Dates: June 29-July (the Ladies event started July 6)
Venue: All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon (Worple Road), London, England.
Holder Lena Rice isn't defending her title this year.
Helen Jackson d. Maud Shackle 6-4 7-5
Lottie Dod d. Mrs. Roberts 6-0 6-0
Bertha Steedman d. Helen Jackson 6-2 6-2
May Langrishe d. May Jacks 11-9 6-3
Blanche Hillyard d. Ruth Legh 6-3 6-2
Lottie Dod d. Steedman 6-3 6-1
Hillyard d. Langrishe 6-4 6-1
Lottie Dod d. Blanche Hillyard 6-2 6-1
Barrett uses "Mrs Parsons" in place of Mrs Roberts. Both the London Times and Alan Little use Mrs Roberts however, so we use her name here. In Alan Little's book on Dod he Roberts was "a visitor from India."
The draw is made on Saturday, July 4, in the Pavilion. The custom in the early days was for the ladies matches to commence at 3:30 "punctually".
The London Times
From "Pastime", July 8, 1891:
"Yesterday afternoon Miss Helen Jackson and Miss Maud Shackle commenced their match in the first round of the ladies' singles, but the score had only reached 4-3 in Miss Jackson's favour when rain came down in torrents and completely put a stop to play for over an hour. When the weather at length began to clear there was some discussion as to what was to be done, the centre court (which had been covered with tarpaulins as usual) being the only one available. At length it was decided to abandon the doubles for the day and go on with the ladies' matches.
"It was nearly 5.30 when Miss Jackson and Miss Shackle resumed their match. Miss Shackle won the opening game, making the score four-all, but Miss Jackson, by some fairly severe play, scored the next two and the set.
"The second set was somewhat uneven, no less than four love games being scored in the first seven (three by Miss Jackson and one by Miss Shackle). Miss Shackle occasionally put in some of her hard drives, but as a rule her strokes were not severe, though of a fairly good length. Miss Jackson's returns were far neater, and her backhand, to which her opponent played principally, very fairly safe.
"Miss Shackle lost a good chance of making the score 5-4 in her favour by serving a double fault, but nevertheless managed to reach games-all. Miss Jackson also had some bad luck with a return which hit the net and rolled over at a critical time, and this, aided by some very steady and at times severe play, gave her the set at 7-5.
"Mrs Blanche Hillyard and Miss May Langrishe had an interesting encounter in the first set. The latter scored the first two games, but Mrs Hillyard soon got on level terms, and although she only won the set at 6-4 she seemed to have something in hand.
This was more or less shown by the result of the second set, in which her hitting became more severe, and her placing almost, if not quite, up to her old form. With the score at 4-1 in her favour the rain again came down, but as the match seemed likely to end soon, play went on through it all.
"Miss Langrishe got to 40-0 in the sixth game, but Mrs Hillyard drew level, and eventually won it after a number of deuces. The next was also a long game, and went like its predecessor to Mrs Hillyard, giving her the set and match. The winner played with great steadiness and good judgment all through the match, and her forehand drive was at times very severe and well placed. Her backhanders were safe but not brilliant. In contrast to her, Miss Langrishe played a soft but somewhat erratic game. Her backhand strokes were, as usual, extremely graceful, but her attempts to drive hard usually ended in disaster. Her service was very good, and she scored outright with it on more than one occasion."
From "Pastime", July 15, 1891: "Miss Bertha Steedman and Miss Helen Jackson, being a round behind, and in order to admit of the ladies' singles being finished on the same day as the gentlemen's doubles, played their tie in the second round on Wednesday morning, the winner having to meet Miss Lottie Dod at 3.30 in the afternoon.
"Miss Steedman was in fine form, as was again proved later in the day, and Miss Jackson also did well, the score (6-2, 6-2 in Miss Steedman's favour) not indicating the true state of the match, for no fewer than six out of the eight games were at deuce in the second set. Both ladies hit fairly hard and placed well, but Miss Steedman's volleying, of which she made good use, proved a tremendous advantage to her and, in fact, won her the match.
"It must have been very consoling to Miss Jackson to see Miss Steedman make such a good fight against Miss Dod in the afternoon. This match was one of the prettiest which has taken place between ladies for some time. Both players did a good deal of volleying, and there was thus far more variety about the game than is usual in ladies' matches. On the baseline both hit hard and placed well, and it was particularly noticeable that a weak second service was almost invariably killed outright.
"Miss Steedman's best stroke was a hard forehand drive into her opponent's backhand court, but Miss Dod, besides making this stroke equally well, was a good bit stronger on the backhand. She also played with the greatest coolness, and kept such good position that she was never hurried. Miss Steedman wisely tried to force the game as much as possible, recognising the fact that soft strokes were of little avail against such a powerful antagonist. For this reason the rests were seldom very long, but considering that there was a gusty breeze blowing across the court, and that both ladies had to risk a good deal in order to pass each other at the net, the number of mistakes was remarkably small.
"The first set (won by Miss Dod at 6-3) was the closer, but Miss Steedman made a better fight in the second than the solitary game scored by her would indicate. In this game deuce was called no less than ten times before Miss Steedman won it. After this Miss Dod scored a love set, but three out of the six games were at deuce.
ACF: Lottie Dod d. Blanche Hillyard 6-2, 6-1
"The final was, though by no means close, a very interesting contest, as the play on both sides was remarkably certain and severe. The rests were shorter than is usually the case in good ladies' matches, but this was owing to the accurate placing of both the competitors, a very large number of the strokes being won by perfectly unreturnable deliveries.
"Miss Lottie Dod was distinctly stronger on the backhand, and she lost no opportunity of turning this to account by placing to her opponent's weak side and going up to the net, as well as by making many fine returns short across the court, which generally decided the rest.
"Mrs Hillyard won the second and third games of the first set, but the score was immediately brought level by four fine passes, which gave a love game to Miss Dod. Deuce was called in each of the three following games, but the eighth gave Miss Dod the set. In this game Mrs Hillyard scored a stroke with a volley, and in the last of the next set there was quite a long rest of volleys which ended in Miss Dod's favour. The only game scored by Mrs Hillyard in this set was the third, but she played her hardest to the end, and the fifth and seventh games were very long and evenly contested.
"Miss Dod showed a most wonderful power of returning the hardest drives, and sometimes scored when she seemed to have hopelessly lost position. The last stroke of the match was lost by an attempt at a smash by Mrs Hillyard when she had apparently an easy chance of bringing the score back to deuce, and a fair prospect of taking the game."
Last edited by Rollo; Mar 20th, 2016 at 12:59 AM.