Court Circular

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The Independent Online

Gemini rules in star wars

There's something in the air when it comes to identifying winners in the women's singles. Something in the astrological air, at any rate. In the last 19 finals, the trophy has been lifted 18 times by players born under air signs, all of them either Librans (Martina Hingis, Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova) or Geminis (Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf). The only non-Libran or non-Gemini winner during that time was Spain's Conchita Martinez, an Aries.

So what does that tell us about this year's title? Well, it will be no surprise to know that three of this year's semi-finalists are Geminis (Williams, Davenport and Justine Henin) and the fourth is an Aries (Jennifer Capriati). Quite why a few signs should be so dominant is not important, although the balance of the Librans, the twin strengths of the Geminis and the fiery personalities of the Aires no doubt contribute. What we all want to know is who is going to succeed this weekend – so we looked at their forecasts for today.

As Williams and Davenport face each other, their prediction is not too helpful. "Just when everything seems to be flowing along nicely," it reads, "a little upheaval occurs when you least expect it." So we're in for a match of ups and downs on both sides, then. "And of course, it's not often you're reminded how emotionally driven you really are," it continues. "Make use of your determination and initiative to make sure you stay up there where you belong. That in itself will get you noticed." Even more proof of a titanic battle, we say.

Now given that Henin is also Gemini, all the above applies to her too. So what of Capriati? "You are beginning to prove to others the benefit of being honest and to the point," the forecast says. "But don't neglect your own sanity for the sake of peace. You have a voice, use it."

So that's clear, then. Capriati, having taken umbrage at a bad call, loses her rag. This comes just in time to save Henin, who has experienced "a little upheaval" to go behind but then finds renewed vigour to steal the game and get noticed. You read it here first.

John Smith in Henman's way

The last time Goran Ivanisevic, who tomorrow plays Tim Henman for a place in Sunday's final, made it to a Wimbledon final, in 1998, he booked himself rooms at two separate London hotels. This had nothing to do with his split personalities, even though he booked into one under his own name and the other under the pseudonym John Smith, and was known to change addresses each evening. It had everything to do with being afraid, due to the hostilities in his native country, of attacks by Serbians. They had not been impressed with an individual, it seems, who once said: "I can do more for my country with a tennis racket than I can do with a gun."

Old balls, please

One of the thousands of fans who stood in queues that were sometimes 50 deep yesterday to buy used tennis balls was...

Name: Mark Lewis.

Age: 44.

From: Canada.

What made you stand in that queue? I wanted to buy tennis balls.

How much did you spend? £2.50 on a tube of three.

What are going to so with them? Take them home and give them away as gifts.

Who are you in Britain to see? My sister.

And at the All England Club? Greg Rusedski, he's a former Canadian. Today I'm just looking at everyone generally.

Who will win the title this year? Rafter and Capriati.

Who's your favourite player and what would you give them as a gift? Martina Navratilova. And I'd give her a doubles title.

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