Just call it the Marcus Willis effect. Tara Moore, a Briton ranked 227, won her first match at a grand slam event on Tuesday, a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck sending her into the second round here at the third time of asking. The 23-year-old repaid the faith shown by tournament organisers in giving her a wild card, with a fine performance to make it four Britons into round two.
The British No1, Johanna Konta, can make it five on Wednesday when she resumes against Mónica Puig of Puerto Rico, having led 6-1, 2-1 when the rain intervened, and Heather Watson is also in action but on Tuesday belonged to Moore as she set up a meeting with the two‑time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
Born in Hong Kong and with a British father and Chinese mother, Moore is a product of the Nick Bollettieri academy. Having moved to Britain “aged 16 or 17”, she has always had talent and she outclassed an opponent ranked exactly 100 places above her.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “Who would have thought before the grass season that I’d be where I am right now? I’m really grateful to the All England Club for giving me this opportunity. I think I’ve definitely worked really hard and I’ve definitely put in a lot of graft and I think it’s paying off finally. I’m just really happy.”
A confident character, Moore has never been afraid to speak her mind. Last year, after watching Serena Williams battle to reach the final of the French Open, she said on Twitter: “Not only is Serena one of the best women players of all time, she’s also one of the best actresses. #suckitup #learnhowtolose #pathetic.”
It is the kind of thing one can get away with really only when one is winning but Moore, who, like Willis, is guaranteed at least £50,000 for her efforts, believes she is good enough to play at this level. “The last few times I was here I had a couple of tough losses but I definitely played really well. I know my level was there. This is my third time here. I definitely feel like I’m supposed to be here and this is my time.”
Katie Swan’s first senior grand slam match ended in a 6-2, 6-3 defeat by Timea Babos of Hungary. “I think it’s really good for me to have experienced that because I wasn’t playing my best level but I was still competing with her and I had chances to do better than I did,” Swan, who is 17, said. “I think that’s the positives to take. She’s top 50 and I can compete with her. That’s definitely a good confidence boost for me going forward.”
The British men’s No2, Aljaz Bedene, was also ousted, beaten 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 by the seventh seed Richard Gasquet of France. Bedene took only one of his seven break‑point opportunities but said he believed he was at last learning to play well on the surface.
“It’s frustrating getting all these tough matches first or second rounds but the good thing is I feel confident playing on grass,” Bedene, the world No56, said.
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