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British number seven Ryan Peniston continued his memorable week with an impressive victory over Francisco Cerundolo in three sets to progress into the quarter-finals of the cinch Championships.
The 26-year-old had stunned world number five Casper Ruud on Tuesday, having also found out on the same day that he had received a wildcard in the main draw at Wimbledon, and made the most of this latest appearance on Centre Court at Queen’s Club with a 6-0 4-6 6-4 win in two hours.
Peniston dished out a first-set bagel in 20 minutes over his Argentinian opponent, but Cerundolo fought back to show his class and looked favourite to win the second-round tie when he broke at the start of the decider.
World number 180 Peniston had other ideas and won the last three games, clinching a great triumph with a winner down the line to continue British involvement in the west London tournament.
Jack Draper’s defeat on Wednesday – coupled with Andy Murray’s withdrawal due to injury and the early exits of Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans – left the left-hander from Southend as the final home hope at Queen’s,
There were no nerves on show from Peniston early on and a quick hold on his opening service game was followed by a rapid double break of Cerundolo.
Cerundolo seemed overawed by the occasion, with his radar lacking direction, and a double fault provided a first set point for the Briton, who saw the Buenos Aires player hit another unforced error to conclude the opener in quick time.
After losing seven consecutive games, the world number 46 finally got off the mark just inside half an hour and suddenly found momentum.
Now it was Peniston struggling to hold and failing to land his shots, with Cerundolo able to level up the scores with the temperature just shy of 30 degrees in the capital.
The Argentinian secured a crucial break in the opening game of the third set with a winner rushing into the net, and the odds of another victory over a top-50 player looked slim for Peniston.
Yet with the crowd willing him on, he dug deep to break in the eighth service game and, after a hard-fought hold, suddenly match point presented itself.
In fitting fashion with his rapidly developing reputation, Peniston claimed a sixth victory on grass this summer with a sumptuous winner down the line before he roared in delight.
“I don’t think I want to wake up from this any time soon,” the Essex player said on-court.
After qualifying for a third consecutive quarter-final, following fine runs at Surbiton and Nottingham earlier this month, Peniston will attempt to go one better on Friday and carry on this dream week.