T365 Recall: Steffi Graf’s brutal 6-0, 6-0 obliteration of Natasha Zvereva at the French Open
On the 20th anniversary of what turned out to be Steffi Graf’s final WTA Tour appearance, we remember perhaps he most brutally dominant performance.
Natasha Zvereva endured a magical run at the 1988 French Open, 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 just 32 minutes.
In fact, the rain break lasted longer 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.
Emma Raducanu news: John McEnroe questions big decision after US Open win
McEnroe has repeated his suggestions that Emma Raducanu was ‘overwhelmed’ at Wimbledon.
Peng Shuai news: Meeting with IOC will be under strict Covid-19 measures
The International Olympic Committee all set for Peng Shuai meeting.
Danielle Collins news: ‘It feels amazing,’ says American after reaching Australian Open final
Ecstasy for Danielle Collins as she books Australian Open final spot.
Serena Williams news: John McEnroe believes tennis great can win another Grand Slam this year
John McEnroe believes Serena Williams can win No 24 this year.
Novak Djokovic news: Miami Open would welcome world No 1 with open arms
Novak Djokovic a wanted man, by Miami Open.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis gallery: Special K circus hits the Australian Open
Funny pair Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have been a big hit at Melbourne Park.
Ashleigh Barty news: World No 1 ends 42-year wait for an Australian woman to reach Melbourne final
Ashleigh Barty one win away from winning the Australian Open.
Alexander Zverev news: Mats Wilander says German doesn’t have some qualities as Big Three
Mats Wilander thinks Alexander Zverev still has a lot to work on.
John McEnroe news: ‘Some people think Novak Djokovic is Darth Vader,’ jokes American
John McEnroe supports Nick Kyrgios’ views about the need for more personalities in tennis.
Nick Kyrgios news: Australian refuses to ‘destroy salty’ rival over ‘absolute knob’ remarks
Nick Kyrgios sort of took the high road when asked about Michael Venus’ criticism.