EASTBOURNE, June 20: China’s Li Na reached the quarter-finals of the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International on Wednesday without hitting a ball while troubled Australian Bernard Tomic reached the third round in the men’s tournament.
Li, the second seed, got the news from her coach that unseeded French opponent Marion Bartoli, the 2011 Eastbourne winner and Wimbledon finalist in 2007, would not be playing their second-round match due to a viral infection.
Li went back to the practice court instead and admitted she would have preferred a tough match than a walkover.
“This is not the best way to win a match. So I was feeling so sorry for her,” said the former Roland Garros champion.
There was another shock as Yanina Wickmayer beat 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 while sixth seed Maria Kirilenko accounted for Briton Elena Baltacha 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki dominated London’s Laura Robson 6-4, 6-4.
Tomic gained a much needed morale boost after both on court and off court problems, not all of his own making, with a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 win over the experienced Julien Benneteau of France.
Tomic was watched in the public stands by his controversial father John, who was allowed to do so by organisers so long as he paid for his own ticket and behaved himself.
He is serving a worldwide ban imposed by tennis authorities after he allegedly assaulted his son’s French hitting partner Thomas Drouet earlier this year for which he faces a court case in Madrid later this year.
Tomic’s relief was not mirrored by the top seed Canada’s Milos Raonic, who will head to the Monday start of Wimbledon without a win on grass after defeats in Halle and Eastbourne.
Raonic went out beaten by Croat journeyman Ivan Dodig 6-2, 7-6.
Raonic, who is seeded 15 at Wimbledon, has recently started working with former Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic but the combination has so far yet to bear much fruit.
The 23-year-old was broken twice in the opening set after losing the first game on a run of errors.
The second was more competitive, but the Canadian came up short in the tiebreaker despite saving a match point.
Czech veteran Radek Stepanek produced an upset with his defeat of German third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3.
Italy’s 2011 Eastbourne winner Andreas Seppi came from a set down to beat American Ryan Harrison 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Seppi’s compatriot and eighth seed Fabio Fognini beat Martin Klizan 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Results (prefix number denotes seeding): Men’s singles: Second round: 2-Gilles Simon (France) bt Kyle Edmund (Britain) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3); 7-Andreas Seppi (Italy) bt Ryan Harrison (US) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3; Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) bt 3-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 7-5, 6-3; Bernard Tomic (Australia) bt Julien Benneteau (France) 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4); 8-Fabio Fognini (Italy) bt Martin Klizan (Slovakia) 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-2; Feliciano Lopez (Spain) bt 4-Juan Monaco (Argentina) 6-4, 6-4; Ivan Dodig (Croatia) bt 1-Milos Raonic (Canada) 6-2, 7-6 (9-7); Fernando Verdasco (Spain) bt Albert Ramos (Spain) 6-4, 6-0.
Women’s singles: Second round: Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) bt 3-Angelique Kerber (Germany) 6-3, 6-4; Elena Vesnina (Russia) bt Heather Watson (Britain) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2; 5-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) bt Laura Robson (Britain) 6-4, 6-4; Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) bt 4-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; 6-Maria Kirilenko (Russia) bt Elena Baltacha (Britain) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Jamie Hampton (US) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) 6-4, 7-6 (7-2); Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) bt Samantha Stosur (Australia) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; 2-Li Na (China) bt Marion Bartoli (France) – walkover.—Agencies