On this day: Monica Seles ends Steffi Graf winning streak

PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

On May 20, 1990 Monica Seles ended Steffi Graf’s 66-match winning streak when she won the German Open.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at that match and the pair’s rivalry.

Graf at the peak

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Graff was at the peak of her powers in 1989 and 1990 and was undefeated in the best part of 11 months.

That run began at the 1989 French Open and saw her claim the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open titles, as well as a host of other tour events.

At 66 games, only Martina Navratilova had won more consecutive matches, with an open era record of 74 in 1984.

Seles was an up-and-coming star and the 16-year-old had won her last four tournaments, a winning run that stood at 23 going into the German Open final.

Home queen dethroned

Graf had won the tournament in former West Germany four times in a row and despite Seles’ form, she was the favourite to make it five.

However, the Yugoslavian – who gained American citizenship in 1994 – had other ideas and stormed to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

It was her first win over Graf at the fourth attempt and she said after the game that she was no longer scared of the German.

Attack

That match was the beginning of a competitive rivalry with Graf and one that Seles dominated for most of the next three years. She won eight grand slams in three years, beating the German in three of the finals.

However, her career was curtailed in 1993 when she was stabbed during a match in Germany by a man who was obsessed with Graf.

Her injuries, luckily, were not too serious but the mental scars proved lasting and she was off the tour for two years.

She did make her comeback in 1995 and won one more grand slam – the 1996 US Open.

What to read next