BRITISH pair Heather Watson and Johanna Konta both made it through to the second round of the AEGON Classic with straight-set victories at Edgbaston yesterday.
British No 2 Watson, seeded 14th, is ranked more than 70 places above opponent Melinda Czink but the win was nevertheless far from a certainty as she continues to make her way back from the bout of glandular fever that kept her out for more than two months. Watson returned to action with a three-set defeat by Stefanie Voegele in the first round of the French Open but yesterday she dug out a welcome and hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) victory.
The 21-year-old was more consistent all round, and wrapped up victory on the Ann Jones Court in one hour 27 minutes to earn a second-round match against Russian Alla Kudryavtseva.
Konta booked a date with Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic following a dominant 6-2, 6-4 victory over Japan’s Kurumi Nara in 63 minutes. Mladenovic, seeded 12, was given a thorough workout by British No 4 Tara Moore before sealing a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory.
Laura Robson – who has received a bye into the second round of the singles – fell at the first hurdles of the doubles with American partner Lisa Raymond, losing 6-4, 6-2 against Cara Black and Marina Erakovic.
Robson will return for the singles where she will face Daniela Hantuchova after the Slovakian beat Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-1, 7-6 (7/1).
Yanina Wickmayer, seeded ninth, defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), in the first round but there was a shock when world No 29 Tamira Paszek, the fourth seed, was beaten by world 167 Alison Riske, the American prevailing 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a second-round match.
Paszek was followed out of the exit door by eighth seed Urszula Radwanska, who was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Donna Vekic.
Fifteenth seed Francesca Schiavone overcame Anna Tatishvili in three sets to move into the second round and Madison Keys beat Jamie Hampton.