Tennis: Overcome Taylor exits with a smile

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The Independent Online
CLAIRE TAYLOR could still smile after losing 6-0, 7-5 against Miriam Oremans, last year's beaten finalist, in the second round of the Volkswagen Cup at Eastbourne yesterday.

Shortly before she faced the Dutch player, the 19-year-old Taylor, from Banbury, had learned that she is to play Martina Navratilova in the first round of Wimbledon next week.

'I'm going to absolutely love it,' she said. 'I'm so excited. It can't get better than that. It's the last Wimbledon Martina is going to play and it's unbelievable.'

With Navratilova also being left-handed, Taylor has always had a special interest in the nine-times former champion. 'I queued with my dad at six in the morning to watch her,' Taylor said.

Julie Pullin's attempt to upset the eighth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat ended in a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 defeat. Pullin, 18, from Sussex, was knocked out of her stride when first a ball girl and then a spectator collapsed. The score at that stage in the final set was 1-1. When play resumed, Pullin won only six points in the remaining five games.

Natalia Zvereva reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Elena Brioukhovets, while Helena Sukova, the fifth seed and former champion, defeated Caroline Kuhlman 6-2, 6-4.