27 July - 2 August 2020

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Schroders Battle of the Brits: Day 6 Match Updates

  • 28/06/2020

  • News

Highlights

  • Dan Evans takes the singles title with a 6-3 6-2 win over Kyle Edmund
  • Cameron Norrie takes third-place with a 6-3 7-5 victory over James Ward
  • Andy Murray pulls out of third-place play-off with Cameron Norrie - he will be replaced by James Ward
  • Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski claim the doubles title
  • Kyle Edmund to face Dan Evans in the singles final after beating Cameron Norrie in a tight encounter
  • Dan Evans produces an epic comeback beating Andy Murray to reach the singles final

Evans clinches the singles title as the inaugural Battle of the Brits comes to an end

Dan Evans trophy shot

British No. 1 Dan Evans was crowned singles champion of Schroders Battle of the Brits, after beating the British No. 2 Kyle Edmund in straight sets, 6-3 6-2.

It looked like a nervy start from Edmund, leaking a few errors from his usually trusty forehand leaking a few errors, and given Evan’s consistency over the week, it was a dangerous time to be putting in arguably one of his weakest sets.

Kyle Edmund Backhand

As Edmund pointed out though, this format has leant itself to a quick turnaround, if you can get yourself back into it, then you have every chance in the tie-break, and while he started brightly with a break at the start of the set, he was again pegged straight back, and Evans’ persistence just kept Edmund from getting a grip on the set, before breaking the British No. 2.

With the finish line in sight, Evans finished it off with a break to love to lift the inaugural title.

Evans went unbeaten throughout the week, and above all else, and came very close to making it a double, just squeezed out of the doubles final by tournament organiser Jamie Murray and his partner Neal Skupski.

Players must go into the resumption of the tour with a degree of confidence after a week of high-quality play.

Norrie claims the third spot against Ward in the play-off

British No. 3 Cameron Norrie won the third-place play-off, facing James Ward after Andy Murray had to withdraw with shin problems.

Ward found out late last night that he would have to play and came out swinging in he first game, but Norrie’s energy saw him break back immediately and continue to work his way into the Ward game with two breaks to love.

Norrie’s serving was spot on, picking spots well, coming forward comfortably and maybe just benefiting a bit more from the continual play in terms having some rhythm as he closed out the first set to love.

With coach for the day Andy Murray encouraging Ward to inject a little more energy, he was able to deflect Norrie’s chance to break and the beauty of this format, that has been a hit with all the players this week, if that you need only level the match to be right back in it with a chance in the deciding match tie-break.

Ward admitted that having Murray in his corner would be a help, saying in his mid-game interview: “If he says it’s the right thing, it usually is” and it proved to be with an ace to rescue himself from another threatening Norrie break point.

Despite having a set point chance of his own, Ward could not keep Norrie at bay as the British No. 3 broke once more, leaving Norrie to serve out the match 6-3 7-5.

Day 6 Order of Play

Match 1: Cameron Norrie vs James Ward (starting at 1pm BST)

Match 2: Dan Evans vs Kyle Edmund

Recap the best bits from Day 5

Murray and Skupski dig themselves out of trouble to claim title

The established doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski got off to a slow start as Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool leapt out to a 5-0 lead. Glasspool was very much on top of the net and arguably played his best performance of the week.

It was a perfect set to start, denying Murray and Skupski a chance to get on the board. However, the start of the second set saw Murray and Skupski fight back immediately, with a 3-0 start. Skupski’s aggressive game was starting to make inroads into Evans and Glasspool, complemented by Murray’s speed and agility at the net.

Skupski’s tee-up of shots would set up Murray continually in the match tie-break, beginning to force the errors from the opposition not to mention some outstanding painting of the lines.

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Tournament director Murray served out the win for the title 0-6 6-2 10-6, joking in the presentation speeches that it is a bit weird to be awarding himself the trophy.

Sunday’s schedule will start with a third and fourth place play-off between Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray, with the final between Evans and Kyle Edmund to follow.

Keep up-to-date on the Battle of the Brits

For more information on the 'Battle of the Brits' exhibition and other domestic tennis events this summer, be sure to follow the LTA on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and sign up to the LTA's free newsletter.  

Norrie tumbles out to Edmund

Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie had quite different routes to their semi-final. Edmund has looked composed, with a lot more force behind his game, while Norrie has had a few challenges along the way before stepping things up to demolish Paul Jubb on his way to today’s match.

Edmund was the first to try and exert some pressure, unable to convert on two chances to take an early lead, and even though his trademark serve-forehand one-two punch was 100% spot on, trying to find away part Norrie’s defence was proving difficult.

Norrie had his chances too at the tail end of the set to try and capitalise before the first set tie-break, where Norrie seemed to be able to impose himself a lot more, starting to move forward more and dominating the tie-break to take the first set.

The tide turned from here – Edmund admitted on his mid-game interview that he needed to up both his energy and playing level and coming into this match had a lot more time on court than Norrie taking into account both were in the doubles this week.

The longer points were going in Norrie’s favour more and more, and Edmund staved off six points and that proved to pivotal as Edmund made a strike, breaking to love on the way to levelling the match, and bringing about a match tie-break.

A tense see—saw of a decider before a stumble on match point left Norrie flat on his back in frustration as Edmund prevailed to reach the final.

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Evans edges Murray to reach the final

It was game faces on for the first semi-final of the Schroders Battle of the Brits. When all the WhatsApp banter is done, it was down to business in a battle of the British No.1s, in a first time clash between Dan Evans and Andy Murray.

From the start the improved serving from the former World No.1 got him some much-needed free points against the incumbent No.1, shutting down Evans’ capacity to play his game, claimed the first set 6-1.

It was Evans to strike first at the start of the second set, finally able to free himself from being pinned at the back of the court, coming in a lot more, paying off with a 3-0 lead. In a complete mirror image of the first set, Evans was forging ahead, taking it to a match tie-break with the second set 6-3.

The tie-break certainly looked to echo the start of the first set, with Murray dictating the points once more, but saw a comfortable 4-1 lead eradicated. Evans hauled things back, but found his brief lead cut back.

Evans just found a way to hold his nerve – booking a spot in the final 1-6, 6-3, 10-8, suggesting that perhaps he had been a little lucky towards the end of the tie-break.

Day 5 Order of Play

Day 5 at the Schroders Battle of the Brits sees Lloyd Glasspool & Dan Evans vs Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski compete for the doubles title as well as the semi-final singles:

Match 1 (starting from 1:00pm BST): Dan Evans vs Andy Murray

Match 2: Kyle Edmund vs Cam Norrie

Match 3: Glasspool/Evansvs Murray/Skupski

Keep up-to-date on the Battle of the Brits

For more information on the 'Battle of the Brits' exhibition and other domestic tennis events this summer, be sure to follow the LTA on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and sign up to the LTA's free newsletter.  

Murray & Skupski outlast Salisbury & O’Mara to make the doubles final

 

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski had literally squeaked into the Schroders Battle of the Brits semi-finals by virtue of facing Sunday’s finalists Da Evans and Lloyd Glasspool and qualifying on a single game’s difference.

It was a slow start for Australian Open champion Joe Salisbury and his partner for this week Jonny O’Mara when they faced tournament organiser Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski for a spot in the doubles final.

It was a swift start despite a late finish last night, building up a 4-1 lead, but Salisbury and O’Mara fought back well only to lose that momentum in the first set tie-break.

It was Murray and Skupski’s turn to maybe turn a little flat as Salisbury and O’Mara just looked to have a little more pep about them along with what felt like an imminent break. Suddenly the match turned on a dime, with Salisbury dictating the points and hustling their way to the second set.

The intensity of the match tie-break saw the momentum hop across each side of the net, and perhaps in some small way Liverpool’s success helped propel Skupski to some thundering serves and  returns to turn the tide, and sent them into the final where there will face Evans and Glasspool again.

Evans and Glasspool out-muscle Edmund and Ward to book a spot in the doubles final

Much has been made about the extra 4kg of muscle that Kyle Edmund has put on since the lockdown, but he, along with partner James Ward, used it to good effect in a very commanding start to the first set against ‘Peaky Blinders’ Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool.

It was a quick turn-around for Evans, and perhaps started a little flat, as Edmund and Ward jumped out to a 4-1 lead, although found themselves pegged back on serve, as Evans tried to gee up Glasspool to bring the energy to the court, especially after Evans already having been out on court.

That angry pep talk seemed to work, as they worked their way first back up to serve, and then turned it all around in the first set tie-break.

The flatness seemed to lurch across the net to infect Edmund and Ward, whose levels of intensity dropped, as Evans and Glasspool took an advantage for a break, and from that point there was no stopping the Peaky Blinders who wrapped up the match 7-6(5) 6-3.

That makes it a very busy weekend for Evans who will face Andy Murray in the single’s semi-final.

Norrie in a hurry as he completes singles semi-final line-up

After some tough matches in his Schroders Battle of the Brits singles campaign, Cameron Norrie wasted no time in booking the last semi-final spot with an all-out rout of alternate Paul Jubb.

Norrie had been taken the distance in his first match against Ryan Peniston and was on the receiving end of a Dan Evans masterclass in his second match, so with a semi-final spot on the line, there was no margin for error, triumphing 6-0 6-2.

Measured aggressive play, pin-sharp returning, and this was a sobering lesson for Jubb, who was impressive against Peniston in a battle of the young guns.

The 2019 NCAA Champion got himself on the board with back to back games, and at no stage did his head drop, as he continued to battle against Norrie, who has been as high as No. 41 in the world.

Experience has rescued Norrie twice this week – against both the young guns, but as Evans praised Peniston, Norrie was impressed with Jubb’s attitude at the end, saying he was forced to tough it out.

Evans is also unbeaten this week, and praises Peniston who takes another top Brit the distance

For the second time this week, alternate Ryan Peniston showed he is playing well above his ranking level after taking a set off Greg Rusedski Group leader, and British No. 1 Dan Evans.

With Evans already assured of his spot in the semi-finals, this was really a free hit for the Memphis University alumnus. Peniston, who has started to move up to the Challenger tour after success on the Futures played his trademark on-the-rise attacking play, but Evans was quick to quell the youngster with two breaks to seal the first set.

Peniston is not one to retreat into his shell, serving the British No.1 notice with a break of his own early in the second set, going on to take it and force the World No. 28 into a decider. Evans putting it down to a little lack off focus in a quick interview to the commentators, mid-game.

The focus Evans talked about was back in evidence in the match tie-break, pumping himself up and taking an early lead before closing out a challenging win 6-2 3-6 10-4.

Evans praised the youngster, who certainly punched above his weight all this week: “All credit to Ryan, he stepped up played some good tennis. It was a dogfight in the end. I think he did a great job stepping in.”

Evans of course will face Andy Murray in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Edmund goes three-for-three as impressive return to tennis continues

Schroders Battle of the Brits has been a great proving ground for the former British No. 1 Kyle Edmund, whose athletic physique had been evident because of what he described as his longest training block.

Edmund’s aggressive game lends itself to the medium-quick pace of a warm indoor court, with a couple of comfortable breaks to seal the first set. Liam Broady kept his head up though, saving three match points and stopping the run of games against him.

Edmund admitted it had been a late night as the ardent Liverpool fan was revelling in his side winning the Premier Laue title, waving a Liverpool shirt on his on-court interview, but he showed no ill-effects off either wing or indeed coming forward for a 6-3 6-3 win.

Day 4 Order of Play

Day 4 at the Schroders Battle of the Brits sees the final group stage singles matches and the semi-final doubles:

Match 1 (starting from 1:00pm BST): Kyle Edmund vs Liam Broady

Match 2: Dan Evans vs Ryan Peniston

Match 3: Paul Jubb vs Cameron Norrie

Match 4: Glasspool/Evans vs Ward/Edmund

Match 5: Salisbury/O'Mara vs Murray/Skupski

Murray & Skupski close out Day 3 with narrow win

Having started as favourites, tournament organiser Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski suffered a shock loss in the first match on Day 1, and with a feisty but very entertaining win over Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie, facing the self-styled ‘Peaky Blinders Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool was no easy task.

 As before the doubles specialists got off to a good start, with just the one break to give them the first set.

Both teams had chances to take a foothold in the second set and Glasspool was proving to be quite formidable at the net, playing a pivotal role as they secured the second set.

In a tense match tie-break it came down to a mini-break at the end for Murray and Skupski to claim their first win of the tournament sending everyone running for the calculators to work out who makes it to the semi-finals.

Murray battles past Ward in a gruelling match to clinch a semi-final spot

It was winner-takes all for the last match in the Tim Henman Group pitting James Ward against Andy Murray for the first time in their careers, at Schroders Battle of the Brits.

Murray has spent a lot of time playing down his expectations and certainly at the start Ward looked the fresher of the two, but each time he found a way through Murray, he would be pegged straight back.

The gruelling encounter saw Ward trying to defend multiple break points on his serve before Murray nudged head. In the mid-game interview Murray’s coach Jamie Delgado admitted he was feeling the effects of playing three days in a row, for the first time since winning the Antwerp title last year.

While he might have looked fatigued, it was encouraging to see his intensity of movement and was able to dictate the longer points, as he explained in his mid-game interview.

Ward regrouped in an equally punishing second set to get a break over a frustrated Murray, who responded with an immediate break back. A break for Murray at the end of the second set was enough to send him into the semi-finals where he will meet Dan Evans on Saturday.

He said, in his on-court interview: "When I played the match in November in Davis Cup. I was feeling my hip, it was sore and struggled to move. I'm feeling it a little just now, but it didn't affect my movement. It's the best I've moved of the three matches, but I'm delighted to get a rest day tomorrow"

British No.1 Evans tops the Greg Rusedski Group with impressive win over Norrie

From the future stars on Day Three at Schroders Battle of the Brits, to the British Nos. 1 & 3 going toe-to-toe, Dan Evans showed how he has worked and hustled his way to the top spot. Despite a late (and feisty) finish to the doubles on Wednesday evening, there was little sign of fatigue as Evans broke immediately to open the first set.

Norrie kept his head, saying in his mid-game interview that he had not been doing much wrong, and it was important for him to stay solid.

He got one of the breaks back, but a very fired up Evans clinched the first set comfortably, 6-3.

The second set started with an early break and again it was more than enough for Evans to keep Norrie at bay. Evan’s variety and timing demonstrated exactly why he is in a great position when the season restarts to pick up a seeding at the US Open.

Norrie had his chance to get that early break back but could not convert with Evans serving it out comfortably to maintain a perfect record and to top the Greg Rusedski Group, 6-3 6-3.

The banter continues between the players with Evans wryly saying he was glad to take the favourite out, but in truth Evans showed how much work he has done on his fitness and the hard work off court is paying dividends.

The Future’s Bright – Jubb and Peniston show us what to expect as their careers unfold

Schroder’s Battle of the Brits is not just bringing together the best male British players but is allowing us a glimpse into the future legacy for British tennis, thanks to Paul Jubb and Ryan Peniston.

Peniston already impressed many with his attacking play against Cameron Norrie and was joined in the draw by 2019 NCAA Singles champion Paul Jubb, who had been training with the players at the National Tennis Centre over the past couple of weeks, and stepping in as an alternate.

Hull City’s loss (he had a trial for the football club when he was a youngster) is tennis’ gain with a natural athleticism and no fear in coming forward with a deft touch at the net.

Jubb’s ability to change his pace, maybe put Peniston a little out of his comfort zone, and swiftly built up a lead in the first set that was tough for Peniston to come back, as he admitted to feeling the effects of his matches.

Peniston’s tenacity kept him in the set as he staved off break points as he started to exert a bit of pressure on Jubb and rewarded with a late break in the second set and came back in the resulting tie-break from 1-4 down to level things up.

Jubb swiftly regained his composure and started to produce the tennis that we saw in the first set, taking the match 6-2 6-7(4) 10-6.

Salisbury & O’Mara top Cathie Sabin Group winning a tight clash against Edmund & Ward

Doubles specialists Jonny O’Mara & Joe Salisbury proved they would be the team to beat with a clinical display against a duo of ‘fear-hands’ in Kyle Edmund and James Ward. Bringing the same energy that they brought to their convincing opening win on Wednesday they hung on to triumph 6-2 5-7 10-5

Swiftly opening a double break, the combination of Salisbury’s athleticism and O’Mara’s versatility, it became a bit of a masterclass as they wrapped up the first set.

Chances came and went for Edmund & Ward to make their mark in the second set, as they started to put some pressure on the specialists, squandering three set points before breaking to split sets.

Telling each other at the change of ends to keep their energy high, it soon became one-way traffic for Salisbury & O’Mara fending off spirited resistance in the match tie-break. Edmund & Ward qualify in the second spot.

Day 3 Order of Play

Day 3 at the Schroders Battle of the Brits promises to continue to provide top quality tennis:

Match 1 (starting from 1:00pm BST): Salisbury/O'Mara vs Ward/Edmund

Match 2: Paul Jubb vs Ryan Peniston

Match 3: Dan Evans vs Cameron Norrie

Match 4: Andy Murray vs James Ward

Match 5: Murray/Skupski vs Evans/Glasspool

 battle of the brits Kyle Edmund

Day 2 Action: Edmund edges Murray to lead Tim Henman Group, wins also for Norrie, Ward, Salisbury & O’Mara. Clarke joins injury list

Kyle Edmund narrowly edged Andy Murray to top the Tim Henman Group in the Schroders Battle of the Brits, in the longest match of the tournament so far.

Where Edmund had looked mean and efficient in his match against James Ward, and Murray felt there was room for improvement in his opening win over Liam Broady, this felt an altogether nervier affair for both players.

Only one break point chance came up (for Edmund) ahead of a first set tie-break, and Murray’s willingness to take on the Edmund forehand saw him open up a lead in the tie-break that he never looked like relinquishing.

Battle of the brits andy murray

Edmund had queried with his coach, Colin Beecher, if he was expecting too much of himself in the points – and he was rewarded in the next game with a break of Murray’s serve. His relief was short-lived, with Murray hustling for a straight break back.

Beecher later elaborated in his coaching interview that Edmund felt Murray was everywhere, and perhaps over-pressing.

It would take another tense tie-break to settle the set, as Edmund clinched the second set tie-break.

That momentum stayed firmly with the British No. 2, as he jumped out to a 6-1 lead which just proved to be too steep a climb for the former World No. 1.

 

Murray’s match against James Ward tomorrow will now be a winner-takes-all match for a semi-final spot.

Sadly, Jay Clarke had to withdraw completely from the tournament with a knee injury.

Earlier in the day Ward had put in a very solid performance against Liam Broady to give himself a chance to vie for a semi-final spot, with a 6-4 6-1 win over Broady.

Ryan Peniston relished his chance to come into the group, after replacing the injured Jack Draper in the singles (and Clarke in the doubles), taking a set of Cameron Norrie, before experience prevailed with Norrie getting his first singles win 3-6 6-1 10-4

Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara staked their claim to be the tournament favourites for the doubles title after a convincing win over Dominic Inglot and Peniston.

Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool keep Paul Hutchins Group open, wins for Norrie, Ward, Salisbury & O’Mara

Battle of the brits Dan Evans

From the start it looked as though Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie were going to easily continue their doubles success, with an early break against Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool to carry them through to a comfortable set lead, but after a determined mid-game interview from the pair, the pace quickly changed.

Glasspool started to find his range, and Evans played with a degree of confidence that has grown since the end of last year.  After failing to make good on two chances to break the two lefties, Evans and Glasspool made it third time lucky, and kept that advantage to bring up a match tie-break.

Momentum shifted from side to side as Broady & Norrie’s 4-1 lead was pegged back with Glasspool especially looking very handy at the net, eventually earning them two match points, and feistily claiming their first win of the group 4-6 6-3 11-9.

Norrie survives test from Peniston to claim his first win in the Battle of the Brits

battle of the brits Cam Norrie

Ryan Peniston maybe have been drafted into the field as a super-sub for the injured Jack Draper, but it was clear he was not there to make up the numbers, pushing Cameron Norrie hard in his debut singles match.

Both products of the US collegiate tennis system, Peniston gave his fellow left-hander Norrie a real run for his money, playing good attacking tennis.

Taking the fight to the more experienced Norrie he was rewarded with a break before going on to take the first set. Norrie was the one to set the pace in the second set, breaking early and perhaps the early pace was beginning to tell on Peniston.

battle of the brits ryan peniston

For those who have not been able to watch Peniston before, he will have earned many fans for his hard-working attitude on court. His level in that first set proved he can punch well above his weight, plying his trade previously on the Futures and Challenger tours.

Experience really started to show as Peniston found himself beaten by angles and aggressive play from Norrie, who now joins Dan Evans with one win apiece, with a 3-6 6-1 10-4 victory.

Norrie admitted in his on-court interview that he might have played too passively in the first set but felt he had not played badly.

James Ward stays in contention with his first singles win

battle of the brits james ward

James Ward joined Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray (who play later today) with a win in the Tim Henman Group as he took a leaf out of Murray’s book in dismantling Liam Broady’s game, 6-4 6-1.

Talking in his mid-game interview, he admitted he was trying to break down the Broady forehand ‘like Andy did’ and it paid off with an early break advantage that helped seal the first set.

That same solid ball-striking saw him break Broady once more at the start of the second set, and with whipping forehands finding corners, Ward continued to dominate with his serving.

Broady felt he had improved but admitted that match-play on Day 1 had taken its toll despite having been training for the past few months during lockdown.

Ward will face Murray on Thursday. 

Battle of the brits Salisbury + O'mara win

Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara stake their claim as tournament favourites with a comfortable opening win

Day 2 at the Schroders Battle of the Brits saw the running order shuffle around. Australian Open men’s doubles champion Joe Salisbury teamed up with Jonny O’Mara to take on Dominic Inglot and Ryan Peniston.

Salisbury & O’Mara were under a little pressure at the start, with Inglot and Peniston having the benefit of a match under their belts but Salisbury’s athleticism and O’Mara’s sharpness at the net saw them pick off the first set.

More frustration was to come for Inglot and Peniston as double-faults gifted their opponents the margin they needed for a solid straight sets win 6-4 6-2.

Battle of the brits Inglot + Peniston

Day 2 Order of Play

After an entertaining first day of action at the Schroders Battle of the Brits, Day 2 promises more drama and excitement, with matches starting from 1:00pm BST:

Match 1 (starting from 1:00pm BST): Salisbury/O'Mara defeated Peniston/Inglot, 6-4, 6-2.

Match 2: James Ward defeated Liam Broady, 6-4, 6-1.

Match 3: Cameron Norrie defeated Ryan Peniston, 3-6, 6-1, 10-4.

Match 4: Kyle Edmund defeated Andy Murray, 6-7, 7-6, 10-5.

Match 5: Evans/Glasspool defeated Broady/Norrie, 4-6 6-3 11-9.

Battle of brits Norrie

Day 1 Action: Andy Murray, Dan Evans & Kyle Edmund win opening clashes at the Battle of the Brits, as Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski fall to surprise defeat

The last match of the day saw two substitutions replace Jack Draper and Jay Clark. James Ward joined forces with Kyle Edmund and Ryan Peniston partnered Dominic Inglot.

Clarke pulled out of the doubles with soreness in his knee, and Draper to withdraw with an abdominal strain.

It turned out to be a bad day for the doubles specialists all round with another scratch pairing Edmund & Ward edging Inglot and Peniston in straight sets 7-5 6-3.

Battle of the brits Inglot and Peniston

The pair only found out that they would be playing together after their singles match. Edmund had turned in a comfortable performance to beat Ward in straight sets 6-1 6-4.

Andy Murray’s much anticipated comeback at the Battle of the Brits, saw another straight sets win as he claimed his first victory since the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid at the end of last season.

By Murray’s own admission, his hard work on serving paid off but overall felt he could time the ball better – areas to sharpen up ahead of his second match on Wednesday against Edmund.

Current British No.1 Dan Evans hit cruise control against Jay Clarke with a comfortable straight sets win, 6-3 6-1.

Evans’ variety showed as Clarke struggled with his first serves in humid conditions inside the NTC, putting Evans in the driving seat so far in the Greg Rusedski Group.

Starting off the day, there was a shock defeat for tournament organiser Jamie Murray with Neal Skupski as scratch pairing Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie came back strongly after dropping the first set to win 3-6 7-5 11-9

Murray claims his first win since November – but sees room for improvement

Battle of the brits andy murray

All eyes were on Andy Murray’s comeback at the Schroders Battle of the Brits, as he took to the court for the first time since the Davis Cup Finals at the end of last year.

Liam Broady was lining up to take a shot at his second Murray of the day, and for all the kidding and banter in pre-tournament previews, both players had their game faces on.

Broady gifted an early break to Murray but fought his way back onto level terms before the three-time Slam champion broke once more. Murray showed more consistency, and broke again before wrapping up the first set.

battle of the brits Broady

In his mid-game interview, Murray admitted that there were still areas of his game that needed improvement – despite being a set and a break up.

Frustration started to weigh heavy on Broady as Murray closed out a 6-2 6-2 win but at times it was far from comfortable.

By Murray’s own admission, his hard work on serving paid off but overall felt he could time the ball better – areas to sharpen up ahead of his second match on Wednesday against Kyle Edmund, who sailed past James Ward in straight sets 6-1 6-4.

Current British No.1 Dan Evans hit cruise control against Jay Clarke with a comfortable straight sets win, 6-3 6-1.

Evans’ variety showed as Clarke struggled with his first serves in humid conditions inside the NTC, putting Evans in the driving seat so far in the Greg Rusedski Group.

Starting off the day, there was a shock defeat for tournament organiser Jamie Murray with Neal Skupski as scratch pairing Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie came back strongly after dropping the first set to win 3-6 7-5 11-9

Dan Evans coasts to a win against Jay Clarke

Battle of the brits third game dan Evans Jay Clarke

Current British No. 1 Dan Evans kicked off the Greg Rusedski Group with a win over Jay Clarke, 6-3 6-1.

After a competitive start, Clarke proved he was ready to go toe-to-toe with Evans, saving three break points before Evans finally secured the first break. Clarke also brought up two chances of his own to come straight back, before Evans’ variety saw him break Clarke to take the first set.

Battle of the brits third game Jay Clarke

Evans broke early in the second set for a 3-1 lead, who sits at No. 11 in the Race to the Nitto ATP Tour Finals at the moment,  was in complete cruise control and surely sets himself as the favourite to clinch the title.

Clarke might come to rue missing a lot of first serves, while Evans looked match-sharp, although he admitted he felt it was strange to get back on the court, during his on-court interview, joking that Andy Murray is still the favourite.

Kyle Edmund sizzles to a straight sets win over James Ward to open his account

Battle of the brits first game Kyle Win

Kyle Edmund got off to a winning start in his opening match against James Ward in the Schroders Battle of the Brits, 6-1 6-4.

From the start of the match, Edmund put Ward under pressure and was rewarded with an early break. In a battle of crunching forehands, Edmund broke Ward twice to take the first set comfortably.

In humid conditions and with the ball fizzing about on the indoor courts, Ward settled into his game taking a chance early on to put Edmund under some break-point pressure. 

Battle of the brits second game James Ward

Edmund dug in for a break, but this time in an edgier set, Ward pegged him straight back, only to be broken in the next game putting the former British No. 1 back in the driving seat.

Edmund served out for a straight sets win over Ward, admitting in his on-court interview that he had to work hard for it, after what had been a more straightforward first set.

Edmund had taken some time off after the spring double-header of Indian Wells and Miami were cancelled, and earlier said that this had been his longest block of training in his career.

Liam Broady & Cameron Norrie open with a victory against Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski

Battle of the brits first game Norrie and Broady win

Scratch pairing Liam Broady & Cameron Norrie started with a win over Jamie Murray & Neal Skupski 3-6 7-5 11-9.

It was a comfortable start for the pre-tournament favourites taking the first set after an early break, while Broady and Norrie settled into their groove.

Battle of the brits first game Skupski

Broady and Norrie really stepped it up in the second set, pushing all the way and breaking their opponents in the 10th game, to even up the match as the pair’s aggressive play kept Murray and Skupski under pressure.

They kept that momentum with a swift 5-1 lead in the match tie-break, but Murray and Skupski pulled things back to 9-9 saving two match points, before Broady & Norrie eventually triumphed.

Battle of the brits first game Norrie and Broady win