Wimbledon 2013: New partner, same story as Jonny Marray clicks back into gear
Doubles champion teams up with Fleming for straight-sets win to book place in second week
Back at the scene of his greatest triumph, Jonny Marray was again a winner yesterday. But in the same men's doubles competition there was defeat in an epic five-setter for Andy Murray's brother Jamie.
A year ago Marray achieved a rare British Wimbledon triumph when he partnered Freddie Nielsen in the doubles final. It was a life-changing day during a year in which he more than doubled his previous career earnings at the age of 31, having at one stage been wondering whether he should look for "a proper job". What he did have to seek was a new partner after Nielsen decided to concentrate on singles and, with Scotland's Colin Fleming, he has found a good blend.
Fleming was also on the lookout after his regular partner, Ross Hutchins, was diagnosed with cancer. He is currently responding well to treatment and was among the first to offer congratulations after the Britons won their second- round clash with Frantisek Cermak of Czech Republic and Slovakia's Michal Mertinak 6-3 6-4 7-6.
The Scot, excellent on returns while Marray shines at the net, said later that it can take time for a partnership to gel, but this one, already tested in the Davis Cup, is showing promise. "It's been a new challenge, as I play on a different side of the court now, but it's really nice to keep Jonny's run going at Wimbledon," said Fleming. "He's obviously a top grass-court player. You can have one-off success straightaway with a new partner but, when it comes to the key points in events like this, having had time together helps."
They were comfortable yesterday with a break in each of the first two sets, then breaking back immediately after dropping serve at the start of the third, which seemed to knock the stuffing out of the opposition.
Next, a stern test awaits in the form of Daniel Nestor, a vastly experienced doubles player ranked fifth in the world, and Robert Lindstedt, who has played – and lost – in the last three Wimbledon finals.
That meant, of course, that he was on the opposite side of the net from Marray in last year's final, which Fleming hopes will hand a psychological advantage to the British pair. "I think Jonny's taken a boost from last year," he said. "He's getting good vibes and drawing on good memories here. I've noticed the difference in him since he won it, he's got that little bit more self-confidence."
Later Marray teamed up with Heather Watson in the mixed doubles to defeat Robin Haase and Alicja Rosolska 6-3 7-5.
Jamie Murray, meanwhile, was involved in a five-set defeat that took more than three and a half hours when he and Australia's John Peers went down to America's James Blake and Jürgen Melzer, from Austria, 3-6 6-3 6-4 3-6 14-12.
Being behind everyone else in playing only a first-round match, the winners will now meet Nicolas Mahut and fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra, who retired from his singles match in midweek before playing doubles with Mahut three hours later. Britain's Jamie Delgado and Matthew Ebden, lost to the fourth seeds, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, 6-4 6-4 6-3.
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