In a rematch of the 1981 championship match, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert faced off in the 1982 Australian Open final.
By the 1982 season, Evert’s near-decade of dominance had brought the American 12 Grand Slam singles titles, but none of them coming on the grass courts of Kooyong, the site of the Australian Open.
A finalist at the tournament back in 1974, Evert again reached the final in 1981, where she was denied by her chief rival, Navratilova. Having faced each other in the 1982 Wimbledon championship match, again won by Navratilova, the two players would meet in the Australian final as the second-seeded Evert looked to halt a three-match losing streak against the world No. 1.
With no secrets to each other’s game, the two Americans—facing each other in a Grand Slam final for the sixth time—contested the first four games of the opening set on even ground. It was Evert who struck first by getting a break in the fifth game. Pinning Navratilova to the baseline and hitting a mix of passing shots and lobs when her opponent did approach, Evert won the first set, 6-3.
In the second set, Navratilova rebounded to get an early break, then consolidated to take a 3-1 lead. Steadying her backcourt game and managing to move Evert all over the court, Navratilova would race through the set 6-2 to force a decider.
The previous year’s final saw Navratilova eke out a 7-5 third set to win her third Grand Slam title. This time, determined to avoid a repeat of that, Evert took a 5-1 lead in the final frame. Navratilova rallied to win the next two games, before Evert served for the championship again at 5-3. On match point, an extended rally ended when Navratilova hit her last shot long, giving Evert the title and a completion of the career Grand Slam.
Navratilova lost the second grass-court Grand Slam final of her career against three wins. The only other loss came in her first major final at the 1975 Australian Open.
This was the first time in Evert’s career it took her three times to win a final at one of the Grand Slams. She won the French Open and Wimbledon in her second finals at those tournaments and the US Open in her first title bout.
Evert extended her streak of winning at least one major to nine consecutive years.