London: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan's Grand Slam debut ended in the first round itself but not without a valiant fight as he and Jared Donaldson lost a grueling five-setter while Sania Mirza advanced to the women’s doubles second round of the Wimbledon championships here.
Nedunchezhiyan and his American partner lost 7-6 (4) 7-5 6-7(3) 0-6 3-6 to British pair of Marcus Willis and Jay Clarke after fighting hard for three hours and 15 minutes on court number nine.
The 28-year-old Chennai lad, who entered the Championships in dramatic fashion, said their rivals played a lot better in the third set tie-break which changed the momentum and then the match.
"It was close and only a few points separated the team even though we were up by two sets. We had our chances to close it out at 6-5 in the third set. We played a good game
but were unable to break. In the tie-break, they made more returns than us as a team and it cost us," Nedunchezhiyan told PTI.
"The fifth set, they were the team with better energy and deserved to win," he said graciously. The left-hander also felt that playing with regular partner can help clinch such matches.
He had teamed up Donaldson at the last minute. "I played a good match and Jared gave me his best effort. It’s easier to learn things with a set partner and certain times, lack of playing together and experience showed. "Hopefully, in future I can close out such matches.
It’s just my second year on doubles tour and there will be more opportunities because I am hungry to get better, he said. "I am grateful for all the support I have received from
my coaches from childhood, friends and family.
It was an incredible week and I am eager to get back to this tournament stronger next year, he concluded. Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles, Sania and Kirsten Flipkens, seeded 13th, easily dispatched Naomi Osaka and Shuai Zhang 6-4 6-3 in their opening match.
Also advancing to the second round of men’s doubles were Purav Raja and Divij Sharan who pipped Kyle Edmunds and Joao Sousa 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 7-6(8). "We are really happy with this win today. We lost twice in the first round here, both in five sets. It was really close in the fourth set.
We had lot of match points on their serve but they came back big everytime. We did well to keep our focus in the tie break and got the job done in the end. We had a lot of support, Mahesh, Leander and Rohan had come to watch our match as well," said Sharan. Raja added, "It was great to come through in the end. It was a tough first round. They were really good servers."