Samuel taking positives from Wimbledon qualifying despite defeat

Toby Samuel is taking positives from his Wimbledon Qualifying campaign despite falling to defeat in the second round of action on Wednesday.

Bournemouth player Samuel had impressed in his opening round contest on Monday, defeating Antoine Bellier in straight sets to reach the second round.

And he was handed a tough test against Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro, an opponent who has played several grass court matches across Britain in recent weeks.

Samuel started strongly and claimed a tight opening set, but Shimabukuro improved as the contest went on and – following a short rain delay midway through the second set – closed out a 5-7 6-1 6-4 victory.

“It was a very tough match. He’s a very good player, so I knew I’d have to play really well to win, and in the end he just got over the line,” said Samuel.

“He started returning really well which put me under a lot of pressure a lot of the time. That sort of pressure built up eventually and he got the break at a crucial time.

“The courts were super fast because of the rain and the water, and it was tough to move out there. It was definitely difficult conditions on Monday but I think we both dealt with it overall.

“I’m happy with the performance, I feel I could have started better after the rain delay, which threw me off my game a little bit, but apart from that it was a good match.”

Despite defeat on Wednesday, the 20-year-old is taking plenty of positives and belief from his three days in Roehampton.

And his Wimbledon dream is not quite over yet, having been handed a men’s doubles main draw wildcard alongside Connor Thomson for next week.

He added: “I’m very happy with the experience out here and playing this tournament. I know I can play at this level, which is a good thing, I’ve played two very good matches out here which is a good thing. 

“It gives me confidence for the rest of the year to go out there and get my ranking up, so I can play here next year based on the ranking.

“Playing at the actual Wimbledon site will be a dream come true for me – it’s going to be amazing.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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