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Shvedova's golden set leaves Errani pointless

Yaroslava Shvedova reacts after beating Sara Errani in the third round.
by Benjamin Snyder
Saturday 30 June 2012

Without dropping a single point in the first set in her match against the 2012 French Open finalist, Sara Errani, Yaroslava Shvedova achieved the first 'golden set', ie 24 straight points, since Bill Scanlon against Marcos Hocevar in the first round of the Gold Coast Classic in 1983.

Shvedova's feat - which included four aces and 14 winners - is the first at the All England Club and the first in women’s tennis since the professional era began in 1968.

In 2006, Shvedova almost set that record by rattling off 23 straight points against Amy Fraser in the last 16 at Memphis. She lost the next point, erasing the chance for the golden set. Shvedova, then ranked No.228, went on to lose the match to her No.7-seeded opponent in three sets, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0.

Today at the All England Club, however, the wild card and Roland Garros quarter-finalist proved too strong for her No. 10-ranked opponent. She earned 24 straight points in just 15 minutes, with only her ball toss showing any signs of nerves in those initial six games.

In the second set, the Italian regrouped and began by breaking the world No.65 Kazakh in the first game after she dumped a backhand into the net. The crowd on a packed No.3 Court erupted in applause as the five-time WTA title winner secured her first game.

Up 2-0, it looked as if Errani would force herself back into the match. Shvedova, however, had different plans. The Kazakh took the next two games against the Italian by revisiting the form from the first set bagel to level it at 2-all in the second.

In her very next service game, Shvedova proved too solid once more, reeling off a drop-volley winner, a forehand winner and an ace to reclaim the lead at 3-2. By the changeover, Shvedova had won exactly four times as many points as Errani, 40 to 10, in the match.

At three-all, however, a string of errors by Shvedova gave the Italian two break points and what appeared to be another chance for Errani to claim the set. Again, the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Shvedova turned the tide, hitting a forehand and backhand winner and a volley winner to play her way out of the hole. At AD-40, she struck an ace, one of six total.

At 4-5 with Errani serving, Shvedova hit two more backhand winners for a first match point chance. To secure her first top 10 victory since defeating then defending champion Li Na at Roland Garros as a qualifier, she carved a forehand passing shot around a stunned Errani.

A winner in 57 minutes, Shvedova was all smiles in celebration. With the victory, she advanced to her first fourth round at the All England Club in six attempts.

The Kazakh next faces Serena Williams, who defeated Jie Zheng of China 9-7 in the third, for a place in the quarter-finals.

But before thinking too much about the match against the 13-time Grand Slam champion, Shvedova wrote on Twitter after her own victory, “Today I laid a golden egg.”


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