T365 Recall: Steffi Graf’s brutal 32-minute 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Natasha Zvereva at the French Open
June 4, 2020 marks the 32nd anniversary of Steffi Graf’s ruthless lesson in the 1998 French Open final with Natasha Zvereva on the receiving end.
Zvereva endured a magical run at Roland Garros that year, but things unraveled in the final when she came up against a Steffi Graf that was in destructive mode.
At just 17 years of age, Zvereva had a dream tournament as she had beaten second seed Martina Navratilova in the fourth round and also accounted for Helena Sukova, the sixth seed, in the quarter-final.
The 18-year-old Graf, on the other hand, had won the Australian Open earlier that year without dropping a set and she reached the French Open final by winning four sets in her six matches 6-0.
So Zvereva was always going to be up against it, but nobody quite expected it to be so lopsided as the German won 6-0, 6-0 in 34 minutes, but it was just 32 minutes of playing time due to the rain.
In fact, the rain break lasted longer than the time played as players were off for one hour with the first period of play lasting nine minutes before they returned for 23 minutes after the delay.
The Soviet player buckled under the pressure as she won only 13 games over the two sets.
Here is the full match.
“I’m very sorry it was so fast,” Graf told the Roland Garros crowd during the post-match interviews.
An emotional Zvereva declined to do an on-court interview, but was crestfallen and shed some tears during the press conference.
“I wasn’t in the match. It was just a bad game, bad play,” she was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
The double bagel was the first in a women’s Grand Slam final in the Open Era and the first since the 1911 Wimbledon final when Dorothy Lambert Chambers beat Dora Boothby.
Zvereva managed to win four singles titles after that French Open, while the closest she came to another Grand Slam final was a semi-final appearance at Wimbledon 10 years later.
However, she forged a successful career in doubles as she won 18 women’s doubles Grand Slam titles and two mixed majors, all coming after the 1988 Roland Garros final.
Follow us on Twitter @T365Official.
Liam Broady delights in ‘career-high moment’ after upsetting Hubert Hurkacz at the Tokyo Olympics
“It couldn’t have gone better,” says Liam Broady.
Andy Murray gives fitness update after men’s doubles win and explains why he ‘loves’ the Olympics
Andy Murray happy to prioritise men’s doubles at Olympics.
No complacency from Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury as they look to join Britain’s medal rush at Olympics
Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury into the men’s doubles quarter-finals.
Naomi Osaka admits she ‘didn’t really know how to cope with Olympics pressure’
Naomi Osaka’s gold medal dreams at Tokyo 2020 over.
High praise for Carlos Alcaraz as Richard Gasquet declares ‘he has the potential to win in a Grand Slam’
Richard Gasquet highlights Carlos Alcaraz’s impressive tennis features.
Naomi Osaka ‘sad’ after crashing out of Tokyo 2020, but ‘really happy with first Olympic experience’
Osaka had hoped to become the first Japanese tennis player to win Olympic gold.
‘We are also human,’ says Iga Swiatek after breaking down following exit from singles at Tokyo Olympics
An emotional exit from Tokyo Games for Iga Swiatek.
The Novak Djokovic steamroller reaches third round at Olympics as Serbian finds ‘a higher level of tennis’
Novak Djokovic four wins away from Olympic gold.
‘It was a tough match for us,’ says Jamie Murray after losing doubles at Olympics alongside Neal Skupski
No medal for Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski at Tokyo Games.