Silent no longer and stronger than ever, Monica Seles unleashed seven aces Saturday to sweep past Steffi Graf and capture a third straight Australian Open.
Seles, who restrained her grunts and got psyched out in losing to Graf at Wimbledon, let herself go to the ultimate as she solidified her No. 1 ranking with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.Seles' fastest serve, a 102 mph screamer, came on her final ace and wiped out a break point against her that would have put the third set back on serve in the seventh game. Instead, it let Seles get back to deuce, and she held on two errors by the demoralized Graf.
The triumph, worth nearly $280,000, gave Seles her ninth Grand Slam title in the last 10 finals she's played.
"She really deserved to win today," said No. 2 Graf, who won the three straight Australian Opens before Seles.
Seles' souped-up serve, one of the key parts of her game she's been developing, let her down in the first set when she started out with a double-fault. Seles double-faulted again in the last game of the set, when she was broken for the second time.
But grunting as loud as ever, desperate to chase down Graf's punishing forehands, Seles took a 2-1 lead in the second set when she broke Graf with the help of a double-fault by the German at 15-40.
From that moment, Seles never relented. She aced Graf to open the next game, and smacked two service winners, including one at 101 mph, to make it 3-1.
"She plays every point as hard as she can," Graf said. "She never gives any easy points or easy games."