Durie bandwagon derailed - Wimbledon 1992
Wednesday, June 24, 1992
IT WAS a hard act to follow, walking onto court 14 after Jeremy Bates had pulled off the best British win in years. The rapidly emptying court had a feeling of anti-climax about it and Jo Durie did little to lift the atmosphere as she lost to Linda Harvey-Wild, of the United States, 6-4, 6-2.
Harvey-Wild has been causing trouble on grass recently - ask Martina Navratilova. After beating the nine-times Wimbledon champion at Eastbourne, she went all the way to the final before falling to Lori McNeil. The Durie bandwagon had been rolling along nicely, too, reaching the semi-finals of Edgbaston and the third round at Eastbourne, but yesterday the wheels came off.
Losing her service with monotonous regularity, Durie was floundering from the start, while Harvey-Wild, encased in bandages on both ankles and most of her left leg, kept her service in working order and waited for Durie to do the rest.
Nothing was going right for Durie; she even lost service for the first time in the second set thanks to an unfortunate net cord.
But these days Durie is more relaxed, enjoying her tennis win or lose and, determined not to go out without a struggle, she fought back from two match points down to claim her first game in six and make Harvey-Wild work a little for her victory.
There was one other British success, even if it was guaranteed from the outset. Shirli-Ann Siddall beat Valda Lake 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to continue her recent run of wins. She has lifted her ranking nearly 200 places with victories at Beckenham, Edgbaston and Eastbourne, and is now sitting pretty at 252. Not only that, but she has also received her first fan letter. Wimbledon can do that for a girl.
The men also had trouble living up to Jeremy Bates's trailblazing performance. Andrew Castle limped out of the tournament to Leonardo Lavalle, 6-4, 6-0, 7-6. He lost ten games in a row from 4-4 in the first set to put himself within sight of defeat, and then lost an uninspired match with a double fault in the tie-break. It seemed to sum up the entire encounter.
Chris Bailey also found the opposition too hot to handle against Anders Jarryd, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-0. The defending doubles champion was simply too good for the 24-year-old, showing too much mental and physical agility, breaking Bailey's service in the second set with a full-length diving volley. It may not be in the textbook but it certainly works.
When it comes to lessons, Sarah Bentley was given a masterclass by Mary Joe Fernandez. Bentley entered the draw as the lowest ranked player only to draw the No.7 seed. Fernandez might not be the most natural grasscourt player but she makes few mistakes.