Watson Wins Opener, Jovanovski Ousted
Published June 06, 2011 12:28
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom - Heather Watson passed her first test as a Top 100 player with flying colors on Monday, coolly dispatching No.15 seed Chanelle Scheepers in the first round at the AEGON Classic. Bojana Jovanovski and Kimiko Date-Krumm, the No.10 and No.12 seeds, joined Scheepers in the $220,000 grass court event's exit queue shortly after.
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Watson, 19 years old and No.93 in the rankings this week, got local hearts racing when she went down an early break. But as the contest wore on it was the British teenager who played the clutch moments better, saving six of nine break points against the experienced South African to register a 63 75 win.
"Recently I've been making slower starts… I used to be such a fast starter," Watson admitted after the match. "I need to improve on that, because tougher players won't let you back into the match."
Not only are posters featuring Watson with former champions Maria Sharapova and Li Na displayed around the Edgbaston Priory Club where the tournament is being staged, but her larger-than-life image is also plastered on billboards around Britain's second most populous city. "It's an honor to be pictured next to them," she smiled.
On the subject of her newfound status in the rankings and on the marquee, she added: "My dad saw the rankings on the WTA website last night and he called me - I was so excited. My goal was to be Top 99 by the end of the year, so now I have to set new goals. First I want to make sure I'm safely in the Top 100." The next step in that journey is a second round match against either Misaki Doi or Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Elsewhere, seeds moving through to the second round included No.13 Rebecca Marino; the Canadian No.1 powered to victory against British wildcard Melanie South, 64 61. Magdalena Rybarikova, the champion here in 2009 and the No.14 seed this year, beat Emily Webley-Smith, another local wildcard, 64 63.
But 55th-ranked Jovanovski was outgunned by qualifier Sarah Gronert, who is ranked No.297 this week. The 24-year-old German prevailed, 61 57 64. For her part, Date-Krumm was edged in two tight sets by Sabine Lisicki, 64 76(3).
"Kimiko is a tricky opponent, especially on grass," said Lisicki, who is back at No.100 this week, having recovered some 120 ranking places in the last two months."I'm so pleased to be back on the grass," the 2009 Wimbledon quarterfinalist added. "I have happy memories of this surface!"
Sixteenth-seeded Alla Kudryavtseva beat Alizé Cornet (FRA) 76(2) 61. Other straight sets winners included Sorana Cirstea, who beat Chang Kai-Chen; Anna Tatishvili, who defeated British wildcard Samantha Murray; and Mirjana Lucic, who held off qualifier Alexandra Stevenson in a second set tie-break.
Virginie Razzano was beaten by qualifier Arina Rodionova, 64 64, while Olga Govortosova outlasted Romina Oprandi in three. Alison Riske, who pushed Maria Sharapova to three sets in the semis here last year, was also taken the distance today by Urszula Radwanska, 46 62 63.