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A dream fulfilled for Aisam Qureshi in the mixed doubles

Aisam Qureshi and Aisam Qureshi during their mixed doubles match
by Helen Gilbert
Friday 4 July 2014

After 10 years of longing, Aisam Qureshi finally got his wish – to play on No.1 Court, where with partner Vera Dushevina he booked a place in the mixed doubles semi-final.

A few years ago Qureshi was devastated at being denied the opportunity of playing on No.1 court because of bad weather. The 34-year-old, from Lahore, Pakistan had always dreamed of playing on the hallowed turf having grown up watching his idols Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker on television.  

“For me growing up in Pakistan we only used to see the Wimbledon semi-finals and finals on television because there was no cable TV,” he told wimbledon.com “In my city we have 80 percent grass courts, so I grew up playing on grass and Wimbledon was my dream come true... a few years back I was supposed to play on No.1 Court and then it rained and they changed the court. I was pretty bumped about it.”

On Friday the doubles specialist, making his 10th Wimbledon appearance, achieved his ambition when he strolled out on No.1 Court as the No.16 seed with Russian partner Dushevina for the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles against British duo Neal Skupsi and Naomi Broady.

The team raced to a 3-0 lead against the home-grown pair who appeared slightly nervous on the grand stage. Despite strong crowd support, Skupsi and Broady struggled with their first serves. In contrast Dushevina, who won the girls’ singles title here against Maria Sharapova in 2002, and reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles last year, found form from the off.

“I think Skupski wasn’t ready for her to make all the returns on his serve and in the beginning I don’t think he made a first serve,” Qureshi said. “The same with Broady, those are nerves. Vera really stepped up to the occasion and I think it definitely made the difference today.”

The Russian/Pakistani team cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 victory when Broady blasted a volley out.

The pair, who defeated No.2 seeds Bob Bryan and Kveta Peschke in straight sets in the third round, now face No.15 seeds Nenad Zimonjic and Samantha Stosur in the semi-finals.

Qureshi added: “Zimonjic and Stosur are both Grand Slam winners. It’s not going to be easy, I need to be sharp, Vera played unbelievable today. I think if she keeps playing like that we’ll have a very good chance tomorrow but I need to step my game up a little bit.”

In the other quarter-final No.10 seeds Jamie Murray and Casey Dellacqua fell to No.14 seeds max Mirnyi and Hao-Ching Chan 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. The Scot admitted the match, played on Court 12, felt different to the previous day’s contest, which was scheduled on Centre Court.

“When we started today's match it was pretty empty so it was a bit weird,” Murray said.

It was a close match. We did well to come back because it was a bit flat at the start. I did not play a very good service game at the start of the third set and then we were unlucky not to break serve because we lost four or five points that we could have won. The girls had some good reflex shots. We weren't able to get it back.”

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