Bartoli, Mirza out - but South flying the flag
Top seed Marion Bartoli limps out of the DFS, while Melanie South bids to be the the first Brit to make the quarters...
Melanie South will become the first Briton to reach the quarter-finals of the DFS Classic if she can beat No.15 seed Aiko Nakamura today.
The British No.3 is the only home-grown player left in the tournament after second round defeats for Katie OBrien and Naomi Cavaday, and has already become the first British player since Julie Pullin in 2002 to win two main draw matches.
The world No.154 must beat a player who has been inside the top 50 in the past year if she is to go one step further than Jo Durie and Sue Barker managed at the Priory Club.
But after beating No.4 seed Sybille Bammer 6-4 7-5 in the second round, and learning that she has received a wildcard for Wimbledon, South enters the match in confident mood.
OBrien and Cavaday could both have joined South in round 3 but were edged out in three-set encounters. British No.1 Anne Keothavong went out in the first round to Kateryna Bondarenko.
Elsewhere, top seed and defending champion Marion Bartoli crashed out of the DFS Classic after playing with a wrist injury.
Bartoli, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, lost the second round match 5-7 6-4 6-0 to Petra Cetkovska, and is now a major doubt for Wimbledon itself.
“It’s been bothering me since before the French Open,” Bartoli said. “I’ve been having treatment but it’s tendinitis, and there is only so much you can do for that.”
Bartoli came from a break down to win the first set 7-5, but appeared to be suffering after going 5-4 down in the second. Refusing to retire, she sent ground stroke after ground stroke long or wide, and served four double faults in her last two service games.
“I always try to be fair with everyone and by retiring it becomes like, ‘why can’t you find a solution?’” Bartoli said afterwards. “For the crowd it is better to go on in the match, and for my opponent she doesn’t feel she has beaten me if I pull out.”
Sania Mirza, herself returning from surgey on a wrist injury, struggled in her comeback match and bowed out with a straight-set loss to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-3 6-0 in just an hour.
Mirza, No.6 seed in the tournament, was playing her first match after a three-month injury lay-off to rest a wrist injury suffered soon after the Australian Open.