Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz
This is a good account of the Fleitz-Brough 1955 Wimbledon singles final. It's taken from a July 1955 of "Sports Illustrated":
Louise Brough entered the hall of Wimbledon fame today. She drew on every shot in her memory book and improvised a few more on the spur of the moment to defeat Mrs. Beverly Baker Fleitz of Long Beach, Calif. 7-5, 8-6, for the all-England women's tennis championship.
This singles match will live long in Wimbledon tradition. It rang on a high note from the first serve and enthralled a crowd of nearly 20,000.
Mrs. Fleitz was the favorite. She had smothered Doris Hart in straight sets to reach the final, and she had beaten Louise four times in a row around the world. She was rested and confident, faster afoot and infinitely better on ground strokes.
Louise played her the only way. She sliced one shot, drove another, always trying to break the lovely rhythm of Beverly's two-handed game. She used lobs and drop shots. She even went to the net, but that proved damaging. Bev passed her with consummate ease. Quickly in stride, Louise broke service and held hers. She was 3-1 when Bev double-faulted twice, and Louise dumped a teaser just over the barrier.
Then slugging little Beverly found her range. She barreled the ball down one side, put away the return on the other. Her shots were faster and deeper and all at once she led 4-3 and again at 5-4 after Miss Brough unaccountably hit a short volley far over the base line.
Louise took measures. She won her serve immaculately and then pulled the drop shot out of her repertoire. Mrs. Fleitz simply cannot handle the short ball and Broughie, biding her time, kept rallying from the deep court and suddenly pushed in a couple of floaters for outright winners. She had broken service at love.
In a tremendous rally Beverly fell down and then, unsettled, banged the next shot into net. Louise had the set.
In the ascendancy now, Louise mixed every wile and stratagem she has picked up in the 15 years since she was the American girls' champion.
A crisis came in the sixth game, Miss Brough serving. Five times Mrs. Fleitz had advantage, eight times in all the game went to deuce and finally Louise ripped a beautifully sliced backhand down the tape to lead 4-2.
Mrs. Fleitz merely hit the ball harder. No woman could stand against her pace now. She won 10 points in a row on a brilliant barrage that left Louise shaking her head helplessly as the shots thundered by. The audience roared as Beverly reached 5-4.
Louise took her own serve, broke her rival's but then the 25-year-old mother fired four rockets down the lines and it was 6-6 and anybody to win. Louise was clearly tired now. She was resting between points and having difficulty throwing the ball into the air for service. Miss Brough finally struggled up to advantage on Mrs. Fleitz's service. Then came the shot of the match.
A Fleitz drive down the left-hand side was weakly returned and Mrs. Fleitz hammered it down the other. Across court raced Louise. She lunged desperately and pulled off a gorgeous stop volley that just trickled over the net. It was, as she said later, a "determined bit of stretching."
That shot did it. It was Louise to serve and 7-6. She was 40-15, faltered long enough to double-fault and then leaped in the air as Bev weakly netted.
"I couldn't have gone on any longer." said Louise later. "The heart was there but the legs were gone."
The Duchess of Kent went to the court to present the large silver plate. "Wonderful tennis," she said. "Finest I have seen in years."