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Which is precisely what she did in the semifinals against none other than Emerson. This appeared to be a replay of Holmes-Ali early on as Jaeger, showing little respect for her beer-guzzling elder, rained drives at a beleaguered and out-of-shape Emerson, challenging his backhand volley, which once was the most feared in the game. On almost every exchange the pigtailed child beat the 43-year-old Aussie to the punch.
Emmo recovered late in the second set to thrash a swinging volley directly into Stockton's neck—"a fuzz sandwich," the pros say—sending him down for the count. Up to that point Stockton, playing marvelously, had served five straight games at love, but in the next game he was broken at 30 for the set and the match was tied.
But Stockton recovered and Jaeger kept finding holes in the Emmo-King opposition defense. Serving at 5-2 in the third, Jaeger nearly added injury to insult by airmailing, special delivery, a backhand that whirled Emerson around at the net like some windup doll. Wind Emmo up and he'll drink a Foster's Lager. "She gives it a nudge, doesn't she?" he said after the younger team's 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory.
In the other half of the draw, the team of Smith-Goolagong was having things easier, while much of the attention was focused on Laver. The Rocket plays only occasionally these days, in some of the Immortals Invitationals or whatever they are. Never in mixed.
"Tell you what," Laver told his partner, Jordan. "The last mixed I won was 20 years ago: Wimbledon with Darlene Hard. You know the name? I always found myself backing up my partner too far, stretching for too much court, covering too often."
In Australia that kind of poaching is called "sharking." Goolagong had another description. "Getting in the way," she called it. "I don't think Rod yet realizes how well some of the women can play."
Before their first-round match Fromholtz mentioned to Austin that Laver also had a tendency to "flash-out," to over-hit in mixed. Subsequently, the redheads found themselves constantly out of position even as Austin-Fromholtz blew six set points. But on the seventh, Laver, looking at a balloon two feet from the tape, wound up and flashed out an overhead into the bottom of the net. "Play the Aussie anthem, this one's history," Emerson muttered in the stands. And it was: 7-6, 6-1 to Austin-Fromholtz.
"I never told you this," the newlywed Austin said to his lefthanded partner, "but Edmondson blew the Wimbledon final for you guys by doing just what Rocket did. Leaving the court three-fourths open."
"Men," Fromholtz sighed. "You didn't have to tell me."
Austin-Fromholtz jumped ahead of Smith-Goolagong in their semifinal before another significant play by a woman turned the match: a reflex half-volley winner from her shoe tops off an Austin smash that Evonne managed in the 10th game. It interrupted one of her walkabouts—after all, the drapes had to be hung in the new addition to her home up the beach, and husband Roger had scraped his knee on one of those bull-riding machines at a country and western speakeasy—and propelled her team to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.