Tennis: Broad smiles on British hopes

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HALF A Brit who happens to be a winner on a tennis court is better than no Brit at all and yesterday Neil Broad, something of an expert in doubles but still to make his name as a solo performer, helped raise home smiles at the Direct Line Insurance championships here.

Broad, South African-born but a selection for recent British Davis Cup teams, beat the American Tommy Ho, ranked 112th in the world, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to record his second satisfying win of the week and advance to the quarter-finals.

His own placing (613th) is a dramatic fall from a career high of 84, a tumble brought about by attending to twin objectives. 'When I was doing really well in doubles and getting to a lot of finals and semis I couldn't find the time to pre-qualify for the singles events,' he said.

The 6ft 3in right-hander also demolished another misconception, that of the aspiring tennis star who nevertheless is a bob or two ahead of you and me. Despite his professed commitment to his adopted country he has no home here. He lives in Palm Desert, California though the dream is for a two-bedroom flat in Wimbledon, but the going rate of pounds 100,000 is prohibitive right now.

Chris Bailey made it one and a half British wins on a rain-shortened day but his 6-3, 6-4 success was not an excuse for patriotic celebrations as it came at the expense of Surrey's Danny Sapsford, the previous day's hero after beating Brad Gilbert, the top seed.

Martina Navratilova continued to make smooth progress towards Sunday's final with a 6-1, 6-3 dismissal of her fellow American Ann Henricksson. Afterwards, she confirmed that her career is far from over. 'I hope to be playing doubles at the 1996 Olympics, which are just short of my 40th birthday,' she said.