A sensational fighting performance saw Liam Broady come back from the dead on a raucous Court 3 at Wimbledon and make a Grand slam 3rd round for the first time with a thrilling five set win over Diego Schwartzman.
Broady shocked the Argentinian number 12 seed, fighting back from losing eleven straight games and being 3-0 down in the fourth set to seal a 6-2 4-6 0-6 7-6 (6) 6-1 win.
Broady set off like an express train, breaking Schwartzman in the third game and again in the fifth to rack up an early 5-1 lead, and he sealed the first set 6-2 with an unreturnable serve.
The diminutive Schwartzman, who had come back from a first set deficit to knock Broady out in the second round last year, was improved in the second set, fighting off two Broady break points in the third time and by the eighth game he was starting to pressure Broady, but the two players were locked together at 4-4.
Schwartzman’s pressure continued as Broady sought to stay in the second set and he brought up two break points at 15-40. Despite Broady escaping those two, Schwartzman brought up a third chance and this time he took it to bring the match level at one set all.
The third set went by in a blur, with Broady blown away 6-0. And as Schwartzman also broke early in the fourth set to bring up a 3-0 lead, the match appeared to be entering its final stages.
Broady managed to get on the scoreboard in the fourth game but it was still a shock when he won and then took a break point in the fifth game to get back on serve. And when he followed that up with another hold he had drawn level at 3-3.
Broady was now trading much more evenly, targeting the Schwartzman forehand as the crowd increasingly started to believe that the Stockport-born left hander could take the match to a fifth set.
Schwartzman drew first blood in the fourth set tie break moving into a 2-0 lead, but Broady forced a forehand error to get level at 2-2, and when Schwartzman made another unforced forehand error, Broady had 5-3 and was just two points from levelling the match.
A raking forehand just went long which would have brought up a set point, and then at 5-4, having set up the point beautifully he netted a forehand winner attempt to allow the game back to 5-5.
A long rally which ended when Schwartzman hit long brought up a set point for Broady which Schwartzman saved with an inch perfect winner that clipped the baseline.
But despite that agony, Broady was not to be denied and two points later he took the second set 8-6.
Schwartzman was desperately trying to clear his head and went for a bathroom break to collect his thoughts, but it was Broady in the ascendancy now and having twice saved game points he moved 3-1 ahead when his pressure on the Schwartzman forehand again bore fruit.
Broady comfortably held and then to the amazement of a wildly supportive crowd he broke again to bring up a commanding 5-1 lead. Broady was taking the acclaim of the crowd, but he still had a job to do and a netted double fault betrayed his nerves as he tried to seal a famous victory. A second double fault brought it back to 30ALL but Broady wasn’t to be denied and a long rally which finished with a Schwartzman netted forehand was a fitting way to bring up a famous victory.
The tennis gods handed Liam Broady a super-tough first round assignment in the ATP 500 Cinch Championships at London’s Queens club this week.
Marin Cilic, the Croatian with an illustrious history that includes winning at Queens in 2012 and 2018 as well as the 2014 US Open final, will be the reward for wild card Broady’s impressive 2022.
The big Croat has had a mixed 2022 by his illustrious standards but was back to his best in Paris reaching the Roland Garros semi finals with a comprehensive win over Daniil Medvedev and a cliff-hanger of a quarter final win over Russian Andrey Rublev which he took with a dramatic fifth set tie break victory.
This will be Cilic’s first official outing on grass this season but his grass court pedigree is up there with the very best in the sport and it will be an expectant Queen’s club crowd that will watch the Stockport-born left hander walk out with the much-liked 33 year old on Monday.
Former world number 8 Jack Sock edged out Liam Broady 7-6 1-6 6-4 in a quarter- final match of real quality at Nottingham on Friday.
Broady had started somewhat slowly in some recent outings but he was right at it from the off here, taking the opening game to 15 with his trademark forehands stretching Sock from the outset.
The big American was also looking in fine fettle and he found two sumptuous forehand winners to bring up the match’s opening break point in the fifth game. Sock was inches away from sealing the break with a passing shot that was just wide, and twice more he brought up break points with high quality forehands only for the equally resilient Broady to save them with an aggressive and confident response.
Having seen off three break points to hold for 3-2, both players were in charge on serve, though a delightful backhand lob from Broady created the inkling of an opening when he led 15-30 as Sock served to stay in the first set, and Broady got himself into the rally on the next point with a strong service return but his brave attempt to catch Sock out, was foiled as his volley on the run went wide.
Sock served himself back to parity at 5-5 and Broady was under huge pressure in the next game when Sock brought up three break points at 0-40. After a deep forehand had saved the first opening, Broady dodged a bullet on the second when his backhand hit the net cord and dropped over before a strong second serve forced Sock to net the third.
Two points later Broady was forcing Sock to serve to stay in the set again but the right-hander was up to the challenge and drew first blood in the tie break when a Broady backhand went long. Parity was restored when a Sock forehand went long for 1-1 but another long Broady forehand handed the mini-break to Sock for 3-1.
Strong serving saw Sock into a 5-2 lead and when he gained some fortune himself with a net cord that saw a Broady half volley go just wide he was 6-3 up and staring at a one set advantage and a strong serve which Broady could only net sealed the set.
Far from being despondent, Broady came out firing at the start of the second set and a forehand deep into Sock’s backhand corner, which the American could only push wide brought up three early break points for Broady- his first of the match. Sock saved the first two but a backhand error gave Broady the first break of the match for 1-0.
Sock fought back bringing up two more break points which Broady staved off – his seventh and eighth of the match- and a Broady backhand sealed the second game. The rest of the set passed in a blur as Sock, whose commitment to the set varied, produced a number of errors as the final five games passed in just 13 minutes and Broady recorded a 6-1 verdict with three breaks.
It was immediately clear that the deciding set would be a much tougher proposition with Sock signalling his intent with a sizzling backhand to bring up the opening point of the set. And four points later a Broady backhand sailed long to allow Sock to finally break Broady’s serve at the ninth attempt and give him a third set lead that he would never lose.
Broady’s most promising chance for a response came in the fourth game of the set when he went out to a 0-30 lead but two netted service returns saw that promising opening disappear and it was Broady, who was forced to Deuce in the set’s ninth game, who was struggling most to hold on to his serve.
Despite holding to force Sock to serve out the match, Sock proved up to the challenge, and a dazzling rally that saw the capacity number 1 court on the edge of their seats, ended with a superb Sock down the line backhand winner to bring a very high-quality contest to an end. With the exception of the one sided second set, the American, who looks to be returning to his best form following an injury related drop down the rankings, had edged the encounters facing no further break points, whilst Broady’s bravery was illuminated by the statistic that showed that he had saved nine of the ten break points he had faced.
It was confirmed shortly after the match that Liam Broady had been awarded a coveted wild card into next week’s ATP 500 event at Queen’s club in London which was fitting reward for an impressive showing in the opening two grass court super Challengers in Nottingham and Surbiton and he will travel down to the capital in good shape following a superb performance against a high quality opponent.
‘Squash shot’ propels Broady to comeback win in Nottingham
A dramatic on the run ‘squash shot’ from Liam Broady late in the second set proved the pivotal moment in a fluctuating 2-6 7-5 6-2 win over talented young Finn Otto Virtanen.
The big moment came with Broady already 15-0 down as Virtanen attempted to serve to stay in the second set at 6-5 down. The big hitting Finn seemed destined to win the rally when he sent Broady scurrying to his left to retrieve forehand from halfway up the court, Broady could only offer a hopeful lob that Virtanen smashed to his other side, but with lightning speed and reflexes Broady sprinted the width of the court to punt a forehand down the line to stun his young opponent.
The rattled Virtanen then hit a routine forehand long, shanked an ugly backhand wide and finally offered up a double fault to put Broady back on level terms at 1 set all.
Earlier, it had been the impressive Virtanen- in red hot form after qualifying and reaching the semi-finals in Surbiton last week- who had looked the likely victor.
Moving easily and with big shots on both sides Virtanen had looked imperious in the first set as he peppered winners around the court breaking twice as Broady struggled to get a foothold in the match, bringing up a 6-2 opening set verdict.
After a more even start to the second set, a pair of errors from the Stockport-born left hander brought up a break point at 2-2, which he saved with a brave forehand which Virtanen was unable to return at the very back corner of the corner.
Although Virtanen was twice in jeopardy on his own serve at 0-30, stout defending and big serving extricated him both times and the break points he faced at 6-5 were the first he had faced in the entire match.
Although Virtanen opted for toilet break to try and compose himself before the deciding set, it was Broady who continued in the ascendance with Virtanen’s inexperience being betrayed by some fairly negative body language as Broady’s grip on the match tightened.
Broady took early control of the decider, breaking to love when a Virtanen forehand drifted wide, but a lapse in concentration saw Broady butcher two game points in the third game- the first with a forehand when well placed and the second with a netted volley.
The brit was in no mood to let his hard work go to waste though and despite being dragged back to Deuce three times, the roar that Broady let out when he put away a smash to bring up 3-0 told its own story.
Both players held with reasonable comfort twice to leave the young Finn serving to stay in the match at 2-5.
Broady went into a 15-30 lead before Virtanen won a temporary reprieve when a second serve that was initially called long was over-ruled by the umpire. The reprieve was only temporary as Broady whose raking groundstrokes were now tormenting his young opponent brought up his first match point when he followed up a deep forehand with a drop volley and a smash winner.
The crowd that had packed onto Nottingham’s Number 1 court wanted a grand finale and they weren’t disappointed as the match was decided with the longest rally of the day- 24 shots as Virtanen probed for an opening and Broady scurried to keep the ball in play. Finally the Finn followed a deep forehand with a charge to the net only to be left reaching for a Broady backhand passing shot attempt. Virtanen could only plop the ball back into play and Broady brought up huge cheers as his backhand confirmed his victory.
Just minutes after the match finished, rain fell which prevented any further play at Nottingham for more than four hours leaving a relieved Broady back in the hutch with his Quarter Final opponents waiting around to see if they could back on court.
After the match, Broady reflected on a huge comeback win saying ;”It’s a huge relief to seal the win before the rain fell. I didn’t start well, and he was playing really well, he’s a talent and I had to hang in there in the second set.
“I think the point at 15-0 5-6 was probably the key one, it felt huge at the time with the way the crowd responded and so it proved. I am pleased with how I played as the game went on and looking forward to attempting to reach Saturday’s semi- final tomorrow once I know who my opponent is.”
Broady into 2nd round with Lestienne win
Liam Broady secured a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over France’s quixotic right-hander Constant Lestienne. Broady took the first set serving strongly and breaking to love in the fifth game when Lestienne netted a volley, having opened the court up with a cunning drop shot.
He was rarely in trouble on serve until the tenth game of the second set where suddenly, out of nowhere, Lestienne conjured up two break points. Although Broady saved those he hadn’t entirely extricated himself from danger and soon faced a third set point which he lost to push the game into a decider.
Broady drew first blood in the deciding set, breaking Lestienne in the opening game and withstanding some moments of danger to go 2-0 up.
A tense sixth game saw the Frenchman back on level terms but Broady instantly returned the favour, breaking to love to go 4-3 up with a break.
Lestienne again pressured the Broady serve, getting 0-30 up but was unable to take advantage and Broady secured the win in a long ninth game of three deuces when a Lestienne forehand sailed long to give Broady the win.
He will face 20 year old Finn Otto Virtanen in the second round. Virtanen is on a hot streak after qualifying and reaching the semi-finals in Surbiton this week and then qualifying and knocking out Australian number 4 seed John Millman in Nottingham today.
Pre-match preview – Lestienne first up in Nottingham
Liam has drawn 174th-ranked Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the opening round of the Nottingham 125K Challenger which he expects to play on Tuesday.
Lestienne won the pair’s only previous meeting, prevailing 7-6 6-2 in the opening qualifying round of the 2021 Australian Open. Lestienne started 2022 brightly, reaching a Challenger final on home soil in Cherbourg and semi finals in Lille (Indoor Hard court, March) and Ostrava (Clay, April) but went out in the first round in his last two events.
Lestienne, who is 30, played on clay in Italy last week, so this will be his first competitive run-out on a grass court this year. He has previously tended to steer clear of the grass, and this will be his first career Challenger match on the surface, having played four previous unsuccessful attempts at qualifying for Wimbledon.
Liam Broady’s ambition of following his Australian Open qualification by also making the main draw in the season’s second Grand slam in Paris, was ended after a close-fought 6-1 6-7 6-4 defeat to home hope Geoffrey Blancaneaux.
Broady had previously beaten the Frenchman in a one-sided contest but Blancaneaux made it clear that this would be a much tougher assignment by storming out of the blocks in a dominant first set which he won 6-1.
Blancaneaux was being backed by a noisy home crowd and was hitting winners off both sides as Broady struggled to get a foothold in the match and he was soon in trouble again when, after a comfortable hold for the Frenchman, more sparkling strokeplay saw him bring up two break points in Broady’ s opening service game of the second set.
Broady dug deep, however, taking the final four points of the game to get on the scoreboard at 1-1.
Broady was starting to let the Parisian know that he was in a fight and a beautiful down the line backhand winner brought up 30 All in the set’s fifth game, with Blancaneaux celebrating as he clinched that one with a forehand winner.
Broady also had to scrap hard to get through the sixth game which lasted over ten minutes and went to four deuces before restoring parity. And the tide seemed to be turning when Broady having brought up 15-30 in his next return game produced a deft lob to send Blancaneaux scurrying to the back of the court. The Frenchman’s desperate through the legs return was more in hope than expectation but he also managed to reach Broady’s drop shot volley to get back to 30 All, rather than facing two break points.
Broady saved game point and brought up his first break point with a delightful lob. Three times Blancaneaux staved off break points, with a service return winner attempt being millimetres away from clinching the crucial break before Blancaneaux finally held.
Broady took a tight game to level again at 4-4 and after two routine holds apiece the second set went into a tie-break. A double fault gave Broady an early advantage which a delightful return from the right handed Blancaneaux overturned.
Broady went 3-1 up with a drilled passing shot and then got lucky when his smash hit the net and looped onto the baseline before a volley winner sealed the point for 4-2. Broady was in no mood to surrender the advantage and the rattled Frenchman served up his second double fault of the breaker to seal it 7-2 in the Stockport-born left hander’s favour.
A commanding hold put Broady on the board and his groundstrokes were dominating as he brought up a 2-1 lead.
Blancaneaux had been holding on, but the increasingly noisy home crowd sensed an opportunity as a 20-shot rally was won by the former Roland Garros Junior champion to bring up two break points at 15-40. Broady fought off the first, ending a dominant rally with a volley winner, but at the second time of asking, the tables were turned as a drop volley winner sealed the break.
The noisy Court 6 crowd were chanting their support and Broady was in danger of being blown away as Blancaneaux sought a second break after a routine hold. Three times he held break points, but Broady was resolute, fighting them off and after a total of six deuces, a wide serve forced Blancaneaux to hit a forehand wide to keep Broady in touch at 4-3.
Both players held, to leave Blancaneaux serving for the match at 5-4, but Broady was determined not to go down without a fight and after a brilliant lob had brought up 15-30, a down the line winner gave Broady two break points.
However, Blancaneaux was not to be denied and saved the second with a deft backhand winner before sealing the match on his first match point to the wild acclaim of the appreciative home crowd. Broady was given a generous reception as he made his way off court in the early evening sunshine in recognition of a great battle, but to the victor, the spoils.
Blancaneaux showed that his form was no one off by sailing into the main draw with a 6-1 6-3 win the final qualifying round to reach the main draw for the first time.
Topsy-turvy Olivo match sees Broady thru in Paris
A game that swung one way and then the other ultimately saw Liam Broady edge to a deceptively tight 6-0 4-6 6-0 victory over Argentinian Renzo Olivo in the first qualifying round at Roland Garros.
Broady started brightly, serving with confidence and after a routine hold in the opening game he was straight on to the front foot, bringing up two break points in Olivo’s first service game. Olivo staved them off but was soon back in trouble and the power of Broady’s ground strokes proved a test too far, as at the third time of asking Broady brought up an early break.
Olivo proved that the Stockport left-hander wouldn’t have matters all his own way when bringing up two break points of his own, but Broady whose first serve percentage was over 85% in the first set, held firm to bring up an early 3-0 lead.
And the Brit’s dominance continued into the fourth game, when despite falling 40-15 down he refused to buckle and ultimately sealed a second break.
The pattern continued as Broady took the fifth game on serve and then again saved break points before bringing up ‘the bagel’ to seal the first set, 6-0.
It had felt as if the scoreboard had been misleading in that first set with Broady winning many close games and Olivo was relieved to get on the scoreboard at 1-1. And the closer nature of the second set was illustrated when a broken string at 30-all saw Broady hit wildly long to bring up an Olivo break point. Broady saved that break point but Olivo’s booming looping forehands were winning him a foothold in the rallies now and he held at 3-3 and then under more pressure for 4-4.
The second set’s ninth game proved crucial, with Olivo getting lucky when a hopeful lob landed on the baseline to bring up 0-15. He followed it with a sizzling backhand winner and a forehand service return that also clipped the baseline to bring up three break points. Broady kept battling, saving the first two with aggressive play before putting a backhand into the net after a good wide serve had opened up the court to go 5-4 down.
The Argentinian was in no mood to relinquish his advantage and held to love to even the match at one set all.
The early stages of the final set were always going to be crucial, and Broady, having replaced his white shirt with a blue one started aggressively, hitting the lines repeatedly to seal the opening game.
Broady followed the dominant service game with an equally dominant and assertive game to gain an early break. He was now the aggressor, moving Olivo from side to side and finishing with three delightful winners, to seal an early 2-0 lead.
He was taken to Deuce in the next game but moved into a 3-0 lead when Olivo could only net a serve that clipped the line.
Despite the commanding lead, Olivo wasn’t giving up and it took a marathon 4th game of the set to secure Broady’s ascendancy. Broady hit an array of brilliant forehands culminating in a down the line winner to start the game well and an equally dominant point that ended with a smash brought up 0-30.
But Olivo wasn’t finished and brought up a game point with a forehand winner of his own. Broady saved that game point and brought up a break point with a shot that landed on the baseline and forced the scurrying Olivo to hit long.
Another attempt at a forehand winner slipped agonisingly wide and after saving another two game points Broady saw two more break points slip by- the second after he reached a drop shot but just pushed his down the line shot inches wide.
The 11 minute and 45 second game finally went Broady’s way when a strong service return to the back of the court forced Olivo to hit a forehand wide to bring up a decisive 4-0 lead.
Still, the Argentinian wasn’t giving up on a place in Roland Garros easily and he saved a game point before forcing a break point of his own which Broady saved with a down the line forehand winner, and Broady let out a huge roar when at the third time of asking he sealed the game as Olivo netted weakly.
Olivo cut a dejected figure as Broady brought up his second bagel of the match but the crowd showed their appreciation to both men knowing what a hard-fought contest it had been.
Broady will face homegrown French prospect Geoffrey Blancaneaux in the second qualifying round on Wednesday.
Liam Broady will start his campaign to qualify for the 2022 Serbia Open against top Junior Jakub Mensik on Easter Sunday.
Mensik, the 16 year old Czech prodigy, reached the final of the 2022 Australian Open Junior singles competition. His early outings on the Men’s tour have come in a series of futures events in Sharm El Sheikh where has reached three second round ties, but the wild card that he has been awarded in Belgrade will be a significant step up in class from those matches and will be of real interest to #NextGen talent spotters.
The winner of the first round match-up which starts at 11am Belgrade time (10am UK) will play the winner of the tie between number 2 qualifying seed Japan’s Taro Daniel and Kazakhstan’s Alexsandr Nedovyesov.
Please note that the planned schedule is indicative, but participation will be dependent on the entry criteria being met and can change at short notice.
Liam moves now to the UK grass court swing, and dependent on wild cards or entry cut-offs, will hope once again to appear in the prestigious events at the Queens Club, London, in Eastbourne and the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Club.
The swing starts in South London at the Surbiton Challenger and he has also entered the Nottingham Challenger which takes place in the same week as Queens, so will play in one or the other, dependent on entry criteria.
Stockport Tennis star Liam Broady opened his campaign to qualify for Tennis’s ‘fifth’ slam, the BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells, California, with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 win over Indian Ramkumar Ramanathan. Broady has already recorded a hat-trick of qualifying successes on the big stage this year, by following his qualification for the Australian Open by also winning through to ATP 250 main draws in Dallas and Delray Beach. This was Broady’s first match back after a toe injury hampered his progress in the Delray Beach event, and he started like a house on fire, putting pressure on his Indian opponent from the outset. Broady brought up a break point in Ramanathan’s second service game, but whilst the 27 year old extricated himself from that tight spot, he wasn’t able to do it again in the fifth game as Broady took advantage of a second serve to bring up the game’s opening break. Broady was holding with huge authority and won a straight sixteen points on serve in the first set without dropping a single one, and he reinforced his advantage by breaking and holding again to seal a comfortable first set 6-2. Ramanathan was clearly determined to start the second set better and was attempting to get to the net behind every first serve in an effort to re-assert some authority. A marathon first game saw him fight off two more breakpoints whilst being denied four times on his own game point before finally pumping his fist as he was able to chalk up the opening game.
Broady had shown remarkable consistency to win the first 22 points on his own serve, so it was a major shock when Ramanathan went from 30-0 down to breaking Broady’s serve to bring up a 3-1 lead. Broady returned to holding with confidence but Ramanathan was also winning some cheaper points now and brought up three set points at 5-3 when a strong forehand forced Broady to hit wide. Broady kept him guessing by saving the first two but the Chennai based Indian drew level when putting away a smash to seal the second set 6-3. Broady started the third set strongly and having worked an opportunity for a break point, he got into the net and sealed an early break with a superb forehand volley. Any hopes that this might see him coast towards the finish line were abruptly shattered when Ramanathan worked himself an immediate break-back point with a blistering forehand return on a Broady second serve and when he forced Broady to hit a forehand long on the next point, the match was back on serve. Both players held without alarms to bring the game to 4-4 when Broady came under pressure on his own serve as he was pegged back to Deuce, but a superb backhand down the line and an unreturned serve meant that Ramanathan would have to serve to stay in the match. Broady got ahead in the ninth game when the Indian netted with a backhand approach shot and when he volleyed wide to bring up 0-30, Broady sniffed his chance. Broady came out on top after a long rally in the next point, as he worked the Indian around the court before a forehand down the line winner. Having brought up three match points, Broady was in no mood to let them slip by and he launched himself into a blistering second service return on the first of them which Ramanathan was only able to divert into the net to seal Broady’s 6-2 3-6 6-4 victory. He will play Australian Christopher O’Connell in the final qualifying round tonight as he seeks to join world number 1 Daniil Medvedev, the returning Novak Djokovic and Brits Andy Murray , Dan Evans and Cam Norrie in the main draw.
Liam Broady sensationally qualifies for Aussie Open after stunning comeback win.
Liam Broady pulled off an astounding comeback to book his place in the main draw of Tennis’s Australian Open and seal a dream first round tie with Aussie firebrand Nick Kyrgios.
Broady trailed by a set and 5-2 and was as much as 4000/1 to win with one bookmaker at one stage only, to storm back and seal a sensational and emotional victory.
The Stockport born left hander, who was seeded Number 10, was up against in-form Russian Roman Safiullin who had starred for his nation in their recent run to the ATP Cup semi final.
Safiullin who had ended Broady’s quest to qualify in Roland Garros eight months ago demonstrated his recent electric form by storming into an early 3-0 lead, only for Broady to peg him back as the Manchester-based Broady started to find his range in the Melbourne evening sun.
Having forced Safiullin into a forehand error to break back, Broady then looked set to take the lead when he brought up three break points in the seventh game, but Safiullin showed all his mettle to hold on and the 24 year old Russian drew first blood in the tenth game when out of nowhere he found two blistering returns which Hawkeye showed had clipped the baseline to bring up a set point.
The under-pressure Broady sadly chose the worst possible moment to deliver a double fault on set point to allow Safiullin to clinch the opener 6-4.
Broady brought up a break point in the third game of the second set but again he was unable to convert and when Safiullin broke and then held for a 5-2 lead it appeared that Broady’s brave attempt to qualify would fall short.
However, the changeover brought about a remarkable transformation as Broady refused to leave the tournament without a fight, holding to love, and then breaking to love as the under-pressure Russian’s game became increasingly ragged.
Broady completed his third consecutive game without losing a point to draw level at 5-5 and despite being denied three times when serving to force a tie break, Broady was finally able to take the set into a decider. A sensational backhand winner started the tie-break going the way of the Heaton Chapel star and he took it 7-2 with a combination of winners and Safiullin errors.
The Russian was gesturing his disbelief and anger to his entourage during the changeover, but managed to compose himself to exchange holds early on in the decider.
Broady’s drive to complete the win was now irresistible with the Russian’s game disintegrating in response to Broady’s persistence and consistency and at 3-2 a sumptuous down-the-line winner set Broady up for a break point which he converted to break the Russian to love and bring up a 4-2 lead.
A routine hold heaped the pressure back on Safiullin and Broady’s dominance was such that despite trailing 40-0 in the eighth game, he won the last five points of the match to turn a 40-0 deficit into another break and bring up a 4-6 7-6 (2) 6-2 victory before collapsing to the ground and kissing the Melbourne tarmac in recognition of the emotion and significance of his victory.
This is only the second time that Broady has qualified for a grand slam, following his qualification for the Roland Garros tournament in 2020 and when the qualifiers were placed in the main draw, the mouthwatering prospect of facing Aussie wild-man Nick Kyrgios on his home turf became a reality to cap a memorable and thrilling day for Broady.
Report on Broady- Kyrgios first round game
Stockport’s Liam Broady was caught up in a service whirlwind, in a raucous John Cain Arena in today’s first round Australian Open Tennis tie.
Broady, who had qualified for the Australian Open for the first time, having come back from first set deficits three times in qualifiers fell to a 6-4 6-4 6-3 defeat to a fired-up Nick Kyrgios in front of a wild Melbourne crowd despite impressing the crowd with a resilient performance.
Kyrgios has made no secret of the fact that the Arena, is his favourite court in tennis, and it was at fever pitch early on as Kyrgios stormed out of the blocks in his first match for four months.
Having broken Broady early on, he brought the house down when sealing his first service game with a through-the-legs underarm serve.
It looked at that stage like Broady could be blown away but the Stockport left hander stood strong in the baying arena with a service hold to 30 to get onto the board.
That early break proved crucial though, as Kyrgios’ serve was imperious and meant that despite Broady holding serve comfortably the Australian was able to wrap up the first set with 10 aces and an 83% first serve percentage.
The second set followed a similar pattern to the first with Broady fighting desperately to get on the board, three times Broady faced a break point, only to save it, but at the fourth time of asking Kyrgios was able to seal the break and take the early advantage.
Broady saved a breakpoint before getting on the board in the third game, and despite winning a fair proportion of points when he was able to get a foothold in the point, the accuracy and power of Kyrgios’ serve made it very difficult for Broady to create any sustained pressure.
Kyrgios ramped up his first serve up to a blistering 141mph in holding the set, with that early break again proving crucial as he repeated the first set 6-4 scoreline.
It looked like deja vu all over again when Kyrgios took the first two points of the third set, but Broady was able to regroup and a delightful forehand crosscourt winner put the Manchester-based left hander on the board in the third set.
Broady was starting to return more of the Kyrgios serves, as the Australian just struggled slightly to find the very corners of the service box and three winners in a row – the first when returning another underhand serve, allowed Broady to bring up a breakpoint as Kyrgios showed the tension he was feeling despite his two set lead.
Kyrgios roared his delight as a Broady service return floated long and was equally animated as he drew back on level terms.
The set’s third game ultimately decided the contest with fortune favouring the Canberra hotshot. Broady brought up a game point with patient approach play but couldn’t seal the deal and Kyrgios was able to earn a breakpoint.
Broady looked set to escape the danger when a strong approach shot saw him waiting at the net to put away Kyrgios’ desperate lunge, but the Australian’s shot clipped the net and rebounded wildly over Broady’s head as the Brit could only throw a despairing racquet at the ball and watch it bounce out. Kyrgios knew that he’d got lucky and was duly apologetic to Broady but he never looked back, dropping only two more points on serve and when a Broady backhand volley hit the net the Australian crowd roared their excitement at the arrival of a match point.
Broady found a first serve on match-point but a brilliant backhand return from Kyrgios brought the Arena crowd to their feet again as he took the third set 6-3 and with it the match.
Liam Broady acquitted himself confidently in a bearpit atmosphere and won the respect of the Melbourne crowd who applauded him warmly as he left the arena leaving Kyrgios to take the further acclaim of his adoring fans who will hope to be back to see him take on Number two seed Daniil Medvedev in the next round