British No 23 Marcus Willis will take on Roger Federer at Wimbledon
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 28/06/16 10:02pm
Britain's Marcus Willis caused another seismic shock at Wimbledon as he toppled Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis, ranked 718 places above him, to set up a second-round clash against Roger Federer.
In his first ever appearance in the first round of a Grand Slam, the world No 772 and the British No 23, recorded an astonishing straight-sets victory on a packed Court 17 against 54th-ranked Berankis.
The 25-year-old Slough-born player has been spending his time coaching and has only played one professional tournament this year.
He had to come through three matches at last week's pre-qualifying event, where he was the lowest-rated entrant, just to earn his spot at Roehampton and won his sixth qualifying match on Friday to reach the first round proper.
The beefy left-hander's fairytale continued at the All England Club on opening Monday as he swept past a shell-shocked Berankis 6-3 6-3 6-4 and is now guaranteed to pocket a guaranteed £50,000 in prize money.
"I was a bit of a loser. I was overweight. I was seeing off pints. I just looked myself in the mirror, I said, You're better than this," said Willis as he reflected back on his past struggles.
"When I was a junior, I was talented. I was bigged up a lot. Then I got dropped in the real world. Made some bad decisions. Went out too much. Lifestyle wasn't good. Yeah, didn't have the drive."
He will take on seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer in a David vs Goliath match-up on Wednesday which will most likely take place on Centre Court.
The Swiss star well short of his best as he advanced to the second round with an uninspired 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella.
Willis warmed up to the strains of "Willbomb's on fire, Berankis is terrified" as his supporters adopted the infectious song about Northern Ireland footballer Will Grigg.
Berankis went into the match as a big favourite but Willis' unorthodox game and disciplined focus had the same effect it did in qualifying as he set the tone with a break in the opening game of the match. Urged on by a partisan home crowd he closed out the set by breaking his opponent to love and then raising his arms aloft in celebration.
And he continued his stunning form with touches of low slices off both forehand and backhand and deft volleys to break in the fourth game of the next set drove Berankis to distraction before serving it out.
Willis has been coaching at Warwick Boat Club after almost quitting the sport and lives with his parents in Wokingham broke for a 4-2 lead in the third set and showed guts and guile with few signs of nerves to close out the contest.
Asked about tackling the legendary Swiss star on Wednesday, Willis replied: "I don't think I have ever spoken to him. I don't think he was at the Tunisia Futures event this year."
Federer's 303rd Grand Slam singles victory moved him within three of Martina Navratilova's record and gave him 302 more wins than Willis has managed.
"I was very intrigued about his story. It's exactly what this sport needs when guys come from nowhere," Federer said.
"I'm really excited to play against him. It's a huge moment for him, his story is unbelievable. He was playing club tennis I heard."
Willis' friend Dan Evans joined him in the next round after winning through against Jan-Lennard Struff from Germany 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.
Birmingham-born Evans will next meet Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov for a spot in the third round.
Willis v Berankis: Match Stats
|Break points won||5/9||1/20|
|Total points won||124||99|
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