Ryan Peniston earned his first ever Wimbledon victory in straight sets over Henri Laaksonen. The Brit took his confidence from reaching the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne in recent weeks into this match and showed his form early by breaking in the opening set with some clean ball-striking. Peniston continued to show confident shot-making as the set went on although Laaksonen displayed some attacking patterns of play on Peniston’s service games.
Both games four and six saw Peniston dig deep and find a way to close out his service games as Laaksonen’s aggression wasn’t to be rewarded. The Brit found some good angles in baseline rallies but couldn’t manage another break as he would serve out the opening set in 39 minutes.
In the second set both players started well and it was the world number 96 who started the set better, finding aggressive and clean winners on the court. Peniston had to dig deep in the sixth game as Laaksonen was feeling confident in the baseline rallies. However some big serves and clever tactical strategy saw him save three break points and hold for 3-3.
That would be the turning point of the set as the Brit would increase his level of play and overall intensity to play more aggressive tennis. Peniston won the tight points against a passive Laaksonen and broke on two executive return games to take a two sets to love lead.
Peniston went from strength to strength in the third set as he continued to finish points off effectively and with aggression. Peniston converted his fifth break point in a long fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Despite being broken in the next game, Peniston would break in his two remaining return games and clinch a maiden Wimbledon victory.
After the match Peniston praised the moment that British tennis is in on a day that saw 12 Brits in singles action:
“I think, yeah, British tennis right now is an amazing environment,” Peniston claimed in his press conference.
“We’re all pushing each other every day, whether it’s in training or at tournaments. Then, yeah, when we get to come home to England and play all in the same tournaments, it’s even better. We see each other after wins, say, Congratulations. Even after losses say, Tough luck. It’s a really nice atmosphere at the moment.”
Ryan Peniston [WC] v Steve Johnson H2H & Match Fundamentals
The American has found success on the challenger circuit on clay where he has slowly been rebuilding his game back and some confidence. However has found that difficult to translate onto the main tour where he has had relative success in the past and produced some big wins.
Peniston will look to hit freely and be consistent in his baseline game as he looks to continue to build on the confidence he has created over the last couple of weeks. Johnson has produced great tennis on grass before and will look to dictate the tempo of the match with his serve and big-hitting. This will be a testing match for the Brit but a winnable one to see whether he can reach the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
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