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Smith Takes Women’s Singles Title at Wimbledon

July 8, 1963 - Margaret Smith, 20 years old, won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon today with a 6-3, 6-4 revenge victory over Billie Jean Moffitt, the unseeded American who blocked her way to the championship last year. Smith (pictured with Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent) triumphed over nerves and a last-ditch surge by Moffitt, of Long Beach, Calif., and took the one crown that had eluded her. In doing so, Smith confirmed what everyone had known all along — that she is the best woman tennis player in the world. Later on, Miss Smith paired with Ken Fletcher of Australia and won the mixed doubles from Darlene Hard of Los Angeles and Bob Hewitt. Miss Smith was top-seeded at Wimbledon in 1961 but lost to Christine Truman. She was top-seeded again in 1962, only to be rudely dispatched by Miss Moffitt after she had led in the third set, 5-2. Under enormous pressure today, Miss Smith stood firm in the clutch and became the first Australian to win the All-England women’s championship. Moffit later said she had felt “very uncoordinated” throughout the match. “My first service let me down badly. You’ve got to get your first service in against Margaret or she will get you. I could not get keyed up for the match. I could not even get nervous, although I wanted to.” It was not until the last stages of the second set that Moffit recovered the flashing volley game that eliminated three seeded players in earlier rounds. But it was too late.

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