Wimbledon 97: Majoli savours the green grass of victory

You would have thought Iva Majoli had just won the French Open again. Indeed, she admitted it was almost as good. Her smile lit up the grey skies when she defeated Argentina's Maria Diaz-Oliva yesterday and she bowed with utter delight to the Court Two crowd.

When she took her first Grand Slam title in Paris two weeks ago, she said her dream was to win a match at Wimbledon, where she had a 100 per cent record of failure. Yesterday, that dream came true: 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. "It was a release," the fourth seed said.

"People have said I should do well on grass but it's tough to play when you come to the court and you think: `Oh my gosh, I've never won a match'. I'll have more confidence now. I feel good about myself."

It is doubtful if Majoli felt that way when she surrendered the first set in 24 minutes, but she remembered the advice she had got from the former champions, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, beforehand, and turned the match around. "They told me if I bent my knees, be down low and move well, I'd have a chance. They were really happy for me."

Majoli was happy too, so much so that even Eastbourne, which put her on an outside court last week when she felt, as the French champion, she deserved better, got off relatively lightly. "That's past and I don't really feel like talking about it," she said. "That's a tournament I'll probably never play in again in my life. I thought it was unfair but it was their decision. Now I'm fine and I'm at Wimbledon."

So was Dinu Pescariu, but he was less than thrilled. For most of us, the thunder rumbled at Wimbledon 1997 just as the clock hit 1pm, but he was the exception. For him the storm began as soon as the first ball was struck.

To get Goran Ivanisevic, the second seed, in the first round is bad enough when you are a seasoned player on grass. The Romanian was making his debut on the lawns of the All England club and was not enjoying the experience. With the ball crashing past his ears, you could not blame him.

Someone recently ranked Mark Philippoussis as the fastest server in the world, but Pescariu might beg to differ. Ivanisevic's first has the velocity of a missile, his next - you could not demean it by describing it as a second serve - is merely impossibly swift. Court Two carries the nickname "the Graveyard of champions"; on this occasion it was the challenger who was mentally carried off on the stretcher.

The first set was a 21-minute rout that Ivanisevic, like Majoli a Croat, dominated so completely that he attempted a volley from between his legs by way of light relief. The second was closer in terms of score, but quicker at 19 minutes. By the end, the scoreline of 6-1, 6-3, 6-3, was flattering, if anything, to Pescariu.

Ivanisevic served 24 aces, a remarkable number in just 11 service games - two of which were won with four great blacksmith heaves of his formidable left arm. He has served more before, but never at such a rate. Pescariu, understandably, looked thoroughly miserable and almost shell-shocked.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links