Hsieh delivers KO punch to Konta

2013 AEGON International, Johanna Konta, News, Su-Wei Hsieh

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

johanna konta Johanna Konta, the British no3, was out of sorts to concede the knockout blow from Su-Wei Hsieh in a poor 1st Round encounter on Tuesday.

Wildcard Konta suffered from nerves on Court 3, surrounded by masses of British supporters, to stutter 6-4 6-3.

Eastbourne-based Konta, who moved to the town from Australia aged 14, was involved in a topsy turvy contest that comprised eight breaks of serve.

Konta trailed 4-2 in the opening set before squaring matters, only to allow Hsieh to break to take an important lead 6-4.

And Konta fluffed three break points in the next set, which lifted Hsieh to belatedly hit top gear and race away with the match.

Taipei’s Hsieh, the world no44, had showed more nous and experience to pick up the big points and wrap up each set once victory was in sight.

But Konta was not too dispirited ahead of her shot at Wimbledon and admitted: “I definitely had a tough match going out there and think I played quite well, it was just that she just took better advantage of her opportunities than I did.

“It was a good experience making my debut at Eastbourne, but I’ll go back to the practice courts.

“It’s all positive going into Wimbledon because this is another match under my belt and more experience playing girls at the top – I look forward to moving on from here.”

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2013 Ladies Draw

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Baltacha, Johanna Konta, Laura Robson, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sam Stosur, Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Ladies Draw

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Marion BartoliMarion Bartoli, a former Eastbourne champion, was the player most feared in the opening match for seeded players and others alike.
The tenacious and unorthodox French ace, who briefly parted ways from her father’s coaching, has always made an impression on the Devonshire Park grass – but faces Flavia Pennetta in her first match.
Bartoli has missed out on being seeded although briefly was the provisional no8 when Italian Sara Errani made a late withdrawal through injury.
Originally Aussie ace Sam Stosur was a swift replacement to relegate the 29-year-old from becoming a seeded player, but then Eastbourne regular Nadia Petrova of Russia took the last seeded place.
If Bartoli overcomes Italian Pennetta then she faces the winner of no2 seed Li Na and Alize Cornet.
Li was granted a wildcard entry following a poor performance at the 2013 French Open and post-match comments that upset her nation. The Chinese no1 and ex-Roland Garros champion will be eager to kick start her grass court season with progress at Devonshire Park.
Stosur, who only made late applications for wildcard entries at both Birmingham and Eastbourne grass court court events, dropped down the world rankings and out of the top 10 following a poor showing at Roland Garros.
She was usurped by Petrova, an Eastbourne favourite, as the no8 seed and fate would have it that they will face-off in the 1st Round with the winner to play either Angelique Kerber or Sorana Cirstea in the battle of the babes.
No3 seed Kerber fluffed five match points in the 2012 AEGON International final to Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, so the German will be determined to go one step better having learnt from her mistakes and is the most proable champion in a very demanding draw.
There are four other former Eastbourne champions in the draw – Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova plus top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.
Many are deeming the 2013 AEGON International to be a two-horse race between Radwanska – who faces either Su-Wei Hsieh or British wildcard Johanna Konta in the 2nd Round if she defeats a qualifier in her first match – and no5 seed Wozniacki who is the same half as the Polish ace.
Wozniacki faces Paszek in arguably the tie of the opening Round, with a 2nd Round clash against either British no1 Laura Robson or a qualifier on offer for the winner. Wozniacki fell in the 1st Round at last year’s Wimbledon to Paszek, who was riding on a crest of the wave with seven victories at Eastbourne to surprisingly pick up the crown.
Paszek may not be having the best season on the WTA Tour, and arrived at Devonshire Park for 2012 with a similar stop-start season, but she does excel on grass and reached the 2007 Wimbledon 4th Round aged just 16.
Paszek, who spends the tournament week staying with her Godparents who live in Eastbourne, said: “I have a tough 1st Round but it is such an amazing draw again this year. I’m going to give it my all and do my very best to win back-to-back titles.”
Petra Kvitova has never had much luck at Eastbourne, so the Czech Republic ace will be keen to put that record straight ahead of SW19. The Former Wimbledon winner is the no4 seed and has been drawn to face either Monica Niculesclesc in the 1st Round.
The glamorous pair of Russian Maria Kirilenko (no7 seed) and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic (no8 seed) should not detract from their impressive array of tennis weapons, although neither are likely to win the tournament.
Kirilenko is set to face Bojana Jovanoski with either Brit Elena Baltacha or a qualifier the 2nd Round opponent for the victor, while Ivanovic has been drawn against Elena Vesnina. The winner faces either British no2 Heather Watson or American ace Varvara Lepchenko.
Seeds are:
  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Nadia PETROVA

Ladies Draw:

(1)Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs (qualifier)
(WC)Johanna Konta (GBR) vs Su Wei Hsieh (TPE)
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) vs Lucie Safarova (CZE) [head-to-head 5-3]
(WC)Sam Stosur (AUS) vs (8)Nadia Petrova (RUS) [3-6]
(3)Angelique Kerber (GER) vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU) [1-1]
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) vs (q)
Laura Robson (GBR) vs (q)
Tamira Paszek (AUT) vs (5)Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [1-1]
(6)Maria Kirilenko (RUS) vs Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
(WC)Elena Baltacha (GBR) vs (q)
Christina McHale (USA) vs Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) [0-2]
Monica Niculescu (ROU) vs (4)Petra Kvitova (CZE)
(7)Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs Elena Vesnina (RUS) [2-0]
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs Heather Watson (GBR)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) vs Marion Bartoli (FRA) [1-3]
Alize Cornet (FRA) vs (2)Li Na (CHN) [0-2]

marion bartoli eastbourne 2012

Pride of place for Konta

Elena Baltacha, Elena Vesnina, Johanna Konta, News, Players, WTA Players

J Konta EB 2012The British pair of Johanna Konta and Elena Baltacha have been granted the last wildcard entries for the 2013 AEGON International.

It concludes a memorable week for 22-year-old Konta after receiving a wildcard into Wimbledon on Wednesday.

And British no6 Baltacha’sweek at the Nottingham Challenge has seen her progress into Saturday’s semi-final. 

Konta, the British no3, who has lived in Eastbourne since the age of 14, is relishing the opportunity to play in the main draw for the first time.

Granted British citizenship last summer, Konta was born in Australia to Hungarian parents but considers Eastbourne to be her home.

At the 2012 US Open Konta celebrated becoming with three qualifying triumphs and then a 1st Round success over Hungarian Timea Babos, a former Doubles partner.

At last year’s AEGON International, Konta saw off Stockport’s Naomi Broady in the 1st Round of qualifying only to then slip up to Russian Elena Vesnina.

The world no140 said: “I’m thrilled as Eastbourne is my home, so I hope to do the wildcard justice. It’s going to be great experience for me to play in the main draw in front of my home crowd.”

The 22-year-old has her work cut out in the toughest draw seen for a few years. Konta soared to the semi-finals at this month’s Nottingham Challenge on grass but the following week fell in the 2nd Round at Birmingham’s AEGON Classic.

Yet she came perilously close to causing a major upset at 2012 Wimbledon, but American ace Christina McHale took the 1st Round honours 10-8 in the third set in a dramatic match contested over two days on Court 17.

Elena BaltachaVeteran Baltacha, the former British no1 and a regular to Devonshire Park, was missing off the WTA Tour following a foot injury that required surgery after the London Olympics.

The 29-year-old said: “I feel as though I’m on cloud nine as the days.

“In the past few weeks a lot of things have happened, there are things thrown at me that I wasn’t familiar with after being out for so long.”

Konta will have to turn on the style and use the usually patriotic crowd to help lift her if she is going to make any impact at Devonshire Park in a fiercely competitive draw.

Yet Eastbourne has historically seen shock results and unexpected champions, so if Konta can remain keen then maybe she will one of the surprise floaters in the ladies event to make Eastbourne as proud of her as she is of the town.

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta, News, Players
johanna konta headBirthplace:
Eastbourne, England
Residence
Sydney, Australia
Height
5′ 11″ (1.78 m)
Weight
154 lbs. (70 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
2010

 
Johanna Konta moved to England from Australia aged 14, settling in Eastbourne.
 
Turned professional in 2010, played in first WTA qualifying matches without success at Copenhagen and Quebec City. Returned to the ITF Circuit to collect two Singles titles in 2010.
 
Made her debut in a main draw on the WTA Tour at 2011 Copenhagen after qualifying, only to fall at the first hurdle in the opening Round.
In 2012, Konta failed to get out of qualifying at Eastbourne then came with two points of a shock victory the following week at Wimbledon, only to lose 10-8 in a two-day contest to American Christina McHale.
 
Granted wildcard entries to three 2013 grass court tournaments – Birmingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon – seeking to break into the world’s top 100.

Radwanska’s role as leading lady

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Alize Cornet, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Baltacha, Elena Vesnina, Johanna Konta, Klara Zakopalova, Laura Robson, Li Na, Lucie Safarova, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Seeds, Sloane Stephens, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, Varvara Lepchenko, Yanina Wickmayer, Yaroslava Shvedova

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

Sara ErraniSara Errani, who brilliantly battled her way to the semi-finals at Roland Garros, misses Eastbourne with a late withdrawal.
The exciting Italian is suffering from both a foot injury and an abductor strain.
But her loss has elevated Aussie ace Sam Stosur to provisionally become a seeded player, although that is dependent following her shock exit at the 2013 French Open.
Russian regular Nadia Petrova and France’s Marion Bartoli are battling it out with Stosur to take the final no8 seeding.
Stosur, who only made late applications for wildcard entries at both Birmingham and Eastbourne grass court court events, will be among the players expected to progress during the week-long tournament.
With Li Na also granted a wildcard entry following a poor performance at the 2013 French Open, then the Chinese no1 has stepped into the shoes of Errani to take over as no2 seed. Li will be extremely eager to kick start her grass court season with progress at Devonshire Park.
Two former Eastbourne champions, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will provide stiff opposition on their favourite surface.
Angelique Kerber fluffed five match points in the 2012 AEGON International final to Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, so the German star will be determined to go one step better having learnt from her mistakes.
Former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova as never had much luck at Eastbourne, and the Czech Republic ace will be keen to put that record straight ahead of SW19.
Maria Kirilenko and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic will bring glamour to the courts as well as their amazing array of tennis weapons, although the Russian is unlikely to make much impact in a tough draw.
Seeds are:

  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Nadia PETROVA

Konta keen for grass act

Johanna Konta, Players, WTA Players

JohannaKontaWimbledon2012Johanna Konta, the Eastbourne-based world no168, joined Great Britain team-mate Anne Keothavong in failing to get out of the 2013 French Open qualifying but is ready for the grass court season.

The British no3 dismissed China’s Saisai Zheng 6-1 6-3 but then fell to Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva 4-6 6-3 7-5 in the 2nd Round qualifier at Roland Garros.

Konta admitted: “I must learn from my mistakes and I will work harder. Gutted is an accurate description of how I’m feeling right now. I’m getting physically stronger and I enjoy grass, even though it’s a short season.

“I’m really looking forward to the grass season and thrilled with the tournament coming up in Eastbourne as it’s my home event. I love it in Eastbourne as it is my getaway. I train up in London, which is very busy so when I come back it’s my little haven.”

The 22-year-old, born in Sydney to Hungarian parents, became a British citizen in May 2012 and trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton under Louis Cayer.

Konta reached her highest WTA Tour ranking of no142 in February 2013, but with an impressive showing at the grass court events at Birmingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon could break into the world’s top 100.