Each day during the Australian Open we will take a trip in our tennis time machine to relive historical moments in the tournament's history. Today we will look at a classic match between Roger Federer and Janko Tipsarevic in 2008. (Yesterday, we revisited John McEnroe's infamous AO banishment; on Monday, it was the "Serena Slam" Tuesday it was Federer and Tipsarevic's classic '08 clash.)
(January 15, 2013) -- The 1995 Australian Open Women's Final resulted not only in the crowning of a new champion but also cemented the used of the phrase "big babe tennis." The "big babe" in this case was 20-year-old Mary Pierce of France, who was seeking her maiden Major title against Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Sanchez-Vicario was not only going for her first title in Melbourne but also the No. 1 ranking. The Spaniard had defeated Pierce in the finals of Roland Garros the year before and came in as a slight favorite.
But Pierce, with her huge groundstrokes on both sides, appeared ready for the challenge despite having a reputation of being mentally fragile in big occasions. Both women traded early breaks before Pierce settled down and started connecting on winner after winner in the first set. Despite Sanchez-Vicario's efforts to chase down every ball, it wouldn't be enough as Pierce sealed a 6-3, 6-2 victory to claim the title.
Pierce's breakthrough win signaled a time of transition in the women's game after the domination of Steffi Graf and Monica Seles at the start of 1990's. Pierce would make a return trip to the Melbourne finals in 1997 where she lost to Martina Hingis, but would later go on to win Roland Garros in 2000. As for Sanchez-Vicario, she would never make it back to the Australian Open finals but would win the French Open one more time in 1998.
The 1995 finals in Melbourne ushered a new acceptance of the Australian Open as being on equal terms with the rest of the Majors after years of players skipping the event. And as far as "big babe tennis", Pierce paved the way for players such as Lindsay Davenport and the Williams Sisters who both emerged later to contend for the title.