Murray, Watson and Draper top the tables going into the final day
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Andy Murray joined Jack Draper at the top of the Premier League table on the men’s side with a second win, this time over British No. 3 Cameron Norrie. Looking to be moving well, and coming through another long match, Murray was quick to take the initiative and break Norrie in the opening game and kept hold of the advantage to take the first set.
Norrie, who made a few uncharacteristic errors in his match against Draper, steadied the ship, coming back from an early break in the second set to give Murray some pause for thought. He broke back and kept the pressure on, even having a set point before going into a tie-break.
Norrie played a much-improved match from yesterday but the momentum from a win already in the tournament saw Murray clinch another three points to move up the table to share the top spot with the now 19-year-old Draper on his birthday. Draper had battled through a gruelling match against Norrie, and at times during that had looked fatigued, but pulled up well for a commanding win over Jay Clarke.
Heather Watson also tops the Premier League of Tennis tables, as she closed out a long day of action on Court Three, taken the distance by Emma Raducanu in her biggest test so far. Raducanu’s aggressive game caught Watson on the hop, and despite being able to reel off three games in a row to get things back on an even keel in the first set, Raducanu powered her way to another break courtesy of Watson errors to take the first set.
It looked as though the pattern would repeat in the second set, with an early break for Raducanu but Watsons patience and point construction started to pay off as the dreaded double-faults returned to Raducanu’s game. Watson took her chance and broke Raducanu twice to take it into a decider.
From there experience really told as she powered to a commanding lead, and although there were a couple of points of respite for the 18-year-old, Watson secured her place on the top of the table with another two points.
At the start of the day, in an epic battle on Court Three, Francesca Jones edged out one of the domestic summer’s star performers, Jodie Burrage. From the start Jones prevented Burrage from getting into any rhythm in her game, and with not that much separating them in the rankings, the encounter was taut throughout.
Trading breaks at the start, Burrage’s aggressive play saw her push time and again to break Jones again, but the higher ranked player just kept Burrage at bay, and her own perseverance paid off with a break towards the end of the set, before taking the lead.
It was a competitive start to the second set, and the pair went on to trade four breaks of serve before battling their way through to a tie-break. Burrage looked to be on the March, bringing up three set points, but just found herself error-strewn at the end as Jones hung on to get her first win of the tournament.
It was encouraging to see how Jack Draper performed after his gruelling encounter with Norrie on Monday, where at times he looked to be flagging with the pace in the second set. He confidently dispatched Jay Clarke, perhaps also with the benefit of having had plenty of match-time this week.
Dan Evans was in fine form and added to his league table points tally by powering to a straight sets win over Liam Broady.
There was also a first win of the tournament for Katy Dunne. At times she has struggled to get her serve working but was in command in the first set against Alicia Barnett. She found herself taken the distance though as Barnett came back to force a decider, but Dunne took control in the match tie-break to get her first points on the board.
There were wins as will for Eden Silva and Anton Matusevich, who came in for Jan Choinski, and handled the heavy weight of shot from James Ward well to claim a decent scalp in terms of points.