Wonderful winning Wimbledon debut for Team Bath Tennis player Alicia Barnett and partner Olivia Nicholls
Team Bath Tennis player Alicia Barnett and partner Olivia Nicholls enjoyed a winning Wimbledon debut on Wednesday as they progressed to the second round of the women’s doubles in fine style.
Barnett, coached by Ian MacDonald at the Team Bath Sports Training Village, and Nicholls produced a brilliant performance on Court 6 as they beat the vastly-experienced duo of Kaia Kanepi and Renata Voracova 6-1 4-6 6-2.
Rain delayed the start of the match for two hours but the Brits – playing at their first Grand Slam event – showed no signs of nerves and quickly found their stride, rattling off the first five games on their way to taking the first set 6-1.
The second set was more closely contested, with Barnett and Nicholls being broken for the first time before immediately hitting back. It remained with serve until an epic 10th game when, after going to deuce five times, Kanepi and Voracova finally forced another break to take the set 6-4.
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Estonian Kanepi and Czech Voracova, who have played in 87 Grand Slam women’s doubles competitions between them, had a chance to go an early break up in the decisive set when they went 40-0 up on Barnett’s serve.
However, the Team Bath Tennis star kept her nerve superbly to hold serve and the Brits rode that momentum to grab a break in the next game. They now firmly had the initiative and went on to take the set 6-2, sealing an impressive win. Click here to rewatch the match on BBC iPlayer.
It continued an excellent season for Barnett and Nicholls, which has included a biggest success of their careers to date – winning the W60 Bellinzona title on clay in Switzerland – and reaching the Lyon Open final in France on their WTA Tour debut. That saw Barnett achieve a career-high world doubles ranking of 100 earlier this month.