Wood's win puts her in 200 club

More British resolve was shown than we have come to expect on the opening day of the women's international tournament here. Clare Wood advanced to the second round in impressive style, and Sam Smith's performance was more encouraging than the result achieved.

Wood, a wild card entry, required only 17 minutes to win the final set 6-0 - losing only two of the 26 points - in defeating Karina Habsudova, a Slovak ranked 178 paces above her at No 39 in the world. The 27-year-old from Sussex now plays the Czech Helena Sukova, a finalist last year and in 1990, hoping to improve on defeats in their four previous matches.

Smith, a qualifier, was unable to convert a match point before being eliminated by Sweden's Asa Carlsson, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. The 23-year-old from Essex suddenly became tentative on the forehand, presenting her opponent with an opportunity to pass her with a backhand drive. But in order to approach the point of victory, Smith recovered from 1-5 in the second set and 2-5 in the tie-break.

Both Britons have emerged from a period in limbo. Wood's progress has been hindered for more than a year by the affects of a torn hamstring, and Smith took three years out of the sport to study for a degree in history.

Once ranked as high as No 103, Smith, who had only played a couple of satellite events on the way to the Brighton Centre, has yet to have her return to the game confirmed by the WTA Tour's computer. The 20-year-old Carlsson is ranked No 52. In the circumstances, Smith can be credited with not looking out of place at this level.

Having decided to resume her career after graduation, Smith was further encouraged by the poor state of the British game. "I watched a lot of English girls at Wimbledon and thought maybe I could do a bit better," she said. "It's a bit sad for British tennis, but good for me. There's a huge gap, with nobody ranked above 200, which means there's a huge opportunity for somebody who can get up to the top 100 to make an impact.''

Wood's win yesterday will lift her back into the top 200. Once ranked as high as No 77, she has struggled to keep pace with the game since injuring her right leg after being persuaded to play while attending a charity event on the day of last year's Wimbledon men's singles final.

Before meeting Habsudova, Wood had won only two main draw matches all year.Yesterday, Wood was able to set aside the disappointment of double-faulting when leading 4-3 in the second set tie-break, which she lost, 7-5.

"After that I tightened up my game a little and made sure I didn't give her many cheap points, which I did to lose the tie-break," Wood said. "I was prepared to stay out there all day if necessary, but luckily I came out really firing in the first game of the third set, and she was making the errors.''

Steffi Graf, who has won the title six times, plays her opening match today against the sturdy Mariaan De Swardt, of South Africa, ranked No 54.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Sales Advisor - OTE 18k-23k

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders