Among the quarter-finals in 1932, Helen Jacobs defeated Hildegard Krahwinkel and Betty Nuthall lost out to Rene Matthieu of France. Here's how The Times reported the day.
From The Times, 28 June, 1932
Miss Heeley in semi-final round
The fifth round in the Ladies' Singles was played in the Lawn Tennis Championships at the All-England Club at Wimbledon yesterday. As a result, Mrs F.S. Moody, the American, who has been four times champion, will meet Miss M. Heeley, the young English player, in the semi-final round, and the other match will be between Miss H. Jacobs, another American player, who has often done well at Wimbledon, and Mme. Mathieu, of France.
The heat yesterday seemed to take a great deal out of the ladies playing. In fact, at one time Fraulein Krahwinkel, when she was to serve after a long rally, was so tired and overcome, that she did not remember that she was serving until called upon by the referee.
There was a bigger attendance than ever, in spite of the heat. Only enthusiasts could have borne the sun beating on them on the exposed side of the court.
Miss H. Jacobs, of the United States, had her revenge on Fraulein Krahwinkel, who beat her last year in the semi-final round, and won in two sets (6-2, 6-4). Fraulein Krahwinkel had great difficulty in returning Miss Jacobs's endless chops and making winning shots of them. She drove well at the start, but the combined effect of the heat and these sliced strokes were her undoing. Fraulein Krahwinkel took the first two games, and then Miss Jacobs began her triumphal programme, winning the next seven games in a row.
There was little net play, and when there was the shots were rarely winning ones. Miss Jacobs rarely tried to put the ball away, and when Fraulein Krahwinkel came at intervals to the net her shots nearly always went out. The same fate awaited many of her drives, which, instead of just getting the line, as they usually do, went many yards out.
She was also playing a peculiar spoon stroke, with no power behind it.
She made a fight in the fourth, fifth and sixth games, getting to deuce each time. Her drives were met by persistent chop strokes, no matter where she placed them. Miss Jacobs won the first set with one of her few smashes.
Both revelled in backhand play, so that numerous duels ensued, each trying to get the other into a position from which it might be possible to get a point. Fraulein Krahwinkel led at 3-2 in the second set, but after that her judgment seemed to fail. Her usual energy was lacking and Miss Jacobs was calling the tune all the way. When Miss Jacobs was leading 5-3 there was a tremendous struggle.
At 40-30 Miss Jacobs had a match point. In this game Fraulein Krahwinkel lost count of time, and her service, but after three deuces and another match point lost Faulein Krahwinkel won the game for 5-4. The final game was almost as long as the rest of the set. There were eight deuces, Fraulein Krahwinkel leading nearly every time. Miss Jacobs had three match points before she made the match her own. It seemed ready for a third set. It was not an exhilarating match. Both seemed to play for safety; neither tried any short shots and there were many long rallies and little sparkling play.
Miss Nuthall's defeat
Mme Mathieu again beat Miss B. Nuthall (6-0, 6-3). This is the third time she has won this season, the previous victories having been on hard courts. Miss Nuthall now seems unable to beat her. Mme. Mathieu had two love games in the first set. In the fourth Miss Nuthall got back among her old enemies, double-faults, and contributed two to a love game.
Mme Mathieu generally wins so easily that her clever play is not always realized by the spectator.
Miss Nuthall and Mme Mathieu
Miss Nuthall drove hard, but Mme. Mathieu can drive as hard as anyone, when she cares. A double-fault by Miss Nuthall finished the first set. Against a wily opponent like Mme Mathieu, Miss Nuthall rarely ventured to the net. English hopes were raised when Miss Nuthall started off wth the first game in the second set, only to lose her advantage as Mme. Mathieu proceeded to win the next three.
Miss Nuthall again double-faulted frequently, though in between she was serving with great power, and won several service aces. She made so little fight that she lost the final game on Mme. Mathieu's service to love, and Mme. Mathieu's services are rarely winners. She is content not to serve double-faults, without bothering to score directly from them. Mme. Mathieu has improved greatly this season, and is probably the cleverest lady now playing the game.
The Evening Standard reports from the 1932 ladies' semi-final
In the first ladies' semi-final of The Championships 1932, Helen Jacobs took on Rene Mathieu of France, in a match described by the Evening Standard as "quite interesting, but scarcely exciting".
From the Evening Standard, 28 June, 1932
A Game of Patience on Centre Court
Miss Helen Jacobs beats Mme. Mathieu
Two Tired Women
Miss Helen Jacobs (America) is the first Wimbledon championships finalist. Today she beat Mme Mathieu (France) in a semi-final battle of patience and prolonged rallies by 7-5, 6-1.
So she meets the winner of the other semi-final - Mrs Helen Wills Moody and Miss Mary Heeley - which is to be played tomorrow.
This was the only big singles at Wimbledon today, yet an hour before the gates opened the queue was long enough to account for all the day tickets. Perhaps the doubles, which almost monopolised the programme, are a bigger draw than most of us suspect. Endurance test
By now Wimbledon takes sunshine as a matter of course. It grilled the standing throng as Miss Jacobs and her opponent came into court, the one all in white, the other with a salmon-pink jumper which she at once discarded.
From the word "play" the game seemed to promise a test of long endurance in the glare.
Miss Jacobs's cuts and chops, which once or twice seemed to make the spin-laden ball egg-shaped, were treated very gingerly by the Frenchwoman, in the manner of a batsman playing himself in. A very long first game and a shorter second one went to America, nearly every point being made on errors rather than on outright placements. Miss Jacobs kept the ball mainly down the middle of the court; Mme Mathieu tried to open up the angles.
But not exciting
It was all quite interesting, but scarcely exciting. One real winner by France earned a burst of applause in game number three won by Mme. Mathieu. Another such "hit for six" a forehand drive deep to the corner followed just afterwards but did not prevent Miss Jacobs from presently leading 3-1.
I was remindedy strongly of a spin bowler coaxing his would-be victim into "having a go." Now and then Mme. Mathieu obliged with varying success, but usually she answered patience with patience.
In the sixth game Mme. Mathieu did not appear to appreciate a line decision against her. Right or wrong, the verdict helped Miss Jacobs into a set-winning position at 4-2.
The Mme. Mathieu tried, in a series of rallies, to bring her clever adversary netwards by hitting the ball short to her backhand, thus opening up the forehand court for reprisals. A misunderstanding
She lost this game, was unsteady in the next, lost the first three points of it but won the next five, and so led 5-3. This crucial game was interrupted by some slight misunderstanding with the umpire about a line decision.
The incident ended in Miss Jacobs serving one more ball.
Miss Jacobs soon advanced to within two points of the set; her opponent fended off the danger, brought down the leeway to 4-5 and soon, by the use of exemplary patience and steadiness, drew level at five-all. The last rally of this tense game must have been about the longest of the present tournament.
The ball seemed to cross the net 30 or 40 times before a short return from Miss Jacobs allowed a chance of trying a smash. Smash she did, with the desperation born of breathlessness, and the ball fell feet wide of an opponent too tired to scramble after it.
Another long rally followed just afterwards. It ended on this occasion in a net-cord shot from Mme. Mathieu's racket. Not a sign of emotion did she show. There was another of these titanic rallies, ended cleverly by France: but two rallies later Miss Jacobs had the set 7-5.
An "incident" opened the second set. Mme. Mathieu put over a service which Miss Jacobs hit out of court. She apparently called out that a ball boy had unsighted her and that she was not ready. "One more service" said the umpire, but, after more discussion, he allowed two and Miss Jacobs won the point.
Strain on concentration
Just afterwards came a further strain on French concentration. A ball hit by Mme. Mathieu was called "Not up" by the umpire on the grounds apparently that it had bounced twice. It was an unlucky game for France. Madame shrugged her shoulders in disappointment, and shook her head.
At the 2 games to 1 cross over Miss Jacobs then leading, sat for a moment on the steps of the umpire's chair - a signal of exhaustion. Slower still became the rallies of the ensuing game, ended when Miss Jacobs took a chance with a hard drive and took it successfully.
Mme. Mathieu, too, was tiring. Once, after a long duel, ended by an American volley, she limped back wearily to her general headquarters on the baseline, her shoulders heaving.
At 5-1 Miss Jacobs missed two points for the match, one of them on a smash a couple of inches out. But she utilised a third chance better and won the match.
Mme. Mathieu gathered up her things and left the court in advance of her conqueror.
Miss Jacobs had played the match with commendable, if unspectacular cleverness. Her ball control was immaculate, her spins a thorn in her opponent's side, and she knew the exact moment to take risks.
In the ladies' final of 1932, two Americans faced each other across the net, with the "wonderful" Helen Wills Moody coming out victorious.
From the Daily Mail, 2 July 1932
Not a set lost since 1927
Amazing Mrs. Helen Wills Moody
For the fifth time Mrs. Helen Wills Moody, the wonderful American lawn tennis star, yesterday won the women's singles championship at Wimbledon.
She beat Miss Helen Jacobs (US) in the final by 6-3, 6-1. The loser put up an excellent fight in the first set.
Not since she first won the championship in 1927 has Mrs. Moody lost a set, and she has been challenged by the best players in the world at Wimbledon, in France, and in her own country.
During the present championships she met six opponents in the singles, and lost only 13 games.
Mrs. Moody is a worthy champion. She has the best strokes, she knows when to use the right shot, and her tactics are faultless.
Also, she has the right temperament. She has never been known to get flurried. Always calm and self-possessed, nothing disturbs her concentration. The worst of decisions against her are taken without a look at the offending linesmen. She just gets into position to play the next shot.
She is free from all mannerisms. When she misses an easy shot there is no querulous waving of her racquet. She is as placid as if she had made a brilliant shot. Perfect in court manners as in strokes, she is an example to every lawn-tennis player man or woman, and that is why she is so deservedly popular at Wimbledon.
Mrs Moody is still young. She is 26 so has ample time to beat Mlle. Suzanne Lenglen's record of winning the championship six times.