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Daria Saville receives a royal visitor as rain halts Wimbledon

Australian tennis warrior Daria Saville has found herself, unexpectedly, under the beady eye of a royal visitor at courtside at Wimbledon.

The Princess of Wales turned up at Court 18 on Tuesday morning to watch Saville against Katie Boulter, Britain’s No.1 and the stand-in golden girl of British tennis while Emma Raducanu is recuperating from injury.

But the princess, who is patron of the All England Tennis Club, quickly had her viewing curtailed, along with a packed crowd, as the rain interrupted proceedings near the end of a tight-fought first set and she had to take cover under a Wimbledon umbrella.

The match was still on serve in the opening stanza, with Saville leading 6-5 when the rain set in and the prospect of a long wait for the players on the cards with the forecast for the rest of the day far from promising.

The princess was showing her backing for British players, and has previously demonstrated her support for 26-year-old Boulter, who is the girlfriend of Australia’s No.1 men’s player, Alex de Minaur.

Yet she would also have appreciated the tale of ‘Dasha’ Saville, the 29-year-old Melbourne player who was playing just her third match since returning from a torn knee ACL.

The joke before the match had been all about the potential for divided loyalties with de Minaur being the boyfriend of one of the players while also being one of the best mates of Saville’s husband, fellow Aussie player Luke Saville.

“May the best woman win,” de Minaur had laughed.

Approaching the end of a very closely-fought opening set, it was still far from clear who that was going to be, with Saville not looking too rusty after her two recent comeback matches at Edgbaston.

On court nine, where both Jordan Thompson and Aleksandar Vukic had kickstarted the Australian challenge with victories on Monday’s opening day, a third Sydneysider Chris O’Connell was continuing the good work.

He took the first set 7-5 and earned a break for 1-0 in the second before the rain came.

-AAP

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