EVERY day at the Ilkley Trophy has a theme, but a good case can be put forward for renaming the opening day of the tournament ‘Britain Day’.

Seven British players, possibly helped by the intermittent rain and probably helped by the persistent crosswind, came through the first Sunday of qualifying.

If wild card Charles Broom’s defeat of former world No.6 Gilles Simon in the $125,000 ATP Challenger was the most eye-catching result, then Maia Lumsden’s victory over Brazilian Gabriela Ce, sixth seed in the $100,000 ITF Women’s World Tour qualifying, was the most deserved.

The 24-year-old Scot, struck down by Long Covid and out of action for a year, did not even know if her illness would allow her to continue her career.

Glaswegian Lumsden, who won 6-3, 6-1 on Centre Court, said of her symptoms: “I had a lot of fatigue and my heart rate was almost going to the maximum if I just stood up, so I was not allowed to exercise for about a year.

“I caught it in October 2020, so from the beginning of this year it has been a case of trying to build up my fitness to be able to play in tournaments, so I am really glad to be able to play on a lovely court like that.

“It was very difficult mentally, because I never knew when I was going to going to get better and I was desperate to get back to playing tennis, and it looked like I wasn’t going to for a while.

“If it continued like that for longer and didn’t improve I knew that I was not going to be able to play, so I am more grateful now.”

After all that, a bit of rain and a swirling wind was not going to stop former University of Stirling student Lumsden, who now meets 31-year-old 12th seed Urszula Radwanska (Poland), sister of former Grand Slam champion Agnieszka.

The world No.601 Lumsden added: “I have played a couple of tournaments now and I am on the comeback.

“This is the best that I have felt over the past couple of weeks so I am gradually progressing and hopefully over the summer I can be 100 per cent.

“It was tough out there. It really swirled, especially on the serve and return, so I was just trying to be solid on those shots and then not go for the lines too much.

“(It was my) first match on grass in a long time so (I was) really happy with the way I played and she was a seeded player so I’m happy to come through that.”

Broom, also 24, was on Centre Court too at Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club and, after a few initial nerves, he realised that the match was in his hands if he could just play with controlled aggression.

Simon, a former quarter-finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open, who is in his final year on tour after a 20-year career, had the touch, but nothing to really hurt world No.377 Broom with, despite a ranking advantage of 243 places.

After triumphing 6-4, 6-1, Broom, a former student at Baylor University in the United States, said: “Maybe in the beginning I was a little nervous and I struggled to get going.

“I was really happy overall when I came through the first (set) and carried that momentum through into the second.

“It wasn’t easy - pretty windy and tricky - but overall I was very happy with how everything went and I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow (Monday).”

Broom, who plays Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung, added: “There were a few times when it could have gone both ways but knuckling down and making him play a bit more really swung the match in my favour, especially the game when I led 5-4.

“I was very happy with how I served in tricky conditions, but I came up with some good serves on big points and maybe the sun was his problem and not mine.

“The win has given me a lot of confidence. I have been playing at this level for a few weeks and he was a good test to show where I am at and I showed that I could still play my game when I was under pressure.”

Ranah Akua Stoiber then made it a triple British success on Centre Court, with the 17-year-old defeating France’s Else Jacquemot, top seed in qualifying.

Stoiber, whose serve was as noticeable as Broom’s, said: “I thought it was quite a good match.

“We were both struggling with the wind and the rain, which was tricky, but I kept my head in it and I was able to hit big serves and stay solid on my returns. I felt quite comfortable, so it was quite good for me.”

Jacquemot lost focus when it was raining, pleading with the umpire to come off court rather than concentrating on the next point.

Next up for Middlesex-based Stoiber is a clash with Leeds-born Naiktha Bains, who defeated Karola Patricia Bejenaru 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

Bains, who has dual Australian and British citizenship, having emigrated with her dad Gurnake to Brisbane when she was eight, said of her match: “It was all about battling the conditions.

“I don’t think it was about how well you played out there. It was more about who dealt with the conditions best. I think that’s what I did well.

“I just accepted that it’s not gonna be pretty tennis so I just did what I could out there and (was) happy with the win.”

Teenager Luca Pow, from Solihull, could not make it four wins out of four for Britain on Centre Court, going down to the more streetwise German Danuel Masur, but there were wins elsewhere for Daniel Cox, Anton Matusevich and Anna Brogan.

Lincoln’s Cox, aged 31, went through when fourth-seeded opponent Geoffrey Blancaneaux retired having won the first set 6-3 with the second set having reached a tie-break, which earned him a clash with Antoine Bellier (Switzerland).

Matusevich, who reached the final qualifying round for Wimbledon last year, defeated 12th seed Antoine Hoang (France) 7-6, 6-2 and now meets Zizou Bergs (Belgium).

Brogan, 24, defeated fellow Briton Francesca Davis for the loss of one game and next plays seventh seed Elvina Kalieva (United States).