Keothavong and O'Donoghue find the going heavy on grass

Anne Keothavong and Jane O'Donoghue made winning starts to the grass court season in the Surbiton Trophy event, and then berated themselves for making such hard work of it.

Anne Keothavong and Jane O'Donoghue made winning starts to the grass court season in the Surbiton Trophy event, and then berated themselves for making such hard work of it.

Keothavong, the British No 1 from Hackney, saw off Japan's Miho Saeki in line with the form-book. But instead of straight sets she let slip a match point in a second-set tie-break before going through 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

O'Donoghue, the British No 2 from Wigan, said she needed to take a toilet break "to re-focus" after her South African opponent Natalie Grandin took the second set to love. O'Donoghue pulled off a notable triumph against an opponent seeded sixth and 66 places above her in the rankings, winning 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 but said: "I should have been off the court 45 minutes earlier. I took my foot off the gas after playing a nice first set and let her get back into it. So I took a break and started playing aggressively again."

O'Donoghue, who suffered a first-round defeat at Wimbledon to Venus Williams last year, is aiming to take her own ranking around 70 places higher to above the 150 mark but still has ground to make up on Keothavong, even though the No 1 has slipped down the world order to 174th.

"I've not had a great year on clay, but I still won't say grass is my favourite surface," said the 20-year-old Keothavong. "I was the better player and deserved to win, but it was scrappy and I was happy to get through."

Keothavong must find top form to get through the second round, where she will meet Alexandra Stevenson, the American who in 1999 became the first qualifier to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals but has done little since. The tall Californian looked stylish as she knocked out the Ukrainian Mariya Koryttseva 7-5, 6-0 yesterday.

Britain's Katie O'Brien was not given much chance at 602 in the world against the Russian world No 222 Anna Chakvetadze, and went down 6-2, 6-2.

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