Following Monday’s complete washout, Tuesday’s schedule was a packed one which wasn’t helped by another burst of morning rain delaying the start of the men’s opening round at the Viking International Eastbourne, an ATP 250 event, by some two hours.
I felt great today and great in practice leading up to it. I’ve maybe not won as many matches as I would have liked to recently, so this is a big one for me Liam Broady
All four Brits were in action excluding the British No.2 Cameron Norrie, who withdrew to regain his breath prior to next week’s Wimbledon, having reached the final at Queen’s on Sunday. He was replaced by Slovak Norbert Gombos and was duly beaten by Alexei Popyrin of Australia, 4-6 6-4 6-1.
Wildcards Jay Clarke and James Ward, plus Lucky Loser Alastair Gray, all lost without winning a set – two Australians accounted for Clarke and Ward, the former falling to John Millman 6-3 6-2 and the latter to their rising star Vasek Pospisil.
Of the three, Gray put up the strongest performance when he lasted 104-minutes against qualifier Ilya Ivashka of Belarus before going out 6-2 7-6(5).
It was left to Liam Broady, the British No.5 and world 144, to keep the home hopes alive after defeating the world No.56 Frances Tiafoe of the US, 6-3 7-6(4) for what is the second best win of his career.
The 27-year-old from Stockport completely outclassed his in-form opponent who last week, reached the quarter-finals at Queen’s having a week earlier, won the Nottingham Challenger.
He can now expect to be well tested by the second seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia, a Queen’s semi-finalist.
Broady managed to nullify Tiafoe’s big serve, breaking him three times in the opening set and eventually clinching the win in the second set tie-break, having saved six break-points.
“Frances is red hot at the moment, reaching the quarter-finals at Queen’s and winning the Challenger in Nottingham so I knew it was going to be tough,” Broady said following his excellent victory.
“I felt great today and great in practice leading up to it. I’ve maybe not won as many matches as I would have liked to recently, so this is a big one for me.”
The only other upset of the day on the men’s side was inflicted by the Finn Emil Ruusuvuori who took out the seventh seed from Spain, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-4 6-3.
The popular Frenchman, Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga, is also amongst the first-round casualties.
The former world No.5, currently ranked 83, who still recovering from a series of injuries and knee surgery which have hampered him for the past few years, crashed out to Belarussian Egor Gerasimov 6-4 6-4 and then revealed that he is testing himself.
“I think the goal for the moment is to prove to myself that I’m able to still play a good level of tennis,” Tsonga, who has only won one match this year from the seven he has played, told the ATP website.
The first round was completed at 9.14 pm local time and is currently back on schedule and should remain that way, weather permitting!