Competing under the Slovenian flag for now, would-be Briton Aljaz Bedene advanced to the second round of Wimbledon qualifying with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ireland’s James McGee on Monday.
Bedene, who has applied for a British passport after living in the UK for six years, showed no sign of the wrist injury that has plagued him in recent months serving consistently throughout the one hour 21-minute encounter despite being foot faulted on a couple of occasions.
Prior to Monday's meeting, the men had only ever practised together and at the beginning, the contest looked to be an evenly-matched affair.
Competing under a gloomy sky and in blustery conditions it wasn’t until the ninth game that Bedene, who has been ranked as high as 71 in the world, edged ahead largely due to attacking baseline and net play.
A couple of loose errors from the Irishman handed Bedene the break and subsequently the set, which the 24-year-old collected on his third opportunity.
Drama unfolded in the seventh game of the following set when world No.224 McGee failed to convert an easy drop shot and lost his serve for the second time of the match.
The 27-year-old Dubliner repeatedly hammered his racket into the court, busting the frame, and was promptly awarded a code violation for racket abuse by the umpire.
From that moment on he never recovered.
“I think I played really good, especially on my serve,” Bedene told Wimbledon.com after the match. “He didn’t return as well as I suspected, I had more chances than just breaking two games, but winning 4 and 4 is great.”
Bedene, currently ranked 138 in the world, admitted his wrist was still not 100 per cent but added it was “getting better”.
Looking ahead to his second-round match Bedene said he was excited to be playing the qualifying event for Wimbledon.
“It’s basically 45 minutes from my home,” he added. “I love [it] here and I love the spectators. I feel like I’m playing at home, basically it is my home.”
Bedene made headlines recently after British player Dan Evans tweeted his concern that the Slovenian could qualify to play for Great Britain next year if his passport application is approved.
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