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British wildcard Hilton shocks Costa

June 24, 2004 20:15 IST

British wildcard Mark HiltonĀ recorded the biggest win of his career, thrashing 2002 French Open champion Albert Costa of Spain 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in theĀ first round at Wimbledon.

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The world number 479 led 5-1 in the first set on Tuesday when rain halted the match and on the resumption he tore apart the Spanish clay specialist, now ranked 55.

Hilton wrapped up his first win in the main draw at Wimbledon when Costa netted a backhand volley on court three and the 23-year-old from Chester raised his arms in triumph to accept wild applause from the home crowd.

"It's nice to come out on the big stage and perform the way I wanted to," said the diminutive Briton, who picks up at least 14,760 pounds for his victory.

He admitted he almost gave up tennis at the start of the year and probably did not deserve to be given his wildcard entry.

"I wasn't too sure what I was doing," said Hilton, who stands only 1.70 metres tall. "I was quite low and I couldn't see a way of getting where I wanted to.

"I was thinking about going back to doing some sort of education. I've played tennis since I was 16.

"There are times when you are not sure if you want to continue. I've had a lot of help from my coaches and parents. They have probably had more faith in me than I did in myself.

"But I persevered but the last couple of month I have seen genuine results."

Despite his formidable claycourt record, Costa, who turns 29 on Friday, has never been beyond the Wimbledon second round and was making his first appearance at the All England Club since 1999.

Both Hilton's previous Wimbledon first round appearances had ended in defeat. He faces Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in the second round.

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