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Anne set for Wimbledon after reaching Surbiton final

PUBLISHED: 12:53 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 07 September 2010

SURBITON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 07:  Anne Keothavong of Great Britain plays a backhand on her way to defeat in the Women's Final against Marina Erakovic of New Zealand during day six of the Surbiton Trophy at The Surbiton Racket and Fitness club on June 7, 2008 in Surbiton, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

SURBITON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 07: Anne Keothavong of Great Britain plays a backhand on her way to defeat in the Women's Final against Marina Erakovic of New Zealand during day six of the Surbiton Trophy at The Surbiton Racket and Fitness club on June 7, 2008 in Surbiton, England. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

CUMBERLAND S Anne Keothavong warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the final of the The Surbiton Trophy on Saturday. Despite losing to New Zealander Marina Erakovicin in straight sets, 4-6, 2-6, the British No.1 was happy with her efforts in the grass seas

CUMBERLAND'S Anne Keothavong warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the final of the The Surbiton Trophy on Saturday.

Despite losing to New Zealander Marina Erakovicin in straight sets, 4-6, 2-6, the British No.1 was happy with her efforts in the grass season opener.

"It's been an excellent week for me," Keothavong told Ham&High Sport. "I've beaten some good players and gained valuable grass court practice.

"My recent rise in the world rankings means that I have achieved direct acceptance into all the upcoming grass court events this summer, which gives me great confidence to do well."

Keothavong is currently at a career-high ranking of No.96 in the world and last month became the first British female since Sam Smith in 1999 to gain direct acceptance into Wimbledon.

En route to the final, Keothavong produced some world-class tennis. In the first round she dropped the first set to fellow Brit Amanda Elliott but hit back to 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

She then overpowed two Americans, Ahsha Rolle (6-4, 6-4) and Carly Gullickson (7-6 (7-5), 6-4) to reach the last four. In the semi-final, Keothavong met another American, Abigail Spears, who could find no answer to the British No.1's great power and pinpoint accuracy from the back of the court. The 24-year-old wasted no time in defeating Spears 6-1, 6-2.

However, Keothavong bowed out of the DFS Classic in Birmingham at the first hurdle on Tuesday afternoon, losing 6-3, 6-2 to the No.12 seed Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko.

The Cumberland player converted only one of four break points and dropped her own serve five times to go down in just 64 minutes on Centre Court.

"I didn't serve as well as I would have liked and that cost me quite a bit," she said. "I expected it to be closer. I was on the back foot and it was tough to get into the match, although there were opportunities for me.

"But it is not the end of the world. I've got another tournament before Wimbledon so hopefully I will improve."

l Keothavong plays at the Ordina Open in Holland for the first time next week.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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