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Konta thrilled at British success – but Murray wants more

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Konta through after three-set epic

Johanna Konta says the British success at this year’s Wimbledon is “great to be part of” and these are exciting times for home fans at the tournament.

Konta, Andy Murray, Heather Watson and Aljaz Bedene all won on Wednesday as four British players reached round three for the first time in 20 years.

Kyle Edmund can join them if he beats Gael Monfils on Thursday.

“It is happening because we have got some great players,” Konta said. “I think that is a good enough reason.”

Konta beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 10-8 in a thrilling match on Centre Court after Watson’s 6-0 6-4 win over Latvian 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

It is the first time since Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs reached the same stage in 1986 that there have been two British women in round three.

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Watson breezes through second-round match

In the men’s draw, defending champion Murray beat Dustin Brown in straight sets and Bedene reached the third round at SW19 for the first time by overcoming Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“It is a great movement to be part of personally for me,” Konta added. “It is also something that I am sure is very exciting to the spectators that are coming to the Championships this year.

“I absolutely love playing in front of Brit crowds. Not many players get a home Slam, so I feel very fortunate about that.”

Murray wants more

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Murray beats Brown in entertaining clash

It is also 20 years since Britain last had five players in the third round at Wimbledon, when Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Mark Petchey, Andrew Richardson and Karen Cross reached that stage.

Murray says the home results are “a positive thing” but feels British players should be aiming to go even deeper in Grand Slams.

“It is obviously good to have more players playing in the Slams and winning matches but hopefully we can keep going,” the Scot said.

“I wouldn’t say that this is the target – to get five players into the third round. We obviously want to try to do better than that.

“I don’t know what the level is, but aim as high as you can. Why not try to get five or six players into the quarter-finals of Slams?

“It’s better to set the goal as high as possible and fall a little bit short than go ‘yeah, we’re delighted with five or six players in the second or third round of a Slam’.

“I’d rather set the goal at reaching second weeks and quarter-finals and contending for Slams.”

How will the Brits get on next?

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‘That’s a glorious shot’ – five amazing shots from Bedene vs. Dzumhur

Murray plays Italy’s clay-court specialist Fabio Fognini next, while Bedene is up against Luxembourg’s veteran Gilles Muller.

“I think the surface is the defining factor for Murray,” said four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman.

“His head-to-head record is 3-3 with Fabio, but they have never played on a grass court.

“With Murray’s pedigree on this surface and the support of this crowd, I think he should be OK coming through that one.”

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Murray ‘very happy’ with early progress

Konta meets Greece’s Maria Sakkari in round three, while Watson plays Victoria Azarenka, who is in her first Grand Slam since taking a year off to have a baby.

Watson came within two points of beating Wimbledon legend Serena Williams on Centre Court in 2015, and is likely to return to that stage to play the Belarusian on Friday.

Has Watson got a chance of making round four this time?

“It really depends on how Azarenka is hitting the ball,” said former British number one Sam Smith.

“She has got world-class ground-strokes, and she has been number one in the world. If Azarenka gets into a big rhythm, then her shots could be too heavy for Heather.

“But Heather is playing really well and Azarenka has only been back for a couple of tournaments so this is a good time to play her.

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Watson pushes Williams to the limit

“With Jo, she has just taken to the big stage incredibly well when you think most of her career has been playing on the outside courts.

“I thought her composure on Centre Court was exceptional. Her mental toughness too – that impresses me more. Her all-round game was very good but her serving under pressure was exceptional.

“I don’t think she is going to be any more confident after winning it because she is super confident anyway and she is going to be very tough to beat at this year’s championships.”

No British woman has won Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977, nor matched Durie’s run to the last eight in 1984.

A repeat of Wade’s win is still a long way off but there are plenty of reasons for British tennis fans to smile right now.

Just when you thought Wednesday couldn’t get any better for them, last year’s hero Marcus Willis won a five-set thriller in the men’s doubles with Jay Clarke.

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