By Pete Hall
LONDON (Reuters) – British tennis fans could not have wished for a more exhilarating, and ultimately successful, day three of Wimbledon in the SW19 sunshine.
Andy Murray’s straight-sets victory over Dustin Brown ensured the heat-soaked hoards headed home on Wednesday having seen four home players secure third-round spots.
That hadn’t happened since 1997, when Tim Henman, Mark Petchey, Greg Rusedski, Andrew Richardson and Karen Cross reached the same stage.
Kyle Edmond can even raise this year’s tally to five on Centre Court on Thursday, but he will have to be at the top of his game to stand a realistic chance of getting past 11th seed Gael Monfils.
Heather Watson got the ball rolling early on Wednesday on Court Two, outclassing 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-0 6-4, before Aljaz Bedene, who disposed of big-serving Ivo Karlovic in round one, stormed to a four-set victory over Damir Dzumhur.
Then the two mainstays of British tennis joined the party.
Johanna Konta may not have been at her best, but the battling qualities she showed in her epic 7-6 4-6 10-8 victory over Donna Vekic – when she could have easily buckled under pressure from an expectant Centre Court crowd – will have got fans dreaming of a first British women’s champion in 40 years.
Murray then kept up his end of the bargain to ensure the homegrown feelgood factor lingered well into the evening at the All England Club.
(Reporting by Pete Hall; editing by John Stonestreet)