Wimbledon | Jamie on track for a hat-trick
JAMIE Murray kept on course for a hat-trick of Wimbledon mixed doubles titles.
The defending champion, a former British world No.1 doubles ace, might have regretted his late decision to enter the competition.
Murray had hinted he wanted to concentrate solely on a campaign to wrest his first men’s doubles title at the Championships with Bruno Soares – but he and the Brazilian exited early.
The crowd got their money’s worth. Crazy points, crazy rallies. The last game seemed to last an hour. It was fun, with so many people watching. I was happy to have Vicky on my side Jamie Murray
Yet a 4-6 7-5 7-5 victory with new partner Victoria Azarenka over Dutch fourth seeds Jean-Julien Roger and Demi Schuurs saw them ease any preoccupation Murray had of crying over spilt milk.
And it was sealed on the fifth match point as Murray fired a backhand volley down the middle in a marathon final game of NINE deuces.
Murray: “The crowd got their money’s worth. Crazy points, crazy rallies. The last game seemed to last an hour. It was fun, with so many people watching. I was happy to have Vicky on my side.”
Belarusian Azarenka said: “We’re taking one match at a time. It was a tough doubles. Roger didn’t miss one volley. But Jamie stepped in when I kept having chances and going in the wrong direction. I’m happy an honorary Brit? Yes.”
The fledgling pairing take on wild card British duo Jay Clarke and Harriet Dart – who overcame tenth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Abigail Spears 7-6 7-5, for a place in the final.
Murray said: “Jay and Harriet are on an awesome run, but it has got to come to an end sometime!”
The five-time Grand Slam doubles champion is clearly proud of his mixed doubles record in London SW19, having won it with Jelena Jankovic in 2008 and Martina Hingis just last year.
But he and former world No.1 singles player Azarenka were unseeded as they took on Dutch fourth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Demi Schuurs for a place in the last four.
Murray and Azarenka bounced back after losing the opening set.
But it was a tight second. Azarenka looked brittle on her serve. But any weakness was far from evident as she crunched a backhand down the line on the first of two set points to level the match as Schuurs dumped a return into the net.
Confidence was high from Murray and Azarenka going into the decider.
Azarenka’s serve improved and she held it to love at the start of it with the help of the long reach of Murray at the net.
It was nip and tuck all the way through the set before before the dramatic finale.