Keeping up with the Brits: 15 February, 2021

15/02/2021

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The Australian Open got into full flow this week, as 17 British hopefuls, including a record number of men’s doubles entrants, have been battling their way through the opening rounds.

While many fan’s attention may have been Down Under this week, it’s safe to say that Murray Mania swept the tennis world again as Andy and a number of other Brits enjoyed success on the Challenger and ITF circuits.

From career high wins and taking on 20-time Grand Slam champions – get set for another edition of ‘Keeping up with the Brits’.

What happened in British tennis last week?

Cam Norrie made headlines this week as he won the all-British clash against Dan Evans in the opening round of the men’s singles before going on to play World No.2 Rafael Nadal in the third round. Norrie held his own against the Spaniard in the Rod Laver arena, but couldn’t prevent the 2009 champion taking a 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 win.

Heather Watson reached the second round of the singles before narrowly losing to 21st seed Anett Kontaveit, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2.

Elsewhere British No.1 Johanna Konta was forced to retire from her first-round match with injury, as Katie Boulter and Fran Jones also fell short in the early rounds.

It was doubles delight for the Brits in Australia this week, with fourteen Brits competing in the men’s, women’s, mixed and wheelchair doubles draws. 2020 champion Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram picked off where they left off last year and extended their winning run at the Australian Open to nine wins in a row.

Joining them in the quarter-finals are Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, playing their first Grand Slam together since 2019. Murray and Soares are unbeaten in 2021 and had an impressive first week in Melbourne.

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett made a winning start in the men’s wheelchair doubles as they gun for a record equalling 10th slam title as a team. Hewett also has his eyes set on the singles title, after beating World No.1 Shingo Kunieda in the semi-finals.

Despite bowing out of the singles draws, both Lucy Shuker and Andy Lapthorne had impressive doubles wins in the women’s wheelchair and men’s quad doubles – both progressing to the finals.

Staying in Melbourne at the Phillip Island Trophy, 20-year-old Fran Jones picked up her first WTA tour victory, in what was the biggest win of her career to date. She defeated World No.44 and 11th seed, Saisai Zheng 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. The win should see Jones reach the top-200 following the latest rankings updates.

On the ATP Challenger Tour, Britain had two finalists over the weekend in Andy Murray and Liam Broady. Murray, competing in his first event of 2021 at the Biella Challenger, demonstrated his quality throughout the week, kicking off with a trademark comeback win and hitting his stride in the later rounds. Although he lost the final to Ukranian, Illya Marchenko, Murray will take huge positives from his week in Italy.

Broady on the other hand was in action in South Africa at the Potchefstroom Challenger, where he reached his sixth ATP Challenger final. Broady played brilliantly all week and hadn’t dropped a set in the lead up to the final, but in the end it was second seed Benjamin Bonzi who clinched the title.

Elsewhere in Potchefstroom, Jodie Burrage reached the semi-final of the W25 singles event, while Naomi Broady and Eden Silva were finalists in the doubles. Broady and Silva lost a nail-biting final 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 to Lesley Kerkhove and Bibiane Schoofs.

Photo of the week

Any ideas what’s happened to Hewett here?

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A post shared by Alfie Hewett (@alfiehewett6)

Posts of the week

What an effort from Norrie this week at the Australian Open

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A post shared by @norriee

Onwards and upwards for Boulter in the 2021 season

Nothing beats your family cheering you on

Lapthorne, Murray and Colin Fleming have been hanging out court-side in Melbourne

What’s happening in British tennis this week?

The Australian Open reaches its final week as several Brits aim to lift the maiden Grand Slam title of 2021. Salisbury and Murray march on in the men’s doubles and if they both win their respective quarter-finals, will face each other in the semi-finals, guaranteeing a British finalist.

Salisbury’s chances of a first mixed doubles Grand Slam title are still alive as he and Desirae Krawczyk continue on their Australian Open journey. They are joined by fellow Brit Neal Skupski and his partner, Andreja Klepac, as hopefuls for the 2021 title this week.

Hewett and Reid will once again join forces on Tuesday to face Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in the men’s wheelchair doubles final. The following day, Hewett will take on Joachim Gerard in the singles final.

Lapthorne is first up on the Margret Court Arena on Tuesday as he and David Wagner play Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson in the men’s quad doubles final.

Shuker is also in final action on Tuesday as she and Kgothatso Montjane battle it out with Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot.

Elsewhere, Murray returns for another week at the Biella Challenger, as he aims to go one further and lift the title. He’ll be hoping that with plenty of match practice last week, the former World No.1 will be set to mount another strong run in Italy.

It’s a similar story in South Africa, where Broady will once again compete in the Potchefstroom Challenger. He’s joined by Jack Draper and Ryan Peniston, who have also qualified for the event.

Burrage, Broady and Silva are also back for another crack at the W25 Potchefstroom this week.

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