Nicholls and Barnett suffer samba-inflicted Wimbledon defeat

Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett suffered a battling Wimbledon defeat against samba stars Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Lidziya Marozava.

Norwich player Nicholls, 28, joined forces with women’s doubles partner Barnett but was unable to emulate last year’s run to the second round at the All England Club on Friday afternoon.

The all-British duo went down in straight sets to Brazilian pair Gamarra Martins and Marozava in the second match on Court 6 on a scorching day in SW19.

Nicholls and Barnett – the nation’s top two ranked women’s doubles stars – rallied after a tough first set but succumbed to a 6-0 6-3 defeat against their South American opponents.

The world No.71 and 72 were unable to win a game in the opening set as they were broken on three occasions and left themselves with a mountain to climb.

Nicholls and Barnett, 29, mustered just nine points compared to the Brazilian duo’s 24 as a trio of below-par service games dashed their early hopes.

But Nicholls, now competing in her fourth consecutive Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon appearance, rallied alongside Barnett in the second set, holding serve in their first service game to finally get on the board.

And they then brilliantly broke the Brazilians in the third game to seize the lead and give themselves a chance of levelling at one set apiece.

But Gamarra Martins and Marozava broke straight back in response before then holding their serve and breaking once again to put themselves on the brink of victory.

The British pair held to make it 5-3 and force their opponents to serve for the match but they were unable to force a turnaround as the South Americans advanced to the last 32.

Nicholls, who along with Barnett, is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme, reached the second round at the All England Club last year before then falling at the first hurdle at the US and French Opens during the hard and clay court seasons.

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

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