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Suarez Navarro faces top seed Barty in Wimbledon opener

Suarez Navarro faces top seed Barty in Wimbledon opener

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 8, 2019 Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in action during her fourth round match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Tony O'Brien/File Photo

LONDON: Carla Suarez Navarro faces a tough start on her return to Wimbledon following a battle with cancer when she takes on top seed Ash Barty in the first round on Tuesday.

Suarez Navarro made her comeback to competitive tennis at the French Open after months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to combat early stage Hodgkin lymphoma and she was only given a clean bill of health in April.

The Spaniard was two points from victory before falling short against Sloane Stephens at Roland Garros and the 32-year-old will look to make the final stretch of her career count having decided to retire at the end of the year.

"It's incredible to have Carla back. When she came back on tour, it was just a sense of excitement from everyone. To know that she's got this tremendous character of resilience and strength, longevity," Barty told reporters.

"She's been on the tour for a long time at the very top of the game. I think for me to be able to experience opening Centre Court on Tuesday with her is going to be really cool.

"I hope we have a great match. I know I'm going to have to bring my best level to be able to compete with her. She's been one of the best for a long time... To see her doing what she loves again is really awesome."

Barty is aiming to emulate her fellow Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley by winning the grasscourt major 50 years after her idol achieved the feat and, having shaken off a string of injuries, is in no mood to let the opportunity slip.

"My preparation has been as good as it could be. I couldn't ask anything more of myself to give myself an opportunity to play here at Wimbledon," Barty said.

"Yes, I haven't played a tournament leading in, but it's not something I focus on, not something that I'm concerned about."

In other matches, 20-times Grand Slam winner Roger Federer faces Adrian Mannarino while Serena Williams resumes her quest for a record-equalling 24th major against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Jan-Lennard Struff upset Daniil Medvedev in Halle during the build-up to Wimbledon and will look to repeat the upset. Fourth seed Alexander Zverev plays Tallon Griekspoor.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: Reuters


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