With an unnerving display of come-from-behind tennis, a clutch-playing team of British women won the 32nd Wightman Cup matches last week. The Americans and British proved so evenly matched that, in the end, the difference between the two teams may have been no more than a divot of the sacred Wimbledon turf.
The divot was kicked up by the toe of a shapely newcomer to cup play, America's 17-year-old Karen Hantze. She had Britain's Ann Haydon well beaten until, while serving, she scuffed loose a tuft of grass. "Better remove it," said the umpire, and the rows of British schoolgirls in the gallery, looking like gaudy parrots in their colored blazers, giggled at his serious tone. It broke the mood for Hantze, who lost 2-6, 11-9, 6-1.
Firm-stroking Darlene Hard, playing the best tennis of her life, regained the advantage for the U.S. by coming from behind to beat towering (5 feet 11) Christine Truman, then joining Hantze in a doubles victory. On the final afternoon she again put her team ahead, rallying to defeat Haydon after Truman had won over Hantze in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. Then frail Angela Mortimer, down 2-4 after losing the first set to U.S. Captain Janet Hopps, came back to win, giving Britain a 3-3 tie.
But in the tie-breaking last match the British doubles team of Truman and Shirley Brasher almost casually fell behind before beating Hopps and Dorothy Knode 6-4, 9-7 to return the Wightman Cup to England.