“Would you buy a car from that man?” Bud Collins, the American television analyst and well-known Boston tennis writer would ask perhaps in humor on the air.
Sabatini, like all the other WTA Tour players, was on a major losing streak against Graf; having lost nine of their last eleven match ups. But then suddenly the Argentine added a net attack to her strategy and began time after time hitting deep topspin backhand approaches to Graf's would be attackable slice backhand. Sabatini repeatedly volleyed Graf's slice backhand passes down the line for winners.
In 1991 at Miami, Florida, Sabatini, known to her supporters as Gaby, executed this play to defeat Graf in a semifinal night match 0-6, 7-6(8-6), 6-1 to the delight of the always supportive and by a large part Spanish speaking crowd.
It had not mattered that Graf could race ahead a set and a second set break of serve seemingly with ease. Sabatini knew she would have chances to turn the matches around if she could be aggressive enough with her newfound net game.
By Wimbledon of 1991, Sabatini, who'd launched three wildly successful perfumes in among other countries, Graf's native Germany, had defeated the German in five matches in a row.
Sabatini, who'd reached a career high number two WTA Tour singles ranking would say of Graf, “She's lost the confidence associated with the number one ranking.”
“How would she know?” Graf would snap back.
Graf, gifted with a runner's muscular but svelte body, became the first of several female tennis players to later be featured in Sport Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Edition.
And on the grass Center Court at Wimbledon in the championship final that day, all Graf's strengths once again came alive as she would also execute a topspin backhand passing shot to fight off Sabatini's net attacks. Somewhat fittingly a final Graf forehand return winner would end the instant classic 6-4, 3-6, 8-6.