By Xavier Harley-Rudd
Lucie Safarova’s lethal forehand drives saw off the challenge of close friend Klara Zakopalova 6-4 7-6 for a first ever grass court victory over her Czech compatriot.
The world no28 found depth, pace and precision outfox blonde babe Zakopalova for only the fourth time out of their nine WTA Tour meetings – taking the tiebreak 7-3
Another Czech made it through the 1st Round, 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova swept the floor with unorthodox Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-1, who predictably sliced the ball on the forehand shots to trouble Kvitova.
Ex-Eastbourne champion Ekaterina Makarova outclassed Russian compatriot and qualifier Olga Puchkova 6-3 6-0 in their inaugural showdown on the WTA circuit.
The world no87 simply had no answers to left-hander Makarova’s strong serves and punching backhand drives. And Makarova is a force to be reckoned on grass and following a run to the 2013 Australian Open quarter-finals she seems a real threat in the draw.
Sam Stosur warmed up for Wimbledon by scattering no8 seed Nadia Petrova with a scintillating 6-2 6-3 victory on Court 2.
The Australian wildcard, who admits that her least favourite surface is grass having never got further than the 3rd Round at Wimbledon, was in formidable form.
She said: “The biggest thing is not putting too much pressure on yourself to make sure everything is as perfect as what it might be on another surface.
“Sometimes you have got to let go from that and understand that there’s going to be some rough points in a match and some great ones – today I find my depth and enough control.”