(USA TODAY) A rogue bee caused at least three temporary delays during the first-round U.S. Open match between Venus Williams and Kimiko Date-Krumm, threatening to sting both players before it was heroically captured by the American tennis star.
During the second set, in a complete breach of tennis-animal etiquette, a small bee buzzed around the head of the 43-year-old Date-Krumm during her service game. Date-Krumm gently tried to swat away the bee, but it persisted long enough that she felt compelled to try and continue the match.
"I don't know how she served the last point," Pam Shriver said on ESPN after Date-Krumm gave it a go with the bee circling her like a halo.
"I don't know why she's not taking a swing at it, said Mary Joe Fernandez, who has apparently never heard that bees get angry when provoked, sort of like John McEnroe in the 1980s.
Maybe Date-Krumm didn't want to be seen killing a bee on live television. Maybe she's a friend to all the animals. Maybe she really didn't want to get stung. Either way, she darted away like she was shadowboxing and let three ballpersons attempt to quell the rising stinging threat.
The bee was gone … until it wasn't.
Later, it flew across the court to bother Venus.
Bad move, bee. Venus took a more proactive approach to the issue at hand.
After winning the bee challenge, Venus went on to win the match, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. When Shriver asked her after the match about who was the tougher opponent — the bee or Date-Krumm — Venus laughed.
"The bee was a challenge, but easily the answer is Kimiko," she said.
At age 34, Venus Williams has recently been playing some of her best tennis in years. This win should give her momentum for the rest of the tournament. Opponents, and bees, beware.