From the sports editor: Brengle makes a memory with big win over Serena Williams


Dover’s Madison Brengle is all smiles during her upset of No. 2-ranked Serena Williams in New Zealand on Wednesday. (WTA via Getty Images)

Gabby Brengle has talked to her daughter, Madison, after countless matches in her career.

But the Dover resident never imagined she’d be talking to her after the 26-year-old just beat Serena Williams.

Both mother and daughter were in a little bit of shock during the early-morning phone call from New Zealand on Wednesday.

“It was unbelievable,” said Gabby. “Not many people have beaten Serena ever. She’s obviously the best player ever, ever. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“She was beyond excited,” Gabby said about her daughter. “I think she was still in a little bit of disbelief herself. … It was very exciting. Obviously there’s only one Serena. She’s unbelievable.”

Indeed, long after Madison Brengle is done playing professional tennis, she’ll still be able to talk about the time she knocked off Williams, the sport’s most accomplished player.

It happened in New Zealand on Wednesday where Brengle, ranked No. 72 in the world, pulled out a gritty 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, victory over the No. 2-ranked Williams in the second round of the ASB Classic.

The funny thing is that — on the internet at least — the 26-year-old Brengle seems to have received as much notoriety for a few comments that she made during the match.

An online broadcast of the match picked up Brengle joking around with her friend, fellow player Nicole Melicha, during a break.

One exchange between the two went something like this:

Melichar: She’s on the disadvantage now. She (Williams) has to hold serve.

Brengle: Well, she’s been doing a good job.

Melichar: Well, you know what, one might fly on her and she might get tight, then the second one might fly on her.

Brengle: You mean like if it flies and hits me in the body and I die. So that’s like how I go?

Melichar: I wouldn’t bet my money on that.

Most notably, Brengle is also heard saying: “I think she is surprised how bad I am.”

But Gabby Brengle said that kind of self-deprecating humor is really nothing new for Madison. It’s just that everybody got to hear it this time.

“I think that anybody that knows her knows that she’s such a goof ball,” said Gabby. “Her sense of humor. … that’s just kind of how she is all the time. It wasn’t unusual. She’s funny.”

Next up for Brengle is a mixed-doubles tournament in Australia. After that will be the start of the Australian Open, which she reached the fourth round of in 2015.

Gabby Brengle knows that doing well in a Grand Slam tourney can literally be the luck of the draw.

On the other hand, Madison’s memorable upset of Williams is something she can hang onto forever.

“An accomplishment like that, you never forget it,” said Gabby. “That’ll always be there for her.

“I’m kind of thrilled for Dover tennis, too,” Brengle added. “I think it kind of makes everybody realize that anybody can do it. It affirms that if you work hard, it doesn’t matter where you’re training.

“All the people she worked with in the offseason, they basically got to hit with somebody who just beat Serena.”

Henlopen loses a faithful fan

The Henlopen Conference may never have had a more faithful fan than Jim Moore.

Moore, who passed away on Monday at the age of 92, once estimated that he saw as many as 125 basketball games in a season.

The friendly, white-haired Moore was a fixture in the stands at downstate games, often sitting next to his daughter, Connie Raymond, or friend Frank Bush.

“I just like the people,” Moore said in 2007. “I enjoy it so much. I don’t watch pro basketball but I enjoy college basketball and high school. … We have a good time.”

A barber for 46 years, Moore played a little basketball and baseball himself at Felton High in the 1940s.

People always seemed to enjoy chatting with the U.S. Army veteran, who served in Europe in World War II, whether it was at Dover Mall or a basketball game.

Along with looking forward to the high school Final Four every season, Moore was honored to receive an annual ballot from the Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame.

Odds & ends

•Smyrna High’s boys’ basketball team has an interesting week. The Eagles host Salesianum on Tuesday night before playing at Dover on Thursday.

•Caesar Rodney High is advertising for a new head field hockey coach after Casey Shelor stepped down. Playing in the rugged Henlopen Conference, the Riders haven’t had a winning season since 2013.

•Slam Dunk to the Beach officials have announced attendance for the three-day, post-Christmas basketball tournament as “more than 12,000” at Cape Henlopen High.

“The atmosphere was electric and the house was packed,” said Dr. Matt Robinson, chairman of the Delaware Sports Commission. “We are thrilled with this year’s turnout and the continued support of our sponsors, fans, and community. The event was another Slam Dunk for the state of Delaware.”

Next year’s Slam Dunk will again be held on Dec. 27-29.

•Former Delaware basketball player Maurice Jeffers, who transferred to Boston College for his senior year, has started all 16 games for the Eagles — which is as many game as he started all winter for the Blue Hens last year.

Jeffers’ averages of 5.3 points and 5.8 rebounds are almost the same as last season, despite the move up in competition.

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