Wozniacki pays for spurned chances

Eastbourne champion Tamira Paszek was the last woman standing after a marathon battle on Wimbledon’s Centre Court with seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki.

The Austrian world No 37 was on court for three hours and 12 minutes against the Dane — hardly a brisk first-round workout — as she came back from a set down to spring a minor surprise.

Wozniacki became the second-highest seed to be dumped out of the women’s draw — but despite her lofty ranking and former standing as world No 1, her game is not considered to be one of the most solid on tour and so it proved as Paszek emerged a 5-7 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 winner.

Wozniacki, girlfriend of golf superstar Rory McIlroy, let two match points and 15 break points slip away in a match which was largely played under the stadium’s roof due to outside drizzle.

“It’s not a nice feeling,” said Wozniacki. “Especially after having two match points and not taking them. It wasn’t that I played badly. She just went for them and that’s it.”

She added: “Maybe I should have played the match points differently, I don’t know.”

With time on her hands now, Wozniacki was also asked whether she plans to visit McIlroy, who starts play at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush today.

“To be honest, right now I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said.

She was more committal when asked if her relationship with the Irishman was affecting her play, clearly stating: “No.”

Meanwhile, France’s Gilles Simon faced fierce criticism at Wimbledon after he claimed women tennis players should not be paid as well as the men.

Simon, the 13th seed, whose second-round match against Belgian Xavier Malisse was postponed until today due to rain, sparked controversy when he claimed the current pay equality at grand slam tournaments is unfair.

He told radio station France Info: “The male players spent twice as long on court at Roland Garros [during the recent French Open] as the women.

“The equality in salaries isn’t something that works in sport.” Stacey Allaster, chairman and chief executive of the WTA, which runs the women’s tour, was scathing in her analysis of Simon’s comments. “Tennis, including the grand slams, is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality,” she said. “I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise.

As if to prove Simon wrong, Roger Federer raced into the third round in double quick time with an utterly dominant 6-1 6-3 6-2 victory over Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

He even admitted afterwards that he goes out of his way to speed up matches, insisting it provides a better spectacle.

“I think it’s nice to speed it up a bit and not go to the end of the 20 or 25 seconds that we are allowed to use,” said Federer.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic gave rising American Ryan Harrison a lesson in control as he booked his third-round place last night. Djokovic was never expected to lose to the 20-year-old but a stern examination was always on the cards and so it proved, even though the Serbian was a comfortable 6-4 6-4 6-4 winner.

Harrison was able to match his decorated opponent for large parts, often unleashing a stinging forehand, but when the pressure was cranked up Djokovic was the one to stand firm.

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