Thompson battles on but Bolt’s Wimbledon shot is over

Glenn Moore |

Jordan Thompson, a Queen’s Club semi-finalist, has won through to the second round at Wimbledon.
Jordan Thompson, a Queen’s Club semi-finalist, has won through to the second round at Wimbledon.

Jordan Thompson has set the tone for Australia’s Wimbledon challenge with a battling victory on the tournament’s opening day.

Thompson became the first Australian through to the second round after coming through a four-hour marathon that showcased the fighting qualities that have taken the Sydneysider into the top 40.

Having slipped to a two-set deficit against Russian tournament debutant Pavel Kotov, Thompson had looked like extending his disappointing Wimbledon record.

The 30-year-old had come to Wimbledon fresh from reaching the Queen’s Club semi-finals but had had not made the second week of the Wimbledon fortnight in seven previous attempts.

Kotov, the world No.53, is a powerful man and he initially blitzed Thompson but the Australian began to get the measure of his opponent and began to move him around the court.

Roared on by Aussie support packed around Court 10 Thompson dug in to win 5-7 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-4 in four hours, six minutes.

He now plays Brandon Nakashima, a repeat of last year’s first round when Thompson again came back from two sets down to win in five.

The American will, however, be better rested having knocked out No.18 seed Sebastian Baez 6-2 6-3 6-4 in less than two hours.

While Thompson was battling through on Court 10 Alex Bolt was going down on Court 3.

Alex Bolt
Australia’s Alex Bolt plays a forehand return to Casper Ruud during his first-round defeat. (AP PHOTO)

It took Bolt a week to battle his way through qualifying only for his main draw adventure to be over before Carlos Alcaraz had even begun his title defence on Centre Court.

But Bolt can be proud of his efforts against No.8 seed Casper Ruud.

He took the three-times grand slam finalist to a first set tie-break before succumbing 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 -6-4 in two hours 13 minutes. 

With his booming left-hand forehand much in evidence, Bolt never gave up, as might be expected given his mother Cathy and brother Nathan had flown over to London at the weekend to watch him.

It was the first time they had each left Australian shores, and they were rewarded for their journey as the world No.243 saved five match points.

However, he failed to take two break-points at 4-5 in the final set to push the final stanza towards another tie-break. 

The pair were the first of 11 Australian men onto the grass, the largest delegation for nine years.

Max Purcell and Aleksandar Vukic were also due in action on day one, along with Daria Saville in the women’s singles.