Wimbledon: Slater overawed after SW19 bow

NICOLA Slater, a 28-year-old from Ayrshire with a singles ranking of 793rd in the world, made her Wimbledon debut yesterday alongside Lisa Whybourn.

The two Britons enjoyed a good start against their more illustrious opponents, French duo Alize Cornet and Pascale Parmentier, winning the first set. They fought well in the second and third as well, but eventually the French women ran out winners 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

“I loved it – it was everything I expected and more,” said Slater, whose only previous visit to the All England Club was as a teenage spectator. “It was tight and we had our chances, [but] it came down to a break in both [the second and third] sets.”

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Cheerleading British supporters may have felt a little redundant at Wimbledon yesterday as the weather held up Laura Robson’s charge, but any present on Court Seven had plenty to be excited about. Jamie Delgado – an All England Club veteran – teamed up with Australia’s Matthew Ebden in the men’s doubles and they enjoyed a fine success against Lleyton Hewitt and Matthew Knowles. They took the minimum number of sets to get the job done, going through 6-3, 7-5, 7-6, (7/4). That was the sole success of the day, though, as others fell by the wayside.

Tara Moore partnered Melanie South but they did not take a set off Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Carla Suarez Navarro, while Samantha Murray and Jade Windley took one off Flavia Pennetta and Andrea Petkovic but still lost. When the skies opened, Jamie Murray and John Peers were still waiting to go on court, as was last year’s men’s doubles champion Jonny Marray who was pairing up with Heather Watson in mixed.

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