Top seed Svitolina starts with win over Watson

Japan's Naomi Osaka returns to USA's Lauren Davis at the Birmingham Classic women's tennis tournament at the Edgbaston Priory Birmingham central England Monday

Top seed Svitolina starts with win over Watson

That is because the late withdrawal on Sunday of Angelique Kerber, the World No 1 - which caused Svitolina's elevation to the highest remaining seed - is only the last in a long list of injury-triggered big-name losses for the tournament.

The 25-year-old had every reason to be optimistic before her clash against the world No 5, with the Ukrainian only having won four matches on grass.

"I have confidence with me, but still I was very happy that I could play my game in the tough moments, in the third set, even though I lost second set in very tough moments", Svitolina said.

The British No.3 played an excellent second set to level the match but one break of serve in the third proved decisive, with Svitolina going on to win 6-2 5-7 6-3. The Ukrainian will face qualifier Camila Giorgi or Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the next round.

However, Davis performed a remarkable turnaround to win three games in a row and serve for the win, though another momentum swing saw the Japanese break back and forced a tiebreak, which she comfortably took 7-4 to get her first grass court win of the season with a 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 victory. The British hit 21 winners and 18 unforced errors, she was down 0-3 in the first set.

Strycova, who lost in the final to Madison Keys past year, saved all of the three break points against her as she was simply too strong for the Kazakh. Birmingham is an important tournament for me and I hope I can keep winning, ' said Strycova, a runner-up here a year ago.

Strycova defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-3 in just one hour and 23 minutes, perhaps leaving time for dinner with a fan after refusing to rule out the option in her on-court interview.

The Brit didn't get off to the best start, falling 0-3 down in the opening set after three tight games, though eventually broke back and simply had too much for Cornet in the closing stages of set, taking the tiebreak 7-3.

There is a packed day of action tomorrow, with the likes of Petra Kvitova, Dominika Cibulkova, and Garbine Muguruza amongst those in action.

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