Mixed results for Kiwis at Wimbledon

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Erin Routliffe is through to the second round of the ladies’ doubles at Wimbledon for the first time in her career, but Michael Venus has fallen at the first hurdle in the gentlemen’s doubles.

Routliffe and her Polish partner Alicja Rosolska defeated Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted one hour 19 minutes on court five.

It was a solid performance from Routliffe and Rosolska with the Kiwi dominating from the baseline and Rosolska impressive at the net, with the duo’s combination continuing to build over the short grass court season.

“We knew it would be tough,” Routliffe said. 

“We’ve played Begu a couple of times and I’ve played Kalinina in the ITFs a couple of years ago.

“They’re both really good players, good from the baseline and big serves, big returns, so we knew we needed to take control of the net and I think we did a good job of that, which got us the win in the end.”

There was a break to each team early in the match, but Routliffe and Rosolska were able to break again later to take the first set. 

The Romanian/Ukrainian team were broken early in the second set and they fell a further break behind when Begu was broken serving at 4-2.

That left it down to Rosolska to serve for the match and she fell behind 0-40 and she ended up getting broken.

So two games later it was up to Routliffe to close out this match and this she did with Rosolska putting away a smash on match point to secure a spot in the second round.

But it wasn’t such a good day for Venus, who has fallen at the first hurdle in the gentlemen’s doubles.

In a match that lasted three hours, 41 minutes, Venus and his German partner Tim Puetz lost 4-6 7-6 (2) 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10) to Raven Klaasen from South Africa and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo.

Melo’s serve broke midway through the first set and later in it Venus served it out to love to go up 1-0 after 30 minutes.

Puetz double faulted early in the second set tiebreak and it went downhill for him and Venus from there, losing it 7-2.

After Puetz was broken at 5-5, Klaasen served out the third set when up 6-5 to put the South African/Brazilian pairing in the box seat.

But Melo was broken the second game of the fourth set and two games later Klaasen suffered the same fate, all but confirming that the match would go to a deciding set.

There were no breaks early in the fifth and the tension built, with the match going down to the wire.

In it, Venus missed a volley at the net on Puetz’s serve to go down 2-0 and later they were behind 5-1 as Venus double faulted.

A double fault from Klaasen got one of those mini breaks back, but that was as close as they got as Klaasen and Melo found themselves with five match points.

Venus saved two of them on his serve, but on the next point he overhit a return to end the match.

“It’s obviously disappointing, you want to have a better result,” Venus said.

“We gave ourselves some chances along the way and unfortunately played two not so good tiebreakers. You do that on grass courts and you’re going to be in trouble. 

“You look back and wish you’d done things differently, but you can’t change it now and you’ve got to move on.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Jack Loutit is through to the final round of qualifying of the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

In his first round match the No 15 seed defeated Ivan Sodan from Croatia 6-3 6-2. 

Standing between him and a place in the main draw is Mihai Alexandru Coman from Romania, who is ranked 54 in the world.

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