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Serena & Margaret: An Unmatchable Feat?

Serena Williams and the late Margaret Osborne duPont are the only women to do this. What is it?

Published December 04, 2012 12:00

Serena & Margaret: An Unmatchable Feat?
Serena Williams

EL PASO, TX, USA - At the end of October one of the WTA's true legends, Margaret Osborne duPont, passed away in El Paso, Texas at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy that included 37 Grand Slam titles across all three disciplines - six in singles, 21 in doubles and 10 in mixed doubles.

Meanwhile over in Istanbul, Turkey, Serena Williams was continuing her 2012 domination of the WTA - among her titles this year were the Wimbledon and US Open singles and the Wimbledon doubles crowns, bringing her career Grand Slam haul to 30 - 15 in singles, 13 in doubles and two in mixed doubles.

But capturing 30 or more Grand Slam titles - and across all three of the disciplines too - isn't all that connects Osborne duPont and Williams. They share an absolutely incredible and perhaps ummatchable feat...

They are the only two players in the history of women's tennis to fight back from match point down en route to winning multiple Grand Slam singles titles.

Osborne duPont achieved the feat twice, saving match points to beat Pauline Betz in the 1946 French Open final, 16 86 75, and again against Louise Brough in the final of the 1948 US Open final, winning that one, 46 64 1513.

Williams has done it three times, at the 2003 Australian Open (saving two match points down 5-2 in the third set of her 46 63 75 semifinal win over Kim Clijsters), the 2005 Australian Open (saving three match points down 5-4 in the third set of her 26 75 86 semifinal win over Maria Sharapova), and last but certainly not least, 2009 Wimbledon (saving one match point down 5-4 in the third set of her 67(4) 75 86 semifinal victory over Elena Dementieva).

"The mental toughness you have to have to be match point down and come back, not only to win that match but to also win the tournament, it means a lot," Williams said of the rare statistic during her run in Istanbul. "You have to be really ready mentally to do that. She must have been really tough.

"It's a shame we've lost such a great ambassador for women's tennis."

DuPont's six Grand Slam singles titles were made up of two French Opens, one Wimbledon and three US Opens; her 21 Grand Slam doubles titles were made up of three French Opens, five Wimbledons and 13 US Opens; and her 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles were one Wimbledon and nine US Opens. She never contested the Australian Open and her career haul is fourth all-time following Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.

Margaret Osborne duPont

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