It was hardly surprising for Yaroslava Shvedova to begin her third round 2012 Wimbledon match against Sara Errani by holding serve at love. Nor was it particularly unusual for her to have broken Errani at love in the next game. But then, the points kept coming. Another love hold. Another love break.
“I didn’t feel on the court I was playing so bad,” Errani said after the match. Errani that year was seeded tenth, having recently reached the singles final at Roland Garros.
Shvedova, a past Wimbledon doubles champion, kept cracking one winner after another. Another love hold for 5-0 – 20 straight points.
Interestingly enough, six years earlier, Shvedova had won the first 23 points of a match, in Memphis versus Amy Frazier – and ended up losing, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0.
But against Errani, she was one point better, breaking again at love -- 24 straight points; in tennis parlance, “a golden set,” the only time this has ever happened at a Grand Slam event.
Shvedova would admit afterwards she had “no idea” how dominant she’d been in that opening set. Faring better than she had versus Frazier, Shvedova went on to take the set, 6-4. All told, she’d struck 35 winners to just six for Errani. Said a stunned Errani, “With a serve like that, with groundstrokes that strong,” she said, “who knows? Maybe she’ll win Wimbledon.”
Serena Williams, Shvedova’s next opponent, joked about her possibilities versus such an inspired opponent. “Hopefully I’ll be able to win a point in the set,” she said. “That will be my first goal, and then I’ll go from there.”
Shvedova would indeed test Serena significantly, Williams winning a tight three-setter, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.