Bright beginnings for Brits at Wimbledon

The first round of Wimbledon 2015 ignited what is sure to be an enthralling competition and, though not a total success for all, suggests a fruitful and exciting campaign for many of the British tennis stars, hoping to enter the history books this year.

It was a varied start for the two wildcard siblings from Stockport, Liam and Naomi Broady, with Naomi being beaten in straight sets by Columbian, Mariana Duque-Marino, despite a strong first set which had the two reach a scintillating tie-break. The 21 year old Liam Broady fared better than his sister in the opening round, displaying true resilience and gripping showmanship reminiscent of (dare I say it) the great British underdog, Tim Henman. Coming back from two sets down, Broady was able to rally a normally passive outer-court crowd and achieve a spectacular victory over his opponent, Marinko Matosevic. It remains to be seen how Broady will do throughout the rest of the tournament and whether the opening two sets were an example of a player slowly finding his footing in a difficult match or an example of a player who can be caught off guard in the opening minutes. What is certain though, is that Broady is an exciting British prospect, whose powerful style of play matches his strength of character.

When British wildcard, Johanna Konta lost in straight sets to a formidable Sharapova (who at one point delivered a second serve of 103 miles per hour) it looked as if it was going to be a disappointing day all round for the British ladies. However, this was fortunately not to be the case as Heather Watson was able to beat 32nd seed, Caroline Garcia, in a match that spanned two compelling days. Watson, much like Broady, was able to come back from an early upset, showing remarkable tact. Watson used the first set to expertly assess her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, subsequently depriving Garcia the chance to utilise her devastating forehand and eventually Watson took the well-earned win with a tie-break in the last set.

On centre court, all eyes were on Andy Murray, as the Scottish third seed squared up against Mikhail Kukushkin. Murray opened with suitable finesse and athleticism, manipulating the direction of play beautifully and dispatching with the first set in just over half an hour. At times Murray looked so confident that he threatened to steam-roll Kukushkin and effectively kill any form of contest between the two. However, Kukushkin fought back in the second set with a few expertly crafted shots of his own that proved too elusive for even a player as agile as Andy Murray. Though the British tennis star was able to win in straight sets, Kukushkin was able to rattle him at times, as the once Wimbledon champion appeared frustrated and mortal after all. Thus, leaving much up for debate in the highly anticipated and surely entertaining second round.

James Candler

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