Liam Broady reached the third round of a grand slam tournament for the first time with a thrilling comeback five-set win at Wimbledon over Diego Schwartzman, the 12th seed from Argentina.
The 28-year-old from Stockport, ranked 132 in the world, dug deep from two sets to one behind to come through 6-2, 4-6, 0-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1 in three hours and 47 minutes – avenging defeat to the same player at the same stage last year.
Clay-court specialist Schwartzman looked to have found his form after losing the first set, but a titanic fourth-set tiebreak was claimed by Broady, and he used that as a launchpad to run away with the deciding set – cheered on by an ecstatic home crowd and sister and fellow professional Naomi.
- Emotional Katie Boulter dedicates win to late grandmother
Broady, who hails from the same area as British tennis legend Fred Perry, is the life and soul of a what is a tight-knit British group these days, and his victory was as popular among his colleagues as it was with the crowd.
He said: “I am really happy with it. I mean, it is the first time having played two five-set matches in a row. To have come through, and against Diego, as well. I said it after the first round, he's one of the fittest guys on tour. To have managed to get him in five sets, that's kind of what he does. The first time into the third round of Wimbledon…a good day.
“I do think a large part of it with these matches and the physicality needed is having been there before, having done it before. I played a fair few five-setters now. You kind of get used to it I guess.
“For me a large part of it is being tired and just being able to stay focused. That mental endurance, which is kind of what I was saying after the first round as well, and it happened today. I think that's the great thing about a five-set match, there are such huge swings of momentum and so much can happen. It's not just done after one swing. There can be two, three, four swings. It just becomes a lot longer of a struggle.
“I'll probably send Andy Murray a text after that one. I was thinking about sending him a text a few minutes ago, to be honest. I've not got one from him yet. Whenever I have a good win, I tend to text him and say, ‘Have you seen any results of note today?’ But he had a tough one on Wednesday so it might not be appropriate to send that one today!
”Andy has always been probably one of my toughest critics, but he's also been one of the greatest advisers that I've had. It's easy for people to say, ‘You have to believe in yourself more, you're a great player’. But when one of the greatest players of all time says that to you, it carries a lot more weight and does kind of strike home a lot harder.”
And on the welcome £120,000 prize money his run has brought him, Broady said: “ I might just withdraw it all and just like lie on it. No idea what I’ll spend it on, to be honest. I'm getting a bit older now so I need to start looking for somewhere to live other than my parents' house. That could go towards that a little bit, as well.
“But, I mean, at the end of the day, as nice as the prize money is, I'm not playing those matches, I'm not serving at 5-1 and thinking, ****, I've got 120 grand here on the line. I'm serving and thinking I'm about to beat Diego Schwartzman. It is a nice bonus.
Next up for Broady will be Aussie Alex de Minaur – who ruined any hopes of an all-British third-round clash by coming from a set down to beat Jack Draper 5-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Court One.
De Minaur, 23, and the 19th seed, was supported in his players’ box by girlfriend Katie Boulter in the evening after her magnificent shock win on Centre earlier in the day.
At times Boulter looked slightly uncomfortable cheering against her fellow Brit and the vast bulk of the crowd, but loyally supported her man as he stormed back to win the last three sets.
And De Minaur may now take some stopping. The player with more than a hint of Lleyton Hewitt about him – who has been heavily involved in his development – can run anyone into the ground and no longer has Matteo Berrettini in his section after the Italian withdrew with Covid.
*18+, terms and conditions apply, odds subject to change.