sport

Losing return for Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka made an unsuccessful comeback from injury while British duo Heather Watson and Johanna Konta both clinched victories at the AEGON International in Eastbourne.

Belarusian star Azarenka, who is a two-time Australian Open champion, was playing in her first competitive match since March having been sidelined with a foot injury and was defeated 4-6 6-3 7-5 by Camila Giorgi in the first round.

Azarenka won the first set and managed to stay on pace with her Italian opponent for nearly three hours but her resistance finally gave in at the end of the deciding set.

"I wanted a competitive match to test myself. The most important thing was that I was there playing and I was healthy,\" Azarenka said.

"I can always get better from here. I didn't expect a perfect match, but there are a lot of positive things that came out. I wanted to test myself and that's what I did.

"It feels great to know that I'm able to move how I want and not have my face like this (flinching) every time I step."

Giorgi will next face home hope Konta after the British No 3 comfortably saw off Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-2.

There was also good news for Konta's fellow Brit Watson, who progressed to the second round after beating former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 7-5 6-2.

Second seed Petra Kvitova also made it through, although she was made to work hard for a 6-1 5-7 7-6 (7-4) victory against Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova.

There was a surprise for third seed Jelena Jankovic who fell 6-3 6-3 to Madison Keys, while No 7 seed Sara Errani went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to Lauren Davis.

Daniela Hantuchova breezed past Roberto Vinci 7-5 6-1 and there were also wins for Elena Makarova, Varvara Lepchenko and sixth seed Flavia Pennetta, who will face Watson next.