Murray helps set up British showdown in Wimbledon mixed doubles

Murray helps set up British showdown in Wimbledon mixed doubles
By Sportsbeat

13/07/2018 at 08:12

Jamie Murray clearly enjoys playing the foil to some of the best names in women's tennis.

He partnered former world number one Jelena Janković to a mixed doubles title at Wimbledon 11 years ago and 27-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis to victory at the All England Club last year.

Now - alongside Victoria Azarenka - he's just one win from another victory.

Muzzarenka - as they are dubbed by Judy Murray - fought back from a set down to win their quarter-final 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 against the Dutch fourth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Demi Schuurs.

And it means guaranteed home representation in the final, with Harriet Dart and Jay Clarke their semi-final opponents in the third match on Number One Court on Friday.

"Harriet and Jay are on an awesome run and have beaten some good doubles pairs but it's got to come to an end," said Murray.

"I have a few more grey hairs after that match. There were some crazy points, so we did a great job to get through."

Murray had thought he'd swerve the mixed doubles event this year but Azarenka - who beat his brother Andy and Laura Robson to win the Olympic title at Wimbledon in 2012 - persuaded him to join forces in the absence of regular partner Max Mirnyi.

And they are showing signs of forging a mean partnership, hugging, grinning and laughing as Murray's inch-perfect volley converted their fifth match point in a close encounter.

"We have taken it one match at a time, we have had some tough games and that has brought us together as pair," added Azarenka.

"Jamie stepped it up in the last game because I had chances but they kept going in the wrong direction."

Wilcards Dart and Clarke - who had never played together before this week - are also loving every second of a surprise run here, it's almost as if they expect a tap on the shoulder from a security guard to ask them what they think their doing.

They beat tenth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Abigail Spears 7-6, 7-5 in a match that turned on a handful of points, becoming the first all-British pair to make it this far in the tournament since Jeremy Bates and Jo Durie in 1987.

"Jamie is the king of doubles - and he's got a pretty decent partner as well. It's going to be a tough test but I think we're ready," said Clarke.

"It will be a difficult one for the crowd I suppose but the Brits love an underdog, so hopefully they are with us!"

Two British players reached the semi-finals of the men's doubles for the first time since 1939 but both were edged out in close matches.

Dominic Inglot and Croat Franko Skugor lost a five-set thriller. They were two sets down against seventh seeds Mike Bryan and Jack Sock but went down 6-3, 6-1, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4.

Elsewhere, Britain's Joe Salisbury and Danish partner Frederik Nielsen lost 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to 13th seeds Michael Venus of Australia and Raven Klaasen of South Africa.

Sportsbeat 2018