Breaks prove elusive as Anna Smith suffers Wimbledon reverse despite spirited showing

05 July 2017

A battling effort from Team Bath MCTA Tennis player Anna Smith and partner Nicole Melichar could not prevent a first-round exit in the women’s doubles at Wimbledon 2017.

They forced six break points against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova – a former French Open and US Open singles champion – and Kristina Mladenovic of France, including two in what proved to be the last game of the match.

However, they weren’t quite able to convert any of them as they went down 6-4 6-3 on Court 9 on Wednesday afternoon.

Smith – coached by Dave Sammel and Ian MacDonald – and Melichar, fresh from reaching the semi-finals at Eastbourne last week, had an opportunity to break in the very first game of a tight opening set.

It went with serve for the first nine games, including one epic service game for Smith which was eventually won on the sixth deuce, before Melichar was broken to secure the first set for Kuznetsova and Mladenovic.

They broke again in the fourth game of the second set but Smith and Melichar refused to go down without a fight. They had three break points at 4-2 down, then Smith saved a match point on her own serve before forcing another two break points at 5-3. However, the vastly-experienced Kuznetsova held her nerve to save those before sealing victory with an ace.

Smith will take to the SW19 courts again in the mixed doubles with Neal Skupski – they face fellow Brits Joe Salisbury and Katy Dunne in the first round. Fellow Team Bath MCTA player Liam Broady will partner sister Naomi in the mixed doubles, starting against Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Elise Mertens.

There were better fortunes on Wednesday for former Team Bath player Scott Clayton, who still returns to the University of Bath for some of his training, and partner Jonny O’Mara in their men’s doubles first round match.

They won their opening set 7-6 and the second was going with serve when opponents Adrian Mannarino of France and Paolo Lorenzi of Italy had to retire through injury.

Team Bath MCTA player Marcus Daniell and partner Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil will be hoping to join them in the second round when they face ‘lucky losers’ Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Belarus’s Alexander Bury in their opening match on Thursday.

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