Keothavong celebrates early Wimbledon success with Olympic wild card

Hackney tennis star handed a place on London 2012 team

Hackney tennis star Anne Keothavong sailed through to the second round of Wimbledon earlier this week, and then had her place at the London 2012 Olympic Games confirmed in a memorable day for the 28 year old.

The former Kingsland High pupil beat Spain’s Laura Pous-Tio in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, in the first round at SW19 on Tuesday, and will face Sara Errani of Italy today (Thursday).

After a nervous start, both players lost their opening two games before the Hackney hope took the first set inside 40 minutes.

Keothavong then survived a shaky moment at the start of the second set, but soon found her rhythm to take the match, moving through to the second stage of the competition for the fourth time in her career.

“I made it a little difficult for myself at times but I felt like I settled into the match well, and I never felt I was going to lose – it was just a case of getting the job done,” she said.

“I’ve played against Errani before and she’ll be a tough opponent. I’ll have to do things better if I’m going to have a shot. Everyone is beatable on any given day.”

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Keothavong’s delight was doubled later on Tuesday afternoon when she was given a wild card entry into the Games this summer.

No British woman qualified by ranking for the tournament, which will also be played at Wimbledon, but Keothavong, currently ranked 77th in the world, along with British No.2 Elena Baltacha have claimed two of the available six wild cards available in the women’s single draw.

Alongside those two British hopes, youngsters Heather Watson and Laura Robson were handed wild cards for the women’s doubles competition at the Games.