Liam Broady helped continue flying the British flag on Thursday after Katie Boulter’s sensational win over Karolina Pliskova with his own victory over Diego Schwartzman where he could face Boulter’s boyfriend, Alex De Minaur, in the next round. This year’s Wimbledon saw history made in the first round after 10 Brits made it through their opening match.
Not since 1984 had Britain had 10 players through to the second round of both singles draws. Alastair Gray, Harriet Dart, Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray and Ryan Peniston have since lost their second-round matches.
But all eyes were on the show courts on Thursday with Boulter and Broady both facing seeded players for a shot at their best-ever performance in a slam. Boulter came from a set down in a dramatic win over No 6 seed and last year’s Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.
In the mean time, Broady was locked in an epic battle with the experienced Schwartzman.
The world No 137 also went five sets in his opening round match against Lukas Klein. A days rest was definitely needed though as he faced off against Schwartzman, who has reached the quarter-final of slams on five occasions and a regular in the top-20 rankings.
Grass has never been his favoured surface though, giving Broady the chance to cause an upset. And he got off to the perfect start on Court Three, winning the first set 6-2.
But Schwartzman’s experience soon showed as he took the next two sets, including a bagel in the third. That would have knocked Broady’s confidence, but he managed to rally back in the fourth where Schwartzman had the chance to wrap up the match only for the Brit to do enough to force a deciding set.
All the momentum and the packed crowd inside the show court were now with Broady and he made it count in the fifth, pulling off the biggest win of his career. Broady joked afterwards “It was easy weren’t it” before laughing along with the crowd.
“I had everyone fooled at two-sets-to-one and a break down in the fourth [laughs]. No It’s an amazing feeling. I thought I was coming off court having gone down in the second round for the third time but you guys were amazing out here today, it was incredible.”
Schwartzman at one point won 11 points in a row during his 6-0 set and Broady explained how he managed to turn things around from there.
“I actually changed the tactics a little bit out there,” he said. “I started to try and play really heavily into his forehand a little bit more.
“He was dominating with his backhand. He’s done that against Rafa on the clay so I mean he can do that against Liam Broady [laughs]. Sometimes I struggle to put the ball in the court but my heart’s always there and with everyone out here today it was incredible and there was no way of giving up.”