Tokyo, March 16: Like so many times before, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova needed a tiebreaker to settle the score.
Playing in an event called Dream Match 2008 before a sold-out crowd at Tokyo's Ariake Stadium on Saturday, Graf defeated Navratilova eight games to seven after winning a tiebreaker 10-5.
"It was great that it went to a tiebreaker,'' Graf said. It was a lot of fun playing Martina again. It brought back so many memories.''
In their first match in 14 years, Graf took a 6-3 lead only to see Navratilova battle back to tie the match 6-6 before forcing a tiebreaker.
"It was almost a surreal experience,'' Navratilova said. I felt like we went back in time. People always asked me who the toughest player to play against was and if it wasn't Steffi, I don't know who it was.''
Before retiring, Graf and Navratilova met 18 times with each player winning nine matches. The last time the two greats met was in 1994 at the Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo when Graf won 6-2, 6-4.
After playing Navratilova, Graf went on to face Japan's Kimiko Date but lost by a score of 6-2, 6-3.
Date and Graf played a memorable Fed Cup match at the same venue in 1996, when Graf went ahead 5-1 in the first set but Date came back to win the set and the match 7-6 (7), 3-6, 12-10.
"It's so much fun to be back in this stadium,'' said Graf. I have so many good memories of playing here and I hope the fans enjoyed today's matches.''