By Randy Walker
Yarolava Shvedova of Kazakhstan performed one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports Saturday, winning a “golden set” – sweeping all 24 points in a set – in her 6-0, 6-4 third-round win over French Open runner-up Sara Errani at Wimbledon.
Shvedova hit 14 winners, including four aces, in claiming the first set in only 15 minutes over the Italian. Errani, the No. 10 seed, committed only one unforced error in the historic set. She broke Shvedova in the first game of the second set.
Shvedova becomes only the second player on record in professional tennis to win a golden set. The other came on February 22, 1983, as documented in my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY,www.TennisHistoryBook.com, excepted here: “Feb. 22, 1983: Bill Scanlon wins the first recorded “golden set” in professional tennis, winning all 24 points in the second set of his 6-2, 6-0 win over Marcos Hocevar of Brazil in the first round of the $300,000 WCT Gold Coast Cup in Delray Beach, Fla.” There are reports of another golden set being achieved in 1943 by former Wimbledon and US singles champion Pauline Betz, who, in the amateur era of tennis, reportedly swept all 24 points in the first set of her 6-0, 6-2 final-round win against Catherine Wolf in the Tri-State tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio.
One has to conclude that winning a golden set is one of the most difficult tasks to do in all of sports. In golf, there have been five pros on the PGA Tour who have shot a 59 (Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby) and one on the LPGA Tour (Annika Sorenstam). There have been 22 perfect games in Major League Baseball.
In another historic achievement on Saturday at the All England Club, Serena Williams belted 23 aces in her 6-7 (5), 6-2, 9-7 win over Jie Zheng. The 23 aces are the most ever in a women’s match at Wimbledon, according to THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS. Williams, who held the previous mark at Wimbledon when she hit 20 aces in her semifinal win over Elena Dementieva back in 2009, did not lose her serve Saturday against her Chinese opponent. Serena’s ace total fell one shy of equaling the all-time record set by Kaia Kanepi who hit 24 aces past Lucie Safarova in the first round of Tokyo in 2008.
The two history-making women will now face each other in Monday’s fourth round.