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Purcell falls short in Wimbledon thriller

3 minute read

Australian qualifier Max Purcell has fought through the pain barrier only to come up short in a five-set thriller on his Wimbledon main-draw debut.

MAX PURCELL. Picture: Al Bello/Getty Images

Beaten but not broken, Max Purcell was unable to disguise his disappointment after letting slip a golden opportunity to reach the Wimbledon second round on debut.

The brave qualifier from Sydney battled back from the brink to stretch crafty Frenchman Adrian Mannarino to five epic sets over three hours and 53 minutes on Monday despite playing without a toenail on his right foot.

He also had most other toes bandaged, the scars of battle from three gruelling qualifying matches.

Purcell, though, refused to blame his war wounds for the gut-wrenching defeat.

Instead, he preferred to draw the positives after fighting back from two sets down against an accomplished grass-courter who has thrice made Wimbledon's last 16 and beaten world No.1 Daniil Medvedev at the All England Club.

"I can play with the big boys," Purcell said of the learning experience.

"I definitely feel I should have walked off that court the winner, but s*** happens I guess."

A finalist in the Australian Open doubles in January, the 24-year-old was frustrated at only being able to convert three of 25 break-point chances and none of five set points in the opener.

"It's bloody tough. He's a good grass-courter," Purcell said.

"Just inexperience, and I'll just try to work on playing more matches, and focusing a little bit more on singles when I can to make sure that I do finish those matches off."

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