Hungry Hampton has recipe for success

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Klara Zakopalova, Lucie Safarova, News, Players, Sam Stosur, WTA Players
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
lucie safarova quarter-finalsLucie Safarova missed out on a second WTA Tour semi-final spot on the trot, upset by battling American qualifier Jamie Hampton in three sets on Thursday.
The world no41 bounced back from losing the opening set, when she was slipping and sliding around the No1 Court, but a gutsy display earned her a 3-6 7-6 6-4 success.
Initially the Czech ace’s thunderous forehand with formidable top spin was the real difference between the players, but once gutsy Hampton read her opponent’s tactics then the tide turned in an intriguing clash.
Hampton, who will move into the world’s top 30 next week courtesy of her incredible exploits at Eastbourne, made it back-to-back victories over Safarova after her impressive win at last month’s French Open.

Hungry Hampton had come through three qualifying matches and two main draw rounds with aplomb, having caused a sensation shock to dismiss top seed and world no4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the 1st Round.

But the 23-year-old Hampton was initially troubled by the high bouncing shots from Safarova that resulted in a set of unforced errors and was staring at defeat going into the second set tiebreak.

Hampton confidently took the game to the Czech, storming to a 7-1 tiebreak success and maintained the momentum going into the final set.

Hampton said: “Last year’s Wimbledon was my first match on grass, and everyone told me that I would have a ton of fun on grass – it turns out everyone was right!”

Safarova arrived at Eastbourne in tip-top form, having carved her way to the Nurnberg semi-final but suffering a shock reversal to Romanian Simona Halep.

She had impressed on grass, following up her win over compatriot Klara Zakopalova to then upset Australian wildcard Sam Stosur, only to fail to fend off the challenge of Hampton in her fifth shot at an Eastbourne title.

Whether history will repeat itself at Devonshire Park with a qualifier being crowned the ladies champion for a second season on the trot remains a question that only Hampton can answer.

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Six of the best from Safarova

2013 AEGON International, Lucie Safarova, News, Players, Sam Stosur, Su-Wei Hsieh, WTA Players
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Lucie SafarovaLucie Safarova made it six career victories over Australian wildcard Sam Stosur on Court 1 with a straight set success in 102 entertaining minutes.
The Czech ace only fired one ace in her comprehensive 7-6 6-3 triumph but was not always in command.
Former US Open champion Stosur, who suffered her sixth defeat in eight WTA Tour matches against the left hander, began confidently and racing into a 5-2 lead.
But then Safarova notched up a gear to pile the pressure on Stosur with some solid shots from the baseline and chasing every ball as though her life depended on it. And this tactic paid dividends, reeling off the next three games to level at 5-5.
Safarova forced a tiebreak and sealed that set 7-5 with controlled tennis to leave Stosur visibly fuming at making silly errors.
Stosur’s normally solid serve and and fierce forehand were both jittery, handing Safarova a perfect opportunity to book a 3rd Round berth.
Safarova held her serve immediately after breaking Stosur’s serve in the eighth game, and appears to be a force to be reckoned with this season at Devonshire Park.
American Jamie Hampton is next up for Safarova. The German-born qualifier saw off Taipei’s Su-Wei Hseih 6-4 7-6, running away with the tiebreak 7-2.

Safarova wins battle of Czech mates

2013 AEGON International, Ekaterina Makarova, Klara Zakopalova, Lucie Safarova, Nadia Petrova, News, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sam Stosur, WTA Players

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

Lucie SafarovaLucie 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.”

 

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

2013 entrants – exclusive

Agnieszk Radwanska
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:

  1. Agniezka Radwanska (Poland)
  2. Sara Errani (Italy)
  3. Angelique Kerber (Germany)
  4. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
  5. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
  6. Nadia Petrova (Russia)
  7. Maria Kirilenko (Russia)
  8. Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
  9. Marion Bartoli (France)
  10. Roberta Vinci (Italy)
  11. Sloane Stephens (USA)
  12. Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
  13. Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)
  14. Sorana Cirstea (Romania)
  15. Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
  16. Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
  17. Tamira Paszek (Austria)
  18. Alize Cornet (France)
  19. Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
  20. Elena Vesnina (Russia)
  21. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
  22. Laura Robson (Great Britain)
  23. Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
  24. Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Alize Cornet, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, EXCLUSIVE, Flavia Pennetta, Klara Zakopalova, Ladies Singles, Laura Robson, Li Na, Lucie Safarova, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Sloane Stephens, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, Varvara Lepchenko, WTA Players, Yanina Wickmayer, Yaroslava Shvedova

Lucie Safarova

2013 AEGON International, Lucie Safarova
Safarova, Lucie Safarova, Lucie

Birthplace:
Brno, Czech Republic
Residence
Brno, Czech Republic
Height
5′ 9″ (1.77 m)
Weight
137 lbs. (62 kg)
Plays
Left-handed
Turned Pro
2002 

Despite being one of the veterans of the female circuit, Lucie Safarova was orn in the Czech Republic in 1987, and turned pro in 2002 although did not make her first appearance in a main draw of a WTA tournament in 2005.

The 2005 season was her breakthrough, she went on to win two titles and broke into the world’s top 50. In 2006 she won the Gold Coast tournament and a few months later achieved her best result in a Grand Slam competition by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

2012 Ladies Singles – Thursday’s Results

Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, Results, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

2012 AEGON International

Quarter-finals

Marion Bartoli won 6-4 6-2 v Lucie Safarova

Klara Zakopalova won 6-3 7-5 v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Angelique Kerber won 6-2 6-4 v Ekaterina Makarova

Tsvetana Pironkova lost 0-6 4-6 v Tamira Paszek

Brilliant shine as Bartoli mops up

Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, News, Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Bartoli2012Marion Bartoli moved one step closer to retaining her AEGON International crown with another impressive display on her favourite surface.

The French star appearing much more formidable than when she won the 2011 Eastbourne title, overwhelmed Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-2 on Centre Court – and whacked down eight exceptional aces.

The no7 seed never got out of the starting blocks, with Bartoli dictating the game from her very start to stun the Czech Republic ace.

Bartoli, the no4 seed, conceded just two points on her serve and polished off the one-way contest with a thunderous ace to send Safarova crashing out with a whimper.

Bartoli, in her ninth Eastbourne event on the trot, admitted:

“I’m feeling in good form right now because I’m playing quite well – it’s good to have this kind of form before Wimbledon – and I’m feeling I’m serving well.

“But today I was glad to finish before the rain started. On grass you have to be very careful, because when it gets wet you can really hurt yourself quite badly – which is the last thing you want to do three days before a Grand Slam.

“So far I’m able to able to play well and to stay consistent into my matches, which is really important on grass.

“I truly feel it’s every time I’m playing the first match in a tournament. I was glad I was able to play quite well already, and I’m improving.”

 

2012 Ladies Singles – Wednesday’s Results

Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Laura Robson, Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, Results, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

2012 AEGON International

2nd Round

Heather Watson lost 6-7 1-6 to Lucie Safarova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won 7-5 3-6 6-4 v Christina McHale

Angelique Kerber won 6-3 6-2 v Chanelle Scheepers

Laura Robson lost 4-6 5-7 to Ekaterina Makarova

Tsvetana Pironkova won 6-0 4-6 6-4 v Stephanie Dubois

Marion Bartoli won 6-2 6-2 v Aleksandra Wozniak

Tamira Paszek won 6-4 3-6 6-1 v Daniela Hantuchova

Petra Cetkovska lost 1-6 6-1 2-6 to Klara Zakopalova

Safarova survives scare

Lucie Safarova, WTA Players

Lucie SafarovaEB2012Lucie Safarova sent brave Brit Heather Watson packing 7-6 6-1 to book her quarter-final berth.

The Czech Republic ace was fortunate to take the tiebreak 7-5 after trailing 4-1, but once her nerves had settled she brushed aside the 20-year-old from Guernsey in the opening Centre Court contest.

Watson explained:

It was a tough match. I didn’t serve as well as I wanted to. I was getting frustrated with it, and after that first set being up in the tiebreak and it being so close.

“My game kind of fell and I lost focus a bit. Before I knew it, it was already 4-1 in the tiebreak, then Lucie stepped up her game and didn’t give me anything after that.

“But I have had another few matches on grass, and I feel like I’m going to peak next week. I’m going to leave here with confidence, I’m feeling very ready for Wimbledon.”

She started the second set by breaking but failed to capitalise on taking an early lead, let down by her mediocre serving skills. And Watson faded after the disappointment of allowing the first set to slip from her grasp, despite a tenacious display.