AFTER an inspired victory over a more highly-ranked opponent on day one of this year’s Championships, British wildcard Naomi Broady was hoping for more of the same in the second round.
The difference was that, whereas her first adversary, Timea Babos of Hungary, is just inside the world top 100, Broady’s opponent yesterday was Caroline Wozniacki, the 16th seed.
The contest, which had been scheduled as the fifth match of the day on Court Two, was moved to One in the early evening. Despite the encouragement of a far larger crowd than she would have played in front of on Two, Broady was only occasionally able to put Wozniacki under any real pressure, and the Danish former world No 1 won 6-3, 6-2 in 59 minutes.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” said Wozniacki, who now meets the unseeded Croatian Ana Konjuh. “She served some big serves out there and I knew I really had to hold my focus. A little bit of momentum and it could have gone the other way.”
Having had some time to get over her much-publicised split with golfer Rory McIlroy, Wozniacki is now getting close to the type of form that took her to the top of the rankings.
“I feel great,” she said. “I love playing on grass, on these big courts – there’s nothing better. I’m really excited about the next challenge and I’m just happy to get one more match.”
She should make it through her match against Konjuh, a 16-year-old qualifier from Dubrovnik but, in the last 16, is due to face far stiffer opposition in the form of former French Open winner Li Na, the second seed. As for Broady, her broad smile and wave to the crowd as she walked off court showed that she felt she had won a victory of sorts. Having been without Lawn Tennis Association funding for seven years – unlike some of her less talented peers, who remain within the system – she feels her independent stance has been vindicated by that win over Babos, who is ranked 71 places higher.
The defeat of Broady followed the earlier elimination of Tara Moore, meaning that Heather Watson is now the only British woman left in the singles competition. Moore fought all the way against Vera Zvonareva, and twice served for the match, but in the end lost 4-6, 7-6, 7-9.
The match had been suspended at a set each on Tuesday evening when bad light stopped play, and Moore had a chance to end the one-set shootout when she served at 5-4. But she blew that opportunity, and lost another two games later, on both occasions serving poorly when she could least afford to show any weakness against the former world No 2.
The one compensation for the Briton was the fact that her sponsors, the mobile phone company Three, had said they would donate £3 to the Rally For Bally charity, set up in memory of Elena Baltacha, every time Moore did her trademark fist pump. She could not do one at the end of the match but, over its course, was able to do so around 100 times. She said afterwards: “It was devastatingly sad to hear about Bally.”
Scots former British No 1 Baltacha died of liver cancer last month, aged just 30. “She was obviously very close to me and a great mentor to all the players in British tennis,” added Moore.
“I just want to remember her and hope that everyone does remember her fighting spirit. Fist pumps is the best way to do that. She was probably one of the best British players out there, and she fought every single match. She fought off the court and on the court.
“That’s what I aspire to be. I want to fight in every single point and every single match. I hope I did today.”
Earlier, Moore and fellow-Briton Johanna Konta lost their doubles match against Daniela Hantuchova and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, going down 6-4, 6-4 to the experienced eastern European partnership.
Watson, who meets No 9 seed Angelique Kerber in the second round of the singles today, was also in doubles action yesterday, playing with rising star Eugenie Bouchard. The Briton and the Canadian lost 6-4, 7-6 to the sixth seeds from Australia, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua. The Skupski brothers, Ken and Neal, won the opening set against German pairing Dustin Brown and Jan-Lennard Struff, but in the end lost in four, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 2-6.
There was better news, however, for Jamie Delgado and his partner from Luxembourg, Gilles Muller. They went two sets down to Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan and Divij Sharan of Indonesia, losing both 6-2, 6-2, but fought back well to win in five, taking the last three 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.