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22nd of July 2018

Sport



Konta, Edmund revive British spirits at Wimbledon

LONDON: With Andy Murray pulling out of Wimbledon on the eve of the tournament, the two-time champion's shock absence has put the spotlight on his fellow Britons at the grass-court Grand Slam.

Of the four Britons in action on Monday, only teenager Katie Swan emerged victorious with a shock success against world number 36 Irina-Camelia Begu.

After a combined 12 entered the men's and women's draw, there are now four left standing.

Here AFP Sport looks at how Britain's male and female players fared without Murray to carry the flag at the All England Club on Tuesday:

Johanna Konta

Konta made the semi-finals last year, but the highest ranked British woman has struggled since then and had to dig deep to see off Russian world number 88 Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Konta was a 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) winner, but the world number 24 conceded there was room for improvement.

"The conditions were tricky, it was very breezy, and there were some nerves there, but I enjoyed every second of it," said Konta, who plays Dominika Cibulkova next.

Kyle Edmund

Murray's time on the sidelines has left Edmund as Britain's top ranked man and the world number 17 underlined his impressive rise with a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Australian qualifier Alex Bolt.

Edmund made a surprise run to the Australian Open semi-finals in January, but the 23-year-old had won only one match in five previous Wimbledon appearances.

The 23-year-old takes on American qualifier Bradley Klahn for a place in the third round.

Naomi Broady

Just 24 hours after her brother Liam was thrashed by Milos Raonic in the men's singles, it was Naomi's turn to suffer a first round exit.

Broady is ranked 138 after a troubled career marred by an infamous incident that saw her national federation funding withdrawn after she posted a photo of herself hugging a condom machine.

Facing defending Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza on Centre court, the 28-year-old wild card looked nervous at times as the Spaniard eased to a 6-2, 7-5 win.

Jay Clarke

Clarke was making his Wimbledon debut after being given a wildcard and the promising 19-year-old wasn't overawed as he pushed Latvian Ernests Gulbis all the way before losing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4.

Clarke, ranked 218, recently revealed he has suffered racist abuse on social media.

But Clarke, who only won his first ATP level match last week, departed to warm applause from the crowd after his enthralling clash with the former French Open semi-finalist and ex-world number 10.

Katie Boulter

Boulter earned her first Grand Slam win, beating Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg to set up a second round clash with Japanese 18th seed Naomi Osaka.

The 21-year-old has climbed to the verge of the top 100 and in her second Wimbledon appearance she saw off an opponent ranked one place lower.

Boulter's 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory was especially impressive as she coped well with squandering a chance to wrap it up in the second set when she served for the match.

Gabriella Taylor

Taylor put up a brave fight but the 20-year-old's maiden Wimbledon outing – thanks to a wildcard entry – ended in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 defeat against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Dunne and dusted

Katy Dunne lost out in straight sets to 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko, going down 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) to the former French Open champion.

Heather Watson fared no better, losing 6-4, 7-5 to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens. — AFP

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