In what was more a horror than a highlight, the last British entry of Wimbledon, Katie Boulter, was eliminated in straight sets on Saturday.
The dream is dead. The final British hope in the Wimbledon singles tournament this year has been eliminated after being mercilessly dismissed by Elena Rybakina. Rybakina, the reigning champion, wasted no time in defeating Boulter, 6-1, 6-1. On paper, it looked like Boulter didn’t get any offense in and, to be brutally honest, that’s exactly what it looked like on court, too. Boulter was unable to match Rybakina’s level of play, despite the support of a passionate, albeit swiftly subdued, Centre Court audience.
The elimination of Katie Boulter, who came into Wimbledon as the British number one, marks the end of the British singles campaign at this year’s Wimbledon tournament. Rybakina’s annihilation of Boulter is symbolic, somewhat, of all the British eliminations in the last two days – they came suddenly, brutally and left us stunned by what we’d just witnessed.
A Devastating Friday
The run of British eliminations reached its peak during Friday’s play at the All England Club as Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady were all sent packing in quick succession.
Murray Downed First
Continuing the thrilling matchup with Stefanos Tsitsipas, which had begun under the lights on Centre Court in a Thursday night primetime game, Andy Murray stepped back out onto court with the lead. When all was said and done, though, Murray was defeated on Friday in a second-round encounter that lasted more than four and a half hours, over the two days. The final score: 7-6, 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Just as he had done to win the first set tiebreaker on Thursday, Tsitsipas took the final four points of the fourth set tiebreaker on Friday. He then broke to lead 2-1 in the fifth and maintained a levelheaded demeanour to drive home his victory.
Although thoroughly disappointing, Murray’s narrow failure to a highly ranked youngster wasn’t the biggest upset of the day. Shortly after Tsitsipas put the former Wimbledon champion away, British number one, Cameron Norrie, suffered his own stunning defeat to debuting American, Christopher Eubanks. Eubanks’ forceful hitting and haymaker serve stunned Norrie in a humiliating 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 loss. With only three points won on the Eubanks serve, Norrie, the 12th seed and former Wimbledon semi finalist, barely had any affect on his adversary in the opening set.
In the second set, Norrie made more returns on big serves. During the second set, the 27-year-old American started making blunders, and he broke. In the crucial fourth game of the set, he won on his own serve in the face of two break points. The rest of the game was fairly elementary for Eubanks and the American simply outplayed the Brit as the home crowd lost faith in their local boy.
Norrie didn’t have much defense of his play in post match interviews, conceding that Eubanks simply played better than him.
I think credit to Chris on that one. He played unbelievable. Served well. Came out, was hitting the ball huge. Didn’t miss at all.Cameron Norrie
Bye Bye Broady
Liam Broady was ousted from the tournament by Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, on Friday to complete a crushing day for British fans. After shocking Casper Ruud on Thursday, Broady fought valiantly, keeping hope alive early as he won the opening set 4-6. In the end, though, Broady was defeated by Shapovalov with a final score of 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 7-5. Despite the overall loss, it was a drama filled three hours and thirteen minutes and gave the hometown underdog plenty of time to lap up the adulation of the Court 2 crowd.
These four names join other British hopefuls including Heather Watson, Daniel Evans, Arthur Fery, Ryan Peniston and Jodie Burrage, amongst others, who will now be on the outside looking in as the tournament continues. Perhaps our heroes will have better luck Stateside, as we already begin to look ahead to the U.S. Open in September. Maybe we can adopt Carlos Alcaraz in the meantime…
Were you disappointed to see British hopes die at Wimbledon? Who do you think it our best chance at a Grand Slam title in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.