China’s Li Na reached the quarter-finals of the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International today without hitting a ball while troubled Australian Bernard Tomic reached the third round in the men’s tournament.
Li, the second seed, got the news from her coach that French opponent Marion Bartoli, the 2011 Eastbourne winner and Wimbledon finalist in 2007, would not be playing their second-round match due to a viral infection.
“I have a virus and a fever and am really feeling terrible, I started feeling this way on Monday but it has gotten worse,” said the unseeded Frenchwoman.
“I’m hoping to be back on the court after a few days of rest to get ready for Wimbledon.”
Li went back to the practice court instead and admitted she would have preferred a tough match than a walkover.
“This is not the best way to win a match. So I was feeling so sorry for her,” said the former Roland Garros champion.
There was another shock as Yanina Wickmayer beat 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 while sixth seed Maria Kirilenko accounted for Briton Elena Baltacha 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki dominated London’s Laura Robson 6-4, 6-4.
Tomic gained a much needed morale boost after both on court and off court problems, not all of his own making, with a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over the experienced Julien Benneteau of France.
Tomic was watched in the public stands by his controversial father John, who was allowed to do so by organisers so long as he paid for his own ticket and behaved himself.
He is serving a worldwide ban imposed by tennis authorities after he allegedly assaulted his son’s French hitting partner Thomas Drouet earlier this year for which he faces a court case in Madrid later this year.
“I thought I won the match, took my foot off the pedal,” said 20-year-old Tomic.
“Before you know it, he’s down, he goes for his shots, he’s relaxed, and he breaks you and then he gets the firepower to play and from there he started playing ridiculous.
“I should have won it comfortably, but I’m lucky. Somehow I pulled it through in the end.”
Tomic’s relief was not mirrored by the top seed Canada’s Milos Raonic, who will head to the Monday start of Wimbledon without a win on grass after defeats in Halle and Eastbourne.
Raonic went out beaten by Croat journeyman Ivan Dodig 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).
Raonic, who is seeded 15 at Wimbledon, has recently started working with former Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic but the combination has so far yet to bear much fruit.
“It’s more me,” he said of his problems on grass. “I’ve got to figure out my thing.
“It’s like I’m just not executing the things I need to execute.
“Obviously the surface doesn’t make it easy.
“I think it’s easier for me to figure out things on hard courts per se, but I think it’s all on my shoulders.”
The 23-year-old was broken twice in the opening set after losing the first game on a run of errors.
The second was more competitive, but the Canadian came up short in the tiebreaker despite saving a match point.
“I’ve been playing okay,” said Raonic.
“But in the last few weeks I haven’t played my best, That affects the confidence in those tight situations, and how you deal with them.”
Czech veteran Radek Stepanek produced an upset with his defeat of German third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3.
Italy’s 2011 Eastbourne winner Andreas Seppi came from a set down to beat American Ryan Harrison 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Seppi’s compatriot and eighth seed Fabio Fognini beat Martin Klizan 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-2.