Britain’s Jade Windley was the star of the show on the second day of qualifying at the AEGON International in Eastbourne today as she overcame a ranking deficit of 466 places to defeat world No.77 Stephanie Foretz Gacon 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-1.
“Having been a set and 5-1 down this is definitely the biggest win of my career,” said Windley. “I’m so pleased it feels amazing. Last week I had a great win against a top 150 player but today tops it by a long way. I was very nervous at the start.
“This is my first WTA event and it took me a while to relax and play my game rather than going for outright winners and it seemed to work. I’ve had the best few days being here in Eastbourne, and with living and training down the road in Brighton this is very much like a home event for me so it’s great to do so well.”
Meanwhile Laura Robson beat fellow Brit Daneika Borthwick 6-2, 6-2 to set up a second round qualifying match with her AEGON GB Fed Cup Team mate Elena Baltacha, although the Scot was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury, sending Robson through to Monday’s third and final round of qualifying.
Other British interest saw Joshua Goodall come so close against the number one seed in the qualifying draw. Despite serving for the match in the third set, Goodall couldn’t quite get the better of world No.74 Matthew Ebden who eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-6(4), whilst Johanna Konta was knocked out by Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2.
Sunday also saw some of tennis’ legends make an appearance on the grass courts of Devonshire Park, with Greg Rusedski and Mark Philippoussis doing battle in singles, before teaming up with Martina Hingis and Conchita Martinez in an entertaining mixed doubles.
Ana Ivanovic and Elena Baltacha were both forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury. Ivanovic was disappointed to be sidelined with a groin strain saying: “I’m very sorry to be withdrawing. I came here early to practice and I’ve been hitting the ball well, but I haven’t been able to play points.
“I hurt my groin at the French Open and it’s very tight. My physio was treating me here but we ran out of time. I need to do more physiotherapy in the next few days and hopefully by the end of the week my movement will be back to normal and I can play to full intensity. I’m sorry to anyone who was hoping to see me here. I hope to be back soon.”
Baltacha was also disappointed to withdraw from the AEGON International singles with a neck injury although she hoped to take part in the doubles event at Eastbourne.
“I’m very disappointed because I was really looking forward to playing Laura (Robson). My neck was very sore during practice earlier today and the even though the WTA physio worked hard to try to get me ready to play, in the end I had no choice but to pull out.
“It’s a tough one to take because I’ve had some bad luck with injuries over the last few weeks but the good news is that it’s not too serious and I’m hoping to be fit to play doubles with Anne (Keothavong) later in the week.”