Tennis / Wimbledon '93: Bates and Durie fly the doubles flag for Britain QSUBHEAD:

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The Independent Online
A WEEK ago Jeremy Bates and Jo Durie were the two prominent British casualties during a first week that shone brightly on the Union Jack. Yesterday, back on court 14, which saw their first-round singles dismissals in successive matches, they gave their country cause to be thankful for them yet again as they prolonged home interest in the senior tournament for at least another day.

In the third round of the mixed doubles, Bates and Durie beat the Australian pair and No 8 seeds, John Fitzgerald and Liz Smylie, 6-2, 6-7,

6-3, a victory achieved in one hour 50 minutes, which was especially sweet for the Bristol woman, whose interest in the singles had been terminated by Smylie at the first attempt.

The veteran British partnership next face the No 1 seeds, Todd Woodbridge and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, for a place in the semi-finals. Bates and Durie won the title in 1987, but few staunch patriots would be prepared to wager that they can hoist the flag above the Centre Court again this year. Durie's problems with her left knee are made only too evident by the heavy strapping she is obliged to wear.

She would have appreciated a quicker victory yesterday, but both players can feel pleased with their achievement in outlasting the durable Australians, who were champions in this event two years ago. The Britons were a break up and poised to complete victory in straight sets but Durie, who always looked vulnerable on her service, was then broken. Their opponents proved remorseless in the tie-break, which they secured with the loss of just one point.

Fitzgerald's skills at the net proved conclusive then, but Bates and Durie won the final argument in taking the deciding set.

There was to be no continuing success for the two British boys, the 16- year-old Jamie Delgado and Paul Martin, 17, who both left the junior singles at the third-round stage.

Delgado, from Maidenhead, who ousted the seventh seed on Tuesday, lost to the ninth-ranked player yesterday, Razvan Sabau, of Romania, 6-2, 7-5. Martin, from Bristol, who the previous day had seen off the challenge of his fellow Briton James Baily, the winner of the Australian tournament, went down to the Swiss, Alexandre Strambini, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

Delgado later took a measure of revenge when in partnership with Thomas Spinks he beat Sabau and Jan Stoces in the boys' doubles 6-7, 7-5,

6-4. Martin and Luke Milligan beat the Ivory Coast pair, Claude N'Goran and Nouhoun Sangare, 6-2, 4-6, 12-10.