THORNBURY tennis player Emily Webley-Smith was left to rue missed chances as she was knocked out of Wimbledon qualifying in the second round by Danka Kovinic, writes Jonathan Green.
The 29-year-old, who progressed from the first round after her opponent, Beatriz Garcia Vidagany, retired with a back injury, went down in three sets to the number six seed 1-6, 6-3, 1-6 at the Bank of England Sports Centre.
Webley-Smith recovered from a poor start but luck deserted her in the deciding set when Kovinic twice benefitted from the net cord to take crucial points.
“There wasn’t much difference between the two of us,” the Almondsbury Tennis Club member said.
“I was overpowered at the start of the match but I managed to wriggle my way back into it and played really good tennis in the second set. I then had some chances at the start of the third that I didn’t take and then it changed quite quickly.
“I think the turning point was 15-40 on the opening game in the third as I should’ve done more to secure the break. She had a stroke of luck with the net cord but that was the only chance I really had on her serve.
"Then on my serve in the next game I got unlucky on the net cord coming forward when I had an easy volley. But that’s the way the ball rolls and it works both ways at different times.”
Kovinic cruised through the first set, breaking Webley-Smith in the second and sixth games and only losing five points on her serve.
Webley-Smith responded by breaking early in the second set to take a 4-1 lead and wrapped up the set with an ace.
But momentum swung back to the Montenegrin in the decider and a double fault from Webley-Smith allowed Kovinic to serve out the match.
However, Webley-Smith believed there was plenty to take from her performances at the qualifiers.
“I’ve competed really well and both the girls I played were much higher rank than I was,” she added.
“But the biggest positive is that I won my first match in qualifiers for a Grand Slam and hopefully I can take that into the rest of the year.
“I’ve learnt that I can stick at this level and compete at this level. Perhaps going into it I just needed a few more matches at this level to be able to start a little bit quicker.”
Webley-Smith was leading 3-6, 6-4 and 2-0 when her opponent, Beatriz Garcia Vidagany retired with a back injury.
As the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, HSBC is helping fans get closer to Wimbledon by giving them the chance to win Centre Court tickets. For further information, visit www.wimbledon.com/hsbc