British wild card Jade Windley employs a particular routine the morning before a big match. First there’s the hit, then there’s the music – Charlie Brown ‘On My Way’ – to be precise.
The lyrics, she finds, are motivational and serve to prepare her mentally for an important game. This certainly proved to be the case this afternoon when the world No.389 ejected Croat Tereza Mrdeza - an opponent who sits 226 spots above her in the world rankings - 6-4, 6-4.
After the match Windley declared she was nervous on court, but there were certainly no signs in her play. The 23-year-old, whose preparation has largely involved simply practising on the grass with her coach Guy Galpin, executed a solid baseline game peppered with regular forays to the net on the points that mattered.
Mrdeza’s double faulting also helped the wild card’s cause – serving at 4-5 to stay in the opening set the Croat delivered two. The Briton simply bided her time, pinning Mrdeza to the baseline with relentless deep groundstrokes before seizing the opportunity to carve out her first set point, which she sealed with a beautiful forehand volley into an open backhand court.
Windley’s next attempt proved less fruitful when she dumped a backhand volley into the net, but two points later Mrdeza hit the ball wide delivering her opponent the set. The pattern continued in the second with Windley maintaining the momentum on the crucial points. When Mrdeza blasted a forehand out of court on matchpoint, Windley became the first British woman to reach the second round of the 2013 Wimbledon Qualifying event.
"I thought overall I played really solid, I came in nicely and used the net well, I just kept my nerve,” Windley told www.wimbledon.com
“I think my backhand cross was particularly good today and set me up especially on the counter punch as well when she was attacking so overall I think I executed my game plan really well.
She added:“I got the feeling she was quite nervous which put me at ease because I definitely was. I think she’s a good player, she’s a lot higher ranked than me, it’s brilliant and I’m ready for the next match now.”
Compatriot Naomi Broady also flew the flag for Britain with an impressive straight sets victory over Canada’s Stephanie Dubois. Despite struggling with her first serve, the 6ft 2in sister of 2010 junior Wimbledon Doubles champion Liam, secured a 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over her 138 world ranked opponent in an hour an 36 minutes.
Broady, who had the likes of former British player Jeremy Bates watching her performance, admitted she was broken back in the early in the second set because her first serve percentage wasn’t high enough.
“On the grass that’s really important,” she said. “It’s really positive I can still get through the match when my first serve is my biggest weapon. I stepped it up in the tie break, I felt quite confident going into it. I finally managed to get some first serves going in and generally, off the ground, I was being more aggressive than she was today.”
On the neighbouring court tenth seeded Vania King appeared on the cusp of an easy first round victory where she led British wildcard Lisa Whybourn 6-1, 5-2.
But the momentum shifted entirely when the Bath-based player discovered a fighting spirit that helped her generate sparkling forehand and backhand winners time and time again. King could only look on in disbelief as Whybourn won three games on the trot, eventually forcing a tie-break. But her undoing came in the form of two double faults; a missed a forehand on match point was the final straw.
Speaking about her 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory, King said: “I played exactly how I wanted to play in the first, I was trying to put pressure on her and it was working.
"In the second I think she started to play better and I started to play a little bit short, a little bit higher and especially on the surface it wasn’t working… The momentum was shifting back and forth, I’m just really lucky that I won the second to be honest.”
Other British contenders fared less well. Melanie South was given her marching orders by Shahar Peer who secured a 6-2, 6-0 victory in 54 minutes. Anna Smith fell at the hands of her Slovakian namesake Anna Schmiedlova 2-6, 4-6, while Emily Webley-Smith lost 3-6, 3-6 to No.23 seed Tadeja Majeric. Amanda Carreras’s hopes of a second round were also dashed by Teliana Pereira who secured a 6-2, 7-5 victory.