Wed, Jun 28, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Ostapenko survives battle

Reuters, EASTBOURNE, England

Jelena Ostapenko returns against Carla Suarez Navarro during their match at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, playing her first match since winning the French Open, survived a tough battle at the Aegon International on Monday, winning against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

There was a shock, though, at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park as defending champion Dominika Cibulkova suffered a second-round knockout by British player Heather Watson.

Watson, whose ranking has slumped to 126 in the world, delighted the home crowd with a 7-5, 6-4 defeat of the fourth-seeded Slovakian.

Ostapenko, who shot up to 13th in the world after her stunning triumph in Paris, played with her usual mixture of clean winners and errors to overpower her opponent, despite a second-set meltdown when her game misfired on the grass.

The 20-year-old Ostapenko, who got a first-round bye, in the third round faces either Britain’s fifth-seeded Johanna Konta or Romanian Sorana Cirstea, whose match was to finish after press time last night.

World No. 9 Cibulkova saved three match points when Watson served at 5-3 in the second set, but after breaking back she immediately dropped her own serve as her Wimbledon preparations were cut short.

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Monday was eliminated 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round by Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.

In qualifying matches involving Taiwanese on Monday for the men’s draw at Wimbledon, Jason Jung lost to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6) and Chen Ti defeated Ricardo Ojeda Lara of Spain 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-2, while in the men’s doubles Hsieh Cheng-peng and partner Max Schnur of the US beat Russians Evgeny Donskoy and Konstantin Kravchuk 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Pen Hsien-yin and partner Sander Arends of the Netherlands defeated Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand 7-6 (11/9), 6-3.

Elsewhere, Serena Williams asked John McEnroe for “respect” after the seven-time Grand Slam champion said his fellow American would be ranked “like, 700 in the world” if she had to play on the men’s circuit.

In an interview with National Public Radio on Sunday, McEnroe said 23-times Grand Slam champion Williams was “the best female player ever,” but declined to label her the best overall.

“If she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player. I do and on a given day, Serena could beat some [male] players ... but if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.”

Former world No. 1 Williams, who has taken time off to have a baby, responded on Twitter.

“Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based,” she wrote. “I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’ nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”

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