Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic, the top two seeds, advanced on Wednesday at the rain-delayed Nature Valley Open in Nottingham, England, a grass-court tune-up for Wimbledon.
Garcia, the No. 1 seed from France and No. 28 in the world, smashed six aces in advancing over Australian Naiktha Bains 6-1, 6-2. Second-seeded Vekic of Croatia, who is No. 22, had a tougher match, turning back Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-0.
Fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece rolled easily over Great Britain’s Heather Watson 6-4, 6-3 in just 90 minutes.
Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, the eighth seed, stopped Poland’s Magdalena Frech 7-5, 6-2. Mladenovic just won a second career French Open doubles title with Hungarian Timea Babos.
Also advancing Wednesday was sixth-seeded Australian Ajla Tomljanovic with a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Danielle Lao.
Rain on Monday and Tuesday slowed the tournament’s schedule.
Unseeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium upset No. 4 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 7-6 (8), 7-5 in the grass-court event at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
Also advancing to the second round were Greet Minnen of Belgium and Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Both beat Russian players.
Minnen topped Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-4, and Vikhlyanseva defeated Anna Kalinskaya 6-2, 6-3.
–Field Level Media