By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
2011 AEGON International at Eastbourne
Venus Williams booked a 2nd Round slot at the expense of German no5 seed Andrea Petkovic in a Centre Court thriller. The powerful ex-Wimbledon champion made a stuttering start after a five-month injury lay-off but captured the opening set 7-5 after moving up a few gears when trailing 3-2.
Veteran Martina Navratilova, unable to play Legends Exhibition Singles at Eastbourne due to rain all day on Sunday, has predicted that 2011 French Open champion Li Na could be the player to watch at The Championships.
“If Li Na can cope with all of the attention that I’m sure she’s getting now she’s got a good shot at winning Wimbledon, and she does well on grass. She won Birmingham last year and her game transfers well on every surface.”
– Martina Navratilova
Chinese ace Li Na talks about her 2011 French Open triumph, what she did and where she went after becoming the first Chinese Grand Slam champion, and her hopes for the future.
Powerless Peer continues poor slide
Fitness fanatic Sharar Peer, unable to string together back-to-back WTA Tour victories, returned from her brother’s wedding in Israel slow out of the traps and was easily defeated by Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez.
The Israeli no1, who made an unexpected early French Open exit, had no answer to the range of strokes from the solid Spaniard, and the contest was soon wrapped up 7-5 6-3 in a less than entertaining tie.
Stosur steamrollers past Petrova
Gutsy Australian Sam Stosur was in formidable form as she wiped the floor with Eastbourne regular Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-4.
Kvitova’s killer instinct returns to grass
No5 seed Petra Kvitova made an uncharacteristic slow start before demolishing Lativian ace Anastasia Sevastova in three sets. The Czech ace, very capable of being crowned champion on a surface that suits her game, failed to adapt to the cloudy and blustery conditions and allowed Sevastova to attack at every opportunity.
Kvitova, keen to impress ahead of Wimbledon, bounced back to run riot and collect a deserved 5-7 6-1 6-3 victory to march into the second round.
Risk-taker Radwanska rallies back
Former Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Rawanska bounced back from a slow start to register a 7-6 7-5 success over impressive Australian Jarmila Gajdosova.
The slippery Pole, who was crowned Devonshire Park queen in 2008, is one of the most dangerous unseeded floaters and could face a potential second round tie against 2011 French Open runner-up Francesca Schiavone, who has yet to impress on grass.
“I still want to focus on China right now. I’m still on the Tour, so I still want on the match, on the tournament and then to try the best to win. It doesn’t matter of I will lose in the first round or whether I win Wimbledon because I tried my best already.
“The French Open is over, so now I prepare for Eastbourne and also Wimbledon – I’m looking forward to playing at Wimbledon now.”