THERE will be a battle of Britain in the Wimbledon mixed doubles semi-finals today, with a little bit of Belarus thrown in, writes Stewart Fisher. Jamie Murray, pursuing a hat-trick of SW19 mixed doubles title, this time with former World No 1 Viktoria Azarenka for company, booked a place in the last four with a dramatic 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win against Dutch pairing Jean-Julien Rojer and Demi Schuur. With English duo Harriet Dart and Jay Clarke waiting there, a Brit is sure to play in the final of this discipline for a third successive year.
“We did really well to come back again,” said Jamie, who claimed this title 12 months ago with Martina Hingis. “She has been getting me through it so far, although I played a bit better today.
“It was epic, the last game was 25 deuces or something – we don’t make it easy for ourselves. They [Dart and Clarke] have done awesome, they have beaten a lot of good teams. But we are a good team too and it is semi-final. The run has to come to an end sometime. It is great that there is representation towards the end of the tournament, no matter who it is.”
After some prompting, Azarenka is slowly getting to grips with the geo-political complications of Scotland and England. “Come on,” said the Belarusian, whose two-year-old son is in Wimbledon for the duration of the tournament, “now we get divided! This morning it was back the Brits and now it is Scotland-England, that is how it goes. Working with Jamie has helped me get part of my confidence back, having his positivity back. I have started going for my shots more.”
Another Scottish triumph yesterday came from young Murray protégé Aidan McHugh. The 18-year-old is into the quarter finals of the boys’ doubles with his Kazakh partner Timofey Skatov after a 6-3, 6-4 win against Jesper de Jong of the Netherlands and Damien Wenger of Switzerland. While his preference would have been a longer run in the singles like his sometime training partner Jack Draper – the son of former LTA supremo Roger is the first British junior since Kyle Edmund to reach the boys’s semi-finals – the pair reached the final of a Grade One event at Roehampton last week and are No 2 seeds. “I have always really enjoyed doubles,” said McHugh, “and Jamie has helped me a lot, with things like positioning. Quite a lot of the singles guys don’t enjoy it as much but I try to do it most weeks”
Gordon Reid still has his defence of his wheelchair doubles title with Alfie Hewett to look forward to, but there was disappointment yesterday when he went down 6-3, 6-3 to a big-serving display from Belgium’s Joachim Gerard. “I had a few nerves today, that was nothing unusual, it is a slam, a big occasion, there are a lot of people out there watching. That is something I have thrived on in the past but I just wasn’t consistent enough over the full two sets.
“Jo has got the biggest serve on tour. On the big points particularly today he made a lot of first serves and made it difficult for me to get on top in the rallies. But the doubles is a second chance for me.”
Source : HeraldScotland