweep all four majors, but she also won the singles gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. That same Games, the 19-year-old Graf even added a bronze in the women’s doubles competition with Claudia Kohde-Kilsch. A longer-term partner, husband Andre Agassi, joins Graf on the short list of players who have won a career Golden Slam. Agassi completed the feat when he struck gold in 1996 in Atlanta. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are the only other players who have won a career Golden Slam in singles. But back to Graf, over the course of her career, she won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, placing her second all-time – among both men and women – trailing only Margaret Court with 24.

Martina Navratilova's titles title quite safe

January, 14, 2013
Serena Williams
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren CalabreseBetween the two of them, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams are the proud owners of 214 singles titles and (Serena hopes) counting.
On Jan. 14, 1985, Martina Navratilova won her 100th tournament, becoming the second woman -- after Chris Evert -- to accomplish the feat. Navratilova concluded her record-breaking career with 167 singles titles; Evert piled up 157 trophies. The only other player to reach that 100-win milestone is Steffi Graf, who has 107. Serena Williams, with 47, has the most among active players. She leads her sister Venus by three. They are both trying to add to their totals in a major way over the next two weeks in Australia.

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