Wood overcomes call

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The Independent Online
Clare Wood remained unruffled by a poor line-call at the Beckenham Open yesterday to prove there is still a flicker of life in British women's tennis. The umpire John Clayton ruled in a shot from an Australian qualifier, Siobhan Drake-Brockman, that appeared to land well beyond the baseline.

"Everyone around the court could see it was at least six inches out," Wood said. "I was so frustrated because that would have given me the first set, 6-4. It was a blatant mistake." However, the national champion recovered her composure to gain a quarter-final place with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, success.

Wood, who is six months into her rehabilitation from a serious hamstring injury which kept her out for a year, said: "I'm looking for match practice on grass as I will probably have to qualify for Wimbledon for the first time. If I get enough points on grass I could climb back in to the top 100, which is where I was before my injury."

Her performance was a rare British highlight. By the end of the second day, home interest had dwindled from 21 to six. Shirli-Ann Siddall lost 6-2, 6-2, against the American No 8 seed, Erika De Lone, while Jo Ward went down in straight sets against Japan's No 3 seed, Rika Hiraki, 6-2, 6-3.

Among the men, Kent's Colin Beecher succumbed to Germany's Christian Saceanu, the seventh seed Danny Sapsford lost in three sets to South Africa's Chris Haggard, Nick Weal went out against another South African, Marcos Ondruska, and Andrew Richardson failed to survive his first-round hurdle against Tom Spinks.

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