The top two seeds at the key Wimbledon warm-up event at Edgbaston experienced contrasting fortunes at the WTA grass-court tournament on Wednesday.
Top seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium had to battle all the way to go through to the third round in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 over Croatia’s 20-year-old former top junior Ajla Tomljanovic, who had put out defending champion Melanie Oudin of the US in the first round.
However, there was to be no such happy ending for second seed Ekaterina Makarova, who bowed out also in a three-set epic, losing 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-0 to New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic.
Hopes of a British victory were ended when their top two women Laura Robson, seeded seven, and Heather Watson, the 14th seed, both went down in straight sets to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva respectively.
Robson crumbled on her second serve on her way to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Hantuchova, while Watson lost to Kudryavtseva in little more than an hour.
Nineteen-year-old Robson won just seven of 26 points on her second serve, despite winning 92 percent of points on her first, but her early exit will give her time to train for Wimbledon with new coach Miles Maclagan.
Watson, 21, was playing her third match since recovering from glandular fever, but she produced a lackluster performance in a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to a player ranked 118 places lower than her.
Elsewhere, Francesca Schiavone of Italy progressed in a slightly easier fashion than she had in the first round — a three-set win over unheralded Georgian Anna Tatishvili — beating Ukrainian Nadiya Kichenok 7-6, (7/4) 6-2.
AP, NUREMBERG, Germany
Top-seeded Jelena Jankovic went on court twice on Wednesday at the rain-disrupted Nuremberg Open and cruised into the quarter-finals by losing only four games in three sets played.
Jankovic first completed a 6-4, 6-2 win over Arantxa Rus that was suspended by darkness on Tuesday after the first set. Later in the day, Jankovic beat Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-0.
As Jankovic cruised, the next three seeded players lost. No. 2 Klara Zakopalova lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to Polona Hercog in the first round, while Galina Voskoboeva upset No. 3 Alize Cornet 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Andrea Petkovic dispatched No. 4 Julia Goerges 6-1, 7-5 in second-round matches.
Fifth-seeded Lucie Safarova, No. 6 Lourdes Dominguez Lino and No. 7 Simona Halep all advanced to the quarter-finals of the inaugural WTA event on grass.