Roehampton | Willis gets closer

Marcus Willis is one match away from gaining a place in the men’s draw at Wimbledon in what could well be a repeat of his adventures of last year.

I'm a better player than last year, I'm fitter, faster and moving better. I was a very good player last year but Mr Federer took me out. I still maintain if I hadn't played him I could have won more matches there Marcus Willis

He defeated compatriot Liam Broady in the second round of the Qualifying tournament in Roehampton, 7-6(2) 6-7(2) 6-2 in their rain delayed clash in what was an unfortunate clash between two Brits.

Willis, who is ranked 374 and won six qualifying matches to reach The Championships 12 months ago, now has the tough task of overcoming the Ukraine’s world No 117 Illya Marchenko if he is to repeat his efforts of last year and make the main draw

However Willis, the British No9, fancies his chances having dismissed the world No148 Andrej Martin in the previous round.

Looking ahead to that match, he said: “I’m playing pretty well here. My next round is very difficult but I’ll go out and give it everything I’ve got. He’s very solid, normally quite a bad match-up for someone like me, with a good backhand, a good serve, he moves well.

“I’m a better player than last year, I’m fitter, faster and moving better. I was a very good player last year but Mr Federer took me out. I still maintain if I hadn’t played him I could have won more matches there.

Against Broady, who is ranked 10 places below him, the first set was tight as expected with both players trying to gain the psychological advantage and it was Willis who gained that in the tie break converting the first of his four set points.

Broady turned the tables in the second when he broke in the third game but then slipped trying to reach a net cord, hurting his racket hand in the process.

Willis promptly broke back but Broady then took the tiebreak to level the score but with the light fading Willis regained control in the decider to run out the winner.

“It’s a shame I had to play Liam in qualifying,” Willis said. “I’m sure that would have been a higher level than some main draw matches. It’s a shame someone had to lose.”

In other matches, Derbyshire’s Jay Clarke, 18, grabbed a notable scalp with a 6-3 7-6(5) win over Elias Ymer of Sweden, a player ranked 94 places above him at 266.

Now only Sebastian Ofner, a 21-year-old Austrian ranked 215, stands between Clarke and a Wimbledon debut.

Northampton’s Alexander Ward, 27, also progressed with a 6-3 6-1 win over Japan’s Go Soeda.

Katy Dunne, 22, from Hemel Hempstead, kept the British flag flying for the women by beating Serb Ivana Jorovic 7-5 7-5, but Harriet Dart, Maia Lumsden, Eden Silva, Gabriella Taylor and Freya Christie had their hopes dashed.




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