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.
Naomi Broady stuns Alizé Cornet in Birmingham,Reuters
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.
" 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. "
" 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."
It has been a difficult season for the 25-year-old, who has only won five tour-level matches all year and has dropped to 126 in the rankings.
Watson has also not had any consistency in her coaching but has been working with Colin Beecher and Morgan Phillips since the start of the clay season.
The arrangement will continue until after Wimbledon at least, and Watson said: "I really like them both, and I feel they really complement each other with helping me as well.
"I've gone down and played some lower-level tournaments. The positive is I'm getting match wins in and beating some really good players at the lower levels. But you don't get much reward for it down there.
"I think it will just come with time, and as I build up my confidence again, I'll be able to take those chances."
British number one Johanna Konta begins her campaign on Tuesday against Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.