Tennis: Latimer ends women's hopes

LOUISE LATIMER, the British No 3 and world No 137, yesterday became the eighth and final British women to be eliminated from this year's Championships after losing in three sets, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, to Sarah Pitkowski of France, who is ranked No 36 in the world.

Six of the home contenders, including Sam Smith, the British No 1, fell in the first round, and after Karen Cross, the British No 2, had gone out earlier yesterday, Latimer, who lost in straight sets to Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in last year's second round, was left alone to carry the flag. The task, unfortunately, was beyond her.

Pitkowski took a close first set that might have gone Latimer's way had she not been so reluctant to move to the net and close her opponent down. Pitkowski always looked vulnerable when being forced to play on her forehand, but Latimer simply could not find the shots.

In the second set, the 21-year-old Briton rallied to break Pitkowski's serve four times and began to look more confident, but the third set began badly. Pitkowski broke Latimer in the first game and then won her next service game to love, and the contest was over.

A small consolation for Latimer may come with the knowledge that Arvind Parmar, who lost to Greg Rusedski in the men's singles yesterday, would rather play mixed doubles with her than with Anna Kournikova, who is seeking a partner.

Another British defeat to add to the tally yesterday was that inflicted on Jamie Delgado by Sebastien Grosjean of France. The 22-year-old Delgado, ranked No 376 in the world, had progressed to the second round by beating Ramon Delgado of Paraguay in the first round, but the 21-year-old Grosjean, ranked No 30 in the world, proved a tougher nut to crack. Delgado lost in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6.

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