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Naomi Broady happy on grass again after seeing off Alize Cornet at Aegon Classic

Heather Watson was knocked out by world number five Elina Svitolina.

TENNIS 19/06/17 21:56
Naomi Broady happy on grass again after seeing off Alize Cornet at Aegon Classic

Naomi Broady is friends with grass again after pulling off one of the best wins of her career over Alize Cornet at the Aegon Classic.

The British number two arrived in Birmingham fresh from her run to the semi-finals of her home tournament in Manchester.

And Broady carried that grass-court form into the clash against the world number 39, recovering from 3-0 down in the opening set to win 7-6 (7/3) 6-0.

It is the fifth time in her career that the 27-year-old has beaten a top-50 player and is likely to earn her a clash with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Frenchwoman Cornet is no fan of grass and, after slipping over, grew more and more frustrated during a one-sided second set.

Raindrops began to fall during the final couple of games, with Broady, ranked 111, admitting in her on-court interview: “I was thinking, ‘If you have to come back tomorrow, do you have a big enough lead that you’re not going to choke?’.”

This was Broady’s sixth win of the grass season – which is six more than she thought she might manage.

She said: “I actually had my first practice in Surbiton with (Magdalena) Rybarikova, who is obviously having a great grass season, and got whooped by her.

“So I said, ‘I hate grass, I don’t know why people think I like this surface. And I didn’t win a match last year, I’m obviously not going to win one this year’. But now I like it again. We’ve made friends.

Alize Cornet
Alize Cornet during her defeat to Broady ( Mike Egerton/PA)

“It was still a really close match until 4-0. I served a good game to go 5-0 up and in the last game I’m not sure how much she wanted to still be on the court, but I couldn’t hit it in.

“I was like, ‘Just hit it in, Naomi. I don’t think anybody wants to be here’. So I finally managed to do that and won the match.”

Earlier, Heather Watson gave world number five Elina Svitolina a scare before falling to defeat.

The British number three played an excellent second set to level the match but one break of serve in the decider proved decisive, with Svitolina going on to win 6-2 5-7 6-3.

The Ukrainian is the highest-ranked player in the tournament after Angelique Kerber pulled out with a hamstring problem – one of a rash of withdrawals to hit the event.

It would have been a career-best ranking scalp for Watson, who said: “It was a tough draw.

“Elina is a great player. She is very consistent with her game but also with her results. We’ve played quite a few times before and all of them have been three sets and long battles.

“I thought we both played very well and served very well. I’d say especially in that first set I just felt that I had a lot of opportunities that I wasn’t able to take, which I got very frustrated with, but I just kept fighting.

“But I’m very pleased with how I’m hitting the ball. I just want to be more consistent and not give away too many free points.”

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