Tennis: Bates and Durie make way for new generation: Wimbledon '93: Britain's two top-rankers bow out as Maclagan survives five-set ordeal and Wood wins appointment with Graf

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The Independent Online
IF THERE truly is a resurgence in British tennis, and as yet another local hero mounted the victors' rostrum last night it was becoming hard to knock it, then it would appear to have left Jeremy Bates and Jo Durie behind.

The British No 1s bade back-to- back farewells to Wimbledon yesterday in the space of two and a half hours on the same piece of grass.

Judgement on the basis of one defeat is inevitably harsh, especially on poor old Jo, her body racked by pain and lethargy after an injury-forced absence, yet it reflects the sadness that descended on Court 14 after the departure of two players who, through the years, have borne the brunt of national scorn at this event.

For Bates, back on his favourite green oblong where his fairy-tale ride to the last 16 was first scripted a year ago, there was particular disappointment in his 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 loss to the Argentinian, Javier Frana.

If those with the unfortunate handle of 'unknown' before their name can see their way through to the second round, then surely so could Our Jeremy? 'Last year was last year,' said Bates. 'I don't have anything to feel bad about. He kept coming up with the shots. I struggled to know where to serve.'

Not that it was all doom and gloom and here we go, here we go . . . back down the pan again. Far from it. Miles Maclagan, at 18 the baby of the men's draw, overcame Karsten Braasch, a German with a ranking 397 places better than his at No 95, with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 scoreline.

Monique Javer at last tasted victory here, for the first time in six attempts, and Clare Wood brought the British winners up to a magnificent eight at the expense of just two games. Wood, from Sussex, now plays the defending champion, Steffi Graf.

The best was saved to last as, on the stroke of nine o'clock, Mandy Wainwright, a 17-year-old A-level student from Essex, theoretically climbed 666 computer places to topple Caroline Kuhlman, of the United States 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Ross Matheson, a huge Scot, at one point appeared to be heading for an encounter with Andre Agassi, before losing the second set to Portugal's Joao Cunha-Silva on a tie-break and seeing his earlier confidence and authority seep away. Maclagan also claims to be a Scot, but only on the same basis that some footballers born on mainland Britain end up playing for the Republic of Ireland, by virtue of their parents' place of birth.

For the record, he was born in Zambia and spent most of his early years in Zimbabwe before coming to England in 1988, since when he has lived in Buckinghamshire. His coach is a Welshman and last year he reached the last four at Junior Wimbledon. 'My tennis is completely British,' he said, 'because it's the LTA who have chosen to fund me. Hopefully I can pay them back for what they have helped me to do.'

For all his interested parties, Maclagan put up a jolly fine show. At 25, Chris Bailey is a far more practised campaigner on these courts, and he also had the benefit of a recent run to the Beckenham final to sustain him through the stickier phases of his match with Patrick McEnroe, the younger brother of you-know-who.

In truth, there were few of those, as the Norwich man won 7-5, 7-5, 7-5 in another bashing for the rankings. He made it five British men through to the second round for the first time since 1977, setting up a meeting with Goran Ivanisevic, the No 5 seed and last year's runner-up.

Durie stepped out, her left knee encased in an ugly support following surgery, knowing her best chance against the Australian, Liz Smylie, lay in a best-of-one-set shoot-out. Next best was to win in two and she set about the task according to plan.

'My body was telling me 'please, two sets' and I knew if it went to three I would really struggle,' she said after her 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat. 'I did not have enough strength in my leg to start with, and the rest of my body was trying to keep up but I couldn't'

Shirli-Ann Siddall followed the Durie pattern in taking the first set against the seventh seed, Jennifer Capriati. It had the result of lengthening the queues outside the No 2 Court but also of redoubling the American's efforts and, predictably, her baseline power eventually forced the Dorset girl to yield, 7-6, 2-6, 1-6.

(Photograph omitted)

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