All-British pair reach women’s doubles quarter-finals for first time in 40 years

All-British pair reach women’s doubles quarter-finals for first time in 40 years
Naiktha Bains, left, and Maia Lumsden, right, ended Britain’s long wait by reaching the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles (Victoria Jones/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Victoria Jones

Wildcards Naiktha Bains and Maia Lumsden hailed becoming the first all-British pair to reach the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon women’s doubles in 40 years as “surreal”.

The rookie duo added Slovakians Viktoria Hruncakova and Tereza Mihalikova to their impressive list of scalps thanks to a stirring 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-3 win.

Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs were the previous British team to reach the last eight of the tournament in south-west London, doing so in 1983 before being beaten by top seeds Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver in the semi-finals.

“I guess it puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? That’s something we didn’t know,” said Leeds-born Bains. “It feels surreal to be honest.

“We wanted to back up last year’s result of a first-round win. We wanted to go one better. But we’re just taking it one match at a time and can’t complain.”

Bains and Lumsden, both 25, led by a set and a break on Court 18 but were forced to dig deep after being taken to a decider having narrowly failed to overturn a four-point deficit in the second-set tie-break.

Victory over Hruncakova and Mihalikova in two hours and 36 minutes sets up a last-eight clash with the winners of Tuesday’s meeting between third seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens and Czech duo Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova.

The British pair’s fine run at the All England Club is even more impressive given Lumsden feared her professional playing career may be ended by long Covid.

Maia Lumsden, left, feared her professional career may be overMaia Lumsden, left, feared her professional career may be over (John Walton/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - John Walton

“During it, I didn’t think I was going to get back playing sport,” the Scot said of coronavirus, which she contracted in October 2020.

“That was like a year where I couldn’t really do any exercise.

“I never really thought I would get back to playing professionally, so it’s obviously unbelievable that I have got back to it now and I’m very grateful that I can.”

Fellow Briton Neal Skupski also enjoyed progression in the doubles, alongside Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof.

The top seeds reached the third round of the men’s tournament thanks to a 7-6 (3) 6-2 success over Australians Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler.

In the the mixed doubles, there were second-round exits for Jamie Murray and his American partner Taylor Townsend and British pair Heather Watson and Joe Salisbury.

Murray and Townsend went down 6-4 3-6 6-3 to Marcelo Arevalo and Marta Kostyuk, while Watson and Salisbury were edged out 2-6 6-3 7-6 (5) by Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan.

There was better news for Britons Jonny O’Mara and Olivia Nicholls, who beat Koolhof and 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the same competition.

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