Wimbledon 1997: Unqualified joy for Cross

A familiar hand stretched through the crowd on Court Six and grabbed the arm of Karen Cross as she began to celebrate becoming the first British player to reach the third round of the women's singles in seven years. It was the firm grip of her coach Alan Jones, the man who guided Jo Durie to the world's top five and who now helps the latest generation of Britain's aspirants.

Cross was not being dragged to her victory party, however. There was no time to celebrate. "He wanted me to go and look a bit at Iva Majoli [her next opponent and recently crowned French Open champion] because she was playing on Court Three. It will be a great experience for me because I haven't played anyone ranked as high as her."

Not that Cross, 23, has ever been ranked so high herself. Her 6-4 6-0 win over Spain's Maria Sanchez Lorenzo catapults her from 320 in the world rankings and into the top 150. It suddenly makes her the British No 2, having started yesterday down at No 8 . That lowly status meant Cross, a Liverpool and Oasis fan from Devon, has had to get this far, as far as Ann Hobbs in 1990, via the qualifying tournament and without the assistance of a wild card - the way every other British girl made it to the All England this year.

"I've won five matches now, I think, and I was more nervous in the last two rounds of the qualifying than I have been at Wimbledon. I didn't feel any nerves, at no stage at all, but I'm on cloud nine now."

Cross has been staying at a friend's house this week, one Lorna Woodroffe, who just happens to be the only other British survivor in the women's singles. She also scored the win of her career by defying 209 places in the world rankings to beat Switzerland's Patty Schnyder. Wood-roffe, another Jones girl, won 6-4 6-4 to beat the world No 33.

"It's a lucky house isn't it?" Cross suggested. "The winning house. It's great, but I haven't seen Lorna since I won because she has gone home feeling tired."

She was not the only one feeling the pace after the longest day of competition since the Championships began. It was supposed to be another day of incessant rain but it turned into a tennis party from start to finish and the British men were not missing out on the action either.

Linconshire's Andrew Richardson led the way. Despite standing proud at 6ft 7in, the British No 5 Richardson has always been overshadowed by Henman and Rusedski, but he now has a chance to gain some clear daylight for himself after beating Spain's Juan Albert Viloca 6-3 3-6 6-4 2-6 6- 2.

By becoming the third British man to reach the third round he has helped equal a 20-year-old record and now faces Rusedski on Court One today for a place in the last 16. Not that he is overwhelmed by his success, or by the prospect of facing Rusedski. "I'm delighted," he mumbled. "It's a good opportunity for both of us and means we will definitely have a Brit in the fourth round."

He could be joined in the third round by a fourth British competitor - and that has never happened before in the Open era - as Essex's Mark Petchey was a set up against American wonderkid Tommy Haas when play was suspended. Even Petchey would have missed out on that honour had Chris Wilkinson not thrown away a two-set lead against Australian Mark Woodforde only to lose in five. Promising Worthing youngster Martin Lee also failed by losing to French qualifier Arnaud Clement.

Surrey's Danny Sapsford nearly made it, impressively winning his first- round match against Nicolas Pereira at the start of the day but finally succumbing to Zimbabwe's Byron Black in his second round match 6-2 7-5 6-2.

That's the problem with Wimbledon this year; you wait five days to finish one match then there is a whole rush of them. Not that Sapsford minds a cheap joke, even in defeat: the last time he had been in the singles so long was 1991. "The last time it rained all week," he grinned.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003