By Paul Lagan at Wimbledon
Broady v Ruud 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Wild card entry Liam Broady sent the full Centre Court crowd wild as he sensationally knocked out No.4 seed Casper Ruud in a five-set thriller.
It was the game of the tournament so far as far as the home support was concerned.
A beaming and somewhat bewildered Brody said straight afterwards: “It is a pretty exhilarating and terrifying experience to play on Centre Court, and it was my dream since I was five years old.”
He wasn’t too bothered about winning, although it helps.
“I told my mum, look I’ve already won £80k this week. So she can make my dinner tonight.
“But as for my next game, let’s go again.”
Broady held his nerve on some major points and upped his game as it progressed.
Ruud by contrast looked like the occasion got the better of him.
Broady was first up on Centre Court and started reasonably well, but a break in serve in the fourth game gave the Norwegian a 3-1 lead.
But nerves got hold of the expected semi-finalist, and Broady was able to instantly break after Ruud had game point.
Broady then held his serve and, much to the delight of the near full house, broke Ruud to love to go 4-3 up.
Soon it was 5-3 and then 15-40 on the Ruud serve.
The players at the end of their marathon match (Picture: Paul Lagan)
One set point was saved, then another, as the crowd got restless. Broady then smacked a return into the net to give Ruud advantage, before he skied a simple return.
But it still saw Broady serving for the set.
But it appeared to all go pear-shaped from the man from Stockport when a line judge called out a winner.
Hawk Eye intervened and gave him the point and one winner later he had won the first set.
Ruud, mentally sensing he had to start the match again, started the second set with a service hold, matched by Broady, and then repeated by Ruud.
But Broady missed a sitter of a cross-court backhand volley to leave himself 0-40. Thankfully for him, when he tried it again, it worked. But he still had two break points against him, and Ruud dispatched the first with a glorious smash to go 3-1 up on serve. It soon became 4-1.
A brief respite saw Broady win his service game, albeit after deuce.
Two service games, Broady’s to love, left Ruud serving for the second set.
For a second, it looked like Broady could break as he smashed a shot off the court into the royal box to get to advantage. He stoked up the crowd and they responded, albeit for a second or two.
Two more advantages went the way of server Ruud, and twice Broady bravely responded – the second time with a lovely drop shot.
An unforced error gave another set point to Ruud, which he took, as Broady arrowed a return into the net.
The third set openers had the occasional clap-worthy shots but, with the sun beating down on the court, there was an air of sleepiness about them. A cabbage white butterfly fluttering around the court emphasised the almost bucolic sensibility prevailing.
Games went with serve as a result. it was only when the match got to 4-4 and a sense of jepardy entered the arena did the crowd wake up, sadly for Broady, so did Ruud, and he promptly went 0-40 down.
He fought back to 30-40 then double-faulted, much to the dismay of his team, and the crowd.
This meant Ruud served for the third set.
But Broady showed aggression and a deft touch to take the game to deuce after Ruud had set point.
But on the Norwegian’s second set point, he again failed, and bowed to Broady’s tenacity.
Some excellent net play gave the Brit break point, but Broady hit long to go back to advantage.
A second break point appeared from nowhere, and disappeared just as quickly.
That soon turned to another set point for Ruud, and a slowish service down the middle was responded to in kind, and Broady hit the ball into the net to go 2-1 down in sets.
Broady, then to the crowd’s delight, held his serve and then broke Ruud’s.
He went 3-0 up and the prospect of a deciding set loomed closer.
Ruud finally held to make it 3-1, as did Broady. And then a repeat to make it 2-5 on Ruud’s serve.
He held it well, leaving the pressure on Broady to win his game and the set.
And he did, to love, with an ace to seal it.
Incredibly he then broke Ruud to love to take the opening game in the final set.
He survived a scare on his own serve but managed to pull it around to make it 2-0.
Then, with Ruud seemingly running on fumes and relying on muscle memory to play his shots, it all went wrong for him, and Broady snatched the game to go 3-0 up.
And then before the crowd could catch their breath, it was 4-0.
Ruud needed to summon up something quite extraordinary to get himself out of the mess he was in.
But he succumbed to lose his serve again to love, leaving the 29-year-old to serve out for the match.
And then it was all over.
A magnificent win in 3hrs 27mins.
Pictured top: Liam Broady (Picture: Paul Lagan)
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