Britain’s top two women have set up a second-round clash with each other at Nottingham’s Nature Valley Open as Johanna Konta and Heather Watson both eased past their opponents on Tuesday, with British No. 4 Katie Boulter and top seed Ashleigh Barty also coming through in straight sets at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The pair will meet on Thursday after 2017 finalist Konta took down Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-3 in little over an hour and Watson beat qualifier Danielle Lao 6-1 6-3 at the WTA International event.
World No. 22 Konta said: “I’m definitely pleased that I got to have my first match out there. I wanted to make sure I was competitive from the first to the very last ball and I felt I did that today.
“It’s actually most important not to compare to last year. I came into this period in a different position than last year, facing different challenges and different positive aspects as well. For me, right now, I feel good where I am and I’m healthy – which is the most important thing.”
Elsewhere on Tuesday, 21-year-old Boulter swept past former World No. 12 Yanina Wickmayer 6-4 6-4 to set up a Thursday meeting with 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, although Gabriella Taylor came up just short of defeating reigning Nottingham champion Donna Vekic, losing in a tightly-contested final set tiebreak 7-5 5-7 7-6(3). Teenager Katie Swan fell to Germany’s Mona Barthel 7-6(5) 7-5, but there was joy for Loughborough Challenger finalist James Ward who won 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(1) against qualifier Tobias Simon.
On Ladies’ Day Wednesday, the order of play features both second seed Magdalena Rybarikova and third seed Naomi Osaka on Centre Court, where Brits Dan Evans and Alex Ward will also play in the ATP Challenger against Sergiy Stakhovsky and Marcel Granollers respectively.
Alongside the action on court, as part of Ladies’ Day presented by House of Fraser, there will be hair and beauty pop-ups, on-court fashion shows, as well as special guest appearances from local celebrities.
With Nottingham starting off the summer of British Tennis, tickets to the Nature Valley Open (9-17 June) are on general sale via https://www.theticketfactory.com/ltanw/online/. For more information on our other British Tennis events, please visit https://www.lta.org.uk/major-events/