Britain will have another semi-finalist at these Championships this afternoon after Liam Broady completed a Herculean – by the standards of a 17-year-old – task in beating the big-serving German wildcard Robin Kern 13-11 in an 86-minute deciding set in the boys' singles.
On Court 18, the venue for last year's record-breaking men's encounter between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, Broady and Kern produced a mini-epic of their own as the contest see-sawed over three equally matched sets until Kern's serve – which peaked at 133mph – came off the rails. It had begun in front of a smattering of spectators but by the time Broady stepped off court to be greeted by a posse of autograph hunters, there was not a seat to be had at the smallest of the show courts.
"It was fantastic," said Broady, who appears thoroughly unmoved by the surge of interest in his progress. "The support was great. At one point I was thinking it might [be like Isner and Mahut] ... I kind of forgot the score and tried to focus on each game individually. He just played one or two sloppy points and I managed to close it out."
Broady, the 15th seed, will face Jason Kubler in today's semi-final. The 18-year-old Australian is a former top-ranked junior who has been trying to make his way in the seniors – hence being unseeded. He took four games in a three-set defeat by Ivan Ljubicic in the Australian Open in January.
En route to the last four, Kubler knocked out Oliver Golding, the British No 1 who in turn had reached the semi-finals last year via a victory over the Australian. "I'll be looking for Oli or his coach," said Broady of his preparations for today, which may also include a hit with Andy Murray as the Scot looks for some left-handed opposition ahead of his semi-final.
He impressed yesterday with his speed around the court, a rasping forehand and punched two-handed backhand and, in particular, his ability to return his opponent's superior serve.
Broady, who operates outside the control of the Lawn Tennis Association – as Murray did too – won the boys' doubles last year and is becoming familiar with being around in the second week of Wimbledon. "I feel a lot more at home here," he said. "More comfortable, more confident."
Just minutes after facing the media and a quick meal of chicken and pasta, Broady was back on Court 18 – in front of another decent crowd as word of this rising star spread – to continue the defence of his boys' doubles title, with the Slovakian Filip Horansky.
Three more sets, and an hour and a quarter later, he had another quarter-final to prepare for. Broady is staying at a friend's house in south-west London – they watched Clash of the Titans before yesterday's game following two Harry Potter films as warm-up for his previous round. Last night he might have struggled to stay awake.
British interest elsewhere in the Championships dwindled. Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae lost in the mixed doubles, while Daneika Borthwick was knocked out of the girls' singles.