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Women’s sports round up: 7-13 January

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Welcome to 2013, and a brand new weekly feature from WVoN!

As you may have noticed, we thoroughly enjoyed the vintage year of sports that was 2012, so since our relaunch in October, we’ve been doing our bit in the effort to improve coverage of women’s sport.

Last year was full of positivity about the coverage of women’s sport, but already this seems to be dropping off.

There is no shortage of articles about how women need more coverage and more funding, but when it comes to actually reporting women’s results… very little.

The problem is widespread: a quick scan of the front sports pages of the Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC websites brings up a whopping one story about sportswomen.

Our voice may be a small one in comparison, but we think that the existing coverage is just not good enough.

So from today, we’ll be producing a weekly round-up of as many British women’s sporting results as we can muster.

Feel free to point out anything we’ve missed, and we’ll be on the case for next time.

Tennis:

A big week for British tennis – in comparison with the last few decades, at least – we now have two women inside the top 50 for the first time since 1987.

Laura Robson reached the second round of the Shenzen Longgand Gemdale Open in China last week, gaining just enough ranking points to reach the number 50 spot.

She is just 3 places behind Heather Watson, who broke into the top 50 at the end of last year.

Robson and Watson both reached the main draw of the Australian Open, which begins on 14 January, without needing to qualify, and both are ranked well above their first round opponents.

Watson plays Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu, ranked 89th, who has never won a match in a Grand Slam tournament.

Robson has a slightly tougher start to the tournament.

She is drawn against Melanie Oudin of the USA, who is ranked 82nd but once reached the 4th round of Wimbledon; in the second round, she faces 8th seed Petra Kvitova, or former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta, British numbers three and four, did not make it through qualifying.

In our final piece of tennis news, BT have signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association to broadcast as much as 800 hours of women’s tennis per year.

The deal is for four years, and allows BT to broadcast from 21 tournaments, including Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, and Beijing, as well as the tour championships in Istanbul in November.

Rugby:

In rugby, the fixtures for the Women’s Six Nations are out: England’s women will play Scotland, France and Italy at home.

Defending champions England have won their last seven tournaments, and thrashed world champions New Zealand to a 3-0 series win last autumn.

However, many of that series’ squad, including captain Katy McLean, will miss the Six Nations due to World Cup Sevens training.

The Six Nations squad will be captained by stand-in Sarah Hunter, who admits the tournament will be a challenge, but describes it as a chance for some of the squad’s less experienced players to shine.

Dressage:

Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin and her horse Valegro have regained the number one ranking, after winning the Reem Acra FEI World Cup event at the London Olympia last month.

Dujardin, who won gold in the individual and team dressage events at London 2012, also recorded a world record score in the Grand Prix at the event.

Laura Bechtolsheimer, also part of the winning Olympic dressage team, remains fourth in the world rankings.

Cricket:

In cricket news, the eight teams playing in the ICC Women’s World Cup revealed their squads this week; head over to the excellent Sportsister for full details.

The World Cup starts on 31 January. Check out our preview here.

In the week to come:

The first rounds of the Australian Open; young athletes including weightlifter Zoe Smith in action at the Australian Olympic Youth Festival; and Olympic Judo medallist Gemma Gibbons back in competition at the British Championships.

  1. Update: Heather and Laura both through the AO second round, both legends.

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