1992 US OPEN

To win 22 Grand Slam tennis titles, Steffi Graf had to play 310 matches and losing only 32 times. Her winning percentage was 89.68 in the majors events. One of the losses took place on the green cement in the quarterfinals of the 1992 US Open. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario's strategy which was to play to Steffi Graf's backhand, and away from her forehand won her the match with Steffi Graf committing 49 unforced errors. 

Of the 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 scoreboard, Steffi Graf explained, "I was trying to do things instead of just playing the points. I didn't feel nervous. I just really didn't know what to do. I didn't use good tactics. She played a very solid match. It was difficult to do anything because I wasn't playing good enough to really hurt her. It happens. Tennis is a very difficult sport, because you can play great, then you can play bad for a few days and things don't come together. I am disappointed in the way I played this tournament. I played not up to the standard that I wanted to play." 

Coming into the US Open, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was the hottest player on the Kraft Tour playing 71 matches and losing only 13 times, including 5 times in a row to Steffi Graf. In the semifinals of the French Open, Arantxa won the first set 6-0 against Steffi. At the 1992 US Open, 'Sports Illustrated' reported, "Flushing Meadow had many long matches — 10 five-setters in the last four rounds of the men's competition alone. Were it not for an invention called the tiebreaker, Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang might still be out on the Stadium Court breaking each other's serves. 

"Even with the tiebreaker, their 5-hour-and-26-minute semifinal is believed to be the longest in the 111-year history of the US Nationals. It seemed as if Edberg spent the whole tournament playing fifth sets. Edberg having spent over 20 hours on court had only one word for his victory, which was his 6th Grand Slam title and returned him to No. 1 on the computer: 'Bumpy.'" 

Before the semifinal match between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang, the marathon men's 4th round match between Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker took 5 hours and 1 minute to complete in what described after match point as "the longest match at the U.S. Open since the advent of tiebreakers in 1970, breaking the previous mark of 4 hours and 55 minutes in the 1988 final between Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander." Boris left the court at 12:45am and met reporters at 1:05am as he told them, "Sometimes the dice are not falling for you. On some days, you are just meant to lose." 

"Any time you can defend your title in a Slam, I mean, not many guys can do that. Defending my title, that's what I was here for, and becoming No. 1, that's kind of a nice present for me," Stefan Edberg told the press after defeating Pete Sampras. 'The New York Times' added, "Not since 1951 had any finalist had to play so many sets, 24, just to reach the last round. In the three previous rounds, Stefan Edberg was not only pushed to the fifth set, but also had to recover from being down a break in the final set of all three contests." 

Stefan Edberg recognized, "It was a bumpy road. I really earned it this year (1992)." 'The New York Times' continued, "This match marked the first time since 1947 that the Open champions from the two previous years met in a final, and it was just the second occasion that the two finalists in a Grand Slam championship were also playing for the No. 1 ranking. In 1988, Mats Wilander, assumed the top spot by defeating Ivan Lendl here. 

"Stefan Edberg's 1992 Open title prevented a sweep of the four Slams by players from the United States. Jim Courier, with victories at the Australian and French Opens, and Andre Agassi, who won Wimbledon, had paved the way for what could have been the first United States sweep since Don Budge singlehandedly swept the Slams in 1938." 

In the other women's quarterfinals, Mary Joe Fernandez defeated Gabriela Sabatini by trying "to diversify her weaponry and stop playing like it was still the Chris Evert era." She made 50 net approaches, of which Mary Joe won 30. As reported, "In the middle of a deadlocked third set, long after she raced through the first five games of the match, Fernandez reminded herself of the 1990 semifinals."

Mary Joe Fernandez elaborated, "It was a big match for me. I had beaten her (Sabatini) like four of the last five times. I was up 4-0 or 4-1 and she changed tactics on me, coming in on everything. I freaked out a little bit, ended up losing in the third. And she ended up winning the tournament, which made it a little worse. It stood with me for a very long time. During the match, I actually thought about it a few times."

In the women's second-round, 17-year-old Magdalena Maleeva upset 35-year-old Martina Navratilova. As reported, "It was Navratilova's worst defeat in a Grand Slam event since she lost in the first round of the 1976 US Open, a span of 50 Grand Slam tournaments." Martina told the press, "For her, it's the match of her life. (For me) it is a second-round match. It is just one of those days. You can't give away so many breaks or game points. I just didn't close the door when I had the opportunities. God knows, I had the opportunities." Martina won the second set 6-0.

'Sports Illustrated' recalled Martina Navratilova "was also easily distracted. In midmatch, she stared balefully at a spectator reading a newspaper and said, 'Would you mind reading that later, please?'" Martina clarified, "It's all nerves. I'm still physically capable of competing with these girls. But mentally.... Everything is going to be a struggle from now on. It's hard, because I care so damn much." Stefan Edberg maintained, "There's a different feeling that you have about yourself when you're the No. 1. It doesn't show, but when you know in yourself that you're the best, it's a good feeling to have. Coming in second is not where I want to be."

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