Kerber’s back to business

2013 AEGON International, Angelique Kerber, News, Players, Sorana Cirstea

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Angelique KerberAngelique Kerber, the world no6, dispatched Sorana Cirstea on Tuesday with a business-like display in a tricky tie that keeps last year’s finalist on course to win Eastbourne.

Kerber reeled off a 6-4 6-4 success without ever really getting out of first gear as she drove past the equally pretty Cirstea in one of the clashes deemed to be a battle of the babes.

The German ace fluffed five match points to concede the 2012 AEGON International title to qualifier Tamira Paszek of Austria, so is expected to steamroll her way to another final.

But Romanian Cirstea was hardly steamrolled past, and put up a strong battle before bowing out in their entertaining 1st Round tie.

Unorthodox but effective Kerber had impressed during the clay court season, polished off by a last 16 place at the 2013 French Open, and continued her fine form against the gritty Cirstea.

Romanian Cirstea is consistent if not a winner, having only captured one WTA Tour crown during her career and a semi-final spot at the Pattaya Open her best run this term.

Cirstea matched Kerber in terms of the big shots, and was riding on a crest of confidence on grass following her run to the quarter-finals at last week’s AEGON Classic in Birmingham that lifted the Romanian to her highest world ranking of no22.

But Kerber’s power game eased her into the next phase, adding another straight set victory over Cirstea this season, and remains on course to come out on top at Eastbourne this year and not settle for second best again.

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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

2012 Ladies Singles – Tuesday’s Results

Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, Laura Robson, Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, Results, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, WTA Players

2012 AEGON International

1st Round

Jie Zheng lost to 3-6 6-4 3-6 Klara Zakopalova

Ekaterina Makarova won 7-5 6-4 v Petra Kvitova

Angelique Kerber won 3-6 6-0 7-5 v Elena Vesnina

Agnieszka Radwanska lost 2-6 4-6 to Tsvetana Pironkova

Su-Wei Hsieh lost 2-6 0-3 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Christina McHale won 6-1 6-7 6-4 v Caroline Wozniacki

Laura Robson won 3-6 6-2 6-2 v Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez

Timea Babos lost 6-3 3-6 6-7 to Lucie Safarova

Petra Cetkovska won 3-6 6-2 6-1 v Andrea Hlavackova

Marion Bartoli won 6-2 6-2 v Sorana Cirstea

Greta Arn lost 3-6 4-6 to Heather Watson

Stephanie Dubois won 6-4 6-4 v Carla Suarez Navarro

Bartoli’s big ask on grass

Marion Bartoli, Sorana Cirstea

MarionBartoliEB2012eventMarion Bartoli took one step closer to retaining her AEGON International crown by dismantling shell-shocked opponent Sorana Cirstea for the loss of just four games.

Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up and a regular at Eastbourne, plays an unorthodox game that has outfoxed opponents for years.

But the French ace is happiest when she returns to compete on grass courts, as she has proved.

She admitted:

“I’m really happy to be back on my best surface, my game suits grass.

“When you play on grass you need to have a lot of qualities in your timing. You have to play flat and inside the baseline, or close to the baseline – that’s really my game.

“I’ve played some great matches in Eastbourne for a lot of years now. I know that I have more of a chance to win Wimbledon than to win Roland Garros, that’s for sure.

“Yet you have the Williams sisters, who are so good on grass, and Venus is outside top 50 and you can draw her in the opening round.

“There are those two players who are set apart on grass and who are very, very difficult to beat. That makes it all very hard at Wimbledon.

“There’s a lot of examples of players losing very early here and going all the way in Wimbledon – or to the final of Wimbledon – which is obviously an amazing result.

“The grass court season is so short that it’s really hard to play a lot of matches on the surface. So for everyone it’s a matter of two, three, maybe the best four matches before going in.

“But for those top players, if they are able to go through the first two or three rounds, then they will find their rhythm and play better into the second week at Wimbledon.”

However, Bartoli battled on to deserved capture the Devonshire Park crown last year – when the Williams sisters made a comeback to the WTA Tour at Eastbourne, only to have a shortlived experience on Centre Court.

Bartoli added:

“I wish every tournament would be on grass. It’s a surface that I really like, and I feel like straightaway my game is really working every time just stepping on the grass.“It’s a lot easier for me than clay courts. But the clay court season is over and I just need to focus now on grass, and further on through the season.”

2012 Tuesday preview

Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, Sorana Cirstea, WTA Players

2011 Wimbledon winner

Courted success: Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon winner, is due to play her first grass court match since being crowned champion at SW19 when she opens up Centre Court proceedings against Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

But the 22-year-old Czech Republic ace faces a stern task as Makarova won the 2010 Eastbourne title.

Caroline Wozniacki, another former Devonshire Park champion, has a tricky task in her 1st Round clash against American Christina McHale second on Centre Court.

The great Dane has a new bite about since installing a coach to guide her back to her not so distant former glories. The ex-world no1 will be aiming to emulate her 2009 run to the title on her first return to Devonshire Park since that triumph.

The all-American clash between the big servers is a mouth-watering tie, third on Centre Centre. Andy Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, and Sam Querrey are playing well below their usual standard with a run at the AEGON International needed by both to boost much-needed confidence.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2008 Eastbourne winner and top seed, has a battle against Bulgarian beauty Tsvetana Pironkova in the second match on Court 1.

Marion Bartoli will begin the defence of her title by bringing her unorthodox French flair against Romanian Sorana Cirstea for the third match on Court 1.

Wozniacki served up dangerous draw

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Klara Zakopalova, Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, News, Players, Sorana Cirstea, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

2012 AEGON International draw | By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Caroline WozniackiCaroline Wozniacki, the former world no1 and ex-Eastbourne champion, has been set a stiff task at the AEGON International – her first return to Devonshire Park since triumphing in 2009.

The no3 seed has been drawn against tenacious teenager Christina McHale, widely regarded as the next best thing on the WTA Tour and expected to soon fill the big shoes of ailing veterans Serena and Venus Williams as the American no1.

The winner of this highly anticipated contest is pitched in the same quarter as another ex-world no1 in the shape of Ana Ivanovic, who is on the comeback trail under recently appointed British coach Nigel Sears. But the Serbian star, seeded no4, has a game that is suited to grass despite having never made much of an impact at Wimbledon.

However, Ivanovic faces a qualifier in the 1st Round then, if successful, the winner of China’s in-form Jie Zheng and the stunning Czech Republic ace Klara Zakopalova.

Petra Kvitova2012EBWhoever comes out of that quarter potentially faces Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the Czech Republic star who finished runner-up at last year’s Eastbourne final.

Kvitova was ousted by new world no1 Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros, so will be keen to obtain some grass court practice ahead of defending her title at SW19.

But Kvitova has been handed a nightmare opening round opponent in the form of Ekaterina Makarova, as the Russian is a former Eastbourne champion courtesy of a thrilling two set victory over Belarussian Victoria Azarenka in 2010.

In the same quarter there could be a 2nd Round clash between two talented young Germans, seeded Angelique Kerber and Mona Barthel. Both are deemed dark horses in the race to win the AEGON International, although South African Chanelle Scheepers will be planning a possible quarter-final showdown with Kvitova if she can see off Barthel in the opening round.

Marion BartoliMarion Bartoli, the defending Eastbourne champion, is set to face Romanian beauty Sorana Cirstea in the 1st Round.

The French ace, if she wins, would face the winner of Aleksandra Wozniak and Galina Voskoboeva. Bartoli is seeded for a quarter-final clash with Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the world no3 and top seed, leads a tough looking top quarter. The Pole, a former Eastbourne champion, is drawn against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova – who is known on the WTA Tour for causing upsets. The winner faces either Petra Cetkovska or Carla Suarez Navarro in the 2nd Round.

Daniela Hantuchova, who surprisingly slipped up in her 1st Round match on grass at Birmingham, has been handed an opening round showdown against Brit Anne Keothavong. And the Slovakian will already be eying up her potential 2nd Round opponent out of New Zealand no1 Marina Erakovic and Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, who for the tournament is based at her Godparents who live in Eastbourne.

 

2012 Ladies Entrants

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, EXCLUSIVE, Klara Zakopalova, Laura Robson, Lucie Safarova, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Provisional players for Eastbourne, not all in the main draw, are:

  1. Greta Arn 
  2. Mona Barthel
  3. Marion Bartoli
  4. Petra Cetkovska
  5. Sorana Cirstea
  6. Stephanie Dubois
  7. Marina Erakovic
  8. Daniela Hantuchova
  9. Andrea Hlavackova
  10. Su-Wei Hsieh
  11. Anne Keothavong
  12. Angelique Kerber
  13. Petra Kvitova
  14. Ekaterina Makarova
  15. Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez
  16. Christina McHale
  17. Li Na
  18. Tamira Paszek
  19. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
  20. Tsvetana Pironkova
  21. Agnieszka Radwanska
  22. Laura Robson
  23. Lucie Safarova
  24. Chanelle Scheepers
  25. Carla Suarez Navarro
  26. Elena Vesnina
  27. Galina Voskoboeva
  28. Heather Watson
  29. Aleksandra Wozniak
  30. Caroline Wozniacki
  31. Klara Zakopalova
  32. Jie Zheng 

Watson breaks duck

Caroline Wozniacki, Feliciano LOPEZ, Laura Robson, News, Results, Sorana Cirstea, WTA Players, Yanina Wickmayer

HeatherWatsonWINSEB2010Heather Watson registered her maiden WTA Tour triumph by overturning a top 50 player much to the delight of the supportive Centre Court crowd.

The 18-year-old Guernsey ace, who scythed through three qualifying rounds to reach the main draw, showed hunger and precision to tear apart Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak – the world no48 – 6-3 6-2.

Watson, ranked 344 going into the 2010 Aegon International, had been granted a wildcard to next week’s Wimbledon on the strength of her exceptional results at Devonshire Park.

And the US Open Junior champion impressed in only her third match in the main draw of a WTA Tour event despite the blustery conditions upsetting both players.

Watson admitted: “I’m so so happy, I was really glad to get through the qualifiers but I didn’t want to stop there.”

She saw off compatriot Anna Smith (world no265), Russian grass court specialist Tsvetana Pironkova (no81) and then Serbian Bojana Jovanovski (no108) in qualifying.

But Watson’s latest triumph eclipsed fellow Brit Laura Robson, the 2008 Wimbledon Junior champion, who has not won a main draw match on the WTA Tour but is only aged 16.

It was a day of shocks with world no3 and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki falling to France powerhouse Aravane Rezai in three sets. And the newly-crowned French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy succumbed in straight to Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

Former Eastbourne winner Kim Clijsters, the 2009 US Open champion, returned to winning ways in her first grass court tournament for four years away, by demolishing Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1 6-1 with aplomb.

British stalwart Elena Baltacha progressed against China’s Li Na after the no7 seed retired hurt before the start of the second set of what was a dull contest.

James Ward, the son of a London taxi driver, also made the 2nd Round courtesy of his opponent retiring.

The 23-year-old pulled off a shock success to record his inaugural win in a main draw event. He was leading Feliciano Lopez 6-3 5-4 on Centre Court, but the Spaniard threw in the towel by retiring from the contest citing a shoulder injury to concede defeat to the Great Britain Davis Cup player.

Ward described his victory over no2 seed Lopez as the “biggest of my career”.

However, the world no342 turned down a wildcard into the Wimbledon qualifying competition in order to compete at Eastbourne. He explained: “I was offered the chance to play here and I decided it would be best for my ranking.”