Josh Goodall becomes first Brit to fall at Wimbledon


Wayne Gardiner
Monday 25 June 2012 16:02

Josh Goodall suffered the disappointment of becoming the first British player to exit Wimbledon this year as he slipped to a first-round defeat against Grega Zemlja.

The 26-year-old from Basingstoke was the first of five home hopes to take to the grass on the opening day of this year's Championships but, despite moments of promise, left Court Three as the first loser, going down 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.

Playing on a wild card for the fourth time in his career, Goodall had the chance to prove there is more to the British game than Andy Murray against an opponent who had only made the second round once prior to today.

But he fell short, especially after losing a third-set tie-break.

This was his first appearance at the tournament, and came after a three-year absence. With a healthy crowd behind him, Goodall would have been forgiven for starting tentatively. He was anything but, though, serving with aggression and not losing a point on his delivery until the fifth game.

However, Zemlja was proving durable at the other end, especially when it came to rallying, and he broke in the ninth game when Goodall netted and duly served out the set.

The second set started as the first had, with both men serving hard - with the only early chance being Zemlja spurning two third-game break points. Having stayed in the set, Goodall then struck a blow, breaking in the eighth game when he forced Zemlja to spoon a forehand wide, before serving out himself.

Buoyed by his second-set performance, Goodall was impressive at the start of the third, breaking early thanks to a fine service return, only to concede the advantage in the very next game. Serve then held sway through to a tie-break, in which Zemlja was given a welcome leg-up by two Goodall double faults.

After his early promise, it seemed Goodall's spirit had been broken in the tie-break and that showed at the start of the fourth set, with Zemlja taking an early 2-1 lead with a break teed up by a looping forehand winner.

Goodall did his best to force a way back in but, with Zemlja having earned the chance to win he was not going to squander it easily and served the match out.


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