Wimbledon 29 jun 2007 R32: Chakvetadze (7) 7-68 6-75 6-2
Krajicek serves up classic in the outer limits
One of the immutable rules at Wimbledon is that the big show courts don't always get the biggest, best shows. If there is a more engrossing women's match this fortnight than the one which unfolded yesterday on No 13 Court, between the eighth seed Anna Chakvetadze, from Russia, and the Dutch teenager Michaella Krajicek, who eventually triumphed 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, then it will be a veritable classic.
There were plenty who parked themselves on the court yesterday morning clutching the order of play and expecting Chavetadze v Krajicek to be an amuse-bouche, with Daniela Hantuchova v Katarina Srebotnik as a tasty starter, and the match between the French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin and his thrilling compatriot Richard Gasquet, the player Roger Federer most enjoys watching, as the sumptuous main course. If so, it was an amuse-bouche prepared by Gordon Ramsay.
And Krajicek evokes the profane chef in other ways too. In the course of a marvellous victory, the most important of her career, she yelled, snarled, was booed for racket abuse, and angrily directed what sounded like some pretty choice words, in Czech rather than Dutch, at her watching father, Petr, who hails from the Czech Republic and is also her coach.
Interesting temperaments run in the family. Krajicek, who had obliterated the British No 1 Katie O'Brien in a second-round match the day before, is the 18-year-old half-sister of the 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, the man who once ruffled more than a few feathers by saying that 80 per cent of women tennis players "are fat pigs who don't deserve equal pay". He then apologised. What he'd meant to say, he explained, was that "only 75 per cent of women tennis players are fat pigs".
These days, Krajicek is a more mature fellow, who acknowledges the error of his words: "To compare anyone with pigs is terrible," he conceded recently.
But he can fully expect those words to haunt and taunt him as young Michaella - neither overweight nor remotely porcine - rises through the rankings. A former world junior No 1, she currently stands just inside the world's top 50, but the Dutch press corps here fully expect her to forge into the top 10. Some of them are even suggesting that of the pair of them, Richard will wind up with the inferior Wimbledon record.
The benefit of sitting on an outside court for the day is that nobody is far from the action, and what action it was, both players trading Exocets from the baseline for more than five hours, give or take the odd protracted rain delay.
One of the more bizarre spectacles this Wimbledon, which one can only hope was picked up by the BBC cameras, was that of three comedy stag hats, made of orange foam rubber and sported by three Dutchmen clad head to foot in orange, solemnly turning left and right following the lengthy rallies.
They were matched for colourful patriotism by a vast man in a vast Union Jack shirt - more of a tent, really - who, during one of the rain interruptions exhorted the crowd to perform a Mexican Wave first "in a posh and elegant manner", then "hissing like a snake", and then "in slow motion".
Everyone obliged, too. A kind of Blitz spirit prevails on the more remote courts.
No 13 Court is not much longer for this world, however. In 2009, as part of the same refurbishment project as the one putting a lid on Centre Court, it will become the new site of No 2 Court and therefore the official new graveyard of champions. Yesterday it was merely the graveyard of the world No 7 Chakvetadze's hopes, but perhaps also the birthplace of genuine Dutch expectations.
The Dutch haven't cheered a woman all the way to the final since Betty Stove obligingly capitulated to Virginia Wade 30 years ago. Nor have the British, for that matter. But their wait for another one might not be nearly as long as ours. If she can tame her temper - a Dutch journalist told me that the word for her at home is "chagrynig", best translated as moody - Michaella Krajicek looks to have what it takes.
When will we have a contender? Probably not before her big brother Richard can fly.