USC’s Jubb makes Wimbledon debut, falls to Sousa
By: Mike Olson
LONDON– One of three teenagers in the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Main Draw, South Carolina rising senior Paul Jubb fell to No. 69 Joao Sousa 0-6, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 1-6 on Friday. On the biggest stage in tennis, Jubb, who is ranked No. 431 in the world, shook off early nerves in his homecountry’s premier event to push his opponent to four sets with a gutsy third-set tiebreak victory.
“The few weeks before this and as well as this gave me a lot of confidence going forward,” Jubb said after the match. “I definitely feel like I belong at this level and can win at this level. It’s just tough to jump from one level to the other straight away. The more I play at this level, the more I’ll be able to manage the matches because once you give these guys an inch it’s not easy to get back in. There’s very little margin at this level. But, I definitely gained a lot of confidence in the weeks leading up to this, and there are a lot of positives to take from this as well.”
After dropping the first set to the veteran Sousa, Jubb found his confidence in the second, picking up three games in the set to set the stage for his powerful third set.
The 19-year-old Hull, England, native jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead with his first service break in the match. The two traded breaks throughout the set as Jubb would not relent. In the tiebreak, the reigning NCAA Singles Champion struck first to go up a mini-break and continued to pressure Sousa.
After yielding his first set point at 7-6, he fought off match point at 7-8. A powerful serve into the body for a winner put Jubb up 9-8 to put set point back on Sousa’s serve. The long rally went Jubb’s way as a series of forehands drove Sousa deep behind the court and delivered the 7-6 (8) victory.
Jubb is the fourth Gamecock to play in Wimbledon and the third to earn a spot in the singles main draw. He will be back at the All England Club for his doubles match on Wednesday afternoon.
After winning the NCAA Singles Championship on May 25, Jubb played in four grass court tournaments leading up to Wimbledon, during which he notched wins over four ATP top-160 opponents, including the 78th-ranked player in the world to advance to the main draw of an ATP 250 event for the first time in his career.
“My main focus [today] was trying to bring what I normally do well to the court,” Jubb said. “I don’t feel like I was able to do that, which is the disappointing part. I competed well, but I would have liked to trouble [Sousa] a bit more. After doubles, I’m, for sure, going to take a week or two off to rest the body, because it really needs resting. Playing five or six weeks in a row isn’t easy. I’ll take a little break and then get back to it.”