Andy Murray – GETTY IMAGES
A weary-looking Andy Murray grunted his way to victory on Thursday night over his old Davis Cup comrade James Ward, and so earned a place in Saturday’s knock-out phase of the Schroders Battle of the Brits.
The noise Murray made was not incidental. As he scrapped through a lung-busting match, in the oven-like heat and humidity of Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre, his coach Jamie Delgado kept reminding him to grunt as he hit the ball.
“It helps him express himself a bit more,” Delgado told Amazon Prime’s commentary team, when asked about the grunting. “He tends to get a bit more on his shots. I felt in the first game he made some first serves but he was guiding them a little so, you know, I think it’s very important to have that intent to be aggressive where you can.”
Having spent 2hr 34min on the match court against Kyle Edmund on Wednesday night, Murray has got through a demanding schedule this week, and he admitted in his own mid-match interview that he was “A bit tired down here.”
Ward had been looking forward to this meeting with a man he has known since they were both juniors – being born only four months apart – yet has never faced on the main tour. He lived up to the occasion with a feisty showing, breaking Murray’s serve three times and keeping him on the run from the first point to the last.
Murray seemed to be playing at the edge of his endurance in the second set, hurling his racket into the back curtain at one stage after letting a series of break points slip away. After the amount of time these two have spent together over the years, preparing for Davis Cup matches or other tournaments, Ward knew exactly how to approach this match: which was with eyeballs-out aggression.
But Murray pulled off some phenomenal feats of retrieval, as he always does, and sweated his way to one of the hardest-earned straight-sets victories you will ever see. The match clock had moved past two hours by the time he hit one final passing shot from an unpromising position out wide, thus dragging himself over the line for a 6-3, 7-5 victory and joining the two best players of the week to date – Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans – on the semi-final line-up.
The fourth and final place will be claimed by the winner of Friday’s match between Cameron Norrie and Paul Jubb, and Murray will no doubt be glad to lie on his couch and watch that one on his day off while he recuperates for his meeting with Evans on Saturday.
“Physically it was a tough match,” said Murray afterwards. “I was feeling my hip a little bit but it wasn’t affecting my movement, I felt like moved probably the best in the three matches today, but I am glad to have a rest day now because I am very, very tired.”
Earlier, Evans had brought a silky touch to his 6-3, 6-3 victory over Norrie, and then took a well-deserved pop at the Lawn Tennis Association over the imminent departure of performance director Simon Timson after less than four years in the role.
Although Timson is a slick operator, he was never likely to be a long-term solution given the range of his sporting interests, and he is about to take up a post at Manchester City Football Club. “To be around for three years and then leave to football,” said Evans, “that stings a bit for me. I would like the next person to be in tennis and really love tennis.” Interviews for Timson’s replacement took place last week
No one is quite sure whether that win is enough to see Murray and Skupski through…Murray as tournament director has his google spreadsheet out, but is still none the wiser. Still no one knows, they’re off to bed and so am I…I’ll let you know what happens tomorrow!
MURRAY & SKUPSKI WIN 6-3, 3-6, 10-7
Murray serves first, it’s a big one to go 1-0 up. Murray and Skupski battle well to then win the next point, a volley at the net from the Scot doing the damage. Great work at the net gets Glasspool and Evans to 2-2. They go toe-to-toe to be level at 4-4, then a great steal at the net from Skupski gives him and Murray the advantage. It gets to 6-6 and to say it’s a tough one to call is an understatement. Murray and Skupski then get a bit of daylight to get it to 8-6 but a forehand smash from Evans illustrates he won’t give up without a fight. A Skupski volley at the net gives him and Murray two match points and Murray wins it with a big first serve which Glasspool cannot control.
That was close!
GLASSPOOL AND EVANS WIN SECOND SET 6-3
Glasspool and Evans have set point but a brilliant deep Murray volley gets it to deuce. Glasspool responds with an ace to take the match to a 10-point tie-break.
Murray & Skupski* 6-4, 3-5 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Skupski is down two break points but unlike last game when Murray saved them both, the favourites are finally broken.
Murray & Skupski 6-4, 3-4 Evans* & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Evans is doing his best in trying to ensure Murray has to wear a suit (as tournament director) for the rest of the week. He serves well to hold to 15.
Murray* & Skupski 6-4, 3-3 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
The Peaky Blinders (Evans and Glasspool) have two break points. Murray, however, gets it back to deuce. Murray makes no mistake to hold serve. The Brummie boys are getting closer, though…
Murray & Skupski 6-4, 2-3 Evans & Glasspool* (* denotes server)
Glasspool has served well tonight but a delightful sliced, angled volley from Mr Bulgaria (Skupski) and error at the net by Evans gets it to deuce. But Evans makes up for the error with an emphatic volleyed winner next up.
Murray & Skupski* 6-4, 2-2 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
That’s another easy hold for Skupski who looks like he’s wearing the Bulgarian flag…
Jamie Murray on the match so far…
“It’s about intensity and playing well as a team. We’ve asked a lot of questions on their serve so it’s so far, so good.”
Murray & Skupski 6-4, 1-2 Evans* & Glasspool (* denotes server)
As with the last game the server – this time Evans – is 0-30 down. And as with the last game the serve fights back to hold – only just though.
Murray* & Skupski 6-4, 1-1 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
From 0-30 down Murray and Skupski battle back to hold – impressive stuff.
Murray & Skupski 6-4, 0-1 Evans & Glasspool* (* denotes server)
What are the chances that Kyle Edmund is watching this match? I’ll give a million pounds to a charity of your choice if he is…I hazard a guess he’s celebrating having just seen his beloved Liverpool win their first top-flight title since 1990. Andy Murray was just three when the Reds last lifted the top-flight trophy…Anyway, back to the tennis. Glasspool holds on to serve with Murray and Skupski having had break point – good hold.
MURRAY & SKUPSKI WIN FIRST SET 6-4
That’s the first set wrapped up for the favourites – they’ve looked back to their best. Ruthless efficiency.
Murray & Skupski 5-4 Evans & Glasspool* (* denotes server)
Skupski and Murray are returning well and put pressure on Glasspool. They have two break points and only need one. They will serve for the first set.
Murray & Skupski* 4-4 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Skupski and Murray are getting 90 percent of first serves in – that’s a stat that goes some way, if not all the way, to explaining why they’ve not been broken so far.
Murray & Skupski 3-4 Evans* & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Murray and Skupski are crowding the net and closing the angles down at the moment and it’s working. They are putting pressure on Evans serve but he’s up to it and holds to 30.
Murray* & Skupski 3-3 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Murray holds to love – it’s been a match with with rallies so far…
Murray & Skupski 2-3 Evans & Glasspool* (* denotes server)
That was a really good service game from Glasspool and the match stays with serve.
Dan Evans want to see Jaime Murray in a suit….
Murray & Skupski* 2-2 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Skupski and Murray look very good at the net and some fine volleys see them reveal it at 2-2.
Murray & Skupski 1-2 Evans* & Glasspool (* denotes server)
Evans has been talking a good game all week. He backed it up in singles with his brilliant straight-sets win over Norrie today, and he’s now doing the same in doubles. The British (singles) No.1 holds to love.
Murray* & Skupski 1-1 Evans & Glasspool (* denotes server)
That’s a solid hold by Murray, there. He and Skupski need to come out firing and that’s what they’ve done.
Murray & Skupski 0-1 Evans & Glasspool* (* denotes server)
With the first game comes the first break point (it’s a winner-takes-all deuce in doubles) but Glasspool holds his nerve to hold.
Next up is…
Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski up against Dan Evans & Lloyd Glasspool.
Pre-tournament favourites Murray and Skupski lost their first match to Broady and Norrie. and need to win tonight.
Have a rest, son…
Murray – GETTY IMAGES
On the match…
“That was really tough. Way played well and dictated a lot of the point early on. He came up with some good stuff. Physically it was a tough match.”
On how he’s feeling…
“I’m feeling my hip a little bit, but it’s weird, It’s not affecting my movement. I moved the best I have all week but I am delighted I have a rest day tomorrow because I am feeling tired.”
On what he’ll try to change in the semi-final…
“I could be more aggressive on my backhand, today I was relying on my slice too much.”
MURRAY WINS THE MATCH 6-3, 7-5
Murray has really had to dig deep this evening, it’s been another magnificent effort from the former world No.1. He came up short last night but tonight he books his place in the semis, holding to love and winning with a fine running forehand down the line.
Murray 6-3, 6-5 Ward* (* denotes server)
The pressure is back on Ward. He starts off with a wide forehand to give Murray the early advantage. Murray has moved well to his forehand this evening and a great crosscourt shot gets him to 15-30. He wins the next point – a Ward error – to get two break points. He only needs one of them and he is now serving for the match.
Murray* 6-3, 5-5 Ward (* denotes server)
Delgado, his coach, is really having to encourage Murray here. At the break Murray sounded down but Delgado was geeing him up. Those words seem to have done the trick as Murray holds to love. Delgado shouts: “great game” and he’s not wrong.
Murray 6-3, 4-5 Ward* (* denotes server)
Ward hits a volley into the net to give Murray a 0-30 lead. Both players are breathing heavily and the average rally length has gone down to four from six in the first set. Murray is the one coping better as he has three break points, he needs all three of them with Ward hitting a fine backhand down the line to get to 30-40. The underdog then fires in a forehand smash to get back to deuce. Both players are digging deep here. Ward digs the deeper to come through and make Murray serve to stay in the set. That was one heck of a hold. Take a bow, Jimbo!
Well, what would you say?
Murray* 6-3, 4-4 Ward (* denotes server)
Murray looks like he’s feeling tired at the moment – his coach Jamie Delgado tells him: “you’re doing your best.” – he’s serving well though, but you cannot help but feel that Murray is battling hard to keep his level high. He holds to 15.
Murray 6-3, 3-4 Ward* (* denotes server)
Murray gets to 0-30 up and then to 30-40 and a long forehand from Ward gives Murray the break – an immediate response.
Murray* 6-3, 2-4 Ward (* denotes server)
The rallies are getting a bit shorter compared to the high-level first set, doubtless a result of the heat and humidity of the court. A double fault from Murray gets Ward to 30-30, and the underdog stays in the next rally well, forcing Murray into a wayward forehand. That’s break point for Ward and another Murray forehand into the net gives Ward the break. Ward has regrouped well after that punishing first set and you felt that break was coming.
Murray 6-3, 2-3 Ward* (* denotes server)
Murray is getting a bit annoyed with himself at the moment. He’s just hit a couple of groundstrokes long and the perfectionist isn’t liking it – no shock there then. It would have been easy for Ward to give up after that long first set, but he’s started the second set brilliantly and holds with an ace into the corner.
Murray* 6-3, 2-2 Ward (* denotes server)
Murray said he was tired during his mid-match interview and while he is still making the odd error he is still hitting enough winners to keep the pressure on Ward. He holds to 30.
Murray’s mid-match interview….
On how he’s playing…
“I am hitting the ball a bit bigger than at the start, as the rallies get longer he’s getting into more defensive positions.”
On those long games in the first set…
“Just put the ball back in play and finally broke him. I kept putting the pressure on, the ball in play. It’s a bit tired out here.”
Murray 6-3, 1-2 Ward* (* denotes server)
The physical exchanges keep coming and Ward keeps on giving as good as he gets and he once again holds comfortably.
Murray* 6-3, 1-1 Ward (* denotes server)
Ward has a superb backhand and at 15-15 he shows it off to put pressure on Murray. The Scot then hit a forehand into the net to give Ward two break points. He saves one and then the other. From Deuce he earns the advantage and makes no mistake to level the set at 1-1.
Murray 6-3, 0-1 Ward* (* denotes server)
Having played well and lost that first set you get the feeling it will take a mammoth effort from Ward to get back in this match. He starts the second set well, serving with purpose and holding to 30.
MURRAY WINS FIRST SET 6-3
Both players look well and truly tired out there. Ward hits a great winner but looks too shattered to celebrate. Murray holds and wins a very taxing first set in just shy of an hour.
Murray 5-3 Ward* (* denotes server)
A Murray special – a backhand winner on the run and at full stretch – gets him 0-15 up. Ward then sends a backhand into the net to give Murray a glimpse of another possible break. Ward is battling, though, he gets back to 30-30 with an ace. At deuce a powerful forehand crosscourt from Murray force Ward into the error and he has another break point. Ward pegs it back to deuce and once again it’s a bit of cat and mouse in terms of who wants to actually win the game – we’re 52 minutes into the match and we haven’t even completed eight games. Murray comes into the net (something Ward needs to do) and fires in a forehand into he corner – can he make this break point count? Yes. He. Can…He finally breaks for the two-game advantage. Ward has been playing well but mentally that will be hard to take.
Murray – GETTY IMAGES
Murray* 4-3 Ward (* denotes server)
After that long game which resulted in a break for the former world No.1 Murray needed a quick, easy service game and, thankfully for all involved (me included – I am still recovering from the previous game…), that’s what he got. He holds to 15, winning it with an ace meaning he’s ahead for the first time this evening.
Just a bit of banter….
Murray 3-3 Ward* (* denotes server)
Murray responds very well. A delicate volley the net is followed up with a fine crosscourt winner to go 0-30 up. A double fault gives Murray three break points BUT it’s a present he turns his nose up at as Ward gets back to deuce. Murray is breathing heavily at the moment – doubtless down the sweltering conditions. Ward is hitting his forehand with a lot of confidence and another winner gives him service point. That is well saved by a Murray forehand winner on the run. Ward has two more opportunities to secure the game but a botched volley into the net once again makes it deuce. Murray saves two more service points before securing his fourth break point. A Ward forehand winner pegs it back to deuce and sorry to usher in a cliche but ‘no one seems to want to win this at the moment’…Murray has another break point and a long Ward forehand means that finally the Scot has broken. It’s raining breaks as well as beads of sweat here at the moment, and at 13 minutes that was the longest game this week.
Ward is, understandably, happy….
In his mid-match interview, he said:
“I’ve served well, it’s been a good start. To win that long rally gives you a bit of confident. It’s enjoyable to pit my wits against someone like Andy.”
Murray* 2-3 Ward (* denotes server)
Brilliant stuff from Ward sees him work the opening brilliantly having worked Murray out wide before firing down a forehand down the line for 0-15. A forehand into the net from Murray gives Ward a 0-30 lead – already Murray is making a few more mistakes than at this stage against Edmund. The temperature courtside is a sweat-inducing 29 degrees and Murray is now three break points down. Ward only needs one of them – that’s the second Murray break in just three service games so far.
Murray 2-2* Ward (* denotes server)
Ward is having to play at the top of his game – when his first serve is in he’s looking good. Ward is going toe-to-toe with Murray and making him work around the court. A delicate drop shot gets him to 40-30, a big, booming serve wraps up the game for his first hold.
Murray* 2-1 Ward (* denotes server)
That was a much better service game from Murray, he holds to 15 and after the early slip he looks like he’s finding his groove on a hot and sweltering court.
Murray 1-1 Ward* (* denotes server)
Great recovery from Murray when all seemed lost from a forehand smash from Ward prompts an error from his opponent – that was classic Murray and gets him 15-30 up. Next point he moves very well to reach a drop shot and then hits a volleyed winner – another good sign. He has two break points. Ward saves the first but not the second and Murray’s response is immediate.
Murray* 0-1 Ward (* denotes server)
Ward starts off with a great return off a Murray first serve, a promising opening. He adds to the sense of hope with a great passing forehand winner to get to 15-30 and then has an early opportunity with two break points. Murray saves the first but a long forehand gifts the game to Ward. There were couple of errors from Murray there, something that will doubtless annoy the perfectionist.
Now for the main attraction….
No, not James Ward (apols, James…) but Andy Murray. Even though he lost to Edmund yesterday the former world No.1 was impressive, especially considering it was only his second match since November.
Edmund played well and the match gave Murray more reference points as to where his game is. Indeed, Murray was happy with where his game is at the moment, saying: “I think I did pretty well,” Murray said. “Much better than [against Liam Broady], with how I hit the ball from the back of the court. It would have been nice to come through it, but to be honest, right now I’m not bothered so much about the results.
“I know if my hip’s good my tennis will get better over the next months. If I sharpen up, I’ll be playing at a high level.”
Murray – GETTY IMAGES
Murray is up against Ward who was equally impressive as he beat Liam Broady in straight sets. A fine backhand is allied to great movement and Murray is only too aware he’ll need to play well to get the better of his friend.
“He serves well, has a good backhand and is able to get around the court well,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said of Ward.
“He defends well and is experienced. We practice a lot together so we know each others games well.”
There is all to play for with only three winner going through from the Tim Henman group to the semi-finals.
Evans and Norrie hit four aces between them so the Telegraph Media Group will donate £100 to NHS Charities Together.
On his win….
“I played really well. It was a high-level match. It wasn’t easy he played well, he’s still in the tournament.”
On his gameplan…
“I came forward quite a lot, that’s the sort of thing I have to do.”
EVANS WINS THE MATCH 6-3, 6-3
Evans’ first ace of the match is perfectly time as it gives him match point. He cannot take it as Norrie pegs him back to deuce. He makes no mistake on his next match point to take the match in straight sets.
Evans has been brilliant today and it’s clear to see why he’s Britain’s current No.1. It will take some performance to beat him this week.
Evans 6-3, 5-3 Norrie*
Norrie makes Evans serve for the match, holding to 15.
Evans* 6-3, 5-2 Norrie
Norrie is still fighting, he returns well before coming in to hit a backhand on the run to make it 30-30. Another backhand winner, this one hooked crosscourt, gives the world No.77 a break point. A long forehand with Evans getting in behind the second serve makes it deuce and Evans comes in to hit a forehand winner on the run to hold. He’s one game away from victory now.
Evans 6-3, 4-2 Norrie*
Norrie holds to 15 with relative ease and without anything of note taking place, for once…
Evans – GETTY IMAGES
Evans* 6-3, 4-1 Norrie
A collectors item – a botched volley – from Evans once again gives Norrie a glimmer of hope at 15-30. Evans responds with a rasping forehand – class. Next up is another forehand winner done the line. From that position he holds with a well-executed drop shot.
Evans 6-3, 3-1 Norrie*
Norrie gets on the board – but he’s having to play very well to do so. Evans is not letting his level drop at the moment and both men are working hard in very hot and humid conditions.
Evans* 6-3, 3-0 Norrie
Norrie has a glimmer of hope as a long forehand from Evans makes it 15-30 but another fine shot from Evans- a crosscourt drop shot – evens things up again.The very next point sees glorious tennis from both, Norrie is defending well but Evans has too many shots in his locker and he places (emphasis on places) the winner with a sliced backhand. He looks unstoppable.
Evans 6-3, 2-0 Norrie*
Evans earns another break point with a seriously impressive lob when at least four feet behind the baseline when he looked beaten. That clearly affects Norrie who follows up with a double fault. It looks like a long way back for the world No.77 now.
Evans* 6-3, 1-0 Norrie
There’s something of the Tim Henmans about Evans, he’s always keen to mix it up and is good at the net. He is as busy as ever as he holds serve to 30.
Dan Evans – GETTY IMAGES
EVANS WINS THE FIRST SET 6-3
Evans is tough to defend against. He hits big, accurate forehands at will, one here gets him 0-30. But Norrie can stay in rallies and knows when to strike, volleying his way back in the game to get back to 30-30. Evans has a set point and closes it out with an outstanding backhand down the line winner.
On the evidence of those 45 minutes Evans is the best player in the country at the moment.
Evans* 5-3 Norrie
Evans is a livewire, he covers so much of the court. He opens up with a back-pedalling smash, then next point comes into the next forcing Norrie into the error. He holds to 30, but it’s clear that we have a high-level match on our hands.
Evans 4-3 Norrie*
That break of serve looks like it’s given Norrie a spring in his step. He’s the one now controlling the rallies and he gets it back to 4-3.
Evans* 4-2 Norrie
Evans is playing some great stuff. He opens with a clean drop shot winner, follows it up with a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner – it’s clear his confidence is flowing. He’s hitting the ball so cleanly and seeing it the size of a beachball. He gets to 40-0 but two wayward shots – one long, one into the net – allows Norrie back into the game. Another hit into the net gets it to deuce and Evans has just lost a bit of focus here. A wonderful passing forehand down the line earns Norrie his first break point (a turn up for the books from 40-0 down) and the world No.77 breaks with another excellent winner.
“He’s come out very fast and is playing very well. I haven’t done much wrong.”
Evans 4-1 Norrie*
Both guys are making the other move about a bit, Evans looks like he is enjoying it more. Norrie is coming to he net more but Evans has the weapons to pass him and he earns two break points and wins the game with a sensational point. The pair exchange shots from the baseline before Evans comes in and plays a brilliant deep volleyed winner.
Evans* 3-1 Norrie
A sliced, disguised drop shot (that’s what I’m calling it) by Evans gets the game off to an exquisite start. He is looking good, and holds to 15.
Evans 2-1 Norrie*
Already it’s clear this is going to be a physical match, big groundstrokes, baseline battles and effort needed from both. Norrie makes no mistake with his second service game and gets back to 1-2.
Evans* 2-0 Norrie
That was a much more straightforward service game from Evans who holds to 15.
Evans 1-0 Norrie*
Evans is looking busy and proactive from the start and gets to deuce on Norrie’s serve. He earns break point thanks to a long forehand from his opponent but cannot capitalise as Norrie dominates the net. A super forehand down the line gives Evans another break point, but he’s faced with a big serve and it’s back to deuce. A wayward backhand from Norrie gives Evans his third break point but, and you’ve guessed it, Norrie forces the error from Evans and it’s deuce again. On his fourth break point Evans moves into the net and makes no mistake with the volley. That was high-class tennis from the start from both players.
He said what?
Norrie on Evans…
“Just looking forward to it, we’re both playing great and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I am going to try take it to him.”
Evans on Norrie…
“He’s been playing well, there’s not needle so hopefully it’s a good clean match.”
Next up is…
Dan Evans, Britain’s No.1, and world No.28 is up against Britain’s No.3 and world No.77 Cam Norrie. The winner of this will top the Greg Rusedski Group. Evans has the early bragging rights having beaten Norrie in a feisty doubles match last night.
How good is Jubb?
Young star Jubb says….
On the win…
“It wasn’t pretty, I haven’t played a match in so long. It was hard to hold that focus so just had to manage myself but glad I got there in the end.”
On facing world No.77 Cam Norrie tomorrow…
“It is a great opportunity to test my game and win or lose get better because of it.”
JUBB WINS 6-1, 6-7, 10-6
Jubb again races to an early lead and again Peniston comes back with some aggressive strokeplay. But unlike the second set tie-break Jubb is being assertive and an ace to the corner gets him to 5-1. Another powerful forehand gets him to 6-1 and from there he makes no mistake to take the set 10-6 and with it the match.
That was a very impressive performance from Jubb, he’s definitely one to watch over the next few years.
PENISTON TAKES THE SECOND SET 7-6
Jubb fires another powerful forehand (one of many he’s hit this match) to get to 2-1. An ace down the middle takes him to 3-1. Peniston isn’t going away, though, and he gets back to 4-4, then 5-4. The great fightback continues and Jubb is beginning to look tight as he gifts Peniston two set points, he only needs one and we’re going to match tie-break.
Peniston* 2-6, 6-6 Jubb
Jubb ups the anti and plays with more aggression getting to 15-40. A backhand into the net doesn’t matter as he wins the next point – Peniston goes long with a forehand – to break back and take the second set to a tie-break.
Peniston 2-6, 6-5 Jubb*
Jubb is quick to put all the pressure back on Peniston, quickly going 40-0 up. But as I said earlier, Peniston is a gutsy player and gets it back to deuce with some powerful groundstrokes, he follows up with another winner and has break point which he wins as Jubb fires into the net. Jubb is broken for the first time this match.
Peniston* 2-6, 5-5 Jubb
Jubb fires down a perfect backhand return down the line to make it 0-30 – that underlines his class and puts Peniston under pressure. He gets it back to 30-30 the with an exquisite forehand crosscourt, having run around his backhand, makes it 40-30. But Jubb hangs in the never rally to force and error and make it deuce. Peniston does well though and battles to hold, he is a tough guy.
Peniston 2-6, 4-5 Jubb*
Peniston again reminds us that there are two very fine young British players out on court at the moment with a brilliant backhand winner on the run to make it 15-15. Jubb holds his nerve, though, and holds, ending with a 120mph ace. The pressure is back on Peniston who is serving to stay in the match.
Peniston* 2-6, 4-4 Jubb
That was also impressive from Peniston – he is ice cool to hold to love and know asks a question of the young star.
Peniston 2-6, 3-4 Jubb*
Under pressure at 15-30 Jubb hits a perfect backhand crosscourt winner when Peniston must have thought he’d done enough to earn a break point. A wayward forehand gives Peniston that elusive break point – his first of the match – but straight away Jubb launches a huge first serve and it’s deuce. He then shows calm and cool to close out the game. That was a high level of tennis from Jubb to keep out Peniston. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jubb looks like a very good player.
Peniston* 2-6, 3-3 Jubb
Good tennis from Peniston, big first serve then taking a forehand early and in behind Jubb. That was a confident service game from the 24-year-old, he holds to love.
Cathie Sabin group – final standings
Peniston 2-6, 2-3 Jubb*
The thing about Jubb is that his attacking forehand has gone crosscourt, down the line, to the middle of the court at will and it’s a great attacking weapon to have. It remains on serve in the second after yet more impressive hitting from the Jubb.
Peniston* 2-6, 2-2 Jubb
A long forehand – sign of tiredness perhaps? – from Peniston gives Jubb a 15-30 advantage. A lobbed – not the cleanest hit – forehand takes Jubb to two break points. Peniston gobbles up both. The 24-year-old then plays a drop shot to ensure Jubb doesn’t win his third break point and then serves out the game.Good resilience from Peniston.
“I have to make him earn the point, I cannot give him any cheap points. He’s serving well.”
Peniston 2-6, 1-2 Jubb*
Jubb’s serve is faltering a bit this set. Peniston gets him back to deuce but a brilliant, deep sliced backhand prompts his rival into and error and he holds from there.
One to watch
Jubb – GETTY IMAGES
Peniston* 2-6, 1-1 Jubb
What a point that was from both players who exchange shots from the baseline before a sublime backhand crosscourt winner from Peniston. The 24-year-old is quietly digging in here and he holds to 15.
Peniston 2-6, 0-1 Jubb*
Jubb finds himself in trouble for the first time in the match at 0-30 down. He digs deep and plays percentages, hanging in the the next two rallies to get back to 30-30. From there he serves out to hold. He didn’t panic, he looks relaxed and still has that intensity about him.
JUBB WINS FIRST SET 6-2
Serving to stay in the set Peniston finds himself 15-30 down. He then misses a first serve and goes long with a wayward forehand to gift two set points to Jubb. The 20-year-old future star takes the first set against a slightly weary Peniston. That was seriously impressive from Jubb, he was at a different level to Peniston and well deserving of the 6-2 scoreline.
Peniston 2-5 Jubb*
It’s Peniston’s turn to remind us what a good player he is – he exchanges a series of groundstrokes with Jubb from the back of the court before unleashing a great forehand taken early. Jubb looks composed though, and holds with ease.
Peniston* 2-4 Jubb
I know I am banging on about Jubb but he looks a natural – great hands, great athlete and he looks like he can mix it up. He hits another blistering forehand as Peniston holds to 15.
Peniston 1-4 Jubb *
Jubb is playing an expansive game and it’s great to watch – yep, there are some errors among the brilliant strokes but he sure looks like one to watch.
Here’s what he said during his mid-match interview…
“It’s been great. Been here for the past couple of weeks with the others.”
Black Lives Matter
The players take the knee in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter message – GETTY IMAGES
Peniston* 1-3 Jubb
While comfortable in defence Peniston is struggling to get through Jubb, who plays a delightful forehand winner to get to 30-30. Jubb is the more aggressive of the pair and while that brings with it some errors he is a joy to watch. Peniston hangs in there to hold to 30.
Peniston 0-3 Jubb*
Both players look more comfortable clinging to the baseline but Peniston is the more wayward and Jubb races to a 3-0 lead. I’ve not seen him play before but he looks very good indeed – balance and poise, he is talented.
Peniston* 0-2 Jubb
Jubb looks at home from the off on court, he races to a 0-40 lead. Peniston then plays a blistering forehand which earns Jubb’s applause and then gets it back to deuce. Jubb has another break point but slices a backhand into the net. The 20-year-old when in full flow looks a talent – a brilliant rally ends with a wonderful volleyed winner. He gets another break point, which he squanders as well. But he makes no mistake with his sixth break point to take a 2-0 early lead.
Peniston 0-1 Jubb*
Peniston won the toss and elected to receive. Early on there’s a glimpse of what Jubb can do as the 20-year-old plays a brilliant forehand crosscourt winner. Jubb holds to 30 and it’s a great start for the youngster.
Next up is…
Ryan Peniston – Played brilliantly during his three-set defeat to Cam Norrie yesterday. The 24-year-old is a replacement for Jack Draper and is ranked 393 singles
Paul Jubb – a very late replacement for the injured Jay Clarke. The 20-year-old is 519 in the world rankings. Jubb won the singles title at the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship as a member of the South Carolina Gamecocks – something a certain John McEnroe won.
Ten aces were thrown down by that quartet so the Telegraph Media Group will donate £250 to NHS Charities Together for that match.
SALISBURY AND O’MARA WIN 6-2, 5-7, 10-5
Great volleys at the net are followed up with a back-pedalling smash by O’Mara to take an early 2-1 lead. A great leave by Salisbury then makes it 3-1, they’ve started the tie-break well and have the early advantage. They soon make it 6-2 with a great forehand return from O’Mara. It’s one-way traffic as a wonderful low backhand from O’Mara makes it 7-2. From there they stroll to take the third set for a 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 victory.
EDMUND AND WARD WIN SECOND SET 7-5
O’Mara’s serve has been under pressure a lot this second set and he’s down early on. Then at 0-15 Edmund hits a lobbed return then comes in and plays an exquisite volley on the run to make it 0-30. A Salisbury volley causes a misunderstanding between Ward and Edmund to make it 30-30. But Ward and Edmund have a set point which they lap up with a blistering Edmund forehand return. It’s level at 1-1. Tie-break here we come…
Edmund & Ward* 2-6, 6-5 Salisbury & O’Mara
Edmund doing to Salisbury and O’Mara what they did to him and Ward in the first – reading the play and then pouncing on the net to volley a winner, great to watch. Ward holds with an ace. 6-5…
Edmund & Ward 2-6, 5-5 Salisbury* & O’Mara
Serving to stay in the set Salisbury and O’Mara trade blows while at the net with Edmund and Ward, who are on the baseline. The former seal the point with a fine volley. But Salisbury hasn’t found his serve this game and Ward and Edmund have two set points. Edmund misses long with his trusted forehand for the first break point. O’Mara then takes it to deuce with a mishit volley. Salisbury then holds with a big first serve.
Edmund* & Ward 2-6, 5-4 Salisbury & O’Mara
Edmund keeps his nerve at 30-30 to hold his serve. He and Ward have been much more consistent this set and Salisbury and O’Mara have a battle on their hands.
Edmund & Ward 2-6, 4-4 Salisbury & O’Mara*
O’Mara holds to love and it looks like this set is going to the wire.
Edmund & Ward* 2-6, 4-3 Salisbury & O’Mara
Ward and Edmund are looking like a different proposition this set, they are serving better and working well together at the net as a smashed forehand winner from Edmund illustrates. But Salisbury is the star of the show so far and he comes to the fore to hit a fine forehead which Edmund can only hit into the net. It gets to deuce and an aggressive second serve pays off and Ward and Edmund hold on for a 4-3 lead.
Edmund & Ward 2-6, 3-3 Salisbury* & O’Mara
Salisbury isn’t as dominant on his serve this set as he was in the first. But despite a fine backhand winner from Ward he edges to hold serve to 30.
Salisbury and O’Mara have looked impressive so far and are a set up – GETTY IAMGES
Edmund* & Ward 2-6, 3-2 Salisbury & O’Mara
Edmund holds well to 15. He and Ward look much better on serve this second set.
Edmund & Ward 2-6, 2-2 Salisbury & O’Mara*
A great forehand return from Ward precedes a great Edmund forehand bomb. That gets them to 30-30. A double fault from O’Mara gets Ward and Edmund their first break point of the match. Salisbury dominates at the net to make it deuce and another awesome volley at the net by the same player gives them the game.
James Ward on the match so far…
“Much better start to the second set, we are getting our first serves in.”
Kyle Edmund on beating Andy Murray…
“Last night was a long battle, that competition and pressure was nice to get. Always good to win those sort of matches.”
Edmund & Ward* 2-6, 2-1 Salisbury & O’Mara
Edmund exchanges volleys at the net with Salisbury, a duel he wins. Salisbury then volleys a winner to make it 15-15. But Salisbury is dominating at the net and another volley winner makes it 30-30. Ward gets in two first serves, the key so far for him and Edmund, and holds.
Edmund & Ward 2-6, 1-1 Salisbury* & O’Mara
Salisbury has been serving brilliant this match and he continues to hit his spots until a couple of errors pegs him back to 40-30. He then misses another first serve but shows guts with a big second serve to just hold.
Edmund* & Ward 2-6, 1-0 Salisbury & O’Mara
Edmund and Ward needed to get the second set off to a good start and strong serving from the world No.44 singles player ensures they do just that. Edmund holds to love.
SALISBURY AND O’MARA TAKE THE FIRST SET 6-2
O’Mara makes light work of that game and he and Salisbury take the first set 6-2. They are looking very impressive and the ones to beat this week. That is about as good as it gets.
Edmund & Ward* 2-5 Salisbury & O’Mara
Ward and Edmund are only making 50% of their first serves and that as much as their opponents fine form is putting them under pressure. A great short, angled volley from Edmund gets him and Ward 30-15 up having been 0-15 down. Another missed first serve results in an O’Mara return winner. It gets to deuce but Ward finds an ace and holds…just.
Edmund & Ward 1-5 Salisbury* & O’Mara
No sooner do I say just how well Salisbury is playing than he is break point down on his serve. He gets it back to deuce and holds his nerve and serve the next point as Edmund hits into the net.
A lovely touch
Edmund* & Ward 1-4 Salisbury & O’Mara
Great forehand crosscourt winner from Edmund reminds everyone that the singles duo have the shots to upset the more established doubles pair. But O’Mara responds with a 92mph forehand winner to get it to 30-30, then a clean return winner from Salisbury earns them the break point. Edmund responds with a brilliant backhand down the line to make it deuce but Salisbury secures the double break with a volleyed winner at the net.This has been a great start from Salisbury and O’Mara.
Edmund & Ward 1-3 Salisbury & O’Mara*
Some more great movement and sharp net play from Salisbury illustrates why he and O’Mara are the favourites. O’Mara’s serving is almost as good as his golf and he holds to love.
Edmund & Ward* 1-2 Salisbury & O’Mara
Salisbury gambles, moving forward off a Ward backhand and hits a sharp volley that Edmund can do nothing about. That puts Ward’s serve under pressure at 15-30. Salisbury does it again (almost identical point) to get the break point and a long forehand from Ward ensures Salisbury and O’Mara get the early break.
Edmund & Ward 1-1 Salisbury* & O’Mara
Anyone with arachnophobia look away now (not literally as I’m not going to post a photo, I’m kind like that…) as the game is delayed by a huge (for British standards, at least…) spider on the court. Someone should tell the eight-legged creature that no spectators are allowed in this week…Once spiderboy departs Salisbury sends down several big serves and holds to 15 without much incident.
Edmund* & Ward 1-0 Salisbury & O’Mara
Good, confident start on serve from Edmund as the Murray slayer holds to love.
Meet the players
Kyle Edmund – the 25-year-old reached the Australian Open semi-final in 2018 and is the current world No.44. If he wins this week he’ll hope it will be a double celebration because as a Liverpool fan he’ll be wanting to see his side win the Premier League today if Chelsea take points off Manchester City.
James Ward – likes indoor courts and reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2015. The 33-year-old is currently at 273 in the world rankings and faces Andy Murray in the singles later today.
Joe Salisbury – became the fourth British player to win a Grand Slam title in men’s doubles in the open era, when he won the 2020 Australian Open with Rajeev Ram. Is a world-class doubles player and is ranked 7th in the world rankings.
Jonny O’Mara – 25-year-old Scot is currently 54th in the doubles world rankings, O’Mara won the Master’U BNP Paribas, the world event of university tennis, with Great-Britain in December 2017. He is apparently a fine golfer but is a bit dodgy with his handicap, we all know someone like that!
First up is…
Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara up against James Ward and Kyle Edmund. Both pairs looked very good during their wins over Dom ‘the Bomb’ Inglot and Ryan Peniston. The winner here will top the Cathie Sabin Group. Thanks to their better doubles pedigree Salisbury and O’Mara start as slight favourites.
News from the subs bench…
It may have only been his second match in seven months but there were still sparkles of the magic that saw him win three Grand Slams…sit back and enjoy this backhand winner…
Order of play
Salisbury & O’Mara vs Ward & Edmund
Dan Evans vs Cameron Norrie
Paul Jubb vs Ryan Peniston
Andy Murray vs James Ward
Murray & Skupski vs Evans & Glasspool
Encouraging signs for Murray
Welcome to day three of the Schroders Battle of the Brits otherwise known as (just by me, it would seem…) the Rumble In Roehampton.
This may be an unofficial event, organised in haste, with no ranking points and a prizemoney pool yet to be finalised, but, going on the past two days of action, all the players are are clearly up for a fight. That is what three months of lockdown does for you – cooped up, watching endless boxsets and having to participate in ‘fun’ Zoom quizzes can only soothe the soul so much. When you’re a professional athlete what really gets the juices flowing is competitive action. With the rearranged tennis schedule to play all the players are keen to get back on court and find out where their form is.
None more so than Andy Murray who coming into this tournament hadn’t played since last November. More than anyone the two-time Wimbledon champion was in the dark as to how his game was. After two matches – an easy win against Liam Broady on Tuesday and yesterday’s three-set defeat to Kyle Edmund – it’s fair to say his form is encouraging.
The nearly three-hour match against the coming man Edmund saw Murray move with apparent ease, serve well and go toe-to-toe with a fine player in the top 50 of the world rankings. He went into the match talking his chances down, but on the evidence of yesterday’s best match, Murray has a lot to be happy about.
That’s something he admitted, saying he was now looking forward to the second half of the year when, hopefully, the US and French Opens are to be played.
“I think I did pretty well,” Murray said. “Much better than [against Liam Broady], with how I hit the ball from the back of the court. It would have been nice to come through it, but to be honest, right now I’m not bothered so much about the results.
“I know if my hip’s good my tennis will get better over the next months. If I sharpen up, I’ll be playing at a high level.”
But before he can focus on events beyond the Rumble In Roehampton he has the small matter of today’s match against James Ward. Fourth on court it is effectively a straight shootout for who joins Edmund in the semi-finals from the Tim Henman Group.
Before Murray and Ward do battle Dan Evans faces Cam Norrie to see who will top the Greg Rusedski Group.
Stay here for all the action from the National Tennis Centre….