Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland (no1 seed), Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic (no2), ex-world no1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark (no3) and defending champion Marion Bartoli of France (no4) have no luxury of a bye during the 1st round at Eastbourne.
The ‘group of death’
Whenever you have last year’s SW19 Queen Kvitova and the highest seed after the top four slotted in the same quarter-final then you’ve got a ‘group of death’.
Kvitova gets Russian and former champion at Eastbourne winner Ekaterina Makarova, who pushed her to two tiebreaks last season at Devonshire Park on grass before falling.
German ace Angelique Kerber (no5) lays in the Czech’s path possibly during the 3rd Round.
Two qualifiers, another German, another Russian and Spaniard are also situated in this tricky section of the draw.
1st Round knockout
By no means is Kvitova safe but neither is (no3) Wozniacki, who now has her own underwear line so won’t want a pants performance against American Christina McHale.
McHale dismissed the great Dane in straight sets at Cincinnati last year, but Wozniacki got revenge in two sets when they met last summer. McHale comes right back at Wozniacki to try to go back ahead in the head-to-head series, attempting to shake off a rough loss in Birmingham last week.
Top three forecasts
- British sensation wildcard Heather Watson will win her first match against a qualifier.
- Bartoli, a two-hander on both wings, will beat her first two foes convincingly.
- Kerber will go the furthest of all the seeds in what I’m declaring to be one hell of a Wimbledon tune-up.
AEGON International final pick
Kerber to take crown from defending champion Bartoli.