Tennis: Siddall lines up her 'dream match': Navratilova launches Wimbledon campaign on Kent courts

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SHIRLI-ANN SIDDALL, an 18-year- old from Dorset, set up a second- round match today with Martina Navratilova after beating fellow Briton, Lucie Ahl, in the Direct Line Insurance tournament at Beckenham yesterday.

While only a few spectators braved the cold, blustery conditions to watch Siddall cruise through 6-1, 6-1, Navratilova, the nine-times Wimbledon champion, attracted the biggest crowd of the day on the adjacent court for her two-hour practice session with Linda Harvey-Wild.

Navratilova, now 36 but still ranked No 4 in the world, will launch her 22nd All England Championships campaign with her first appearance on the Kent courts, against the British No 5 ranked 217 places below her.

'It is a dream match for me,' Siddall said. 'It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play her on grass. I will be very nervous but I intend to attack the net otherwise I know she will kill me.'

Siddall, who reached the third round of the Dow Classic in Birmingham on grass last summer, added: 'The surface is my favourite but I've heard Martina is rather fond of it too.' Defeat against the multimillionairess would earn Siddall the princely sum of pounds 125.

In the men's event, Ramesh Krishnan, the Indian Davis Cup veteran, ended the hopes of the Scottish teenager, Miles Maclagan, with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

However, there were victories for Surrey's Danny Sapsford, who won a three-set struggle against Ross Matheson, and Mark Petchey, who beat Adam Malik, of Malaysia, to earn a meeting with the American, David Wheaton, the No 2 seed.

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