© Ella Ling

Wimbledon

Five thoughts on the golden set at Wimbledon

   

Five thoughts about Yaroslava Shvedova’s golden set against Sara Errani – she won all 24 points in 15 minutes to become the first player in Wimbledon and grand slam history to do this. Never mind reaching the second week of the Wimbledon Championships; the Guiness Book of Records will have to be updated. “Today I laid a golden egg,” Shvedova wrote on Twitter.
 
There was no guarantee that Shvedova, after taking the most lop-sided of opening sets, would go on to defeat the French Open finalist on Court Three. You could say that she was vulnerable in the opening stages of the second set. Before today, Shvedova held the WTA record for the most consecutive points won, which was the 23 in a row that she took against Amy Frazier in Memphis in 2006 (she was apparently up 5-0, 40-0 before double-faulting). She ended up losing that match, by the most astonishing of scorelines, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0. Here in south-west London, Shvedova lost the first point of the second set, and perhaps that could have been the start of an Errani comeback. However, Shvedova won the match 6-0, 6-4, with the second set lasting 42 minutes. Errani won 27 of the 62 points that were played in the second set. 
 
Many who looked only at the scoreboard would have assumed that Errani, a finalist in Paris just three weeks, would have been double-faulting and spraying the ball everywhere during that opening set. In fact, she made just one unforced error in quarter of an hour. Shvedova was playing some attacking tennis and hit 14 winners. 
 
While this has been done twice before, it has never been achieved at a grand slam, by a woman in the professional era, or on such a big stage. The only man to have won a golden set was Bill Scanlon in the opening round of a tournament in Delray Beach, Florida, in 1983 with Scanlon taking the match 6-2, 6-0. The only other woman believed to have achieved this near-mythical feat is Pauline Betz, who in 1943, back in the amateur era, beat Catherine Wolf 6-0, 6-2, in the final of a tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
The All England Club presented John Isner and Nicolas Mahut with a set of wine-glasses after their 11-hour match at the 2010 Championships – will Shvedova receive anything for her achievement? 
 
Doubtless Gilles Simon will be keeping the newspaper cuttings.