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Wozniacki strides through as she aims to banish her trophy drought


Big grin: Caroline Wozniacki is all smiles after her victory
Big grin: Caroline Wozniacki is all smiles after her victory

By Declan Warrington

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki moved into the second round at Eastbourne with a straight-sets win over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

The Dane, who is chasing a first title since October, won 6-3 6-4 to set up a match with Germany's Andrea Petkovic.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova became the first woman to reach the third round with a 6-3 6-3 success over Margarita Gasparyan, while Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova eased past China's Zheng Saisai 6-2 6-3 in her opening match.

Jelena Ostapenko's upturn in form continued with a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

The former French Open champion's season has been plagued with errors, particularly on serve, but she reached the quarter-finals in Birmingham last week to hint at a possible run at Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, World No.1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty has withdrawn from the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne with a right arm injury.

Julia Goerges has also withdrawn, through illness, as has Anastasia Sevastova due to an injured right thigh.

"Eastbourne is a very special place for me," said Australia's Barty (23). "I played my first singles tournament back here in 2016.

"I'm sorry not to play here this week; hopefully I can be back to compete next year."

Elsewhere, Liam Broady was the only British winner on day one of Wimbledon qualifying, with last year's boys' runner-up Jack Draper among the home players knocked out.

Broady beat Slovakia's Andrej Martin 6-3 6-1 and the 25-year-old from Stockport will take on Holland's Tallon Griekspoor in the second round.

Draper was one of three Britons to lose on court 10 at the Bank of England Sports Centre, the 17-year-old losing 6-4 7-6 to Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Evan Hoyt had earlier lost two tie-breaks to Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva after converting just one of his nine break points, while Mark Whitehouse was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Germany's Daniel Brands.

• FORMER World No.1 and Romanian stalwart Simona Halep says she loves the Fed Cup and would boycott it if the 'home and away' format changes.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will make a "major announcement" about the women's competition later this week with the likelihood that it could follow the revamped Davis Cup and become a multi-nation event hosted in one city.

If that happens it would rob Halep the chance of playing in front of her vociferous home support.

"I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that," said Halep. "If the Fed Cup changes, I won't play any more."

Belfast Telegraph


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