Marcus Daniell and Jennifer Brady have made the third round of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

TENNIS

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa’s Marcus Daniell has made a Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time in his career.

Daniell and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof prevailed in a marathon battle with the experienced pair of Mexican Santiago Gonzales and Pakistani Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-5 6-7 [6-8] 6-4 6-4 in three hours and 29 minutes

Gonzales and Qureshi came into the match in good form, having ousted the fourth seeds Mate Pivac and Bruno Soares in the previous round.

They had also beaten Daniell and veteran Leander Paes in the final of the Ilkley Challenger in northern England in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

In a tense opening set, Daniell’s serve was broken midway through, before Gonzalez’s serve was broken twice, giving the first set to the Kiwi-Dutch combo after 42 minutes.

The second set was even longer, lasting 66 minutes and ended in a tiebreak, 8-6, to Gonzales and Qureshi

The third set went with serve until the sixth game when Qureshi was broken, and Daniell and Koolhof held on to take the set.

The fourth set followed a similar pattern of both pairs holding their serve, until the ninth game when Daniell and Koolhof got the vital break. That allowed Koolhof to serve for the match and he sealed the victory with a cross-court volley.

The win is even more meritorious for Daniell, given that he’s been battling with an abductor muscle strain and an ongoing shoulder injury.

Daniell thought both pairs played well in a torrid encounter.

“They both served well, they covered the net well, we had a couple of slight hiccups on serve in the first and second sets but managed to return well enough to break back.

“The tiebreaker in the second set was really close. They just made one really good return when they needed it.

“Then in the third and fourth, we really lifted our return game, putting pressure on a lot of their service games and creating a lot of chances.

“They came up with some good stuff on break points, but we kept the pressure on them and eventually it told in both sets,” Daniell said.

“We got one break and then held on. It was a great match to win, because we really had to win it, they weren’t giving us anything cheaply.”

Daniell and Koolhof were beaten by veterans Ivan Dodig from Croatia and Filip Polasek Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.

This was the second time that Daniell had made the quarterfinals of a grand slam tournament. He and Englands’ Dominic Inglot made the last eight at the 2018 Australian Open.

Daniell and Koolhof had a bumper payday with the prizemoney for the beaten quarterfinalists £67,000 [NZ$126,500].

Meanwhile, Daniell and Jennifer Brady were given a walkover in the second round of the mixed doubles.

They were scheduled to play Maximo Gonzalez from Argentina and Yifan Xu from China. However, an injury to Gonzalez forced them to withdraw.

Daniell and Brady lost to Dutchman Matwe Middelkoop and China’s Zhaoxuan Yang in the third round last night.