The day before, in the quarters, she beat Manuela Maleeva, the No. 4 player in the world and an ancient of 18. Gaby wiped her up 6-1 in the third, scampering about, catching balls on the rise, rolling the backhand into the corners, slugging forehands so hard that she left her feet. Now on Court Central, in the semis of a Grand Slam, Evert Lloyd and 16,000 Frenchmen loom before Sabatini. Might you be nervous, Gaby? "De ninguna manera," she says. "Not at all," Apey translates. Gaby smiles, hearing her own confident echo.
Evert Lloyd, in fact, is more uneasy. She has promised that her time for maternity is nearing, so she is pinched by departure on one side and Navratilova on the other. Kids who just turned 15 last month complicate things, and it got, Evert Lloyd allowed, "pretty tense" when Gaby rallied from 1-5 to 4-5, 30-all in the first set. But Evert Lloyd stabilized, moved her about, tired her out and prevailed 6-4, 6-1.
Gaby wants to go play Wimbledon now. She probably will. The players get younger, but do they ever learn? Bjorn Borg and Andrea Jaeger had to get out. Tracy Austin fell off the bicycle and doesn't know how to get back on, and the parents of Kathy Horvath and Andrea Temesvari both declare now that they were wrong to rush their girls. Where did Jimmy Arias go? Already, Gaby has jumboed to Japan to perform in an exhibition. It is the realist, not the cynic, who sees that the French are wise to celebrate Gaby so quickly.
Of all the tennis infants, Wilander, who burst upon the scene by winning in Paris three years ago, has fared the best. Since then he has enjoyed some other successes—most notably, winning two Australian Opens and leading Sweden to a rout of the U.S. in last year's Davis Cup final—but he remains fourth in the world and for long periods appears content merely to be the captain of the Swedish brigade. He lives in Monte Carlo, favors fast cars and golf during the day, music and other traditional nocturnal pursuits at night. After he beat McEnroe in straight sets in the semis, Le Terrible Mac said, "Mats has it within him to improve, but I don't think he can make up his mind whether he wants to be No. 1. He sees all the pressures associated with that and figures it might just be better to stay where he is."
Apprised of this assessment, Wilander most agreeably says that might just be the case: "I'm ready to win tournaments, but I'm not ready to work eight hours a day." He would have had to work harder in the semis had McEnroe not chosen this tournament to be like an expensive Paris restaurant—service non compris (service not included). He converted only 46% of his first serves against Wilander, and that was too great a burden to overcome.
Poor Arthur Ashe. The U.S. Davis Cup captain came to Paris to scout American clay-court players. Of the 28 U.S. men entered, 17 were gone in Round 1, eight more in Round 2. Aaron Krickstein lasted to the round of 16, where he got four games off Lendl. Connors, back using his old metal racket even as he endorses another model, won six games against Lendl in the semis. He still hasn't seen the truck that ran over him. "He didn't do anything," said Jimbo of Lendl's performance. "He just played a lot of balls back. He did nothing." This about a guy he couldn't even get a break point on. When Jimbo is done playing, he longs to be a TV analyst.
As is so often the case with the spectral Lendl, he looked prepossessing in the earlier rounds but was outmatched in the final. While Wilander has now won four Grand Slam championships before his 21st birthday, and Evert Lloyd owns perhaps the most extraordinary Slam record of all—at least one major title in each of the last 12 years—Lendl now has lost six of seven Slam finals. That's the worst record in history. Against Wilander, he won the first set 6-3, but then watched as, inexorably, Baby Mats muzzled all of his weapons. As Lendl freely admitted, he couldn't win from the backcourt, and then he couldn't win on the attack. Wilander did both, thank you, en route to sweeping the last three sets 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
But back to the main story of Paris '85: Chris-Martina 65. "It's too bad someone had to win," Navratilova said. "It was one of those matches that should go on forever." Curiously for such a gallant, well-played struggle, the match did seem as if it would go on forever. Its single flaw was that each player would loosen the reins and falter as soon as she took the lead. Never in such an outstanding match have both parties played so fearlessly while behind and so fitfully while ahead. Consider the dipsy doodles: Navratilova has game points in each of the first three games but falls behind 0-3. Navratilova wins the next three games. Evert Lloyd wins the next three and the first set.
The first set they ever played, in Akron, was a tiebreaker that Evert won. St. Petersburg was next. Then San Francisco. Rome.
The second set on Saturday started with three straight service breaks. (Navratilova would lose nine of her 16 service games in the match.) Then, up 2-1, Evert Lloyd gained a seemingly sure hold. Not only was Navratilova's serve patchy, but, ever fearful of the wind, she also was tentative off the ground. She wouldn't chance hitting for the lines and went all too often for drop shots. Just enough succeeded to encourage her to try more. All of a sudden Evert Lloyd led 4-2, 40-15.