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Emotions were high for Ryan Peniston after a stunning win over Casper Ruud that barely felt believable at the LTA's cinch Championships.
Essex ace Peniston - who benefits from the LTA’s NTC Access programme that supports players ranked 100-200 in singles and 31-100 in doubles – was given a tough draw against the French Open runner-up but pulled off the biggest win of his career so far.
The world No.180 claimed the big points at the tail end of both the first and second sets to pull off a 7-6 (4) 7-6 (2) victory to reach the second round and pick up a first ATP Tour win.
“I can’t really believe it,” he said. “It feels like a dream.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night thinking about this match and it doesn’t feel real.
“I think I have been playing well recently, but Casper is an unreal player he did so well in the French Open.
“So I knew it was a tough ask. But you have to step on the court thinking you have a chance to win every time. I did that today and that is all you can do.”
The win on Centre Court at The Queen’s Club was a landmark win for Peniston, with world No.5 Ruud having no answer to the Brits’ measured, yet ruthless, groundstrokes.
Peniston’s journey to the tour is perhaps even more remarkable than his win today, having survived rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, as a child.
This particular journey made today’s ground-breaking success, at a home tournament against a top five player, an emotional one.
“I don’t remember much (about his illness),” said Peniston. “But it was a pretty tough time and a difficult start to life.
“The amazing doctors and nurses helped me through it, so I’m always hugely thankful to them and standing here today feels pretty good.
“I’ll have to ask my parents later what they were thinking at the end.
“But I hope I made them proud and I’m sure it was a little emotional for them, it certainly was for me.
“I feel immensely proud.”
Peniston looked more than a match for his illustrious opponent right from the first game and made a mockery of the 175 places separating them in the rankings.
The momentous win completed the perfect day for Peniston, who will now play in the main draw of the men’s singles at Wimbledon after he was confirmed as a wildcard entrant whilst still out on court.
“I was told going in (to Queen’s) that I had a really good chance of a wildcard, but it wasn’t 100%,” he added.
“It feels amazing. I have a little list of goals and playing the main draw at Wimbledon has always been at the top.”
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