Rothesay Classic Birmingham 2024 results and updates

Rothesay Classic Birmingham 2024 results and updates

Day four: Dart wins opening match; Watson gives up after a three-set thriller

Harriet Dart becomes the first Briton to reach the second round, while Heather Watson’s campaign in Birmingham comes to an end after a mighty three-set battle with Marie Bouzkova.

There has yet to be a back-to-back Rothesay Open champion Katie Boulter on Ann Jones Center Court in her opening round against Anhelina Kalinina.

Wildcard Dart led the British charge, sealing an opening round victory after defeating Japan Moyuka Uchijima 6-3, 6-3.

The Briton tore through the opening set, showing strength on her first serve and forcing the world number 72 into mistakes, but obstacles still lay ahead for the crowd favorite.

Uchijima settled in in the second as the pair dueled in a battle of the breaks, with both struggling to stay on serve despite the deceptive 4-2 scoreline.

With five breaks between them, Dart made a crucial grab, batting away two break points to create a 5–2 lead before eventually securing victory in one hour and 24 minutes.

Watsonwho also received a wildcard, left the tournament after an exciting 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 confrontation with Bouzkova.

The British number 6, who reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2021, produced 30 percentage points more on her first serve compared to the Czech who won the first set.

Yet a change in momentum in Bouzkova’s favor made the match a big difference, despite a medical timeout for the Briton causing some concern.

After her treatment, Watson rushed out of the blocks as the third set got underway, but a roaring comeback from 4-1 behind the eighth seed set up a nerve-wracking final sprint.

A late double break from world number 37 meant it was all over for Watson as the Czech crept across the finish line in two hours and 53 minutes.

Recent graduate of a collegiate tennis program, Amelia Rajeckiwould also suffer the same fate after losing 7-5, 6-3 to the world number 49 Diana Schnaider in her first appearance in the WTA main draw.

Rajecki, ranked 884 in the world, put in a commendable performance as she forced her opponent to fight back from 4-1 down to win the first set, while losing in the second only by a single break of service.

Elsewhere, Elise Mertens achieved her first ever victory against former Grand Slam champion Caroline Wozniackiwon 6-4, 6-2 on the Ann Jones Center Court.

Wozniacki won all two previous meetings, beating Mertens in the Bastad semi-finals in 2017 and again in the Australian Open semi-finals six months later.

Mertens and Wozniacki, both known for their defensive playing style, hit with great depth throughout the match as they battled at the baseline, but the Belgian’s precision and spatial intelligence gave her the advantage to finish the match in one hour and 33 minutes to close.