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Alastair Gray beaten by 11th seed Taylor Fritz in Wimbledon second round

The Twickenham ace battled well against the world number 14.

Wimbledon 2022 – Day Two – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Wimbledon 2022 – Day Two – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

British wild card Alastair Gray bowed out of Wimbledon with a straight-sets defeat to American hot shot Taylor Fritz.

The Twickenham ace, who beat world number 95 Tseng Chun-hsin in the first round, faced a huge step up in class against 11th seed Fritz.

He pushed Fritz hard, especially in the second set, but ultimately slipped to a 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-3 defeat.

Nevertheless, the 24-year-old will pick up a £78,000 pay cheque for his efforts on his debut at SW19.

Gray created a break point in the opening game against the Eastbourne champion, but he was unable to convert it and promptly dropped his serve to love in the next.

Gray, who somehow hit a drop shot winner despite slipping on the baseline, forced another two break points as Fritz served for the set, but the world number 14 saved both before moving 1-0 ahead.

The British number nine did take one of his opportunities and served for the second set but Fritz, also 24, struck back and took the tie-break.

On set point Gray thought he had hit a winner and turned away, clenching his fist, only to turn back to find Fritz had hit an improbable diving winner.

Fritz later admitted the shot was the best he had ever hit.

“(It was the) first thing I looked at when I got off the court,” he said. “Yeah, that was insane. I mean, it was a huge point, obviously.

“I hit the backhand line, saw him reaching, obviously he hit a good volley crosscourt. I don’t know.

“I heard the crowd cheering like the point was over, but I was, like, I think if I fully lay out for this one – I’m pretty long – maybe I can get a racket on it.

Wimbledon 2022 – Day Four – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Taylor Fritz commiserates with Alastair Gray (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“So, yeah, just dived and it hit my strings right in the middle. It felt really good, and I was just hoping I didn’t hit it long, actually.

“That’s got to be number one because especially just the moment, as well. It’s a huge set point. A really, really big point to do it on, just to go full dive and hit the winner.

“I didn’t realise he was already, like, fist pumping. I saw it on the replay. I thought that was funny.”

With friend and doubles partner Ryan Peniston – another second-round casualty on Wednesday – watching from the stands, Gray broke again at the start of the third.

But Fritz was unfazed and hit straight back, winning five games in a row to ultimately send the new home favourite packing.

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