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13 - 21 June 2020

Nature Valley Classic

Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham

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Nature Valley Classic – 13 - 21 June 2020

Nature Valley Classic: Dart to team up with Williams in Birmingham doubles

  • 2019 WTA International logo
  • 16/06/2019

  • News

Britain's Harriet Dart will team up with Venus Williams to play doubles at this year’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. 

“What in incredible opportunity to play with such a champion and I’m very excited about it,” said 22-year-old Dart, who was born two years after 38-year-old Williams turn professional in 1994. “She’s done so much for the women’s game. For me it’s just a privilege and an honour to be able to play with her. I can’t wait to get out there.”

Williams has won 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and three Olympic Gold Medals in doubles, all partnering her sister Serena. Her only other partners on the WTA Tour have been Caroline Wozniacki, whom she played doubles with in Doha in 2008, and Madison Keys, whom she partnered in Rome in 2018. She and Dart have never played together before.

They will face the experienced doubles pairing of Nadiia Kichenok (UKR) and Abigail Spears (USA) in the first round, fourth on Court 1 on Monday.

Both Williams and Dart are also playing singles in Birmingham as part of the tournament’s best ever player line-up. World No.1 Naomi Osaka, world No.2 Ashleigh Barty, world No.3 Karolina Pliskova and British No.1 (and Dart’s GB Fed Cup teammate) Johanna Konta are also competing in Birmingham. Konta will begin her campaign against Anett Kontaveit on Monday. 

“I always look forward to the grass because I get to be at home. I just drove up this morning, which is nice. Not many players get to experience that in a season, just pop to your tournament,” said Konta. “This will be my first grass-court tournament but it’s a good problem to have and I'm just looking forward to getting started really. Birmingham this year, as every year, is really strong so there’s no easy matches.”

Meanwhile in qualifying, top seed Iga Swiatek edged closer to a place in the star-studded main draw, defeating Destanee Aiava in three sets. The Polish teenager is one of the rising stars of the women’s game and proved too strong for talented Australian Aiava. Aiava’s fellow Australian Astra Sharma and American Lauren Davis were also among the day’s winners and, like Swiatek, will play their final qualifying matches on Monday.

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