Norfolk players help lift spirits

Norfolk players Richard Bloomfield and James Auckland helped lift the mood of British tennis on a day when home hopes were shattered across the All England Club.

Norfolk players Richard Bloomfield and James Auckland helped lift the mood of British tennis on a day when home hopes were shattered across the All England Club.

Tim Henman and Katie O'Brien both lost their singles matches yesterday to confirm Britain's worst SW19 performance in 17 years.

But Bloomfield and Auckland both eased into Wimbledon's second round with comprehensive wins in the men's doubles last night.

Along with partner Jonny Marray, Bloomfield left Thailand's Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana reeling with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

Auckland and Australian partner Stephen Huss - who won the doubles title at the All England Club two years ago with Wes Moodie -- then beat qualifiers Ilia Bozoljac and Dick Norman 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5.

Bloomfield's victory certainly helped lift his mood, following his straight sets defeat to former champion Lleyton Hewitt in the singles.

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“I think both of us were far more relaxed than in our singles matches and that showed in the way we played,” he said.

“No disrespect to the guys we beat but we knew we had a shot. They are an experienced doubles pairing but we feel our styles work well together.

“We hadn't actually played that well in the lead up to Wimbledon but we showed what we are capable of when we play to our strengths.”

Bloomfield has never been beyond the first round in the men's doubles in three previous attempts but knows he faces a tougher task in the second round.

He will face either Polish 16th seeds Mariusz Frstenberg and Lukasz Kubot or fellow Brits Jamie Baker and Alex Bogdanovic.

“Anything can happen in the next round. Whoever we play, we feel confident and believe that we can go through again,” added Bloomfield.

“But whatever happens I'll leave this year's tournament with some good memories. I will never forget my experience on Court One, against a Wimbledon champion. I was disappointed at the time that I didn't take a set but I gave a good account of myself and have got to be satisfied.”

Auckland was happy to have got through his match in the fast-fading light.

“I'm just glad we managed to get it wrapped up because it was getting pretty dark and the momentum was with us,” said the Norfolk player, who reached the third round at SW19 12 months ago. “The things we've been working hard on paid off. We've had the ideal preparation and we've got our game right for Wimbledon.”

However, the duo will have to lift their game in the second round.

They take on fifth seeds and experienced doubles players Leander Paes and Martin Damm, following their straight sets win yesterday.