On this day: Virginia Wade wins Wimbledon title

On this day: Wade wins Wimbledon title
© PA Photos
Thirty-six years ago today, Virginia Wade won the women's Wimbledon singles title at the 16th time of asking.

When it came to Wimbledon, Virginia Wade had promised so much but during her first 15 attempts, she had failed to deliver.

However, for the first time since her debut at SW19, Wade had made the final thanks to a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory over American Chris Evert. Would, after all this time, the Bournemouth-born player produce the goods in front of a home crowd?

When Sunday, July 1 rolled around in 1977, a 17,000-strong Centre Court crowd was in buoyant mood. Even the Queen was in attendance for the first time since 1962.

The atmosphere altered, though, in the ninth game of the first set when the Netherlands' Betty Stove claimed a break of the Wade serve. The powerful Stove then held her own service game to take a one-set lead and at that point, it appeared that Wade was going to fall at the final hurdle.

Wade started the second set brightly and opened up a 3-0 lead, but a string of unforced errors saw that levelled up to three games apiece. It really did seem now that the 31-year-old had passed up her best chance.

What followed, though, nobody could have predicted. The home favourite won seven games in succession that put her 4-0 up in the third and decisive set. From that point there was no way back for Stove.

The losing Dutch player said afterwards: "I enjoyed myself on the court. I didn't really feel lonely. I expected the crowd to be for Virginia. The pressure was on her and she handled it very well. The Queen said sorry to me and bad luck, and I said to her that one has to win and one has to lose."

Meanwhile, a jubilant Wade, who had won 4-6 6-3 6-1, had become the third British representative to claim the women's title since the Second World War had ended.

Great Britain's Laura Robson celebrates winning the first set against Russia's Maria Kirilenko on June 25, 2013
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