King overwhelms Riggs in Ms.-match
Sept. 20, 1973 - The "Battle of the Sexes" pitted the queen of women's tennis, Billie Jean King, against the king of male chauvinists, Bobby Riggs. In a circus-like atmosphere in the Astrodome in Houston, Billie Jean was transported into the stadium on a Cleopatra-style gold litter that was held aloft by four muscular track-and-field athletes from nearby Rice University.
Riggs entered in a gold-wheeled rickshaw pulled by six models in tight red-and-gold outfits who were dubbed, for ample reason, "Bobby's Bosom Buddies." After Riggs presented King with a large candy sucker, she gave him her gift -- a brown baby pig.
King, who already had won five Wimbledon singles titles, had the last laugh on the court as well. In a Ms.-match, the 29-year-old King overwhelmed the 55-year-old hustler, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, before 30,492, the largest crowd to ever attend a tennis match.
"She was just too quick," said Riggs, the 1939 Wimbledon and U.S. Nationals winner who had beaten Margaret Smith Court on Mother's Day. "I couldn't get the ball past her."
King said, "This is a culmination of 19 years of tennis for me. I've wanted to change the sport and tonight a lot of non-tennis people saw the sport for the first time."
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