Garrison goes from 2nd in '90 to virtual obscurity


WIMBLEDON, England -- When she arrived on the grounds of the All England Club last week, Zina Garrison headed straight to the Wimbledon Museum. She was looking for proof that her appearance in last year's women's singles final wasn't a dream.

"I was a little upset," Garrison said. "There wasn't even a postcard of myself in that museum."

Garrison is the forgotten finalist. She has cruised virtually unobserved through four rounds at Wimbledon. Even yesterday's match, a tense 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Germany's Anke Huber, was relegated to the compact stadium at Court 14.

"Not too many people are noticing me," Garrison said. "Usually, they figure out who I am 5 yards after I passed them. I don't mind. I like it that way."

Actually, the entire women's event has been something of a shadow tournament since Australian and French Open champion Monica Seles went AWOL. The main reason is the lack of upsets. Seven of the top nine seeds are in today's quarterfinals.

"I thought there would be a lot more upsets, period," Garrison said. "Top players really need to get grooved, and with all the rain, it was difficult."

The final eight reads like a who's who of women's tennis: Garrison vs. Steffi Graf; Arantxa Sanchez Vicario vs. Mary Joe Fernandez; Gabriela Sabatini vs. unseeded Laura Gildemeister; and nine-time champion Martina Navratilova vs. Jennifer Capriati.

Garrison-Graf looms as the most interesting quarterfinal. Although she has looked nearly invincible in the early rounds, Graf has consistently folded this year in tense Grand Slam matches. Graf thrashed Amy Frazier, 6-2, 6-1, yesterday, but Garrison's serve-and-volley game gives her fits.

Last year, Garrison shocked Graf in the semifinals and provided Navratilova with some anxious moments in the final, before settling for the runner-up prize.

"I've always had a feeling that I would win this tournament one day," Garrison said. "That's why I keep on trying."

Garrison said the final left her awestruck.

"I felt like I was a step off the ball against Martina," Garrison said. "When I walked out to Centre Court for that match, I felt in total control. But when I did the curtsy to the Royal Box, I lost it."

If given another chance to perform before the royals, Garrison said she can win Wimbledon.

"I have the capability of raising my game to the level of the person I'm playing," she said. "The farther I play in the tournament, the more dangerous I am."

The Navratilova-Capriati quarterfinal could be retitled the Ledge JTC vs. the Kid II. They met for the first time at Hilton Head last year, with Capriati, then 14, taking Navratilova to three sets before losing.

Capriati has played well at Wimbledon. Yesterday, she hitched up her culottes, absorbed the 100-mph serves from Brenda Schultz, and won, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

"That was an amazingly big serve that woman had," Capriati said. "In the beginning, I wasn't used to it. But then, I started to return better."

Navratilova played in a record 112th Wimbledon singles match and defeated Catarina Lindqvist, 6-1, 6-3. The previous record of 111 was held by Chris Evert.

"I really don't know too much about Jennifer this year," Navratilova said. "I haven't seen her play for a long while."

Sabatini lost her first three service games but rallied for a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 win over Nathalie Tauziat. Gildemeister defeated Katerina Maleeva, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Sanchez downed Anne Minter, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

"This is getting serious now," Garrison said. "Maybe it's time to start paying attention to the women."

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad