Aidan McHugh and Arthur Fery were the star British performers on Day 1 of Wimbledon qualifying, as the duo secured straight sets wins to march into round two, writes Oli Dickson Jefford at Wimbledon Qualifying.
McHugh, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24- was impressive in his opening round match, beating Gonzalo Lama 6-2 6-4 to set up a meeting against 26th seed Andreas Seppi.
McHugh commented: “Wimbledon is my favourite tournament in the world. Any chance I get the chance to compete, every year when I’m fit and healthy, I really give everything I can and do my absolute best.
“I thought I did well today. I played pretty good - not my best, but not my worst - I just thought I competed well and mentally stayed focused on what I was trying to do.”
Meanwhile Fery, who was just a set away from qualifying for Wimbledon last year, beat Italian Thomas Fabbiano 6-4 6-2 to progress to the second round of qualifying where he’ll face American Nicholas Moreno De Alboran.
The 19-year-old Londoner is over 400 spots below Fabbiano in the ATP rankings and was pleased to have executed his game plan to perfection.
He said: “I’m obviously very happy to get another win here at Wimbledon. It’s always special to win at home at this prestigious tournament, so I’m very happy with that. I’ve been at college for most of the year so it’s good to get back on the pro circuit and start with a win.
“I stuck to my game plan very well. I served well, just stuck to my game plan and used my backhand well, defended at times when I had to. It all worked in my way today.”
Elsewhere, in his Major qualifying debut Luca Pow fell 6-1 6-4 to American 27th seed Mitchell Krueger, though the 17-year-old was pleased to have had the opportunity to compete on home soil.
Pow commented: “Usually you play a tournament and you don’t have loads of people supporting you, it’s just your family and your coach, so it is nice. When you win points you get more cheers than your opponent. It definitely feels really good.
“It was just amazing today, it was a good experience and I hope to be back here next year.”
There was also a battling display from Charles Broom, who fell 6-3 7-5 to Dimitar Kuzmanov in a hard-fought contest.
Despite tasting defeat, Broom was pleased with his overall level against an opponent over 200 spots above him in the ATP Rankings.
“It’s my first experience obviously and he’s a pretty good player, and I feel that I pushed him hard, especially in the second set,” he commented.
“To have been given the opportunity to showcase I can play at this level, I’m just very thankful. I’m definitely excited and hopefully I’ll get more opportunities to come back and play, and won’t need a wildcard.”
There was also an encouraging display from Stuart Parker who, having come through pre-qualifying to reach this stage, fell 4-6 6-1 6-2 to Swiss star Alexander Ritschard.
Meanwhile, having also come through pre-qualifying, Anton Matusevich was beaten 6-3 6-4 by American Christian Harrison, while wildcard Billy Harris was defeated 6-3 6-4 by Slovakia’s Lukas Klein.
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website