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13 - 21 June 2020

Nature Valley Classic

Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham

Local time

Nature Valley Classic: Barty and Williams sail into second round

  • 2019 WTA Premier logo
  • 19/06/2019

  • Major Events

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty returned to action following her triumph in Paris and made an emphatic start to her grass court campaign at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. The world No.2 sailed past Croatia's Donna Vekic, who last week made the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham, 6-3, 6-4. The Aussie star will face America's Jennifer Brady on Thursday for the place in the quarter-finals.

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is looking very much at home on her first visit to the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, an LTA summer grass court event.

Williams seldom plays on grass prior to Wimbledon but after beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich to move through to the second round, Williams said she was very happy with her decision to take a wild card into the WTA Premier event in the Midlands. “It's not often I get to play in a new city in front of a new crowd, so this is pretty exhilarating actually and when you get a wild card you hope to do something with it (laughing), so today I am like, "I'd love to win this match and make some good use out of this entry."

Williams, who has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Serena as well as seven in singles, had encouraging words for Harriet Dart, with whom she formed a surprise doubles pairing earlier this week. “We had a blast. She is clearly very passionate about the game and is putting the work in,” said Williams. “As a young person, it takes time to figure out your game, figure out your strengths, figure out how to play against these players with more experience.

“So she's got plenty of time to figure it out and to continue to grow and she definitely showed flashes of brilliance out there in the doubles. It was a lot of fun. With Serena's permission maybe we will play together again!”

Williams will be back in action on Thursday against talented young Chinese player Qiang Wang. 

Johanna Konta’s first grass court tournament of the season came to a disappointing end in the second round at the hands of former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The big-hitting Latvian prevailed 6-3, 6-4 against the British No.1, who now heads to her hometown of Eastbourne to play the Nature Valley International in the hope of gaining matches on grass ahead of Wimbledon.

The day's action concluded with the much-anticipated meeting between twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova. The encounter went in favour to lower ranked sister Kristyna after she overcame third seed Karolina after an enthralling three-set tussle.

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