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Paralympics 2012: Esther Vergeer wins 468th tennis match in a row
In Tuesday’s searing heat, which forced volunteers and officials to duck for cover from the sun behind the large grandstands on Centre Court, there was no hiding place for Khanthasit from Vergeer’s punishing strokes.
That delighted the contingent of Dutch fans in the crowd, who wore orange T-shirts and sang songs throughout. They included her parents and brother, who hugged her as she came off court.
“Is there a secret to my success? I don’t know,” Vergeer said. “There’s a lot of combinations and aspects that make me play well — hard work, determination, just a love of the game of tennis.
“I love to see how far I can go as myself, trying new things. And the team around me just give me all these things to try out and work on — physical, technical, tactical, equipment, nutrition, all those things. As long as I love the game, I’ll continue playing.”
That spells bad news for her opponents. The last rival to come close to beating Vergeer was countrywoman Korie Homan, who had a match point in the 2008 Paralympic final in Beijing but lost 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (5).
Homan is retired now, leaving a host of up-and-coming players from the Netherlands to try and achieve what has so far proved elusive.
Next in line is third-seeded Jiske Griffioen in Thursday’s semifinals. Naturally, she is seeking a first win over her training partner.
“I don’t know exactly my record against her, and I don’t want to search for it either,” Griffioen said, laughing. “She’s an amazing player and I’m going to have to play my best tennis to beat her, but she has all the pressure on her.”
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