By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Battling Bartoli, who failed to achieve a seeding as there are eight out of the world’s top 15 on the WTA Tour at Devonshire Park, was relegated to a sparsely attended Court No1 for her rain delayed 1st Round clash.
Ex-Wimbledon runner-up Bartoli showed the same unorthodox style and raw energy to give the Italian a lesson in finishing.
Yet Bartoli still possesses lofty ambitions of gaining Grand Slam glory, which was behind her temporary split with her father as coach in a bid to get French Fed Cup captain Amelie Mauresmo in to head ‘Team Bartoli’. The former world no1 was aware of the French Tennis Federation’s long-term stand-off with Bartoli and her father, so wisely rejected the advances of taking a coaching role.
This coaching upheaval has resulted in some poor showings with a string of recent 1st Round exits, including a dire struggle in Strasbourg to world no88 Camila Giorgi.
But Bartoli bounced back with aplomb from just over a month of misery to reel off a comfortable victory against an opponent who clearly had a few dubious linecalls to deal with as well as fired-up opponent.
2013 entrants – exclusive
- Squat a winner: Agnieszka Radwanska
- CLICK HERE FOR UP-TO-DATE LADIES ENTRANTS
Ladies (WTA Tour) // Another strong line-up at Devonshire Park will see former Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Radwanska provisionally head the seedings.
The 24-year-old Pole has been a regular favourite at the AEGON International and amongst the large Polish community in the seaside town.
Ex-Eastbourne winner, and briefly the world no1, Caroline Wozniacki returns to the AEGON International keen to sharpen her grass court skills ahead of The Championships at SW1.
Czech ace Petra Kvitova knows how to win on grass, having been crowned Wimbledon champion but failing to then crack the world’s top three as predicted by experts and former players.
Rising star Sara Errani of Italy and seasoned professional Marion Bartoli of France are among other big guns who will be fired up for a shot at glory.
The players set to compete at the 2013 AEGON International are:
- Agniezka Radwanska (Poland)
- Sara Errani (Italy)
- Angelique Kerber (Germany)
- Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
- Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
- Nadia Petrova (Russia)
- Maria Kirilenko (Russia)
- Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
- Marion Bartoli (France)
- Roberta Vinci (Italy)
- Sloane Stephens (USA)
- Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
- Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)
- Sorana Cirstea (Romania)
- Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
- Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
- Tamira Paszek (Austria)
- Alize Cornet (France)
- Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
- Elena Vesnina (Russia)
- Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
- Laura Robson (Great Britain)
- Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
- Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
- Brindisi, Italy
- Verbier, Switzerland
- 5′ 7 3/4″ (1.72 m)
- 128 lbs. (58 kg)
- Turned Pro
- Gabriel Urpi
Flavia Pennetta ended her debut season on the WTA Tour, in 2002, within the world’s top 100. Just two years later she captured her first trophy by winning at Sopot, Poland.
Since then she has won titles in every campaign, standing out as one of the WTA Tour’s most consistent players, although she has yet to claim a Grand Slam.
But Penetta is a doubles expert, playing alongside her seemingly inseparable playing partner Gisela Dulko of Argentina. The Italian won her first Grand Slam, the 2011 Australian Open, shortly after a spectacular 2010 season in which they won seven titles with Dulko.
2010 AEGON International
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Rezai delivers KO punch to Woz
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki became the first casualty in a day of shock opening round exit for many of the big guns, beaten 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 by Aravane Rezai.
The 19-year-old Dane found the blustery conditions on the opening Centre Court match almost as tricky as Rezai (pictured left) who glittered in her striking silver kit.
But top seed Wozniacki lost her composure at 4-4 to gift the French ace the opening set. And after Rezai called for her coach after taking the lead, Wozniacki raised her game to comfortably reel off the second set in style despite querying a number of line calls with the umpire.
Rezai upped the tempo from the start of the decisive set, and served 10 aces overall to grab victory with her second match point.
She tried to take the ball early and hit every shot. I’d like to have got some more matches here, but I just need to keep my head up and play some practice matches to prepare for Wimbledon.
– Caroline Wozniacki
Shock drop for Radwanska
Another former Eastbourne champion, no4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, made a shock exit in the opening round.
The Pole, who won at Devonshire Park in 2008, faced Victoria Azarenka in the first match of the day on Court No1 and after losing a tight opening set on the tiebreak lost all heart and form.
The part American-based and part Paris-based Belarussian upped her game to attack Radwanska and steamroll to a 7-6, 6-1 success.
Clijsters cleans up
With two former champions knocked out so early in the day, the 2005 Eastbourne winner Kim Clijsters was next up on court. However, the battling Belgian was menacing from the off against 20-year-old Fed Cup team-mate Yanina Wickmayer and stormed to a 6-1, 6-1 victory, much to the delight of the sparse Centre Court crowd.
Clijsters, whose previous match on grass was her 2006 Wimbledon semi-final defeat, ran away with the first set in 19 minutes but took 35 minutes to seal the second set.
She said: “From the beginning on I was very aggressive and really trying to go for the lines a lot, but Yanina wasn’t playing at her best.”
Nadia Petrova, a popular regular at Eastbourne, looked likely to suffer a swift exit on the outside courts against Croatian qualifier Karolina Sprem.
After a slow start and staring defeat in the face, the strong Russian rallied back and with the support of a vocal crowd took Sprem to a decisive third set tiebreak.
Petrova, who has a fantastic record at Devonshire Park, sealed success 7-4 in the tiebreak to register a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory.
And two other Russians booked their places in the next round. Qualifier Ekaterina Makarova was stunning on grass with her serve and volley tactics to see off Italian no6 seed Flavia Pennetta 7-6, 6-1.
Then 2004 Eastbourne champion Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Alisa Kleybanova in a topsy-turvy all Russian encounter 4-6 7-5 6-2.
Newly-crowned French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, the no2 seed, looked jaded on grass after her exploits on the Paris clay. Pretty Romanian Sorana Cirstea took full advantage to give the Italian the runaround and registered an impressive 7-5, 6-3 win.
Israeli no1 Shahar Peer, who is fighting to break into the world’s top 10 for the first time, continued her woeful string of results at Eastbourne with a shockingly poor performance after zooming past Jie Zheng in the opening set. But Zheng bounced back with aplomb and a change of tactics to record a worthy 1-6 6-1 6-3 triumph.
Rare British victories were the order of the day. Guernsey-based Heather Watson got the ball rolling by scything past Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets 6-3 6-2, which means Watson will break into the world’s top 250 for the first time.
And British no1 Elena Baltacha, a wildcard entry, was gifted a second round slot after Chinese ace Li Na retired in the final match of the day on Centre Court despite winning the first set tiebreak.
11:30 V.Azarenka defeated A.Radwanska 7-6 6-1
11:30 A.Rezai defeated C.Wozniacki 6-4 1-6 6-3
12:45 N.Petrova defeated K.Sprem 2-6 7-5 7-6
12:45 E.Makarova defeated F.Pennetta 7-6 6-1
14:00 K.Clijsters defeated Y.Wickmayer 6-1 6-1
14:10 H.Watson defeated A.Wozniak 6-3 6-2
14:30 J.Zheng defeated S.Peer 1-6 6-1 6-3
15:00 S.Cirstea defeated F. Schiavone 7-5 6-3
16:00 S.Kuznetsova defeated A.Kleybanova 4-6 7-5 6-2
17:30 E.Baltacha defeated L.Na 6-7 retired