Heather Watson has recorded a comfortable win over Danielle Lao to reach the second round of the Nottingham Open.
Watson requires a strong grass-court campaign to retain her status as British number two and remain in the world’s top 100, and a 6-1 6-3 triumph over Lao has helped the 26-year-old’s cause.
The Guernsey-born player raced through the opening set, recording two breaks of serves to establish an early advantage over an opponent who had come through qualifying.
Lao was more competitive in the second but the American was unable to withstand Watson’s greater power and the world number 91 secured the win in just over 73 minutes.
Watson will play either compatriot and British number one Johanna Konta or Japan’s Kurumi Nara in the last 16.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will play at The Queen’s Club for the first time in eight years when the Fever-Tree Championships begin next week.
Djokovic said he may skip the grass-court season after losing in the French Open quarter-final to Marco Cecchinato. But the 12-time Grand Slam champion has now accepted a late wildcard for Queen’s, which means 17 of the world’s top 30 players will be in the draw.
He said it “will be great preparation for Wimbledon”, which begins on 2 July.
Djokovic last played at Queen’s in 2010, winning the doubles title alongside Jonathan Erlich.
“The atmosphere is always great and I am looking forward to playing in front of the British crowd again,” added the three-time Wimbledon champion.
“Grass is very special. It is the rarest of surfaces so I’m happy I’ll have the opportunity to compete at this strong tournament, which will also be a great preparation for Wimbledon.”Djokovic, 31, was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 7-6 (13-11) by Italy’s world number 72 Cecchinato in Paris last week.—Agencies