Delgado makes winning start to doubles campaign before the rain comes

By Philip James

Jamie Delgado/Matthew Ebden def Lleyton Hewitt/Mark Knowles 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(4)

Jamie Delgado became the fifth Brit through to the second round of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon as he attempts to repeat Jonny Marray’s remarkable run to the title last year.

He and Australian partner Matthew Ebden were across the net from some illustrious opponents, in the shape of former singles world number one Lleyton Hewitt and former doubles world number one, Mark Knowles.

The large crowd drawn to court 7 by the big names and British participant saw Delgado and Ebden defeat their wild card opponents 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(4) in two hours and 16 minutes.

Birmingham-born Delgado is a doubles specialist and partnered Ebden at the two Nottingham Challenger tournaments in the build up to Wimbledon.

Ebden, who mainly plays mainly singles on the Challenger tour and is ranked 110th in the world, received wildcard entry into the singles draw but lost to twelfth seed Kei Nishikori in round one.

Hewitt, who exited the singles draw to qualifier Dustin Brown yesterday, reached the singles semi-finals at Queens this month but is only an occasional doubles player while this was only Knowles’ second tournament of the year.

The first set flew by as Delgado, ranked 85th in doubles, and Ebden snuck it in 27 minutes with a solitary break despite only winning seven return points while Hewitt and Knowles missed four break points.

It was a similar, if more drawn out story in the second as Delgado and Ebden saved a further seven break points then grabbed a break at the end to take a two set lead.

The third set also lasted almost an hour as the teams broke once a piece but Delgado and Ebden took the tie-break comfortably to seal their place in round two.

Their opponents are yet undecided as fourth seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek’s match against Daniele Bracciali and Jonathan Erlich was suspended due to rain with the seeds having taken the first set.

The rain also put pay to Jamie Murray’s first round men’s doubles match as well as Marray and Heather Watson’s mixed doubles opener.

Both are on the schedule for tomorrow along with Dominic Inglot and Ken Skupski’s second round doubles matches, as they partner Treat Huey and Xavier Malisse respectively.

The other Brits still in the men’s doubles are Colin Fleming and Marray who together are ninth seeds.