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Venus v Cavaday as it happened

Women's singles first round result:

V WILLIAMS (US) 7 bt N Cavaday (GB)

7-6 6-1

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Venus 6-1 Cavaday
C'est tout - Cava is a weary woman, and Venus delivers the coup de grace with the mercilessness of Ming. Decent first set showing from the Brit, but the natural order reasserted itself in rapid fashion. Enjoyable tussle to tickle us into the day.

Venus 5-1 Cavaday
Five on the bounce for Venus, and we're almost done. Those earlier forgotten sarnies are now being munched with regret by the nationalistic Centre Court patrons.

Venus 4-1 Cavaday
The Cava serve is creaking like a rusty hinge. Venus is reading it as easily as Norman Mailer taking on the Sun, and she strolls away with the second break as Cava wearily wafts a forehand long.

Venus 3-1 Cavaday
We're on the slipperiest of slopes now. Venus has only dropped one point on serve in the set, and Cava looks like a fun-runner 11 miles into her first half-marathon.

Venus 2-1 Cavaday
Big trouble for Cava, rushed by two rapier returns from Venus and shipping an early break just wehn she needed to stay strong. Sista Serena in the VIP box, with mum Oracene alongside in a mustard-coloured floppy bowler.

Venus 1-1 Cavaday
Ouch. Venus careers through that service game like a downhill Ferrari, blasting past the paper-thin Cava defence. Bright sunshine on Centre, with floppy sun-hats out-numbering Panamas by 2-1 in the crowd.

Venus 0-1 Cavaday
What's left in the Cava tank? That backhand of hers still stings like a jellyfish when she gets it right, but as the first hour ticks by her serve is starting to wobble like one too. Venus misses a chance on a third second serve and Cava stays at the table.

FIRST SET

Venus 7-6 Cavaday
Ooohs from around the arena as a Cavaday cross-court dribbler falls wide. Venus nets a short forehand unnecessarily but sizzles a backhand return into Cava's instep to take the mini-break. A snatchy backhand then falters at the tape to leave Venus with two set points, and when Cava slams a soft second serve into the divider the set is gone. Cava looks devastated, and quite rightly so - she was at peak there, on her first ever joust on the biggest stage, but the class of Venus proved a touch too much.

Venus 6-6 Cavaday
Venus steps in to take on the Cava serve with leggy aggression. She has Cava cornerned but nets with the open court begging and is then left baffled and bemused by some super scampering. Cavs comes to the net and batters away a running volley to take us into the tie-break. In the crowd, sandwiches are pushed away forgotten by rapt patrons.

Venus 6-5 Cavaday
A tousle-haired Harry Potter lookalike in the fourth row back chews gum nervously as Cava crouches for the Venus creamers. When Champ's first serve is good, it's very good - and another ace sizzles past Cava's lunge to seal the game and pile the pressure back on La Britte.

Venus 5-5 Cavaday
Good start from Cava - her first ace of the afternoon. Bad follow-up - her second double-fault. Venus canters to the net to smash away a feeble reply before Cava blows a string with a raker down the trams, and when Venus slaps a forehand way long we're level pegs again. Super pluck.

Venus 5-4 Cavaday
Ace no.2 from Venus opens up an early gap. Cava blasts a hurried return long and then ships another ace out wide to slip behind again. She plonks herself into her chair and squeezes a bottle of reddish squash into her upturned mouth.

Venus 4-4 Cavaday
Uh-oh - Cava's second serve sits up and begs like a hungry hound, and Venus dispatches it to the dog-house. Cava saves a break point with a thumper of a first serve but drills a backhand into the net to set up another. Two women in Union flag jester's hats applaud as a meaty serve saves another, and when Venus goes long on a forehand the game is pouched.

Venus 4-3 Cavaday
Great return from Cava, crashed at the toes of Venus to go to 30-30, but Venus eases through the gears and works a volley at the net which she spanks away. Big hold needed by Cava, and she'll have new balls to do it with.

Venus 3-3 Cavaday
Key point for Cava at 40-30 after both players go lazily long with forehands. The pair trade lusty blows from the back before Venus picks up the pace and threads a delicious forehand cross-court for the winner, and then goes the other way to go to break point. Cava wins another thumping duel from the back but is then sliced open by two more scalpel forehand top-spins, and the break has gone. Venus in large hooped earrings; Cava in short danglers.

Venus 2-3 Cavaday
Better from Venus - big first serves, crisply-timed forehands, and Cava is moved around like a perspiring pawn. At the changeover she wipes her reddening face with her pink official Wimbledon towel and thirstily glugs down some water.

Venus 1-3 Cavaday
Can we end the match here? Cava's crunchers are dictating the points, and a stunned Venus is stumbling around the court like a tipsy giraffe.

Venus 1-2 Cavaday
That's more like the champ of last year - her first serve almost decapitates Cava, and two crunching forehands leave the Brit reeling. Venus is wearing a strange kind of halter-neck top - it looks like she has a jumper tied over her shoulders in the manner of a middle-aged Italian strolling along the sea-front in Rimini.

Venus 0-2 Cavaday
Crash bang wallop - Venus can't a grip on Cava's leftie serve, and when Cava punches a meaty forehand down the line, she's held. Gasps of delighted astonishment from the eager punters.

Venus 0-1 Cavaday
Hello - what's this? Has Cava been training a secret army of insects to aid her cause? Venus is cruising at 40-0 when a wasp lands on her ankle and appears to sting her. Four Venus errors later it's advantage Cava - and when Venus punts long, the break is taken. Remarkable scenes. Cavaday is blowing like Mount Etna but who cares? She's leading the champ on Centre Court.

1300: Wonder how intimidating Chislehurst's Naomi Cavaday is finding this - Los Angeles's Venus is only twice as tall as she is. The players are warming up, leftie Cava bouncing around vigorously and Venus purring along on the opposite baseline.

1250: Centre Court slowly filling, but with a mere 10 minutes until Venus and Cava stroll out, we're still looking at no more than 30% capacity. Make that 32% - the line-judges have just glided into view. Glidded into view. Arrived on court.

1240: Now then. On the face of it, Cavaday hasn't got a chance. You're probably waiting for a caveat to follow that, but to be honest there isn't one. Venus has 36 career tour singles titles, Cava none. Venus has won 9m in prize money; Cava around 40,000. Venus has won Wimbledon four times; Cava has never got past the first round.

The glimmer? This time last year at SW19, Cava had two match points against another former champion, Martina Hingis. Did she take them? We won't worry about that now. She had them - that's the main thing.

see also
Live - Wimbledon day two
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Cavaday ready for biggest match
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Live scores
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis


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