Olympic24: Konta and Watson reach Monterrey Open quarters; Ennis-Hill nominated for prestigious gong

Olympic24: Konta and Watson reach Monterrey Open quarters; Ennis-Hill nominated for prestigious gong

03 March 2016 / 08:00

Good results from Mexico as Konta and Watson both reach the quarter-finals in Mexico overnight, and Jess Ennis-Hill is nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours:

  • Konta and Watson both through at Monterrey Open in Mexico
  • Jess Ennis-Hill up for prestigious gong at Laureus World Sports Awards
  • Men’s team pursuit quartet raise the roof at Track Cycling World Championships in London
  • Andy Murray committed to Great Britain’s Davis Cup defence
  • Synchronised Swimming duo make positive start at Olympic qualification tournament
  • Victoria Pendleton’s Cheltenham hopes get major boost

Konta and Watson reach last eight in Mexico

Johanna Konta

There was good news over night for British number one and two, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson, after the duo both reached the quarter-finals of the Monterrey Open in Mexico.

Konta saw off Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer in two hard fought sets, beating her lower-ranker opponent 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) after two hours and four minutes.

That means the 24-year-old sets up her second quarter-final of 2016, having reached the last four at the Australian Open, where she will face Kirsten Flipkens or Alison van Uytvanck.

Meanwhile Heather Watson was also in action, and she too beat her second-round opponent, Slovenia's Polona Hercog, 6-2 6-3 to earn her place in the last eight.

The result is a good return to form for Watson, who lost in the first rounds of the Australian Open and the Mexican Open in Acapulco earlier this year, and she will meet either second seed Caroline Wozniacki or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni next up.

Ennis-Hill nominated for Comeback of the Year


Jessica Ennis-Hill admits she feels honoured after being nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

Ennis-Hill returned to heptathlon in 2015 after the birth of her first child, Reggie, and won a memorable gold at the World Championships in Beijing.

British sports stars received six nominations, including swimmer Adam Peaty being recognised on the World Breakthrough of the Year Award, ahead of the ceremony in Berlin on April 18.

And the 30-year-old insists that while 2015 was possibly the most physically demanding year of her career, she wouldn't change it for anything.

“I feel very honoured to be nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award – 2015 for me was very special,” said Ennis-Hill.

“To come back from having my son and win a gold medal at the World Championships in Beijing exceeded all my expectations.

“It was probably the toughest year of training I have had with so many injuries and physical changes to deal with along the way.”

Team pursuit stars shine at Track World Champs

Bradley Wiggins

Great Britain’s men’s team pursuit quartet marked themselves out as gold medal favourites by posting the fastest qualifying time on an enthralling first day of action at the Track Cycling World Championships in London.

Roared on by a raucous home crowd at the Lee Valley VeloPark, the foursome of Steven Burke, Jon Dibben, Owain Doull and Sir Bradley Wiggins clocked an impressive time of 3:55.664 minutes.

That means they will take on fourth-fastest qualifiers Italy (3:57.800) in Thursday’s semi-finals while Australia and defending champions New Zealand will meet in the second semi-final.

And despite their position atop the leaderboard, British Cycling coach Heiko Salzwedel is adamant there is still more to come from the quartet.

“It was the fastest time but it was a bit below our expectation because we expected more opposition from Switzerland, from Denmark and from Australia,” said Salzwedel. “So we backed off from our plan slightly when that didn’t happen.

“We had a couple of minor technical problems – Steven Burke came too light so we lost him early which was disappointing.

“Nonetheless Bradley [Wiggins] has proved he is an incredible athlete, he belongs in that team – that was incredible.

“I think Bradley, Owain and Jon did an incredible job and there is definitely more in the tank than we have seen here today. I’m definitely expecting more tomorrow.” Read more here.

Murray intending to play in every Davis Cup clash


Andy Murray has confirmed he intends to play the entirety of Great Britain's Davis Cup defence this year.

Murray famously helped GB to a first Davis Cup triumph since 1936 as they beat Belgium in the final last November.

With a congested summer schedule including Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, the world No.2 had originally suggested he would struggle to play in every tie should Britain get that far.

The defending champions open up their campaign with a tricky first-round tie against Japan, who count world No.6 Kei Nishikori in their ranks, this weekend.

“Providing everything goes well, I would play in the Davis Cup, then have a little break and play Toronto and the Olympics, and potentially not play in Cincinnati,” he told BBC Sport.

“I've always enjoyed representing my country. Statistically I've played by far my best tennis when I've played for Great Britain.”

Synchro duet finish 15th in tech routine in Rio


Olivia Federici and Katie Clark secured 15th place in the Technical routine with a score of 77.2211 at the Synchronised Swimming Olympic Qualification Tournament in Rio.

The Olympians put in a strong performance in their ‘good vs evil’ themed routine, and showed precision in their execution. 

The British pair have put in hard work in Majorca working with Olympic medallist Andrea Fuentes, and will compete again on March 3.

Their Free Duet score will then be combined with the Technical score for their overall title with qualification for the Rio Olympics on the line.

Chalmers focused on fulfilling Olympic dream

Cameron Chalmers may be targeting the World U20 Championships this year but the 400m runner admits he has his eyes set on a spot an Olympic spot in the long-term.

Chalmers recorded the best result of his career last weekend, surprising even himself as he finished second at the British Indoor Championships.

The 19-year-old clocked 48.05 seconds, just 0.05 behind gold medallist Nigel Levine and 0.02 ahead of bronze medal-winning Alex Boyce.

Now Chalmers' big goal this season is the World U20s, which take place in Bydgoszcz, Poland on 19-24 July.

“Age does make a big difference. I haven't been in the sport for very long really, maybe two years seriously,” Chalmers told the BBC.

“So when you go to these competitions you're competing against senior athletes who could have been in the gym or training for six or seven years.

“If someone said at the start of the season that I would get the silver at the British Indoor Championships I'd have been quite surprised.

“This season, the real goal is to qualify for the World Juniors in the summer but the life goal would be to be picked for an Olympic squad.”

Pendleton takes step closer to Cheltenham Festival dream

Victoria Pendleton's hopes of making this month's Cheltenham Festival have received a major boost.

The two-time Olympic cycling champion claimed her first-ever National Hunt victory with a win on 5-4 favourite Pacha Du Polder in a hunter chase at Wincanton - finishing 29 lengths clear of Big Fella Thanks, who was fourth in the 2010 Grand National.

Pendleton's swap of saddles has been controversial with former Champion Jockey John Francome labelling her an 'accident waiting to happen' after a high-profile fall in her last appearance under rules at Fakenham.

But the 35-year old has remained steadfast in her ambition to ride in the Foxhunter Chase at the Festival, the amateur version of the showpiece Gold Cup.

“This just feels fantastic,” said Pendleton, who retired from cycling after winning's women's keirin gold at London 2012.

“I just wanted to get around and give him the ride he deserves, because he's a lovely horse and I feel honoured and lucky to ride such a wonderful animal.

"This sport is full of thrills and spills. When I started this challenge people told me I'd fall off but it's a small price to pay for the joy of riding a thoroughbred racehorse.” Read more here.

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