Easy day for Li Na; Tomic gets boost

BAD DAD::Bernard Tomic was watched in the stands by his controversial father, who was only allowed to do so after paying for his own ticket and undertaking to behave himself

AFP, EASTBOURNE, England

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 19

Li Na reached the quarter-finals of the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International on Wednesday without hitting a ball while troubled Australian Bernard Tomic reached the third round in the men’s tournament.

Li, the second seed, got the news from her coach that French opponent Marion Bartoli, the 2011 Eastbourne winner and Wimbledon finalist in 2007, would not be playing their second-round match because of a viral infection.

The Chinese No. 1 went back to the practice court instead and admitted she would have preferred a tough match than a walkover.

“This is not the best way to win a match. So I was feeling so sorry for her,” the former Roland Garros champion said.

There was another shock as Yanina Wickmayer beat 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 while sixth seed Maria Kirilenko accounted for Briton Elena Baltacha 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki dominated Laura Robson 6-4, 6-4 and Jamie Hampton of the US defeated Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).

In the second round of the women’s doubles top seeds Nadia Petrova of Russia and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia beat Hsieh and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, 6-2, 7-5.

Tomic gained a much needed morale boost after both on court and off court problems, not all of his own making, with a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over the experienced Julien Benneteau of France.

Tomic was watched in the public stands by his controversial father John, who was allowed to do so by organizers so long as he paid for his own ticket and behaved himself.

He is serving a worldwide ban imposed by tennis authorities after he allegedly assaulted his son’s French hitting partner Thomas Drouet earlier this year for which he faces a court case in Madrid later this year.

“I thought I won the match, took my foot off the pedal,” the 20-year-old Tomic said. “Before you know it, he’s down, he goes for his shots, he’s relaxed, and he breaks you and then he gets the firepower to play and from there he started playing ridiculous.”

“I should have won it comfortably, but I’m lucky. Somehow I pulled it through in the end,” he said.

Tomic’s relief was not mirrored by the top seed Canada’s Milos Raonic, who will head to the Monday start of Wimbledon without a win on grass after defeats in Halle and Eastbourne.

Raonic was beaten by Croatian journeyman Ivan Dodig 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).

Raonic, who is seeded 15 at Wimbledon, has recently started working with former Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic, but the combination has so far yet to bear much fruit.bad dad: Bernard Tomic was watched in the stands by his controversial father, who was only allowed to do so after paying for his own ticket and undertaking to behave himself

“It’s more me,” he said of his problems on grass. “I’ve got to figure out my thing. It’s like I’m just not executing the things I need to execute.”

“Obviously the surface doesn’t make it easy,” he said. “I think it’s easier for me to figure out things on hard courts per se, but I think it’s all on my shoulders.”

Czech veteran Radek Stepanek produced an upset with his defeat of German third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3.

Italy’s 2011 Eastbourne winner Andreas Seppi came from a set down to beat American Ryan Harrison 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Seppi’s compatriot and eighth seed Fabio Fognini beat Martin Klizan 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-2.

Additional reporting by staff writer

TOPSHELF OPEN

AP, ROSMALEN, the Netherlands

Simona Halep continued her strong recent form to humble top-seeded Roberta Vinci 6-0, 6-1 on Wednesday and advance to the quarter-finals of the Topshelf Open grass court tournament.

Halep is looking to make it two titles in as many weeks after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 to win the inaugural Nurnberger Versicherungscup on Saturday in Germany, the 21-year-old Romanian’s first WTA title.

Halep, ranked 45 in the world, had few problems against the No. 11-ranked Vinci, completing the rout in just under an hour to set up a quarter-final against Lesia Tsurenko.

Second seed Stanislas Wawrinka reached the men’s quarter-finals by beating Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), giving himself more time to acclimatize to playing on grass in the week before Wimbledon.

The Italian never managed to seriously threaten Wawrinka’s serve until the 12th game of the second set, when he broke the Swiss to force a tiebreak.

He then fought off three match points before finally succumbing 10-8 to the No. 10-ranked Wawrinka, who next plays Jeremy Chardy.

Meanwhile, Xavier Malisse of Belgium bounced back from a set down to defeat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova also recovered after dropping the first set to beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last eight in the women’s tournament.

Earlier, the last two remaining Dutch players lost their second-round matches. Kirsten Flipkens beat Michaella Krajiceck in two hard-fought sets 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3), and Evgeny Donskoy overcame Robin Haase 6-4, 7-5.

Haase looked likely to force the match to a third set when he went 5-3 up in the second, but the Russian reeled off four straight games to book a quarter-final match against Nicolas Mahut of France, who beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2, 6-4.