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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:34 PM   #16
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1934

June 15 and 16

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Helen Jacobs (captain), Sarah Palfrey, Carolin Babcock, Josephine Cruickshank
Great Britain: Dorothy Round, Peggy Scriven, Betty Nuthall, Kathleen Godfree
--

United States d. Great Britain 5-2

Sarah Palfrey (USA) d. Dorothy Round 6-3, 3-6, 8-6
Helen Jacobs (USA) d. Peggy Scriven 6-1, 6-1
Evelyn Dearman/Nancy Lyle d. Carolin Babccok (USA)/Josephine Cruickshank (USA) 7-5 7-5
Jacobs d. Round 6-4, 6-4
Palfrey d. Scriven 4-6, 6-2, 8-6
Betty Nuthall d. Babcock 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Jacobs/Palfrey d. Kathleen Godfree/Nuthall 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
--

From “Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack” (1935)

By Arthur Wallis Myers

“Wimbledon, June 15 and 16. – America won the Wightman Cup for the fourth successive year. The verdict was five matches to two.

“The visitors’ victory was gained conclusively by two players – Miss Helen Jacobs and Miss Sarah Palfrey. Both were unbeaten. Each won two singles, against Dorothy Round and Peggy Scriven in turn; in partnership they defeated Kathleen Godfree and Betty Nuthall. It was a most laudable record, especially as in four of these five contests they had to face and overcome critical situations.

“The legend that America without Helen Wills Moody would be at the mercy of England was exploded at Forest Hills in 1933, when Miss Jacobs and Miss Palfrey, rising to the occasion, also won all the matches for their country. They employed then, as at Wimbledon, the element of the surprise attack; their service scored when it was most needed; they kept their best in reserve for a crucial finish that might develop

“Between five and six thousand people watched Miss Round battling for an hour and a half against Miss Palfrey on the opening day. It was a long struggle and after both had won a set at the same score it came to a thrilling climax, each player leading in turn. But the tennis was not of the highest quality. Neither was at her best at the same time; there were breaks of games gained by losing shots rather than by winning. Of the two, Miss Palfrey was undoubtedly the more versatile and the better general. Miss Round only employed her ground shots, and while these were strong enough at intervals to check the designs of her opponent, she needed the compliment of a net attack. Nor was Miss Round’s service, except in the first game, the weapon of attack that Miss Palfrey’s was to the critical phases of the final set.

“After the English girl was 3-1 in the first set – and she made one of her rare volleys to clinch the fourth game – Miss Palfrey took six games in sequence, and almost the seventh as well. Miss Round was slipping at times on the new turf, and changed her shoes to gain a firmer footing, but during this fine break the American was in command of the court. She had the wider range of strokes and used them; and in her varying pace, now a plain drive and then a chop, coming into the net when she saw the opening, she looked at this stage to have the match in hand. Then it was Miss Palfrey’s turn to falter, to over-drive or to net. Miss Round again went to 3-1 and soon to 4-2, and this time she did not forfeit her lead. The games were long and well contested, and Miss Palfrey’s service was gaining speed, but Miss Round, now more confident, drew level in the ninth game.

“In the final set the visitor played some perfect games, notably in the fourth, which carried her to 3-1. Yet when she had gone to 5-3 by winning her service to love, she was a long way from victory. Miss Round was not discouraged even by a double fault in the ninth game, and some steady driving under pressure and a few too hurried returns by her opponent brought the score level at 5-all. Then Miss Round double-faulted with new balls, lost the vital thirteenth game, and Miss Palfrey, cool and confident, served her way home in the next. She deserved her triumph.

“Miss Jacobs, looking very athletic in shorts, defeated Miss Scriven with the loss of only two games – one in each set. The hollowness of the result – it was virtually a rout –came as a complete surprise. Only in the last game, when all was apparently lost, did Miss Scriven hold the American champion. The Paris match between these two did not prove a reliable guide to a grass court contest. Miss Scriven could never get her teeth into the match, and the fact that she also served double faults only added to her troubles. On a faster and harder surface, with the ball bounding higher, she must have done better. It was an ideal floor for the chops and drops of Miss Jacobs.

“All four players in the doubles match were new to the Centre Court. In spite of this they played well and fought hard. Josephine Cruickshank was better off the ground than Carolin Babcock, and Nancy Lyle was more consistent than Evelyn Dearman, who took some time to find her bearings. The English pair won both sets from a losing position; they were even within a point of actually losing both. They saved the first set from 3-1 and 5-4 down, and the second – a really fine effort – from 5-2 down. All the time Miss Lyle was the best player on the court. She did not lose a service game, and the fact that being at the back for most of the time, she was a constant target, made her dependability the most essential. It was her coolness and judgment that saved both sets.

“The Second Day

“The crowd was double on Saturday, and 10,000 spectators saw four close matches, all of them fought with ardour and courage.

“After Miss Jacobs had beaten Miss Round in two ten-game sets, thus putting America three up with three to play, Miss Palfrey and Miss Scriven took the court with the knowledge that all might depend on their encounter. If the little Bostonian won, the Cup went back to America; if Miss Scriven won, there was still hope for England. The court was harder and faster than on the previous day. It had been tightened by foot traffic, and a hot sun had dried the moisture on the new blades of grass. The balls were whiter and bounded higher. This factor braced Miss Scriven; she opened much more confidently than against Miss Jacobs. Moreover, Miss Palfrey’s orthodox drives were more like Simone Mathieu’s; they did not carry top or underspin, many of them were attacking shots, carrying the element of risk.

“Miss Scriven won the first set in the tenth game. Her opponent had much the better service – a real blow compared with the tap of Miss Scriven – but it was not then under consistent control. Moreover, the English girl, by varied pace and length, often drew Miss Palfrey forward to handle low balls on the run, and this brought errors. But in the second set one saw genius revealed. Miss Scriven was outplayed and could only win two games. There was the Lenglen touch about Miss Palfrey; she seemed to be almost standing still while the other girl was racing round the court. There was the beautiful precision of Lenglen, the manoeuvring for position without strain, the certainty of the finishing stroke. In one respect the American girl excelled the French. She had a service that could score outright by its controlled speed.

“It was this weapon, used dramatically when all seemed lost, that saved Miss Palfrey in the remarkable third set. Miss Scriven had gone to 5-1. She was not making many winning shots; her best coup was a fast forehand drive into the corners off a lofted, sliced return. Miss Palfrey was using a new racket brought out by her captain. Her second-set skill had gone and she looked to be throwing the match away.

“Then, in the seventh game, with her opponent serving, Miss Scriven came to match point. The odds against the American were almost incalculable; no doubt Miss Scriven shared this view. Without a sign of strain, unconscious of the expectant crowd, Miss Palfrey served three balls in sequence that were not meant to come back. This reprisal seemed to shake her adversary; Miss Scriven served two double faults at the start of the eighth game. Again Miss Palfrey made her service prevail. A love game took her to 4-5, and she captured the tenth from 15, drawing level. Miss Palfrey had lost only three points since defeat was imminent. In its coolness and its sustained tactical deftness the recovery was perfect.

“Another love game – how swift the change! – carried Miss Palfrey to 6-5. She now dominated the court completely. But she faltered in the twelfth game, and English hopes revived when Miss Scriven won it to love. Then the service disparity came in again. Miss Palfrey recovered the attack and kept it to the end. Her volleying was both dainty and decisive; a net-cord may have given her one point; she deserved all the others. Under a tightening pressure Miss Scriven drove out in the fourteenth game to lose it at 15.

“Of a higher quality, although its finish was less tense, was the struggle between Miss Jacobs and Miss Round. There were some magnificent rallies in it, for which both girls were out to hustle the other at the net, and mobility was often strained to breaking point. Miss Round, having more time to swing than against Miss Palfrey because of her opponent’s chop, drove firmly and often with fine length. She was less happy with low bounding balls near the service line. Here she seemed to need the Palfrey touch, and where smashing was concerned Miss Jacobs generally made the firmer and faster kill.

“In the end the American won both sets at 6-4. She led 5-2 in the first and was nearly caught; Miss Round had a point to level the score. It was a most spirited duel to watch. In the second set, far from reacting, Miss Round went to 3-1. At this stage Miss Jacobs looked the more fatigued. Perhaps the memory of her great and successful fight with Mrs Moody a year earlier supplied the requisite urge. In spite of Miss Round’s startling resistance the American drew level and advanced to 5-3.

“In the ninth game – and Mr Richard N. Williams and the American Davis Cup team had entered the stands in time to see it – Miss Round halted her opponent after a palpitating incident. She had returned a ball under pressure that fell vertically on the top of the net and quivered there for three seconds until at last it fell on Miss Jacobs’ court. This net-cord and the three vital service aces for Miss Palfrey will long be remembered.

“The die was, of course, cast when Miss Nuthall met Miss Babcock. This was a close fight characterised by much hard hitting on both sides. Miss Nutahll lost the first set after leading 5-2 – possibly she was still conscious of Miss Scriven’s experience. But she took the next two sets from three and four respectively in spite of slipping occasionally on the turf. Her drives carried a little more pace than those of the American girl; she won by ramming the ball home more often.

“Miss Nuthall had to follow on almost immediately in the doubles match. In the first two sets, before reaction came, her backhand drives down the middle and her volleying thrusts won many rallies, while Mrs Godfree was returning the service well and intercepting with her famous lunge volleys. In the end the Americans prevailed. Miss Jacobs served better in the third set than in any other, and when Miss Nuthall’s service was twice broken through the end was in sight.

“Princess Helena Victoria, escorted by Sir Herbert Wilberforce, went down to the Centre Court to present the Wightman Cup filled with roses to the winning captain. She warmly congratulated Miss Jacobs, and afterwards each member of both teams was presented.”
-----

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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:35 PM   #17
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1935

August 16 and 17

Venue: West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Helen Jacobs, Ethel Arnold, Sarah Fabyan, Dorothy Andrus, Carolin Babcock
Great Britain: Kay Stammers, Dorothy Round, Phyllis King, Freda James, Evelyn Dearman, Nancy Lyle

Non-playing captain: Hazel Wightman (USA)
--

United States d. Great Britain 4-3

Kay Stammers (GBR) d. Helen Jacobs 5-7, 6-1, 9-7
Dorothy Round (GBR) d. Ethel Arnold 6-0, 6-3
Sarah Fabyan/Jacobs d. Freda James (GBR)/Stammers 6-3, 6-2
Fabyan d. Phyllis King (GBR) 6-0, 6-3
Jacobs d. Round 6-3, 6-2
Arnold d. Stammers 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Evelyn Dearman (GBR)/Nancy Lyle (GBR) d. Dorothy Andrus/Carolin Babcock 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
--

From “Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack” (1936)

By Arthur Wallis Myers

“The Wightman Cup is still in American hands. For the ninth time in thirteen years, and for the fifth year in succession, the British girls were vanquished. The result – a victory for the United States team by four matches to three – was rather more conclusive than the margin suggests, for on the second day the British lead of the first day was not only wiped out by two quick American wins, but the Cup was carried before the seventh match of the series was decided. Moreover, three of America’s four victories were gained in straight sets without any serious threat from the enemy.

“There was some beautiful tennis at Forest Hills, and since large crowds were delighted with the play and both teams thoroughly enjoyed the contest, we may keep our tears for more serious national reverses.

“In stroke technique the English girls proved superior. They had the style, while their opponents seemed to possess the more stubborn character. Their ‘ring sense’ was more developed; the competitive spirit had received more stimulant in a younger, less conservative country. And, in Hazel Wightman, captain of the American team and winner of many championships, home players possessed the shrewdest coach, who directed each battle in turn with her own strategic brain.

“Sarah Fabyan, who played perfect tennis both in singles and doubles, lives within a stone’s throw of Mrs Wightman in Boston, and has been her protégée. Ethel Arnold and Helen Jacobs, other victors, both came from her native California. She had taught them many wrinkles. In Mrs Arnold she took particular interest, because, like herself, she was only five feet high and to shape her strokes accordingly, relying on mobility and staunch defence to compensate for loss of stature and reach.

“On the first day the visitors won two out of three matches – a most promising start. Kay Stammers had opened with a brilliant victory over Miss Jacobs in one of the best Wightman Cup encounters ever staged. But for excessive enterprise and over-driving the English girl must have won the first set; she forced a lead and only just lost after many tense rallies, in which the American champion had to do most of the running and pray for an error of timing.

“In the second set Miss Stammers held the upper hand all the way. She had proved the efficacy of the short-sliced backhand return, bringing Miss Jacobs forward, and now played this coup with increasing skill. Her service, too, gathered power. She served two consecutive aces in the fourth game. Miss Jacobs also experienced the pressure of a resourceful volleyer – one who could punish lobs and intercept passing drives with a delicate cross parry. Miss Stammers was twice within a stroke of a love set in the sixth game, and looked complete mistress of the court in this bout.

“After the ten minutes’ interval, both girls returned to play resolute and scintillating tennis without a trace of nervousness or fatigue. It was worthy of a championship final. As in the first set, Miss Stammers won the opening game to love and led 2-1. Miss Jacobs replied with a love game, and, by dint of remorseless retrieving, got a break to win the fifth game from 15. Then came more delightful drops from Miss Stammers, and the match was squared again.

“Miss Jacobs fought desperately, but Miss Stammers won the next game to lead 4-3. A ding-dong struggle then developed and was maintained, each gaining the advantage in turn. Miss Jacobs was more distressed by the heat and forced to do more running, for her rival was calling the tune. Mrs Wightman, the American captain, applied ice to her champion’s head and poured water over her neck when she crossed over. Miss Stammers merely sipped water, an ominous difference that indicated her unfading stamina.

“But she had a long way to go. An English double fault placed Miss Jacobs ahead at 5-4. Only two points removed her from victory in the next game. Miss Stammers held on firmly in this crisis, and survived it gloriously. The attack was now all with the invader. She varied her length beautifully, played the long and short game with the coolest precision, and came up at selectedmoments to achieve a brilliant volley. When Miss Jacobs squeezed her way to 7-6, Miss Stammers levelled from 15, and when new balls were served out in the fifteenth game she promptly served two aces, and then forced the champion to err four times consecutively in the final game.

“Mrs Arnold, nervous on the day, was outplayed by Miss Round. The little Californian lacked the control or length to fence with her opponent on level terms. She was forced by Miss Round’s superior driving to loft balls up so that the volleyer had command of the net.

“In the one doubles match Miss Jacobs and Mrs Fabyan beat Miss Stammers and Freda James, 6-3, 6-2. It was a quick victory, gained chiefly by Mrs Fabyan’s magnificent volleying and the fine service of Miss Jacobs. Miss Stammers was wearing a bandage over her ankle, the sign of a slight sprain in her singles match. She was slow in consequence, but the Americans thoroughly deserved their triumph.

“To save the Wightman Cup America required to win three of the four matches on the second day. Her players rose nobly to the occasion. Mrs Fabyan (Sarah Palfrey that was) brought the sides level by a conclusive victory over Phyllis King. The quality of her play may be gathered from the fact that in her opening love set she only forfeited eight points. The young Bostonian possessed every stroke known in the game and used them with almost nonchalant fluency. Mrs King made a plucky fight in the second set and won three games, but her driving attack was too honest to be threatening, lacking the subtlety of touch which Mrs Fabyan had in abundance. The American could always command the forcing shots to invite a volleying coup, and at short range she was imprudently versatile.

“Miss Jacobs followed with a decisive victory over Miss Round. Save for a brief period after the American had taken the first five games, the English girl was the architect of her own defeat. She had speed, but could not control it. She discovered the winning method, which was an attack on Miss Jacob’s forehand, followed by an excursion to the net, but could not maintain it because her measurements were often wrong. Often she would come up on too short a ball, and Miss Jacobs would pass her without compunction. She seemed to be in two minds about the correct tactics, and in this mood of uncertainty she made many timing errors.

“On her part Miss Jacobs was defending her base as stubbornly and as cleverly as she had done at Wimbledon. She recovered all but Miss Round’s finest shots, and many of these as well. She found Miss Round easier to play than Miss Stammers because the court was drier, and Miss Round did not use the sliced drop shot which Miss Stammers found so profitable. Moreover, Miss Round required a longer swing-back than Miss Stammers. She gave the enemy more time to cover the court. Miss Round was never overwhelmed, and she probably deserved more than five games, but she started much too late, and by giving the American champion the first five games she braced Miss Jacobs’ spirit, which was virtually unbreakable for the rest of the match.

“With America now leading three matches to two, Miss Stammers had to beat Mrs Arnold for the Wightman Cup to leave American shores. She made a gallant fight, but found the little Californian too tenacious and too surprisingly quick on her feet when it came to long, tense rallies in challenging heat. There was a marked change in the form of both players from that of the previous day. Mrs Arnold had shaken off her first-day nervousness and showed the crowd how she came to win all her tournaments in the East.

“Miss Stammers was obviously reacting from her great struggle with Miss Jacobs. Only in the second set did she look like a champion; in the first and third sets her backhand was vulnerable. And then, in the last game of all, when the gallery were cheering every stroke, she slipped and fell and, on rising, served a double fault. The winner used top spin on the forehand, which kept the ball in court, and her backhand was under the firmest control. She was at her best when Miss Stammers came to the net, pulling out passing shots on the both wings which had penetrating pace.

“Nancy Lyle and Evelyn Dearman beat Carolin Babcock and Dorothy Andurs in the last match and showed us what they might have done had the issue depended on their efforts. But, with the issue decided, the match was an anti-climax and none of the four players was at her best.”
-----

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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:35 PM   #18
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1936

August 12 and 13

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Helen Jacobs, Sarah Fabyan, Carolin Babcock, Marjorie Van Ryn
Great Britain: Kay Stammers, Dorothy Round, Mary Hardwick, Evelyn Dearman, Nancy Lyle, Freda James
--

United States d. Great Britain 4-3

Kay Stammers d. Helen Jacobs (USA) 12-10, 6-1
Dorothy Round d. Sarah Fabyan (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Carolin Babcock (USA)/Marjorie Van Ryn (USA) d. Evelyn Dearman/Nancy Lyle 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Fabyan d. Stammers 6-3, 6-4
Round d. Jacobs 6-3, 6-3
Babcock d. Mary Hardwick 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Jacobs/Fabyan d. Freda James/Stammers 1-6, 6-3, 7-5
--

From “Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack” (1937)

By Arthur Wallis Myers

“Once more the effort of Great Britain to regain the Wightman Cup was frustrated, and America won it for the sixth successive year. Victory was gained by the narrowest margin – the odd match in seven. Indeed, so level did the sides prove that in the last and deciding match – the doubles between the British and American champions – the score was five-all in the final set. But if no finish has been more exciting, no match in the fourteen-year series has witnessed a more gallant recovery on the part of an invading team. The American women actually won the Wightman Cup in spite of the fact that Helen Jacobs, the American champion (who was to become the Wimbledon champion three weeks later), was defeated in both her singles.

“It was a strange first day. Until the rain checked the first set between Kay Stammers and Miss Jacobs after the twenty-first game, one had never seen two girls play fifty minutes of such riotously exciting tennis on the Centre Court – or, indeed, on any other court the world over. These two national champions were gripped in a struggle so level and so fiercely waged, with brilliant shots coming in every rally and never a dull moment, that it seemed inconceivable that the American champion, after the interval, would win only one more game.

“When the rain came, and with it the tarpaulin, it was as if the curtain had come down arbitrarily on a drama ended before its climax. And when the curtain went up again after an entr’acte of 25 minutes, there was little left to see. Only one player had maintained her form; the other had lost not only her aim but her fire as well. It was all a one fine, unfinished Act. Miss Stammers might almost have taken the bow half an hour earlier.

“She had not begun too well. A double fault had opened the match and another ended the third game. Coming to her lead of 3-0, Miss Jacobs had revealed the power of her new forehand drive, which frustrated the earlier volleying coups of her opponent and left one wondering whether its advent might not govern the match. How disillusioned the male onlooker can be where women’s matches are concerned! No sooner had Miss Stammers broken through Miss Jacobs’ service in the fourth game, proving that the high-hopping second delivery was made for her great forcing drive, than her whole game assumed a quality never seen before.

“The English girl fought back splendidly from 2-4 to 4-all, took the lead at 5-4 and 6-5 on her service, each time from 15; was quite undisturbed when her opponent got the lead at 7-6 with a love game, and when a series of wonderful ‘gets’ by Miss Jacobs gave the American champion the lead again at 9-8.

“How these two girls, both so sure-footed despite a rather greasy court, retrieved each other’s winners and fenced for the volleying opening! The spectacle must have amused the hundreds of schoolgirls who, swelling the crowd, were watching a first-class match for the first time. Yet the best and most thrilling tennis was yet to come. It may have been the index game of the match, although Miss Jacobs won it; for the effort expended was stupendous, and from this exertion the American never really recovered.

“Miss Stammers had forced her way to 10-9 and 0-40 on her opponent’s service. She had three balls for the set; it looked certain she would gain one of them. At this crisis Miss Jacobs changed her tactics, swept the corners with fiery drives, and followed the ball to the net. Each time Miss Stammers cleared her lines like a master, each time Miss Jacobs made a winning volley. Then, when she had deuced, she served out the game with two aces. A stupendous feat and deservedly applauded. But the effort brought its reaction. Miss Stammers must have sensed it, for she came up herself repeatedly in the next game and won it to love with three gorgeous volleys. This feat, serenely performed without a sign of abnormal strain, brought her to 11-10 and to a cessation of play.

“Miss Stammers was never threatened again. Miss Jacobs opened her service on resumption with a double fault. She was a machine that had run down. She may have strained a muscle in that famous grim game – one wonders. Miss Stammers took the second set almost with a procession of points. These were fine strokes and deserved to score, but the excitement of seeing them returned and of wondering what coup would win the rally was over. The service of Miss Jacobs became her weakest weapon. No first ball found its proper mark; the second ‘sat up’ prettily for Miss Stammers to hit.

“In the second singles match Dorothy Round and Sarah Fabyan looked to be engaged in a speculative encounter when the score was 3-all. Here again appearances were deceptive. When Miss Round had found her best length and her most insidious speed the defence of Mrs Fabyan, resourceful though it was, could be penetrated, and of the next eight games the little Bostonian could capture only one. After leading 4-1 in the second set Miss Round paused in her work of destruction and her drives became less accurate. The short cross-returns of Mrs Fabyan drew strange errors. But though Miss Round lost the ninth game a little ominously, she made no mistake in the critical tenth and finished very strongly with a love game.

“One wondered why Mrs Fabyan, fine volleyer that she is, did not take the net more often. Perhaps she thought she would unsteady the ex-champion by a sturdy, fleet-footed defence at the back of the court. Miss Round’s sure control on both wings and her splendid variation of length and strength upset that plan.

“Then came the doubles match the unexpected result of which had, as the morrow was to prove, a vital influence on the final tally. Nancy Lyle and Evelyn Dearman, the home pair, were opposed to Marjorie Van Ryn and Carolin Babcock. America captured the first set by breaking through Miss Lyle’s service, but their opponents, slow in striking, then launched a counter-offensive and won nine out of the next ten games.

“At 3-0 love up in the third set they looked certain winners. Perhaps they were lulled into false security. The sequel was surprising. Coming right in behind sound lobs or deep drives the two American girls volleyed their way through the next six games, winning all of them in a row. Thus England, instead of closing the first day with a lead of three matches, requiring only one more for victory, found herself in the same position as at Forest Hills in 1935 – a lead of only one match and a subconscious feeling that history might repeat itself.

“The Second Day

“Saturday’s crowd was worthy of the big occasion; at least 14,000 must have been applauding the highlights of a fluctuating struggle. Heavy clouds hung over a court appreciably slower than on Friday when Miss Stammers and Mrs Fabyan began the fourth match of the series. The defeat of the English girl – gained in two sets, the first of nine games and the second of ten – brought the countries level at two matches-all.

“The result was not altogether unexpected. As her famous victory over Helen Wills Moody at Beckenham last year indicated – and there was the same sequel in New York last August after she had beaten Miss Jacobs in the Wightman Cup – Miss Stammers is a variable champion, liable to supply a shade to her own brilliance. Moreover, neither the service nor the ground-strokes of Mrs Fabyan offered her the slowly rising ball which, when she was opposing Miss Jacobs, allowed her to generate her great forcing shots and to come in gaily behind them. A better-balanced player than Miss Jacobs and with lighter footwork, Mrs Fabyan, remembering how she had beaten Miss Stammers in the American championship last year, always seemed to be steering the ball into a position on the court least agreeable for her opponent. Shrewdly she mixed the flat stroke with the slice, and by aiming balls down the court she prevented Miss Stammers from employing those deadly slashing drives which she can achieve on the run.

“There were six service breaks in the first set. Relative service, nevertheless, influenced its decision. For though Miss Stammers captured Mrs Fabyan’s service in the seventh game to reduce a 4-2 lead to 4-3, she lost her own in the eighth game through a double fault, and then felt the full force of the American’s best service in the concluding game. Mrs Fabyan won it to love. Here was the first example of many cases that were to follow later in the afternoon when the invader sensed the vital game and had the calm resource to capture it. It was the same in the second set, except that Miss Stammers served finely in the ninth to give herself a fighting chance. There were four breaks in this set, but Mrs Fabyan was serving in the all-important tenth game and held it confidently.

“When Miss Jacobs followed against Miss Round it was soon obvious that the memorable opening set on Friday – the record set of 22 games between Miss Stammers and the American champion, conducted at the highest tension – had left its physical mark on Miss Round’s opponent. In the two nine-game sets Miss Round was the complete, perfectly-poised player, never without the right stroke for the occasion, and playing each with increasing control and confidence. She found an accommodation opponent.

“Miss Jacobs, apparently in two minds about the security of her forehand, which she has recently remodelled, could not find a staple stroke on this wing, while this unreliability off the ground seemed to shake her usual complacency at short range, so that she netted volleys that are generally achieved. But even the palpable loss of control which Miss Jacobs displayed could not conceal the high quality of Miss Round’s play. Time and again she hit the lines or played just inside them with shots of perfect length and strength. If one stroke can be singled out for special mention where all were so finely executed, one would mention the backhand cross drive, short enough to draw Miss Jacobs away from her base, yet hard and low enough to compel only a defensive reply.

“Each side had thus gained a conclusive victory and England was ahead again – one up with two to play. It was a responsible position for Miss Mary Hardwick, facing her baptism of fire in the Wightman Cup, and she came honourably through her ordeal. She did not beat Miss Babcock, but that feat was scarcely to be expected. In the American championship last year this resolute Californian had taken the opening set from Miss Stammers by superlatively fine play. Without claiming a classic style, she is a clever and always a cool tactician, gifted with great tenacity and stamina.

“For Miss Hardwick to win a set against so experienced a fighter was a feather in her cap, and though she may have been handicapped to some extent by a leg strain in the final set, she could have no reproaches since Miss Babcock, coming back after the ten minutes’ interval, delivered an assault that was well-nigh irresistible. The American’s only real lapse was when she volleyed out on her first match point.

“The stage was now set for the decisive doubles match, each country claiming three victories. The champion pairs of England and America faced each other in the last battle of the day. The visitors had the memory of a victory in New York to help them; their opponents were playing on their home court, supported by their own crowd. No struggle could have been closer nor provided so many hopes and fears, and, fittingly enough, its highest phase was reserved for the final set, in which the balance of power was the better distributed over the four players, and in which every shot had its vital influence.

“In the first set Miss Jacobs was so obviously not the player whom Wimbledon and New York had envisaged that Miss Stammers and Miss James had a passage through it surprisingly quick and thorough. The Americans captured only one game – the first service game of Miss Jacobs – and that only after deuce. This progress, one felt instinctively, was too good to be true. Well as the British were playing – Miss Stammers with her centre drives and Miss James with her cut-in volleys – the opposition had come from only one unit on the other side of the net. There must come a time when Miss Jacobs, usually so firm overhead, could hit one of her high lobs into court and find a profitable range on her service returns.

“All through the first set Mrs Fabyan never permitted the loss of Miss Jacobs’ support to upset her own composure, and this sympathy between two players familiar with graduations of their own play had its effect on the second set. Miss Jacobs opened this set strongly by winning her service from 15. Mrs Fabyan did the same in the third game and then came the first serious rebuff to the British pair. Miss James lost her service to love. The receivers were increasing their speed and precision; they trapped the incoming volleyer. Lobs were now receiving summary treatment. From 3-1 they went to 5-1. Miss Stammers served two double faults in the sixth game. But the home couple had plenty of fight left. They won Mrs Fabyan’s service to love in the seventh game, Miss James making some brilliant thrusts. Then Miss Jacobs faltered overhead and the eight game went to England. But America went out confidently on the service of Miss Jacobs in the ninth.

“The final set quickened every pulse in the great gallery. In spite of a double fault from Miss Stammers, England won the opening game. The second was nearly carried, too, for Miss Jacobs missed an easy smash; but when Miss James had taken her own service to love and Mrs Fabyan, mistiming two low volleys, had lost the fourth, for England to lead 3-1, the riotous cheering proclaimed the importance of the break. Miss James had made a great drive on the run for the winning point.

“Yet the tide was to turn again. At the crisis of the fifth game, when England had a point for 4-1, Miss Jacobs made a magnificent volley. She was inspired by this reprieve to serve her best in the sixth and squaring game, taken to love. Then Miss James, perhaps the second best player on the court – for Mrs Fabyan was always the best – began to show signs of the strain. She double-faulted and netted two returns, giving America the lead at 4-3. But Mrs Fabyan’s service was nobly broken for the second time after her side were 40-15; the ominous 5-3 lead was averted.

“But Miss Jacobs was steadily regaining her lost art. America led 5-4, helped by her champion’s smashes, by the supreme steadiness of Mrs Fabyan, and by Miss Stammers missing a stroke at the back of the court through the ball’s strange break. In the tenth game, leading 40-15, the Americans had two match balls. Each produced a palpitating rally. In the first Miss Jacobs smashed over the baseline; in the second she volleyed into the net. There was thunderous applause when England saved this game.

“But the Americans, perhaps more crisis-proof and more crowd-proof than their adversaries, were not to be denied a second time. In the eleventh game they made Miss James their target and forced enough errors from her to carry it to 15. The end came in the twelfth game from 30 with Mrs Fabyan serving. It was not a certain game, for the little Bostonian had lost her two previous deliveries. But Miss Jacobs now had an unbreakable heart and a loyal eye. Two great smashes carried her team to victory and the Wightman Cup back to America.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1937

August 20 and 21

Venue: West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Alice Marble, Helen Jacobs, Sarah Fabyan, Dorothy Bundy, Marjorie Van Ryn
Great Britain: Mary Hardwick, Kay Stammers, Margot Lumb, Evelyn Dearman, Joan Ingram, Freda James

Non-playing captains: Hazel Wightman (USA); Malcolm Horn (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 6-1

Alice Marble d. Mary Hardwick (GBR) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Helen Jacobs d. Kay Stammers (GBR) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Sarah Fabyan/Marble d. Evelyn Dearman (GBR)/Joan Ingram (GBR) 6-3, 6-2
Jacobs d. Hardwick 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Marble d. Stammers 6-3, 6-1
Fabyan d. Margot Lumb (GBR) 6-3, 6-1
Freda James (GBR)/Stammers d. Dorothy Bundy/Marjorie Van Ryn 6-3, 10-8
--

From “Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack” (1938)

By Arthur Wallis Myers

“America won the Wightman Cup for the seventh successive year, beating the British team by the conclusive margin of six matches to one. But for the substitution of a former champion’s daughter for Helen Jacobs – almost like throwing a sop to Cerberus – in the last match, America might have made a clean sweep. The visitors were soundly beaten; only once before, in the first year, had they lost more decisively. Yet nobody in New York gloated over the débacle and everybody felt that the losers made a brave effort against a team superior in the match-winning craft and flair for the big occasion, and perhaps in systematic training.

“Of fifteen Wightman Cup matches America have won eleven and Great Britain four. Only once, and that because somebody had a brainwave and prevailed on Dorothea Lambert Chambers, delegated for the doubles, to play a singles match which she won by the odd set, have the British women beaten these resolute American girls, so full of courage and ardour, on their own courts.

“To explain America’s preponderating record, when Britain have more girl players of promise and far greater facilities for maturing their skill, would require a comparison of administrative methods and of psychological influences. It may be suggested that successful invasions of well-guarded territory have to be planned months in advance, and all the factors militating against victory in the past considered.

“The excuse that the weather was oppressively hot – hotter than in many Augusts past – ought not to be used, because five of the American team are from California who, born as far away from New York as the English girls, found New York’s humidity just as unfamiliar and as challenging. Moreover, in the actual contest, the winners showed more outward signs of physical strain than the losers. They used ice water douches for their necks more frequently, and their gay gallops left them the more exhausted, in spite of the fact that they were attired in the almost regulation shorts prevailing here, while their opponents, making a stronger aesthetic appeal to the gallery, wore skirts.

“In the first match on the first day Alice Marble required one hour and twenty minutes to subdue Mary Hardwick, an opponent who never gave up. The weather was better than the crowd, but probably the temperature of 85 degrees, with high humidity, kept many from facing a cooking in the uncovered stadium. It was probably the smallest gallery in Wightman Cup history, yet, as if conscious of huge gaps in the stone amphitheatre, the spectators were vocally enthusiastic. Both girls got what Americans call ‘a mouthful of cheers’ for their gallant fight.

“When Miss Hardwick, 4-2 down in the first set, had, with really brilliant driving, taken four games in a row to win the opening bout, one visualised an English girl on American courts doing what Suzanne Lenglen had failed to do 16 years earlier on the same court – beating the American champion in her first match in America. But Miss Marble’s forehand drive had been terribly uncertain in that first set. She could not return service on that wing, and when Miss Hardwick made her full-blooded drives across court there was a wild stab, but nothing more. In the last two games Miss Hardwick was definitely on top, breaking through the service for the first time in the ninth game from 15, and then, in a really inspired phase, serving two aces to take a love game.

“Hazel Wightman, America’s captain, gave Miss Marble a timely hint before the second set, for the American champion discarded the flat drive and introduced short, sliced returns, forcing Miss Hardwick to move forward. At the back of the court the English girl was steadier and always kept a better length than Miss Marble, but near the net the American had the touch and her opponent lacked control. Miss Marble’s service was never lethal, but in the final set its influence was decisive.

“When Kay Stammers and Helen Jacobs came out for the second match the cooling breeze had died down, and one could only admire two girls who, while officials were mopping perspiring brows, could race from corner to corner engaged in long rallies of attacking tennis. These two were old Wightman Cup enemies, and knew each other’s game. Their tactics had a familiar aspect – the patient and mobile defender, chopping and slicing and waiting for the mistimed shot or the too eager move which would serve her industry and win the point.

“Miss Stammers began auspiciously enough and she might have won in two sets if fine strokes had not been followed by loose ones and her service had not presented many double faults. Shadows were creeping over the court in the final set. Each won on service, and then Miss Stammers lost hers through volleying errors. It was tough going, for both girls were racing for everything and giving nothing away.

“Alas, Miss Stammers made three ground shot errors in the fourth game, and Miss Jacobs was 3-1. The American, like the old campaigner that she is, was now increasing the pace of her passing shots, sensing the moral value of aggression when Fortune was smiling. Miss Stammers had game point four times in the fifth game. Each time she netted and finally double-faulted. Both girls took refreshments as they changed courts – it was a grim and stamina-searching struggle.

“The seventh game was long and wavering with five deuces. If only Miss Stammers could have summoned a reliable backhand she might have won it. It closed in America’s favour by the all-too-familiar double fault. But Miss Stammers, like Miss Hardwick, was fighting to the end, and she took the next two games with splendid spirit, both from 30. Miss Jacobs, who was serving, outed the first two balls in the tenth game, but then Miss Stammers lapsed again, and the next four points went to America after the briefest of rallies.

“A storm threatened when the doubles began, but the rain held off. Another American victory was registered. The British couple played better than the score (6-3, 6-2) suggests, especially Evelyn Dearman, whose cross volleying closed many sprightly rallies. But Miss Marble and Sarah Fabyan were definitely superior overhead.

“The Second Day

“On the second day a crowd nearly twice as large as on Friday saw four matches which, although two of them were one-sided, yielded stimulating play. The last was especially ingratiating because, with the sun down to a level which did not require protected heads in the open stands, and with the tension finished and nobody’s reputation at stake, four light-hearted girls provided a riot of hitting.

“When Mr Holcombe Ward, president of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, presented the Wightman Cup filled with flowers to the Boston lady of that name who had captained so many victorious teams and certainly mothered this one, everybody was smiling, and most people thought that friendly relations between America and England were more important than victory in a lawn tennis match.

“Miss Hardwick played better against Miss Jacobs than against Miss Marble on the previous day, though she did not come as near success and was obviously out-generalled in the third set. But she showed, when marching confidently through the first set and nearly catching Miss Jacobs in the second, that she had both the stamina and the strokes requisite for victory. She was meeting Miss Jacobs for the first time, and a much more formidable Miss Jacobs than the player who, when her father was desperately ill in California, had yielded up her Wimbledon title to Dorothy Round.

“For a long period, never revealing any demoralisation, the English girl faced the American’s chopping campaign and gave as good as she got. Miss Jacobs only won by waiting and by an uncanny defence. She might not have won at all if Miss Hardwick, taking three games from 5-1 down in the second set, could have maintained her ball control in the tenth game and then used her superior physical reserve to clinch the match.

“The ten-minute interval was a precious respite to the tiring Californian, and though Miss Hardwick led 2-1, and was fighting confidently in the final set, she could not lift her game when Miss Jacobs, sensing the exact moment for intensive pressure, increased her pace and forged in front. The match was virtually over, and in the last five games Miss Hardwick won only seven points. Nevertheless, in waging two three-set matches against America’s first two players at Forest Hills, she was easily the best of the invaders.

“When Miss Marble met Miss Stammers the Cup was irretrievably lost for another year, but it may be doubted whether the English girl, on her form, would have done much better if the result had really mattered. She found the American champion with the same dominating skill that had outclassed Hilde Sperling at Wimbledon, when the German champion led 3-0 in the final set. Of course, Miss Stammers hit many more loose shots and missed many more backhand drives than Mrs Sperling. She was ever the fair adventurer, and since those who seek adventures get blows, she was giving Miss Marble just enough stimulating pace to encourage her exquisite volleying touch. But she had not an earthly chance of winning, having regard to Miss Marble’s brilliant service and her own inconsistencies. There was only one deuce in the whole match.

“Margot Lumb was never expected to beat Mrs Fabyan, who always shines her brightest in team matches, but she deserved more than her four games. Four of the seven games in the second set were long and bitter, and Miss Lumb had game point in all. Like the other English left-hander, Miss Lumb’s backhand was weak, but she lobbed shrewdly on this side and forced Mrs Fabyan to work hard for all her points. The American has such perfect command of length and strength and her strokes were so soundly produced that Miss Lumb, despite her gallant service aces and forehand drives, and her fine turn of speed, was destined to be out-manoeuvred by a better-equipped opponent.

“Dorothy Bundy would not have partnered Marjorie van Ryn in the last match against Miss Stammers and Freda James if Carolin Babcock had not been indisposed or if the inclusion of Miss Jacobs had been necessary to save the Cup. But, of course, the Cup had long been made safe for America, and so the young curly-headed youngster, bearing an honoured name, was able to have her baptism of fire.

“Miss Bundy’s smashing, with its deep man-like swing-back, proved as deadly as Miss Marble’s, and she got, and deserved, thunderous applause for an entertaining display. Mrs Van Ryn, better off the ground than her young partner, nearly won the long second set by her supreme steadiness, but Miss Stammers and Miss James were returning service and finding the centre opening just too well. It was nearly dark when Mrs Van Ryn’s service was at last broken through and Great Britain scored her only victory.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1938

June 10 and 11

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Helen Wills Moody, Alice Marble, Sarah Fabyan, Dorothy Bundy, Helen Jacobs
Great Britain: Kay Stammers, Peggy Scriven, Margot Lumb, Evelyn Dearman, Joan Ingram, Freda James

Non-playing captains: Phyllis King (GBR); Hazel Wightman (USA)
--

USA d. Great Britain 5-2

Kay Stammers d. Alice Marble (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Helen Wills Moody (USA) d. Peggy Scriven 6-0, 7-5
Sarah Fabyan (USA)/Marble d. Freda James/Margot Lumb 6-4, 6-2
Fabyan d. Lumb 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
Moody d. Stammers 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Marble d. Scriven 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
Dearman/Joan Ingram d. Dorothy Bundy (USA)/Moody 6-2, 7-5
--

From “Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack” (1939)

By Arthur Wallis Myers

“The Wightman Cup went West again – almost literally so, for three of the four Americans who defended it at Wimbledon, and also the captain, Hazel Wightman, hailed from California. The margin was five matches to two in favour of the invaders. It might conceivably have been larger, for, gallantly as Kay stammers played against Alice Marble on the first day, the present USA champion had a chance to win in two sets. England’s second point came in the last match, when Helen Wills Moody and Dorothy Bundy, the latter playing her first match on the Centre Court, lost in the doubles to Evelyn Dearman and Joan Ingram.

“Yet, though the Americans gained a handsome victory, they were stoutly challenged. Miss Stammers took a set from Mrs Moody, no competitor in the subsequent championship did that. Margot Lumb also won a set from Sarah Fabyan. Indeed, the only match in which the Americans dominated the court was the first doubles; here the combination of Miss Marble and Mrs Fabyan proved too formidable, especially overhead, for Miss Lumb and Freda James.

“The sixteenth Wightman Cup created a record in that all three British representatives in the singles were left-handers. They were the natural choice, for Dorothy Little, the [Wimbledon] champion, was not available, but the fact that all were materially stronger on the forehand than on the backhand was a tactical advantage to the visiting side – they could systematise their attack. Mrs Moody, too, had met and parried this left-handed resistance at Surbiton a fortnight earlier; and in combating it at Wimbledon, though she had an anxious duel with Miss Stammers, and might conceivably have gone down if rain had not called a long adjournment at one set-all, she knew where the greater danger lay.

“If the observer could justly praise the home team for their gallant fight – they were captained, by the way, by Phyllis King, herself a great fighter – he was conscious that the Americans possessed the more penetrating strokes and the finer ball control. They always looked the bolder match players and appeared to take the larger risk.

“On the first day America won two out of three matches. It was not an ideal day for lawn tennis. A sharp shower interrupted the first match; deflecting wind currents swept the Centre Court. Yet the play was stimulating. Miss Marble led 3-1 against Miss Stammers, but was caught; she led 4-3 when rain intervened. A slow starter, Miss Stammers could not recover her range again, and Miss Marble went out. In the second set the American was a mixture of glorious attack and uncertain defence, and while she was endeavouring to secure a victory mean her opponent raised her game to a high peak. Miss Marble led 5-4 and had her fine service to follow. She faltered – missed one or two volleys – and failed to hold the set.

“During the interval the American remained on court; Miss Stammers wisely took advantage of the respite and repaired indoors. With a perfect retinue of measured attacking blows Miss Stammers sped to 5-1 in the final set. In the ninth and last game Miss Stammers hit two fine forehand winners for 30-0; then lost a point on a doubtful decision; then Miss Marble ‘outed’; finally Miss Stammers struck one of her blazing forehand drives into the backhand corner.

“In the second match Mrs Moody could not put a ball or a foot wrong. She took six games in a row from Peggy Scriven, whose weak service gave her the opening offensive. Then the Californian reacted and Miss Scriven’s solid defence, combined with splendid mobility, really deserved to win the set. She led 4-3 and had a point for 5-3. But Mrs Moody was unbending and took the next three games. Then each won a love game and at 6-5 Mrs Moody was 40-0. Miss Scriven hit three screaming drives down the line to level the score and had the ‘vantage point five times. Once she missed an easy volley for the game. In the end the American was out at 7-5.

“The doubles match was always safe for the American champions, but the wind depressed the play, and Mrs Fabyan lost her service three consecutive times. She atoned by many subtle volleys.

“The Second Day

“There was another large gallery on the second day – and no rain. [?] The three British left-handers strove valiantly to stem the adverse tide and each won a set. Mrs Fabyan, looking like a little fairy with a wand, did not find her perfect touch until Miss Lumb, getting a two-game break, had stolen the first set. Thereafter Mrs Fabyan was supreme. She handled Miss Lumb’s serpentine service with deft skill, not attempting to hit it for a winner, but returning a slow, clinging return, which drew the server forward. Thus she prevented Miss Lumb from using the full-blooded forehand drive, and, showing the surest control, so controlled the rallies that she won the second and third sets to two.

“England could not now lose another match if the cup was to be won. It was rather a hopeless proposition with Mrs Moody and Miss Marble ‘still to bat’. Yet Miss Stammers nearly achieved a miracle. Without having Miss Marble’s errors, as on the first day, to help her, she played almost the best Mrs Moody – and nearly triumphed. Perhaps the American, having banked the first set in the eighth game, eased her pressure. She was soon fighting for her life. With an inspired display Miss Stammers went to 5-2 and was out in the ninth game. Not a double fault came from her racket; she raked the lines or corners with flashing drives and, feinting as if to drive again, played that ‘just-over-the-net’ ball that drew her opponent vainly forward.

“But then came a forty-minute halt through rain. The players returned with socks over their shoes – a sign that foothold would be less secure, and the prospect of Miss Stammers using her lighter weight less favourable. The English girl could not revive her former greatness until the court was drier and risk of slipping had gone. She lost the first three games – another shower interrupted play after the first two – and then Mrs Moody went forward stolidly to 5-2. She was now anticipating the insidious drop-shot; moving in more rapidly, she stowed the ball away.

“But Miss Stammers had not fired her last shots. She won the eighth game amid heartening applause and made a bold bid for the ninth. It was a game replete with deuces and ‘vantage points, of drop-shots from Miss Stammers and of shaded forehand drives from Mrs Moody. The last rally was the finest of the match. At last Miss Stammers played a perfect drop. Her opponent, running faster than she has ever run before, reached it, and steered the ball with her backhand just over the net. The Wightman Cup was won.

“In two irresistible phases Miss Marble beat Miss Scriven. The first came after 3-3 in the opening set; the Californian took the next three games with a man-like service and volleying attack. The second came in the third set, which Miss Marble won to love. In the middle of the match Miss Scriven’s ubiquity and Miss Marble’s errors combined to give England a chance. The American service came out of a gun; by comparison Miss Scriven’s service was meek.

“When the Duchess of Kent had presented the Cup to Mrs Wightman, the last match was staged. The light was fading and the eyes of the players must have been sore with watching. It could scarcely be a great match. Miss Dearman was the best of the four; Dorothy Bundy, new to the Centre Court, the least certain. Mrs Moody had obviously had enough tennis for the day, and England won in two sets, thus capturing the last match as well as the first. America had taken the other five in between.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1939

August 26 and 27

Venue: West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Alice Marble, Helen Jacobs, Sarah Fabyan, Dorothy Bundy, Mimi Arnold
Great Britain: Mary Hardwick, Kay Stammers, Valerie Scott, Betty Nuthall (captain), Nina Brown, Freda Hammersely

Non-playing American captain: Hazel Wightman
--

United States d. Great Britain 5-2

Alice Marble d. Mary Hardwick (GBR) 6-3, 6-4
Kay Stammers (GBR) d. Helen Jacobs 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Mimi Arnold/Dorothy Bundy d. Nina Brown (GBR)/Betty Nuthall (GBR) 6-3, 6-1
Valerie Scott (GBR) d. Sarah Fabyan 6-3, 6-4
Marble d. Stammers 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Jacobs d. Hardwick 6-2, 6-2
Fabyan/Marble d. Freda Hammersley (GBR)/Stammers 7-5, 6-2
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, September 2, 1939

Unsigned report

“The Wightman Cup trophy has again eluded the British ladies’ team. In the seventeenth annual match at Forest Hills, New York, last weekend the United States retained the cup, winning by five matches to two and so recording their ninth successive victory. Great Britain’s team received a setback on the first day – in the defeat of Betty Nuthall and Nina Brown at the hands of Dorothy Bundy and Mimi Arnold – from which they never really recovered.

“It was generally conceded that our players’ best chances of victory lay in securing the four rubbers in which Alice Marble did not compete; and the victory of the young Californian pair in the first doubles paved the way for the American victory. Miss Marble duly won the three rubbers in which she was concerned, and Helen Jacobs added a further point in her clean-cut victory over Mary Hardwick.

“As a whole the visiting side offered a good resistance to a self-evidently more powerful team. Kay Stammers again advanced her reputation in her defeat of Miss Jacobs and her three-set struggle with Miss Marble, whilst Valerie Scott thoroughly justified her selection in a very commendable victory over Sarah Fabyan, a Wimbledon semi-finalist this year and one possessing as good a Wightman Cup record as any other American lady in the past ten years’ contests.

“The match started a day late owning to rain, and the conditions of extreme humidity with the temperatures in the ‘eighties favoured the home team, most of whom are more inured to great heat than the English ladies. Nevertheless, the opening singles match provided a high standard of play. Miss Hardwick, elected by Miss Nuthall to share the responsibility of playing two singles matches with Miss Stammers, was in fine form against Miss Marble and forced the lady champion to give of her best in a nineteen-game encounter. Miss Marble led by 3-1 and 4-3 in the first set, maintaining her lead by some telling volleys after a stubbornly contested seventh game and was out at 6-3. Miss Hardwick went to 4-2 in the second set, securing a high percentage of outright winning shots and forcing nine successive errors from Miss Marble in this period. The American rallied to 4-all, overtook her rival after being 0-30 in the ninth game and ultimately won at 6-3, 6-4.

“Miss Stammers repeated her Wimbledon victory over Miss Jacobs in the second match to keep the issue open. The English lady was more quickly into her stride and won the first set at 6-2. Miss Jacobs rallied well to set-all by her superior steadiness from the baseline, but was unable to withstand her opponent’s good length driving in a deciding set.

“Miss Bundy and Miss Arnold justified their last-minute selection to play as the number two doubles pair in their 6-3, 6-1 victory over Miss Nuthall and Miss Brown, their conquerors of a fortnight ago after a stern tussle at Brooklyn. This time the American team got on top in the first set and played with good understanding in an easily-won second set against a pair who never struck their US doubles championship form.

“The second day’s play opened with Miss Scott’s victory over Mrs Fabyan to bring the score level at 2-all in rubbers. The English lady struck her best form at once, and strong serving and driving took her to 4-0 and out at 6-3 in the first set. Miss Scott faltered after a 3-1 lead in the second set, dropping behind at 3-4. Her finishing effort was impressive. She equalised at 4-all by continued good services, won Mrs Fabyan’s service to love, and the match in the tenth game on her third match point.

“Miss Stammers made such an encouraging start against Miss Marble that she had prospects of repeating her 1938 victory. Rarely has she played better, according to the cables, than in winning the first set. Her backhand possessed plenty of pace and length as she reached 4-2 and won at 6-3. Miss Marble was much steadier in the second set and she led 2-0. Miss Stammers, still scoring with an occasional good cross-court backhand shot, levelled at 2-2 and 3-3, but Miss Marble wore her down and took the next three games. Miss Marble continued to gain the mastery in the third set in which she pulled up from 2-4, and in spite of two double faults won the ninth game to lead 5-4. Miss Stammers fought gamely to save the match with a net-cord shot for the final point. The full scores were 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“Miss Jacobs won the necessary fourth point for an American victory by defeating Miss Hardwick, 6-2, 6-2, cleverly keeping the ball low by slice and depriving her opponent of the speed of shot on which she thrives. With the match won and lost, Mrs Fabyan and Miss Marble faced Miss Stammers and Freda Hammersley and scored their third victory of the season over the English pair, winning by 7-5, 6-2.
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1946

June 14 and 15

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Pauline Betz, Margaret Osborne, Louise Brough, Doris Hart
Great Britain: Jean Bostock, Kay Menzies, Joan Curry, Mary Halford, Betty Passsingham, Molly Lincoln

Non-playing captains: Hazel Wightman (USA); Nancy Glover (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Pauline Betz (USA) d. Jean Bostock 6-2, 6-4
Margaret Osborne (USA) d. Kay Menzies 6-3, 6-2
Betz/Doris Hart (USA) d. Molly Lincoln/Betty Passingham 6-1, 6-3
Louise Brough (USA) d. Joan Curry 8-6, 6-3
Osborne d. Bostock 6-1, 6-4
Betz d. Menzies 6-4, 6-4
Brough/Osborne d. Bostock/Mary Halford 6-2, 6-1
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, July 1, 1946

By Lewis Dorey

“America’s Wightman Cup Victory

“The New Outlook in Women’s Play

“America’s crushing victory by 7-0 over Great Britain in the Wightman Cup match, played at the All England Club, Wimbledon, on June 14 and 15, emphasises the large amount of leeway to be made up in the top flight of the British game after the hiatus of six years. Our representatives were outpaced. They could not withstand the controlled speed of stroke which the American quartet of Pauline Betz, Margaret Osborne, Louise Brough and Doris Hart produced, not only on service and volley, but also off the ground, even when forced to play their shots at full stretch.

“The resumption of ladies’ international play enabled us to assess relative international form for the first time for six years and it is apparent that lack of competitive play has inevitably led to a serious deterioration in the standard of our leading women. The primary cause of Great Britain’s defeat in the Wightman Cup was that we were outpaced on the fast and unfamiliar grass against a new generation of United States players whose magnificent physique enables them to pursue the goddess of speed – speed of stroke on service, in the air and off the ground, and speed of foot in covering their court and reaching the net for first-time winning volleys.

“In six years the ladies’ game as played by the American ladies has advanced a further stage in its evolution until it now resembles that of a first-class man. In pre-war days we had among the lawn tennis nations isolated examples of the virile all-court game in ladies’ play, but it is something new in the game’s progress to act as host to an entire team of visiting ladies whose aim is to emulate the methods of play of their men folk.

“Complete physical fitness is an essential for the type of all-court game of the American ladies. Hitherto, persistent volleying in singles has been the prerogative of the men’s field – with the possible exception of Alice Marble – and it remains to be seen whether the new theory of attack from the net can be justified in the top class of ladies’ play when the lawn tennis nations as a whole recover the lost ground of the war years and their representatives develop their ground stroke control to the pitch it had attained in the late ‘thirties.

“Hazel Wightman, America’s captain, who received the trophy form Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent after victory had been achieved, considers that her team is one of the best, if not the best, which has ever represented the United States since the inception of the competition in 1923. It certainly possessed a strength and balance throughout in contrast to some of the pre-war teams, which were top-heavy and dominated by one outstanding exponent, with a distinct ‘tail’ among the lower strings.

“In Miss Betz and Miss Osborne, America possesses a powerful top singles team in the direct line of succession to the Alice Marble school, with their powerful services, aggressive ground strokes and their attacking outlook. Miss Betz may not yet be in the class of the Miss Marble of 1939; she was made to falter at times on the volley by Jean Bostock and sometimes teased into error by slowing up tactics. But she did not allow the hard court champion to impose her game on her for long and forged ahead to victory mainly by means of her manlike service and match-winning backhand.

“She had a tougher match against Kay Menzies on the second day, and her convincing victory made her a warm favourite for the ladies’ championship at Wimbledon. Mrs Menzies was very nearly at her best with the result that we saw a match of very high quality in which the resources of Miss Betz were revealed to the full. Her amazing court-covering and security of return on both wings when attacked strongly in the corners stamped her as a coming champion.

“Miss Osborne was almost equally impressive against Mrs Menzies on the first day, though the latter was not playing quite so well as she did against Miss Betz. The American lady’s big service and wide range of volleys are the spearhead of her attack and their penetrating qualities have rarely been surpassed in the history of this contest. She revelled in speed and kept the rallies short, but it was significant that she could also win points from the baseline if the need were urgent or if she wished to take a ‘breather’ in the between her service games. Even with her magnificent physique, her intensive type of game would tax her energies in a long duel and force her to rely more on her ground stroke control, which is not comparable to that of Miss Betz.

“Miss Brough, the third American string, who played the odd singles against Joan Curry, pursued a similar type of bustling game to her teammates, though she lacks the forcefulness off the ground of the top strings and she was made to falter in the longer rallies when attacked by deep drives. She could not rival Miss Curry’s great speed about the court or her regularity of return on the forehand, but her powerful game enabled her to play most of the match in the manner of her own choosing – a match-winning service which presented innumerable openings, and short rallies which do not overtax the stamina when the service is being followed up to the net.

“In doubles the American pairs were equally impressive. Both Miss Brough and Miss Osborne and Miss Betz and Miss Hart are established pairs of many years’ standing, and they were impregnable with their powerful services and forecourt play. Indeed the services of all four border at times on the dynamic or even the ‘atomic’ as one critic of discernment put it. Overhead they kill the ball stone dead from all parts of the court. Betty Passingham and Molly Lincoln lacked attacking returns of service against Miss Betz and Miss Hart to have any chance of breaking up the American parallel formation, and Mrs Bostock and Mary Halford were on the defensive from start to finish against Miss Brough and Miss Osborone, and forced to offer rising returns to a pair camped at the net.

“Physical condition played its part in America’s victory. Only players in the pink of condition could pursue the vigorous type of game exploited by Mrs Wightman’s team without overtaxing their physical reserves. Moreover, the opportunities of continuous match play in America enjoyed by the American team as they developed their games in the past few years outweighed the handicap of playing under strange conditions at Wimbledon. They took to the fast surface of the Number One Court like veterans, and got on top of their opponents immediately in the opening games, demonstrating in no uncertain manner that on a fast surface attack is the best form of defence and, if allied to full control, will invariably prevail over spoiling or defensive play.

“The First Day: Miss Betz Impresses

“Miss Betz gave the United States a flying start by defeating Mrs Bostock in the first match by 6-2, 6-4. From the first service ace, with which she opened the match, to the penetrating drives, which brought her victory in the last game, she was on top, scoring most of her points by fluent driving from both wings, although she was never averse to going in to the net to conclude a rally with a cross-court volley. She very rarely had to volley twice for the same point, so sure was her touch.

“She raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, mainly by the power of a flowing backhand drive across the court, very reminiscent of Donald Budge’s production. Mrs Bostock, pinned to the defence, was not given time to finesse or spar for her openings. The fifth game virtually decided the outcome of the set. Mrs Bostock reached 40-0 against the service and held several more games points, only to be thwarted by some fine American services and drives. Deuce was called five times before Miss Betz served a clean ace and clinched the game with a fine drive. She advanced more serenely to 5-1, struck a bad patch in the seventh game, when she faltered with her volleys, but worked her way to the net in the eighth game to take the set at 6-2.

“Mrs Bostock tried a variety of tactics in the second set to break up the Miss Betz’s rhythm. She infused more power into her driving, interposed with some well-selected drop shots; and after levelling at 1-all from 0-1, she seemed to be getting a grip on the match. Her clever variation of pace caused Miss Betz to concede errors in the third game, won by Mrs Bostock after deuce, and she had chances of reaching 3-1 in a close fourth game, only to be caught at 2-all when her drives sailed over the lines after deuce.

“Miss Betz tightened up her play in reaching 4-2, scoring consistently with her flat-hit backhand, or by means of it paving the way for a successful net attack. Mrs Bostock then made a great effort and got on terms again at 4-all, with the loss of one point in two games; and when she stood at deuce in the ninth game, the issue of the set began to look speculative. But two vital points escaped her; her drive carried the lines to give Miss Betz the ‘vantage and the next point was a clean ace from the American forehand. Miss Betz forced errors in the British backhand corner as she won the match in the tenth game, the sliced backhand of Mrs Bostock giving the victor plenty of time to shape for her own more speedy drive on this wing.

“A Key Match: Miss Osborne versus Mrs Menzies

“The following match between Mrs Menzies and Miss Osborne was in the nature of a key encounter. Bearing in mind the known strength of the American doubles pairs, a British victory was essential if the match was to be kept alive to the later rubbers. Miss Osborne gained a conclusive victory at 6-3, 6-2, after a remarkable demonstration of controlled speed, which Mrs Menzies was unable to withstand. She served magnificently and kept the rallies brief, moving in to the net early behind paceful drives, and justifying her bold game by a large harvest of volleying winners.

“Much as she delights in speed of shot, Mrs Menzies was uncomfortable against this great pace of service and drive, and was forced to concede many errors as she lost the first two games. She recovered to 2-all by some effective driving down the lines before Miss Osborne scored a run of three games by an intensive net attack for 5-2. She lost her service to love in the eighth game, but promptly took that of Mrs Menzies for a 6-3 set.

“Miss Osborne’s Fine Volleying

“The course of the second set was similar. After 2-all, Miss Osborne went straight out with a run of four games, continuing to score repeatedly with her kicking service and hustling Mrs Menzies in the corners by powerful ground strokes of an exact length, which gave her opportunities for her finishing volley. On her showing today Miss Osborne was little behind Miss Betz in the merit of her attacking skill, despite the many victories which the latter has scored over her in the major tournaments of the American season.
“America’s Winning Lead

“The United States virtually settled the destiny of the Cup for a further twelve months by winning the first of the doubles matches through Miss Betz and Miss Hart against Mrs Passingham and Miss Lincoln. In a brief encounter they were a class above the English pair, dominating the play from so close to the net that they could place their volleys almost at will to the vacant places of the court.

“Both of the visitors hit deep and close to the lines, and they dealt decisively with the stream of lobs to which the British pair resorted. It was a novel experience for Mrs Passingham and Miss Lincoln to face such a powerful and balanced combination and they were out of their depth, though they fought gamely through the second set, in holding on to 3-4.

“The Second Day: Miss Curry’s Fine Fight

“The United States retained the Cup by winning the fourth rubber on the card through Miss Brough, who beat Miss Curry by 8-6, 6-3, after 55 minutes’ play. She emulated the sparkling performance of her teammates with a fine exhibition of serving and volleying, searching for a volley on every possible occasion and clinching her points by first-time angled shots, well away from the nimble-footed Miss Curry.

“After she had accustomed herself to the manlike game to which she was opposed, Miss Curry offered a spirited resistance, driving well on the forehand and covering her court at great speed in defence of her corners. She could never master Miss Brough’s top-spin service, especially the one which kicked wide to her backhand, though she became adept in blocking her returns of service back to a length on her forehand. Her recovery in the first set from 2-4 and 3-5 to 5-all was a splendid effort, and she raised British hopes by hold holding a game point for 7-6, before being volleyed out of the thirteenth game. It was significant that Miss Brough always made for the net when she needed a vital point, and her great skill with the volley constantly extracted her from difficulties.

“It was characteristic of the United States’ team to get an early lead. Miss Brough was no exception, as she reached 3-0 in the first set with the loss of only three points. As Miss Curry found her length, the rallies lengthened, but it was not until the seventh game that she mastered the big American service for the first time to reach 3-4. She saved set point at 4-5, and levelled at 5-all, when she made her opponent miss on the volley with her wide passing shots. Four great services rescued Miss Brough at the crisis of the set, and gave her the 6-5 lead, and her volleys enabled her to win the thirteenth game after Miss Curry had reached 30-40. Miss Curry reacted in the next game after her resolute uphill battle and she fell into error as she lost her service to 15, and with it, the set.

“Miss Curry continued to offer stern resistance in the second set. From 0-2 she levelled at 2-all, and at 2-4 down took Miss Brough’s service, after some great retrieving in her corners for 3-4. Her effort again petered out, just when it seemed that she would get on level terms. Two succeeding shots went astray after the score had reached 30-all, and Miss Brough stood at 5-3. Finishing as strongly as she started, Miss Brough served herself out for match at 6-3.

“Miss Osborne Wins Again

“Miss Osborne was not extended to the limit by Mrs Bostock in the first of the reverse singles. The latter failed to strike her best form, her timing was at fault, especially on her backhand, and this seemed to depress her whole game. The meticulous accuracy and touch, which had characterised her play on hard courts, was conspicuous by its absence. Instead, her game was full of error.

“Miss Osborne had a harvest of three-quarter length returns, which gave her the net position, as she won the first set at 6-1. The second set was equally one-sided. Miss Osborne led at 2-0 and 3-1, and her powerful services and reliable ground strokes would have sufficed for victory on the run of play, even without her volleying ability. As it was she seemed content to rest on her lead and win her service games for a 6-4 victory.

“A High-Class Encounter

“The remaining singles between Miss Betz and Mrs Menzies produced the highest standard of play seen in the two days. After a great fight the former American champion won by 6-4, 6-4, only eleven points separating winner and loser. Mrs Menzies touched her best form of the year, and, but for one or two costly mistakes in the key games, would probably have forced a deciding set. Miss Betz was less prone to break down over the easier return. She was more ‘match-tight’, and her ability to pull out a dazzling winner when running at full speed across the court just tipped the scales in her favour.

“Miss Betz and Mrs Menzies had maintained such speed of shot from the baseline that an advance to the forecourt was a hazardous undertaking for either, and the match was fought out mainly from the baselines, though with every variation of return – the drop shot or the short fade away cross-court drive, or the drive straight down the line, which completely wrong-foots the opponent.

“Miss Betz was quickly into her stride for a 3-1 and 4-2 lead. Mrs Menzies improved with each game and began to run her opponent about by her variation of length, frequently using the drop shot to open up the court. She lost a vital point, which would have brought her to 3-4, when she netted a return with half the court open to her; and had to face a 2-5 deficit.

“She had the better of a series of fierce driving duels in the following two games and climbed to 4-5. In the tenth game Miss Betz showed her class. Following a backhand drive, which scored outright, she produced a clean passing shot to reach set point and out-steadied Mrs Menzies off the ground in the ensuing rally for the set at 6-4.

“The Favourite For The Championship

“The form of Miss Betz in the second set won her many supporters for her claim to the Ladies’ Championship [at Wimbledon]. At last we saw her fully extended as she withstood a battering from Mrs Menzies, and gave as good as she got, frequently winning a point with a ‘neck or nothing’ shot, played outside her tramlines. Revealing exceptional speed about the court and playing almost errorless lawn tennis, she went to 3-0 and 4-1. Mrs Menzies made a splendid recovery to 4-all and 30-all, but this was the limit of her resistance. Miss Betz regained her dominance of the early games and won six of the next seven points for victory at 6-4, earning four of these points by winning drives or volleys. It was an impressive finish, which argued well for her prospects in the Championships.

“An American Record

“Miss Brough and Miss Osborne, the United States doubles champions for the past four years, overwhelmed Mrs Bostock and Mrs Halford by their virile play at 6-2, 6-1, and America’s victory was complete. For the first time in the history of the competition their representatives had won without the loss of a set in the seven rubbers, an achievement which eclipsed their previous best in 1923, when victory was gained by 7-0, but with the loss of two sets.

“Miss Brough and Miss Osborne gained or held the net position in almost every rally by means of their penetrating serving, and they volleyed down for their points, either across the court or down the centre, after making the opening. Mrs Bostock was still a good way from her best, especially on her return of service, but Mrs Halford, after a shaky start, served well and at times scored through some narrow openings in the American net formation.

“Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent, accompanied by Lord Templewood (President of the British Lawn Tennis Assocation), and Group Captain Sir Louis Greig (Chairman of the All England Club) and Mr J.H. King, Chairman of the British Lawn Tennis Association, presented the Cup to Mrs Hazel Wightman on the court during the afternoon, when the players of both teams were presented to her in turn.

“Exceptionally large crowds filled the Number One Court terraces on both days, and the contest was played from start to finish without interference by rain, though a cloudburst flooded courts a few miles away from the club during the second afternoon. The arrangements for the match went through without a hitch, no mean feat of organisation, when new staff had to be procured and trained in the handling of such large crowds round a confined space. Members of the Umpires’ Association were in charge of the matches, and it was a happy move to recruit the ball-girls from some of the schools which take part in the annual Schoolgirls’ Team Competition.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1947

August 15 and 16

Venue: West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Margaret Osborne, Louise Brough, Doris Hart, Patricia Todd
Great Britain: Jean Bostock, Kay Menzies, Betty Hilton, Joy Gannon, Jean Quertier

Non-playing captains: Hazel Wightman (USA); Edward Avory (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Margaret Osborne d. Jean Bostock (GBR) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
Louise Brough d. Kay Menzies (GBR) 6-4, 6-2
Doris Hart/Patricia Todd d. Joy Gannon (GBR)/Jean Quertier (GBR) 6-1, 6-2
Hart d. Betty Hilton (GBR) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Osborne d Menzies 7-5, 6-2
Brough d. Bostock 6-4, 6-4
Brough/Osborne d. Bostock/Hilton 6-1, 6-3
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, September 15, 1947

By Mary Hardwick

“The first post-war Wightman Cup matches were played under grey skies on American soil in a moisture-laden atmosphere. The weather, even for the United States in August, had been unusual ever since our team and myself landed from the Queen Elizabeth. The temperature had been hovering from between 93 degrees to 100 degrees most days, but the girls all appeared in excellent condition and in high spirits.

“Before play began, Molly Blair, not selected for the singles matches, had been playing the best tennis. Molly struck her best form immediately on landing and she herself felt she was playing better than she had ever done at home. However, when the cup matches started, it was obvious that our girls were all going to put up quite a different ‘show’ from last year. There was an air of confidence and determination about everyone, more self-assurance and a definite ‘challenge’ outlook.

“Mrs Bostock In Form

“Jean Bostock gave our supporters a great fillip as she began to tackle Wimbledon champion Margaret Osborne in the opening match. Finding her touch immediately Jean varied her pace and length so perfectly that Margaret was not allowed to settle down. She was neither kept at the back court nor allowed to make a consistent net attack, and when Jean returned her first serve for two outright winners to lead 3-1 Margaret seemed bewildered, but she evened at 3-all. Then Jean took the lead for 4-3 and things really looked bright; the American was tentative and Jean was controlling the pace of the match. She had brought the tempo down to where she wanted it and Margaret obviously didn’t like it.

“Then came the rain and for an hour and 45 minutes play was postponed. On returning it took Jean a few games to slow down the pace again and Margaret quickly won three games for the set, 6-4, losing only one point. Jean again dictated the pace in the second set and Margaret became wild, especially in mid-court, and after 2-all Jean, making some magnificent gets, went ahead and won the set at 6-2.

“Then came the 10 minutes’ rest, which we all hoped would not be enforced as they had only played one set and three games since the rain. But after discussion with the umpire and referee the players followed the rules, and retired for the ten minutes. Jean never quite regained her touch in the third set. Margaret had pulled her game together; she attacked more from the forecourt and after leading 2-1 Jean was never again really in the fight. But it had been a valiant effort.

“Costly Foot-faults By Mrs Menzies

“When Kay Menzies and Louise Brough took the court I realised immediately that our player was hitting the ball with much more of her old pace than she has done since the war and that possibly, if she could hit her forehand deep and going away consistently to Louise’s forehand, she might be able to upset the Californian.

“All went well for a few games. Kay drove deep and kept the ball low, made perfectly disguised ‘drops’ and it seemed as if the tactics that helped her to overcome Helen Jacobs so often in past matches would pay dividends. She had a point to lead 3-1, missed it after a long rally and it was 2-2.

“Then Kay began foot-faulting. She was throwing the ball so far forward that she had to take two steps into the court to even connect ball and racket. Although she didn’t serve doubles, the sting went out of her serve and her game, and she continued to foot-fault, even on second serves. Gradually the power of the American’s game – and her serve especially – became too much for Kay. It was disappointing to English supporters, because she was swinging the ball about the court and keeping Louise on the run. Anything might have happened if it hadn’t been for Kay’s service. Louise won, 6-4, 6-2.

“Doris Hart and Patricia Todd, the Wimbledon champions, played at the top of their form against the ‘Babes’ of our team, Joy Gannon and Jean Quertier. It was formidable opposition for Joy and Jean in their Wightman Cup debut. They looked very inexperienced and young – which indeed they are – but they did not let us down and if they work hard and concentrate on a few obvious deficiencies, I am sure it will not be too long before they are holding their own with the new crop of their American contemporaries. As soon as they realise the value of quick thinking and speed of foot, plus greater suppleness of body movement – assets all acquired off the practice court – then I believe their games will improve too.

“The Second Day’s Play

“Today produced the highlight of the series – not a great match but a demonstration of courage, physical endurance and the ability to rise to great heights by Betty Hilton in her match with Doris Hart.

“Mrs Hilton’s Class

“Betty played ‘personality tennis’, and confirmed the opinion of Dorothy Round and myself, and perhaps others, that she has the ‘will to win’ and champion’s outlook if only she can bring her ground game into the same class as her volleys and determination. She went at Doris Hart like a tigress, playing in the American manner even more than the Americans themselves. Her plan was to volley everything. She went in on second serves, good returns and bad returns alike, but she went in, volleyed, served and smashed gloriously, often getting herself into unnecessary difficulties, and impossible positions. But what did it matter; she could not possibly match ground strokes with Doris, so she staked all on a volleying attack coupled with willpower and confidence. It was a stimulating exhibition.

“Betty won the first set at 6-4 after leading 3-1; and dropped the second at 6-3. Doris was calmly finding the holes as Betty came in and, without the rest period, the score was level up to 3-all in the third set. Then Doris raised her game to lead 5-3. It was not the end. Betty staged a Borotra-like comeback and, saving three match points with magnificent volleys, levelled at 5-all. Could the impossible happen? It didn’t, although there were three deuces before Doris led 6-5, and went out at 7-5.

“As we all know Doris is a glorious tennis player and if she had lost the result would have been false, because Betty just isn’t in her class yet. But she has all the potentialities of a great match player. I believe her future successes now rest entirely with herself. If she is able and willing to give the necessary time to improving her faults then we may have a future champion in Betty Hilton. Speaking from experience, I would say that at 28 years old she is just about reaching her prime of physical condition. It was my experience to find that after 25 one had greater endurance, physical strength and the necessary mental stability for coordinating mind and body.

“After the Hilton-Hart match, the play of Louise Brough and Jean Bostock seemed almost slow by comparison. Actually Louise played the best and most consistent tennis of the series. Her power and accuracy were always too much for our girls and she looked every bit a champion in her two singles matches. Jean tried hard for everything and retrieved well, but Louise had too much control over her powerful shots to be really pressed and won, 6-4, 6-4.

“Kay Menzies made a great fight of her match with Margaret Osborne, but once again the foot-faults were too much of a handicap. However, in spite of this she led 5-4 in the first set and this alone shows that the rest of her game had found its touch and range. We had all hoped that Kay might score a victory in this, her last Wightman Cup match, but the fates decreed otherwise.

“The final doubles was practically a twilight affair and the Americans carried too many shots for our girls, although Betty and Jean fought with their usual tenacity. And so ended the 1947 Wightman Cup match, our girls having shown great fighting spirit. Consequently, closer matches resulted than in 1946, and they earned much encouragement by their showing. Their physical condition was excellent; in fact, it seemed superior to that of the Americans who at times appeared listless and stale. British women’s tennis seemed to have taken a turn in the right direction, with personal triumphs for Betty Hilton and Jean Bostock.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1948

June 11 and 12

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Margaret du Pont, Louise Brough, Doris Hart, Patricia Todd
Great Britain: Jean Bostock, Betty Hilton, Joy Gannon, Molly Blair, Kay Menzies (captain)

Non-playing American captain: Hazel Wightman
--

United States d. Great Britain 6-1

Louise Brough (USA) d. Jean Bostock 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
Margaret du Pont (USA) d. Betty Hilton 6-3, 6-4
Molly Blair/Bostock d. Doris Hart (USA)/Patricia Todd (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Du Pont d. Bostock 6-4, 8-6
Brough d. Hilton 6-1, 6-1
Hart d. Joy Gannon 6-1, 6-4
Brough/du Pont d. Hilton/Kay Menzies 6-2, 6-2
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, July 1, 1948

By Lewis Dorey

“America’s Wightman Cup Victory

“Our Team’s Increasing Resistance – Mrs Bostock Excels

“The United States of America retained the Wightman Cup at Wimbledon on June 11th and 12th and so recorded their 16th victory in the competition. The third post-war contest, played n glorious weather and watched by packed galleries on both days, supplied plenty of thrills and, though America eventually won by the convincing margin of 6-1, their players had to be at their very best to withstand Great Britain’s determined challenge.

“Under the inspiration of our new captain, Mrs Kay Menzies, the home team demonstrated that America’s great four are by no means invincible and that their virile games and attack from the top of the net can be countered, even broken up, by resolute defence, supported by consistent return of service and opportunism in counter-attack.

“Mrs Jean Bostock was outstanding in her methods of dealing with the ‘big game’ of the Americans. Just as Lacoste and Cochet eventually overthrew American men’s supremacy in the late twenties by methods of attrition and what Lacoste himself calls aggressive defence, so did she demonstrate that Mrs Margaret du Pont and Miss Louise Brough can both have the rhythm of their games disrupted by stonewalling defence, teasing soft-balling and a disconcerting switch to attack in the crisis of the match.

“There is no doubt that with service power approaching the Americans’ or alternatively if she had been able to obtain more match play this season, Mrs Bostock would have beaten Miss Brough and possibly Mrs du Pont. She possessed infinitely better defence, equal mobility until she tired towards the finish of her matches, and she knew when to assume the attack and had the shots necessary to win the point by drive or volley.

“Britain’s one tangible success was scored by Mrs Bostock and Mrs Molly Blair, a new combination which blended so well that they overthrew the reigning [Wimbledon] ladies’ doubles champions, Mrs Patricia Todd and Miss Doris Hart. Their success was a great tonic to the home side and had the effect of encouraging the rest of the team for the second day’s play.

“Playing her first singles match in the Wightman Cup, Miss Joy Gannon did very well to hold Miss Hart through a level second set. She struck some fine forehand winners, but like Mrs Betty Hilton tended to break down in the backhand corner when defending under the pressure of the American’s forceful attack.

“H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent [aka Princess Marina], President of the All England Club, accompanied by Group Captain Sir Louis Greig (Chairman of the Club) and Dr A.H. Wilson (Chairman of the British Lawn Tennis Association), presented the cup to Mrs Hazel Wightman on the court before the last doubles was played when the players of both teams were presented to her in turn.

“The First Day

“It was a propitious day for the British women’s post-war game. Before a packed gallery, mainly composed of schoolgirls, and in ideal conditions, Mrs Bostock showed that Wimbledon’s reigning champions in singles and doubles are by no means unbeatable and that there is after all an answer to the visitors’ powerful games. She outplayed Mrs du Pont off the ground, retrieved in a manner seldom seen before at Wimbledon – and possibly only exceeded by Fru Hilde Sperling in recent times – as she withstood the champion’s man-like service and deadly volleying through 24 games. Lack of an attacking service was the weakness in Mrs Bostock’s own armour, but despite her relatively innocuous delivery she was on level terms with Mrs Bostock at 4-all in the first set, and led 5-3, 30-15, in the second set.

“Profiting from a knock-up on an outer court, Mrs Bostock was into her stride from the first rally against Mrs du Pont, and after four games began to handle the American’s fine service with ever-increasing confidence. She got to the flat services by good anticipation and dealt with Mrs du Pont’s second ‘kicker’ with sure touch. Once into the rally Mrs du Pont hit with a better length and recovered shots in her corners with determination and industry, getting the ball back to a safe length. The score was soon 3-all and 4-all. Mrs du Pont won the critical ninth game to 30, purely on service power; and greater power off the ground in the next game enabled her to score with her running volley which she invariably punched so deep into the corner that it rarely came back.

“Mrs Bostock was at the top of her game in the second set, and after losing an initial lead of 2-0 to become 2-3 down, she had Mrs du Pont pinned to the defence by the depth of her driving. A run of three games (with the loss of only four points) took her to 5-3. Mrs du Pont promptly redoubled her energies to attain the volleying position, and behind fine services won the ninth game; and the tenth on Mrs Bostock’s errors. 5-all. Mrs Bostock’s great effort was not finished, however. She levelled at 6-all, but was beaten by the ferocity of Mrs du Pont’s forecourt attack in the thirteenth game and though she ran to the limit in the next game, she could not get into the attacking position again, and lost at 6-4, 8-6 after 55 minutes’ play.

“Miss Brough’s Ground Stroke Control

“Returning to Wimbledon as American lady champion, Miss Brough gave a great display in overwhelming Mrs Hilton by 6-1, 6-1. So sure was her driving and so severe her service that Miss Brough rarely had to use her volleys, whilst she so cramped Mrs Hilton’s game by her immaculate length that the latter had little scope to come in and hustle her. After 1-all in the first set, Miss Brough won a sequence of nine games, only one of which went to deuce. This put her in the lead at 6-1, 4-0. Mrs Hilton stopped the rot by breaking through service in the fifth game, before yielding to more powerful and accurate driving.

“The Victory of Mrs Bostock and Mrs Blair

“Great Britain won her first match in the first war Wightman Cup contest when Mrs Bostock and Mrs Blair overthrew the reigning Wimbledon champions, Mrs Todd and Miss Hart by 6-3, 6-4. They well deserved their victory by courageous play, intelligent tactics and their intelligent outlook. For a scratch partnership they combined splendidly, and if any one stroke brought them through more than another, it was their timely use of the attacking lob, high enough to clear two volleyers, yet low enough and bounding away to be a difficult recovery.

“By these means Mrs Bostock and partner consistently regained the net position where they punched their volleys away with the force of men. Mrs Blair’s cross-court return of service from the left court was outstanding, frequently ace-ing Mrs Todd as she came in, while Mrs Bostock revelled in the fast surface of Number One Court and placed her volley so adroitly and hit her forehand shots so low and with such penetration that the Americans were forced to volley defensively and upwards.

“Great Britain won the toss and after a lead of 2-1, broke Mrs Todd’s service for 3-1. Mrs Bostock then lost her service, but by clever lobs and great retrieving her side took Miss Hart’s service for 4-2. This lead sufficed for set, Mrs Bostock winning a love service for set at 6-3. Again Great Britain snatched an early lead of 2-0 in the second set, but again they lost their advantage as Mrs Blair faltered and lost her delivery to love for 2-all. After 3-all Britain made her bid for victory; with some dipping returns of service which had the Americans beaten, the home pair captured Mrs Todd’s service to 15 for 4-3. Mrs Blair, despite two poor shots, served herself out safely for 5-3 and after Miss Hart had won her own service to love, Mrs Bostock stormed the net behind her service and made no mistake in clinching the victory.

“Needless to add, the English pair were given a great reception as they left the court from Wimbledon’s habitués as well as the hundreds of schoolgirls in the stands and were besieged by autograph hunters and amateur photographers, all eager to secure tangible souvenirs of a memorable day.

“The Second Day

“The United States won all four rubbers and so retained the trophy by six rubbers to one. Once again Mrs Bostock rose to the occasion and by methods of attrition, foreign to her natural game, and clever tactics, very nearly lowered Miss Brough’s colours. She denied the American champion any pace, kept the ball deep down the centre and having broken Miss Brough’s rhythm began to volley persistently in the third set. Such tactics entailed much retrieving and patient sparring and towards the end of the third set Mrs Bostock was beginning to feel the effects of the chase. This would account for her failure to bring off a relatively easy volley which would have given her a lead at 5-2. As it was she was caught at 4-all and though in the lead again she was evidently ‘baked’ and could make little of Miss Brough’s furious burst of volleying in the next two games.

“Mrs Bostock versus Miss Brough

“There was no hint of the close struggle which was to develop as Miss Brough won the first set at 6-2. She did all the attacking though, significantly, she could rarely score outright with her big service. In the forecourt she was impassable down her lines, and Mrs Bostock set herself the more difficult task of driving her back by the deep lob. At first Mrs Bostock’s lobs were mercilessly killed, but she persisted and had Miss Brough in trouble with the deep diagonal lob in the second set. Her soft-balling also began to have its effect on Miss Brough’s accuracy off the ground and she played her on level terms up to 3-all. Mrs Bostock, altering her tactics, overdid the net attack in losing her service in the seventh game, but she made Miss Brough miss three times in the forecourt in reaching 4-all, and by dint of courageous retrieving, stonewall defence and quick counter-attack moved to 5-4, and again won against the service for the set at 6-4.

“A Costly Volleying Error

“Miss Brough was worried. Facing an unusual type of game, based on ‘defensive aggression’, she lost her pace off the ground and now found herself playing the part of defender. After games had gone with service to 3-2, Mrs Bostock broke through service for 4-2 with a lob, a volley and a full-blooded passing shot. At 40-15 in the next game Mrs Bostock had victory in sight, but put an easy volley into the net. She had made only two mistakes on the volley throughout the match, and unfortunately this vital point was to be one of them! Miss Brough steadied to win the game and volley her way out for 4-all. Once again Mrs Bostock led at 5-4, attacking strongly, but this was her last effort. Miss Brough had more reserves and left for the finish and won the match with the loss of one further point in three games.

“Mrs du Pont at Her Best

“Mrs Hilton had faced Mrs du Pont in the first match of the afternoon and played better than on the first day in extending the Wimbledon champion to 6-3, 6-4, and making Mrs du Pont produce her best. She was overborne by the weight of the American’s ground strokes and deadly volleys, and, lacking an attacking return of service, was pegged to the back of the court for most of the match. Mrs du Pont probed the backhand corner with a stream of piercing drives and came in to volley into an empty half-court. The first set turned on a long sixth game. Mrs Hilton, after being 0-40, nearly made it 3-all, but lost her service after four deuces, and Mrs du Pont promptly won the set with the loss of two further points.

“Mrs du Pont was soon at 4-1 in the second set, but surprisingly lost her service to love in the sixth game. Mrs Hilton played steadily to reach 3-4. Then Mrs du Pont made her bid for victory. Two service aces and a volley earned her the 5-3 lead with a love game and with two more aces and two volleys she won the tenth game to love for the match.

“Miss Gannon’s Debut

“Miss Gannon, playing her first Wightman Cup singles, found Miss Hart at the top of her form and was forced to earn every one of her points. She required four games to get the pace of a very fast court, and then began to match speed with speed. This availed her little. So well did Miss Hart – like all the American team – prepare the way to the net by the deep forcing shot that she had relatively easy volleys for the points at issue.

“Miss Gannon led 3-2 in the second set, hitting some fine shots down the lines. Miss Hart promptly switched her attack to the backhand corner and put away Miss Gannon’s defensive returns with her volley. She levelled at 3-all, climbed to 5-3 after two deuce games and, after losing her service to Miss Gannon’s persistency, claimed the match at 6-4.

“American service power and man-like volleys dominated the doubles in which Mrs du Pont and Miss Brough beat Mrs Hilton and Mrs Menzies, 6-2, 6-2. The British pair were hard put to find a service return of any penetration and were seldom in the position to attack. Lobbing was of little use against such strong overheads possessed by the visitors. Mrs du Pont and Miss Brough both dealt ruthlessly with the English services, winning Mrs Hilton’s three times out of four. Indeed they hardly struck a defensive blow from start to finish, and from 2-all in the second set, lost only three more points in the match.”
------

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1949

August 11 and 13

Venue: Merion Cricket Club, Philadelphia (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Margaret du Pont, Doris Hart, Beverly Baker, Shirley Fry, Patricia Todd, Gertrude ‘Gussie’ Moran
Great Britain: Betty Hilton, Jean Walker-Smith, Jean Quertier, Molly Blair, Kay Tuckey

Non-playing captains: Marjorie Buck (USA); Kay Menzies (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Doris Hart d. Jean Walker-Smith (GBR) 6-3, 6-1
Margaret du Pont d. Betty Hilton (GBR) 6-1, 6-3
Shirley Fry/Hart d. Molly Blair (GBR)/Jean Quertier (GBR) 6-1, 6-2
Hart d. Hilton 6-1, 6-3
Du Pont d. Walker-Smith 6-4, 6-2
Beverly Baker d. Jean Quertier 6-4, 7-5
Gertrude Moran/Patricia Todd d. Hilton/Kay Tuckey (GBR) 6-4, 8-6
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, October 1, 1949

By Brigadier John Smyth, V.C., M.C.

“The Merion Cricket Club at Philadelphia provided a delightful and picturesque setting for the 21st meeting of Britain and America; the arrangements were perfect and the umpiring and the lining were of a high order. I liked particularly the way the chief umpire came to Mrs Kay Menzies three days before the match, warning her then that they were strict on the foot-fault rule and offering to provide umpires for practice games so that our players should not be taken by surprise. Actually the foot-faulting of Mrs Jean Walker-Smith in the opening match did upset her a lot and she never recovered confidence in her service.

“The line-up of the two teams suffered some last-minute alterations. Kay Tuckey, who was down for the third single for Britain, had not been too well and Jean Quertier was substituted. On the American side Miss Louise Brough had been having some trouble with a ligament in her wrist and stood down.

“The Americans had chosen the whole of their seven players seeded for the nationals to represent them in the Cup. This gave them three doubles pairs, the national champions Miss Louise Brough and Mrs Margaret du Pont, Miss Doris Hart and Miss Shirley Fry and the Wimbledon runners-up Mrs Patricia Todd and Miss Gertrude Moran. There was little between the two latter pairs and they had an official play-off when we got to Philadelphia to see which should play as second pair. The Hart-Fry combination won, but as it turned out both pairs played in the match.

“There is little to be said about the two opening singles matches, played in a strong wind in which first the number two players, Miss Hart and Mrs Walker-Smith, were opposed, and then the number ones, Mrs du Pont and Mrs Hilton, except that our players did as well as they could against their opponents. In such circumstances it is idle to criticize, Mrs Walker-Smith lost, 6-3, 6-1, and did in fact have a very simple volley for a 4-2 lead in the first set. But she was being stretched to the limit and quite understandably put it into the net. Mrs Hilton repeated her nationals battle against Mrs du Pont, but did not do quite so well.

“The next match was the only real disappointment for Britain and for the spectators. Miss Hart and Miss Fry are a good but not a great combination, and there was no reason whatsoever why our number one pair of Miss Quertier and Mrs Molly Blair should not have beaten them or at least given them a really hard match. But as it turned out our pair put up no show at all and lost, 6-1, 6-2. I heard our pair described by a spectator as a rudderless ship; and that is what they looked like. Here were two potentially fine doubles players combining worse the more they played together.

“An exhibition mixed was put on after the double, and Kay Menzies played so very much better than either of our doubles representatives that great pressure was put upon her by officials and spectators to play herself on the second day; but she decided to stick to her team as advertised.

“In the first match on the second day Miss Hart beat Mrs Hilton, 6-1, 6-3. In the four matches which decided the cup Britain had not only not won a set, but no British player had managed to get more than three games in any one set.

“The three remaining matches were much closer and more interesting, although all the tenseness had gone as soon as the fate of the cup had been decided. Mrs Hilton and Miss Tuckey made a much better doubles pair than Mrs Blair and Miss Quertier.

“It would be impossible to describe adequately the wonderful hospitality and friendliness shown to our team – both by the officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association and of the Merion Club, and by the captain and members of the opposing team. Mrs Marjorie Buck is a worthy successor as non-playing captain to Mrs Wightman, and she is much to be thanked for all she did for our team and much to be congratulated on the great success of her own.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1950

June 16 and 17

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Louise Brough, Margaret du Pont, Doris Hart, Patricia Todd
Great Britain: Jean Walker-Smith, Betty Hilton, Joan Curry, Joy Mottram, Kay Tuckey

Non-playing captains: Marjorie Buck (USA); Dorothy Shepherd-Barron (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Louise Brough (USA) d. Jean Walker-Smith 6-0, 6-0
Margaret du Pont (USA) d. Betty Hilton 6-3, 6-4
Doris Hart (USA)/Patricia Todd (USA) d. Jean Quertier/Walker-Smith 6-2, 6-3
Du Pont d. Walker-Smith 6-3, 6-2
Brough d. Hilton 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
Hart d. Joan Curry 6-3, 6-3
Brough/du Pont d. Hilton/Tuckey 6-2, 6-0
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, July 1, 1950

By Lewis Dorey

“The United States of American retained the Wightman Cup at Wimbledon on June 16 and 17, scoring their 14th successive victory by seven matches to love. They demonstrated their overwhelming margin of supremacy on the first day when their formidable quarter outclassed the British team, winning the first three matches without having to contest an advantage set. Great Britain fought back courageously on the second day. Mrs Jean Walker-Smith redeemed her reputation after an indifferent display against Miss Louise Brough on the first afternoon by a determined resistance to Mrs Margaret du Pont, and Mrs Betty Hilton outplayed Miss Brough for a set and kept the issue open to 5-all in the third set by a magnificent display of all-court attack.

“Finally it fell to Miss Joan Curry to offer a stubborn resistance to Miss Doris Hart whose form was even more impressive than the two American leaders. The two doubles matches were most one-sided: the Americans’ virile games of attack from the top of the net put them in a class above both British teams, neither of whom could settle down against peaceful serving, return of service or decisive volleying.

“Mrs C.R. Attlee [the prime minister’s wife; née Violet Millar], accompanied by Mr Samuel E. Charlton, chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association, come on the court to present the cup to Mrs Richard Buck [née Marjorie Gladman], America’s new captain in succession to Mrs Hazel Wightman, at the conclusion of the match and was introduced to the winning team. The contest was played in excellent weather and on both days the stands were full, with many large parties of schoolgirls in their various uniforms filling whole blocks of the open stands.

“The First Day

“American service power, backed by their characteristic man-like volleying, once again gave the visiting team the lien on victory after the first three matches. Great Britain’s team not only lacked the aggressive service, but of much more moment could not strike their service returns in such a manner as to foil the incoming volleyer. Mrs Walker-Smith never attuned her strokes to the pace of the Wimbledon grass against Miss Brough. Her timing of the low bounding ball was at fault and her errors on the backhand affected the rest of her game; her lobbing was short and her passing shot, usually so accurately struck when she gets behind the ball, only avoided the volleying arm of Miss Brough on two or three occasions.

“Miss Brough gave a finished exhibition as befits the lady champion. Her length off the ground was immaculate, and after foozling a few short smashes in the opening games she dominated the match by serve and volley and won in love sets in 34 minutes, blanketing the net so effectively that she rarely lost the point when established in the forecourt.

“Mrs Hilton played with enterprise against with Mrs du Pont, challenging her boldly for the net position and making a real match of it in the second set. Mrs du Pont was unimpressive at times off the ground, but more than redeemed herself by her splendid serving and deadly volleying. She could afford the luxury of some ground-stroke errors at the hot pace she set, for these mistakes were more than nullified by her forcing drives which gave her command of the net.

“Like Mrs Walker-Smith, Mrs Hilton was a little uncomfortable against the pace of the American’s shots and was all the while searching for a return which would keep an eager volleyer back or trap her half-way up the court. She was only able to break through the service once – in the opening game, aided by two double faults from Mrs du Pont. Thereafter the American went to 5-2 in the first set and out at 6-3; and in the second set, after service had prevailed for six games, broke through for 4-3, and won in a blaze of fine volleying at 6-4.

“Miss Hart gave a most finished display in her partnership with Mrs Patricia Todd. Where her teammates showed an equally forceful game Miss Hart had the greater variety of stroke in mid-court with some exquisitely executed half-volleys or shots so acutely angled that they scored by their surprise power. Mrs Todd backed her up well, with plenty of power in the air, whilst her return of service made for many an opening. Indeed the way of America’s victory was paved by their low dipping returns of service, which worried both Miss Jean Quertier and Mrs Walker-Smith from start to finish. Both were forced on to the defensive at once, their service delivery being an embarrassment rather than an asset. In the 17 games, Miss Hart lost her service once and Mrs Todd twice. Miss Quertier’s service was broken four times and Mrs Walker-Smith’s once.

“The Second Day

“The United States retained the trophy when in the opening match of the second day Mrs du Pont beat Mrs Walker-Smith, 6-3, 6-2. The English lady came out fighting after a preliminary knock-up with Dan Maskell and, gauging the pace of the court at once, settled down to play consistent tennis as she led at 3-1 and 40-15. She returned Mrs du Pont’s service well and her depth of return kept her opponent away from the net and uncertain off the ground.

“Then Mrs du Pont lifted her game and threw in the weight of her volleying behind an attack to the backhand corner and scored a sequence of ten games, for the first set and a lead of 5-0 in the second. The long fifth game in the first set had been the turning point. Five times deuce was called, Mrs Walker-Smith having four game points. Mrs du Pont’s power of stroke was not to be denied, however, and she was never seriously threatened again, pulling out a timely service ace, almost at will, or forcing Mrs Walker-Smith back to the defensive on the backhand with her deep service returns.

“Mrs Hilton Extends the Lady Champion

“Mrs Hilton has never played better tennis in her career than in her sterling fight against Miss Brough. She carried the attack to the opposition at once, and outplayed Miss Brough in the first set by her robust and courageous all-court attack behind serving little inferior to the lady champion. She scorned anything in the nature of defensive play, took her risks and read Miss Brough’s intentions so well that she frequently wrong-footed her with her passing stroke or drive. She led at 3-1 and broke through service again for a 6-2 set. For once Miss Brough was forced to play largely on the defence against good length and persistent attack, and her ground strokes were frequently at fault.

“Some of the fury of Mrs Hilton’s attack departed in the second set, and Miss Brough, assuming her familiar attack, turned the match around by the thrustfulness of her volleying. She led 3-1, and after conceding the fifth game on errors, squared the match at 6-2. The ten minutes’ interval seemed to depress Mrs Hilton’s game, but she rallied gamely from 0-3 down to 3-all, and again from 3-5 to 5-all, saving two match points. Miss Brough showed her class at this challenge to her supremacy. She had been foot-faulted on several occasions for swinging over the centre line, but never allowed this to disturb her or break her concentration. She played out the 11th game like a champion, with fine driving and volleying; and beat off Mrs Hilton’s desperate net attack in the 12th game with the loss of two points.

“Another Fine Match

“The third strings’ match between Miss Hart and Miss Curry was in its way the best contest of the two days. Both players were at the peak of their games, each in their own way pursuing preconceived tactics with remarkable control. Miss Curry, with her more limited equipment, put up such a stout resistance under intensive pressure that she forced Miss Hart to expose the full resources of her talented game. Indeed Miss Hart’s display was not bettered by Mss Brough or Mrs du Pont. She was more secure off the ground than her teammates and far more versatile in her mid-court play. Against such superlative play Miss Curry’s feat in taking six games was most commendable.

“America scored their seventh point in the first-string doubles through Mrs du Pont and Miss Brough overcoming Mrs Hilton and Kay Tuckey. There was a sense of anti-climax about the proceedings which inevitably savoured of the exhibition. The American ladies’ serving and volleying, to say nothing of their sympathetic understanding, was outstanding and they outpaced the British pair by a score of 6-2, 6-0.”
-----

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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1951

August 24 and 25

Venue: Longwood Cricket Club, Brookline, Massachusetts (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Doris Hart, Shirley Fry, Maureen Connolly Patricia Todd, Nancy Chaffee
Great Britain: Jean Quertier, Jean Walker-Smith, Kay Tuckey, Joy Mottram, Patricia Ward

Non-playing captains: Marjorie Buck (USA); Dorothy Shepherd-Barron (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 6-1

Doris Hart d. Jean Quertier (GBR) 6-4, 6-4
Shirley Fry d. Jean Walker-Smith (GBR) 6-1, 6-4
Nancy Chaffee/Patricia Todd d. Joy Mottram (GBR)/Patricia Ward (GBR) 7-5, 6-3
Maureen Connolly d. Kay Tuckey (GBR) 6-1, 6-3
Hart d. Walker-Smith 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
Quertier d. Fry 6-3, 8-6
Fry/Hart d. Quertier/Tuckey 6-3, 6-3
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, September 15, 1951

“The Wightman Cup

“The United States retain the Trophy at Longwood on 24th and 25th August

“Great Britain’s Wightman Cup team put up a strong fight against the United States at the Longwood Cricket Club, Brookline (Mass.) in the annual international match. America won by six rubbers to one to score their fifteenth consecutive victory in a closer contest than last year – and the rubbers ‘after’ the cup had been won and lost can be taken as a pointer to the strides made by Britain’s ladies since they last played in America two years ago.

“Below, Brigadier John G. Smtyh, V.C., M.C., sends us his impressions of the match:

“Those two great Americans, Margaret du Pont and Louise Brough, had withdrawn from the1951 scene after Wimbledon, but in their present form their inclusion in America’s team would really have only affected the doubles when they would undoubtedly have formed a stronger combination than Patricia Todd and Nancy Chaffee.

“For the British team there were three possible singles players. Mrs Dorothy Shepherd-Barron’s only problem was in which order to play them. This difficulty was accentuated by Kay Tuckey’s convincing straight sets win over Jean Walker-Smith in the final of the Longwood Bowl only two days before the Wightman Cup. However, I am sure she was right to put them in the order she did – Walker-Smith, Jean Quertier, Tuckey. Since leaving England she had broken up the partnership of Joy Mottram-Walker-Smith and substituted Patricia Ward for Walker-Smith.

“In the first match Doris Hart opposed Jean Quertier, and the result was almost a repetition of their Wimbledon encounter, with Jean playing rather better and getting one more game than she did on the Centre Court. Once again, Doris was palpably nervous, and she never quite succeeded in hitting off her nerves. Jean was naturally nervous too – as was evident from the number of her double faults – but if she could have realized how shaky Doris was, I think she could have won. As it was, she played extremely well, and Doris was very glad when the match was over with the score 6-4, 6-4.

“There were no nerves about the second match between Shirley Fry and Jean Walker-Smith. They both started as if they wanted to hit the cover off the ball; but Shirley was doing it much the better, with the result that she was very soon a set up. Jean cleverly slowed the game down in the second set, which she should have won with any luck at all. Shirley Fry was at the top of her form and in those conditions was just that bit too good as she won, 6-1, 6-4.

“The third match saw the meeting of the two second doubles pairs – Mrs Todd and Miss Nancy Chaffee for the United States, and Miss Patricia Ward and Mrs Joy Mottram for Great Britain. Both pairs were newly-formed combinations, but the American pair had easily defeated our pair in the Nationals. Nevertheless, in this match the British pair showed the better combination and should have won. However, after leading 5-4 in the first set, they crumpled completely before the fierce will to win of Mrs Pat Todd, who could have won the match with any of the other three as her partner.

“Miss Chaffee was the worst of the four; Joy Mottram started well and seemed to tire; Pat Ward made quite a promising debut and is obviously a strong doubles player. But there was no leadership or drive about the British team and they became overawed by Pat Todd’s strong personality.

“However, there it was – three down once again on the first day and the match as good as lost.

“Miss Connolly’s Debut

“Having seen Maureen Connolly play before, I had little doubt that she would prove too good for Kay Tuckey. Small, blonde and sturdy, Maureen Connolly is completely devoid of nerves. She hits hard to a length all round the court, and in less than thirty-five minutes’ play she had made certain that the Cup stayed in the United States.

“With the result decided and the tension relaxed, there followed two matches which raised the stock of the British game very high indeed. Doris Hart was still not quite herself, but good enough to beat anyone in the world. She was only just good enough to beat Jean Walker-Smith, and only pulled through in the final set, for a score of 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, by producing several service aces at the critical moment. Jean ran like a deer and fought every point.

“Miss Quertier’s Win

“Then came Jean Quertier’s great win over Shirley Fry. Mrs Wightman said to me afterwards that she had often seen Jean play one set like that – as we all have – but never two. At 6-3, 4-2 she faltered before Shirley’s strong counterattack, but as she played this match Jean Quertier could have beaten anyone in the world. But, of course, as I have said, there was no nervous strain involved – although Shirley certainly did not want to get beaten.

“And finally, we had the top double in which Doris Hart and Shirley Fry were so superior to Jean Quertier and Kay Tuckey that it was hardly a match at all. It is in doubles play, where we used to be supreme, that our real weakness lies.

“But let us think back on this match as it well might have been if Jean Quertier could have pulled off the first match and Joy and Pat had won their doubles – as I maintain they should have done. Britain leading 2-1 at the end of the first day; 2-2 after the third single; could Jean Walker-Smith have pulled out that little bit extra against Doris Hart to give Britain the Cup by 4 matches to 3? But whether the answer is yes or no, the gap between American and British women’s tennis is a chasm no longer, but has become of bridgeable size. That was evident to all astute beholders – American and British alike.”
-----

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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:37 PM   #28
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1952

June 13 and 14

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Doris Hart, Maureen Connolly, Shirley Fry, Louise Brough
Great Britain: Jean Rinkel-Quertier, Jean Walker-Smith, Susan Partridge, Helen Fletcher, Joy Mottram, Patricia Ward

Non-playing captains: Marjorie Buck (USA); Dorothy Shepherd-Barron (GBR)
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Maureen Connolly (USA) d. Jean Walker-Smith 3-6, 6-1, 7-5
Doris Hart (USA) d. Jean Rinkel-Quertier 6-3, 6-3
Shirley Fry (USA)/Hart d. Helen Fletcher/Jean Rinkel-Quertier 8-6, 6-4
Hart d. Walker-Smith 7-5, 6-2
Connolly d. Rinkel-Quertier 9-7, 6-2
Fry d. Susan Partridge 6-0, 8-6
Louise Brough (USA)/Connolly d. Joy Mottram/Patricia Ward 6-0, 6-3
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, July 1, 1952

By Lewis Dorey

“The United States of America retained the Wightman Cup at the All England Club, Wimbledon, on June 13th and 14th. Although America again won by the conclusive margin of 7-0, victory was not quite so overwhelming as the bare score suggests. Their well-balanced singles team, holders of all the world’s major titles, were held in some of the sets and forced to produce their very best against determined opposition.

“H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent, President of the All England Club, presided on the Saturday and handed the trophy on the court to Mrs Marjorie Buck, the United States captain, during the afternoon. There was a sell-out of all seats round number one court for both days.

“Britain’s team did not lack for strokes or mobility to parry the weight of the American attack, nor were the athletic qualities of our team in question. America’s victory was achieved in all rubbers through their players’ appreciation of the key points of the game and the key games of the set, and their ability to produce that little bit extra in the pinch. They never play loose shots in the crisis of a set. Miss Maureen Connolly produced the inspired shots against Mrs Jean Walker-Smith at the crucial points of their match, and once having found her peak game against Mrs Jean Rinkel-Quertier, she maintained it to the finish.

“Miss Doris Hart found extra service power when in arrears against Mrs Walker-Smith in their first set; and in the top doubles the American pair tightened up their service returns to snatch both sets which looked to be going to Great Britain. Miss Shirley Fry, too, was overtaken in the second set by Miss Susan Partridge in the third singles and characteristically shed her errors to win the vital points in the advantage games for victory.

“The First Day

“Mrs Walker-Smith played her best singles in this country in extending Miss Connolly to the limit. She was ahead at 4-2 and within a point of 5-4 in the final set when her opponent hit the sideline. Miss Helen Fletcher too rose to the occasion in her partnership with Mrs Rinkel-Quertier, and the home pair had chances of both sets against Miss Hart and Miss Fry, leading 6-5 and 30-0 in the first set, and coming within a point of 5-4 in the second.

“The opening singles did not come up to expectations. Neither Miss Hart nor Mrs Rinkel-Quertier were in top form, the lady champion conceding more loose shots than we expect from her, whilst Mrs Rinkel-Quertier was never in control with her drives and inclined to hit a late ball. She successfully covered up her insecurity off the ground by a brave volleying attack, but Miss Hart had all the answers to close-quarter pressure and lobbed her delicately or found the gaps down the British lines. Miss Hart’s lead of 4-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second could not be shaken, and she perceptibly increased pressure on service and volley in forcing home her leads to win by 6-3, 6-3.

“Mrs Walker-Smith’s Best Form

“Mrs Walker-Smith produced the form she had shown in the cup match in America last year in extending Miss Connolly to 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. She cleverly slowed the pace of the game down in leading 4-2 and had the American champion pressing and conceding errors by impetuosity. Contesting the all-important seventh game, Miss Connolly found control off the ground to pull up to 3-4, but promptly lost her own service to love and was teased out of the next game as the set went to Great Britain.

“With Miss Connolly hitting fiercely to the lines in the second set, Mrs Walker-Smith found it necessary to ease up. A sequence of five games went to America and the set at 6-1. Mrs Walker-Smith profited from the ten minutes’ interval and persisted with her slowing down tactics in the third set, the break appearing to have affected Miss Connolly’s touch more than Britain’s leader, who came with a point of a 3-0 lead and led 4-2, playing errorless tennis.

“Then Miss Connolly made her customary effort; she imposed her newly-found volleying skill, made light of her two double faults in the eighth game and was quickly at 4-all. Mrs Walker-Smith stood at 40-15 in the ninth game when a cross-court drive from Miss Connolly clipped the lines to save the game. The American never looked back after this let-off , she took the game with the next three points – the last on a net-cord – and though held to 5-all, hit her way out gaily at 7-5.

“An American Recovery

“Mrs Rinkel-Quertier and Miss Fletcher justified their selection as a pair in giving Miss Fry and Miss Hart a close match. The British pair led through the first set to 6-5, attacking strongly from the net, and they had the first set in sight at 30-0 on Mrs Rinkel-Quertier’s service. Aggressive, dipping returns of service by the Americans saved the set and, and Miss Fry was outstanding in her severity of stroke as the doubles champions took the set at 8-6.

“The issue remained speculative in the second set when Britain quickly broke through Miss Hart’s service, Miss Fletcher being the outstanding player. Once again the Americans’ answer was to tighten up their return of service and by using the full width of the court they went ahead to 3-1. Again our pair took Miss Hart’s service and levelled at 3-all and 4-all. Miss Hart was closely harried before holding her service for 5-4, and the visitors’ dipping returns of service enabled them to take Mrs Rinkel-Quertier’s service to love for the match.

“The Second Day

“The United States retained the cup when Miss Hart beat Mrs Walker-Smith in the opening match by 7-5, 6-2. Mrs Walker-Smith matched her athletic qualities and determination against Miss Hart’s completely equipped game, and for ten games the issue was in doubt. Mrs Walker-Smith’s return of her rival’s big service was masterly; she got into the rallies and with her fine return of speed, stood up to a battering in her corners and gave as good as she got with passing shot or lob.

“The match turned on the fortunes of the eighth game. Mrs Walker-Smith, in the lead at 4-3, held the game point five times on Miss Hart’s service at 15-40 and ‘vantage. She was pulled back to deuce three times by the power of Miss Hart’s service, and despite her stubborn defence and counter-strokes against the volleyer, had to yield the game. Again the home player forced the lead at 5-4, and again the American lady raised her game, serving her way out with a series of aces from 15-30 down. Thereafter Miss Hart was on top and gave a champion’s display to win the next two games for set.

“Mrs Walker-Smith was never outclassed in the second set, but she was under-gunned to win the key points. Thus she had a point for 2-0 in the second set, after 2-all had the game point in three of the next four games, all of which she lost, and the Cup remained in America’s hands when Miss Hart won the set at 6-2.

“Two Aggressive Players

“As an exhibition of aggressive tennis, the match between Miss Connolly and Mrs Rinkel-Quertier probably had no equal in the post-war women’s game. Both players attacked each other wholeheartedly and the pace of their driving and the punch of their volleying were altogether remarkable. Miss Connolly kept the ball so deep and was so eager to volley that she had her opponent under pressure in the corners. But Mrs Rinkel-Quertier revelled in the pace of the fight and with her backhand in fine trim led 4-3, and 4-5 and 5-6, again at 7-6. Characteristically the American exerted more pressure in the pinch. She made a match-winning effort in scoring eleven points in succession which took her to set point, faltered on the next three points, but volleyed her way to set. There was no holding Miss Connolly in the second set, and her many net finishes indicated that she is now a complete all-court player.

“Miss Susan Partridge made a last-minute recovery against Miss Fry after being a set and 1-4 down, only to spoil her chances by double-faulting in the advantage games. The match was almost entirely a baseline duel, with Miss Fry’s consistency enabling her to save a third set from 5-6 and 0-30 down.

“In the last match Miss Louise Brough and Miss Connolly dominated Mrs Joy Mottram and Miss Patricia Ward from the net and were not extended.”
-----

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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:37 PM   #29
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1953

August 1 and 3

Venue: Westchester Country Club, Rye, New York (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry, Louise Brough
Great Britain: Helen Fletcher, Angela Mortimer, Jean Rinkel-Quertier, Anne Shilcock

Non-playing captains: Margaret du Pont (USA); [????]
--

United States d. Great Britain 7-0

Maureen Connolly d. Angela Mortimer (GBR) 6-1, 6-1
Doris Hart d. Helen Fletcher (GBR) 6-4, 7-5
Louise Brough/Connolly d. Mortimer/Anne Shilcock (GBR) 6-2, 6-3
Hart d. Mortimer 6-1, 6-1
Connolly d. Fletcher 6-1, 6-1
Shirley Fry d. Jean Rinkel-Quertier (GBR) 6-2, 6-4
Fry/Hart d. Fletcher/Rinkel-Quertier 6-2, 6-1
--

[....]
-----

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Old May 18th, 2014, 08:37 PM   #30
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Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More

1954

June 11 and 12

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon (outdoors on grass)

Teams

United States: Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart, Louise Brough, Shirley Fry, Margaret du Pont (captain)
Great Britain: Anne Shilcock, Helen Fletcher, Angela Buxton, Patricia Hird

Non-playing British captain: Mary Halford
--

United States d. Great Britain 6-0

Maureen Connolly (USA) d. Helen Fletcher 6-1, 6-3
Doris Hart (USA) d. Anne Shilcock 6-4, 6-1
Louise Brough (USA)/Margaret de Pont (USA) d. Angela Buxton/Patricia Hird 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
Brough d. Buxton 8-6, 6-2
Connolly d. Shilcock 6-2, 6-2
Hart d. Fletcher 6-1, 6-8, 6-2
Shirley Fry (USA)/Hart versus Fletcher/Shilcock [unplayed]
--

From “Lawn Tennis and Badminton”, July 1, 1954

By Lewis Dorey

“The Wightman Cup Match

“The United States Retain the Trophy

“The Wightman Cup has been won by the strongest women’s team ever to represent a nation. With that comment Viscount Templewood, the President of the British Lawn Tennis Association, congratulated the United States ladies’ team and presented the trophy to Mrs Margaret du Pont at Wimbledon after America had won their fourth rubber on the second day and so retained possession of the cup they have held since 1930.

“The 26th match was played on June 11th and 12th on the Number One Court at Wimbledon, and despite depressing weather conditions and the powerful American team lined up to oppose Great Britain, which presupposed a one-sided match, the stands were well filled by the public and school parties who were rewarded by some invigorating play from Great Britain’s young representatives. In their sterling resistance and aggressive outlook they encouraged the hope of even better performances as they mature.

“Miss Angela Buxton and Miss Patricia Hird won their laurels – their sterling resistance in the doubles calling to mind the exploits in the ‘twenties of Evelyn Colyer and Joan Lycett, those ‘babes’ who thrilled the Centre Court by similar exploits against the then reigning champions of Wimbledon. This new partnership, first formed for the match against France this year and trained and encouraged by their captain, Mrs Mary Halford, nearly achieved ‘the impossible’ in coming within three points of victory against Mrs du Pont and Miss Louise Brough. They reached their lead of 5-1 in the third set on the merits of their attack rather than because the light was bad – a handicap to both sides. The four-times Wimbledon doubles champions showed their class in the crisis and clinched the victory at 7-5, casting off errors which had depressed their play and taking charge as their 19-year-old opponents faltered on the brink of victory.

“Miss Connolly Adapts Herself to the Surface

“The first day’s play became an evening match after the rain had ceased, Miss Maureen Connolly and Miss Helen Fletcher playing the opening rubber at 6.30 p.m. Although the Number One Court had been covered by its tarpaulin, the damp atmosphere made the grass slippery, and foothold was a little precarious. Miss Connolly’s footwork was so nimble that she appeared to overcome the conditions without difficulty. She never seemed to have to slide in desperation as Miss Fletcher did to the wider returns; and after a couple of games in which she was error prone, Miss Connolly raced to set at 6-1, scoring at one point a sequence of 12 points out of 13 which completely turned the set her way.

“Miss Fletcher made a strong bid for the sixth game, contesting four deuces, but Miss Connolly was in no mood to yield an inch of ground and remorselessly climbed to 5-1, a very different lead to 4-2 with the weather still doubtful and threatening a closure. She used the drop-shot profitably on the greasy surface to save game points, and once her corner to corner accuracy of drive was ‘grooved’ she looked to be irresistible.

“Although it was not a day for the volleyer, Miss Connolly showed that good footwork can rise superior to the conditions. She raced to 4-0 as she drove Miss Fletcher wide out of court and came up to accept easy volley finishes. Miss Fletcher fought back well and took full advantage of a patch of errors which affected Miss Connolly’s play in the following games, as she recovered to 3-5. But Miss Connolly steadied characteristically, and exploiting a whipped cross-court drive in reply to the shorter return, she again assumed the attack and won the match at 6-3 after 35 minutes’ play.

“The top grasses of the court were still wet when Miss Doris Hart and Miss Anne Shilcock followed, and speculation was rife whether the home player would be able to use the full dimensions of the court and make Miss Hart run. Miss Shilcock played well, especially from the backhand, and volleyed decisively, but she was far too prone to double-fault. She conceded three double faults in the fifth game at a time when Miss Hart was showing discomfiture in the conditions and playing well below her best form. By contrast, Miss Hart showed how an attacking service is a game-saver. At 15-40 down in the sixth game, she produced three aces in succession, and advancing to 4-2 and 5-3 took a love game for set at 6-4. Service power had been Miss Hart’s big asset in this set.

“Miss Hart went ahead more serenely in the second set and it was soon apparent that Miss Shilcock did not possess the control off the ground to do more than worry Miss Hart occasionally in the difficult conditions and poor light. Still using her fine service to open up the court, Miss Hart conceded only three points in her three service games in the set and won at 6-1.

“Miss Buxton and Miss Hird Excel

“It was eight o’clock when Mrs du Pont and Miss Brough entered the court with Miss Buxton and Miss Hird, and it was at once apparent that the young home pair were not to be overawed by the occasion in facing the four-times Wimbledon doubles champions. Both returned the service well, Miss Buxton having cultivated more top-spin on her forehand cross-court drive. With Miss Hird volleying skilfully down the centre and returning service well from the backhand court, Britain got the service break for 4-2 and took full advantage of some American errors to clinch the seventh game on Miss Buxton’s service and win the set at 6-2.

“Mrs du Pont cut out the mid-court errors which affected her play as the American pair dominated the early part of the second set, leading 3-1 and 5-2. But she was not seeing the ball well and when she dropped her service to love and Miss Hird won her own to love, the score was America 5-4. Miss Brough held her side together in the next game, winning her service to 15 for set at 6-4.

“The British nineteen-year-old pair were far from finished at this reverse. Playing each shot on its merits, Miss Hird dominated the opening games of the third set, volleying decisively, often off the wood, to score outright and using the lob cleverly in the half-light. Miss Brough’s service was broken for 3-1, and Miss Buxon served the fifth game to love. Mrs du Pont was harried as she served in the sixth game. Deuce was called four times and ultimately Miss Hird aced the American service to secure the game point.

“5-1 to Great Britain! With Miss Hird serving, Great Britain came within three points of match, but both home players became indecisive – even defensive – instead of continuing to attack the ball. The United States pair drew on their great experience, and despite the very poor light of a dull and overcast evening they raised their games, cut their errors to a minimum and won six games in a row for the match with the loss of only nine further points, as the clocks chimed nine o’clock.

“The Second Day: America’s Victory

“The United States secured further possession of the Cup when Miss Brough beat Miss Buxton in the opening match of the second day. Rain again delayed the start for over an hour and interrupted the proceedings with America leading by six rubbers to love and the top doubles still unplayed. Despite the unpleasant conditions there was again much to cheer in the British resistance to the strongest side ever turned out against the players.

“Miss Buxton gave a fine display against Miss Brough, mixing up her game so well by variations of pace and tactical moves that she had her renowned adversary in two minds as to the methods to adopt on the somewhat slippery grass. Basically, Miss Buxton has always been steady off the ground, and with this asset to encourage her she could afford to vary her speed of service and benefit from some forcing drives and go in and volley freely.

“She led 3-1, but lost the next four games as Miss Brough showed the value of an attacking service to win vital points. The visitor exposed a weakness in Miss Buxton’s backhand when attacked deep. Miss Brough had several set points at 5-3 and more at 5-4, but was caught at 5-all through Miss Buxton’s determination and retrieving ability when all else failed her. At 6-all, rain stopped play for fifteen minutes, and on the resumption Miss Brough took the shortest path to victory in the conditions.

“Remaining steady and relying on her service and ground strokes, she beat Miss Buxton off the ground for the set at 8-6, and from 1-2 in the second took a fine sequence of five games for victory. Not that Miss Buxton offered no further fight. She had her moments in breaking service to love for her 2-1 lead, and either rallying with Miss Brough or attacking boldly at the net she gave the impression of being an experienced international. Weight of shot, especially in her backhand corner, pinned her to the defence in the closing games.

“Miss Connolly gave an inimitable exhibition of the back-court game against Miss Shilcock. So well did she move to the ball that the court might well have been bone dry instead of greasy in the damp atmosphere. Never once did one see her slithering in the corners, her coordination of stroke and footwork proclaimed her class. She was never off balance.

“Miss Fletcher put up a fine fight against Miss Hart, doing better than in last year’s international in earning the second set by some of the most forceful ground-stroke play seen in the two days. With her doubles match still to play, Miss Hart was anxious to beat Miss Fletcher out of hand and had the first set at 6-1. Then the Derbyshire lady found an improving service return and chopping the ball back deep or with a wider angle she got into the rallies and hit gaily to the lines with great power. She led 4-2 and 5-4 and set-point. A careless shot over the lines cost her the point, and she had to save a match point at 5-6 before winning the set at 8-6. Then came more rain, and on the resumption Miss Fletcher had points for a 2-0 lead in the third set. Instead, Miss Hart led 2-1 and from 2-all took control of the match – a remarkable feat for one whose mobility is limited in greasy conditions – and won it at 6-2 as rain stopped play.”
-----

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