Wozniacki set for early arrival

Caroline Wozniacki, EXCLUSIVE, WTA Players

CarolineWozniacki2012Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Caroline Wozniacki is likely to be an early visitor to Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park following her disappointing clay court season.

The 2009 AEGON International champion suffered a shock 90-minute two set defeat to Serbian star Bojana Jovanovski at the 2013 French Open.

The former world no1 has tasted six defeats in her past eight matches on clay, so understandably is eager to return to grass.

And she has been restricted by WTA rules to compete at Birmingham’s AEGON Classic, as top 10 players are not permitted to enter more than two International Series events a season.

Wozniacki, 22, revealed: “I guess it’s good that it’s the last tournament on clay because it hasn’t been the best clay season this year for me. So now I shall just go back and practice again as I try to prepare for Wimbledon.

“I will most likely go to Eastbourne a bit earlier to get some longer practice on grass. I really like it there and it’s a great tournament – I love playing on grass.

“It’s one of my favourite tournaments atmosphere wise, so I don’t mind going a bit earlier. Every time I go to Eastbourne I always feel happy, so I’m excited to go and play on it.”

Wozniacki’s blonde ambitions

Caroline Wozniacki, EXCLUSIVE, News

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Caroline Wozniacki’s ‘This is me’ underwear range

Caroline Wozniacki, the former Eastbourne champion, has dropped from world no1 to no7 in only six months – but has title ambitions again.

The blonde Dane has suffered a 10-month drought without capturing a WTA Tour title, and has been widely criticised across the media as this slump in form has gone hand in hand with her romance to golfing ace Rory McIlroy.

Wozniacki, who proved a popular Devonshire Park champion in 2009 followed that triumph later that year by finishing runner-up in the US Open.

The 21-year-old recently installed new coach Thomas Johansson, the former Swedish Davis Cup star, to help her return that winning edge which propelled her to world no1 at the end of last season before she slid down the rankings this term.

Wozniacki said:

“I brought Thomas in to help out as he has so much experience and he can hopefully make a difference – but ultimately I am in charge as I hit the shots.

“Eastbourne is a good ahead of Wimbledon. Grass is a surface where you really need to be on your toes, but it can go against you so quickly.

“And I have to believe I can win Wimbledon this year because the women’s game is wide open – you never know what will happen.”

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.

 

Wozniacki plans swift return

Caroline Wozniacki, EXCLUSIVE, News

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

carolinewozniacki-2012exclusiveCaroline Wozniacki will bring in coach Thomas Johansson after the 2012 French Open in a bid to return to the world no1 spot.

The Danish ace was world no1 for the majority of 2011, but since her well-publicised romance with professional golfer Rory McIlroy her results have been indifferent – and is perilously close to dropping out of the world’s top 10.

Wozniacki, who won the 2009 Eastbourne crown, has been delighted by the trial coaching from Johansson.

Team Wozniacki has contracted the 37-year-old former ATP Tour professional until the end of 2012 US Open.

Her father Piotr explained:

“We have made agreements and put together a plan with him, but he also has other work and a family.

“He is very experienced and has played tennis at a high level, so he can see some things others might not see.

“It is good that he also lives in Monaco, so we can all work together. He will be ready when we get back from Roland Garros.”

Johansson, who reached the top 10 at singles and captured the 2002 Australian Open crown, enthused:

“Caroline’s a great player and she should be a fixture in the world’s top three.

“We must give it some time because one doesn’t make miracles in such a short time.”

 

Wozniacki under strain

Caroline Wozniacki, News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

wozniackiebdoubt12Caroline Wozniacki, set to return to Eastbourne for the first time since winning at Devonshire Park in 2009, appears to be coming under immense pressure ahead of Roland Garros.

And health permitting the 21-year-old is eager to warm up for the back-to-back grass court tournaments of Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympics.

The Danish ace, eager to capture her inaugural Grand Slam title, gave up during her match at the Italian Open because of a respiratory illness.

The former world no1, heavily criticised by players – past and present – for reaching top spot on the WTA Tour without a major title, trailed 6-4 4-0 in Rome against Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Wozniacki consulted medics after losing the opening set of the 2nd Round tie but conceded defeat following advice from her physio in relation to her breathing difficulties.

The great Dane spent most of the 2011 season as world no1, but has slipped down the rankings and is only just inside the top 10.

Wozniacki appears to have been on a downward spiral ever since her romance with Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, which has included the exit of two coaches before returning to her father as permanent coach.

If Wozniacki is forced to skip the 2012 French Open then she will hopefully return to Eastbourne eager to impress, and not be unable to compete ahead of Wimbledon.

Wozniacki will return

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, EXCLUSIVE, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, WTA Players

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Caroline Wozniacki, who claimed her first grass court WTA Tour title by taking the 2009 AEGON International crown, is set to return to Devonshire Park.

The great Dane, a recent world no1, proved to be a popular winner at Eastbourne. But she has not been back to warm-up for Wimbledon since her triumph.

Wozniacki and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska were the two up and coming aces at the 2009 Eastbourne event, both delighting the Centre Court with their incredible talents.

Ex-Eastbourne champion Radwanska is back at Devonshire Park and so far in 2012 is the in-form player alongside Belarussian Victoria Azarenka. However, Azarenka – who made her Eastbourne debut last year – has risen to world no1 since her grunts were heard all over Devonshire Park, and she has not entered the 2012 AEGON International.

Top 10 player Marion Bartoli is scheduled to defend her title, although the former Wimbledon finalist has been dealt a cruel blow by the French Tennis Federation by being denied an Olympic berth for not playing in Fed Cup ties.

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova and Russian Vera Zvonareva, the former world no2, are returning to grace the grass courts at Eastbourne – with both in with a shot of claiming the 2012 crown.

Although rejuvenated Serb star Ana Ivanovic – an ex-world no1 – will be aiming to win her first title under new coach Nigel Sears, having impressed on the 2011 grass court season and aiming to return to her former glories.

2009 Men’s Singles Results

Results

2009 AEGON International

Singles first round

winner result loser
I. Ljubicic 7-6, 7-5 A.Seppi
R. Ginepri 6-3, 6-4 A. Golubev
D. Istomi 7-6, 7-5 K.Kim
J. Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-2 P-H.Mathieu
S. Querrey 6-2, 7-5 P. Capdeville
A. Bogdanovic 6-4, 7-6 I. Minar
G. Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-7, 6-2 E. Korolev
J. Ward 6-1, 6-3 V. Crivoi
L. Mayer 6-4, 6-2 E. Schwank
J. Goodall 6-4, 6-1 T.Ito
B. Klein 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 T. Gabashvili
F. Santoro 6-3, 6-2 R.Kendrick
C.Fleming 6-7, 6-1, 3-6 Y-H. Lu
F. Dancevic 7-6, 6-2 I. Andreev
J. Benneteau 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 M. Youzhny
D. Tursunov 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 F. Fabio

Second round

player one result player two
A. Bogdanovic 7-6, 4-6, 6-7 D. Tursunov
S. Querrey 6-3, 6-7, 4-6 D. Istomin
F. Dancevic 7-6, 6-4 J. Ward
L. Mayer 6-4, 6-4 J. Benneteau
F. Santoro 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 R. Ginepri
G. Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 Y-H. Lu
I. Ljubicic 6-3, 7-5 J. Goodall
J. Tipsarevic 7-6, 6-1 B. Klein

Quarter-finals

player one result player two
F. DANCEVIC 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 L. MAYER
F. SANTORO [4] 3-6, 4-2, retired I. LJUBICIC
G. GARCIA-LOPEZ [8] 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 J. TIPSAREVIC
D. ISTOMIN 6-7, 4-6 D. TURSUNOV [2]

Semi-finals

player one result player two
F. DANCEVIC 6-4, 6-4 F. SANTORO [4]
G. GARCIA-LOPEZ [8] 2-6, 2-6 D. TURSUNOV [2]

2009 final

player one result player two
D. TURSUNOV [2] 6-3, 7-6 F. DANCEVIC

2009 Men’s Final

Results

2009 AEGON International Final

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd at Eastbourne

Dmitry-Tursunov2009EBwinnerDmitry Tursunov (Russia) defeated Frank Dancevic (Canada)  6-3, 7-6

“It’s good to win, it doesn’t matter which surface it is on,” served up newly-crowned Eastbourne 2009 singles champion Dmitry Tursunov after capturing his first title of the season.

The Miami-based Russian, originally from Moscow, had struggled in the first three rounds to overcome opponents but had few problems in sealing success at the AEGON International at the expense of qualifier Frank Dancevic 6-3, 7-6.

Tursunov did not face a break point and served a dozen aces on his way to romping to victory.

The tournament no2 seed walked away with the opening set as Canadian serve and volley expert Dancevic played defensively. 

And Tursunov’s participation was in slight jeopardy after he required treatment to his ankle midway through the second set, which had previously resulted in a two-month rest from the ATP Tour.

“It’s a great feeling. I suffered a bit in the second set, but now I feel great,” admitted Tursunov.

“Playing on grass can be tough because we only get three or four weeks on it so players are a bit like cats in water, but it seems like a good surface to me.

“Obviously it’s given me some practice on grass, which is very important in the lead-in to Wimbledon as last season I didn’t play as many matches ahead of Wimbledon.

“It is human nature to want to beat someone else – whether it’s Eastbourne, Wimbledon or beating your grandmother at chequers – as it always feels good to win.”

Road to 2009 Men’s Final

Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI

eastbournetenniscourts

2009 AEGON International Men’s Final

Preview by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Russian no2 seed Dmitry Tursunov (world no27)
vs.
Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic (world no126)

Frank DancevicFRANK DANCEVIC ||| Canadian, Unseeded 
At 6’1″ Canadian Frank Dancevic may not have been a giant but he has been the giantkiller of the first ever ATP Tour event at Eastbourne and has constantly played on Centre Court.

He managed to pick up the pieces in the main draw after squeezing through the qualifying rounds despite a slight injury that jeopardised his involvement against the top seed on Monday.

Had he not faced such an opportunity as playing someone in the world’s top 30 – and on Centre Court – then Dancevic may well have rested for next week’s Wimbledon. And he played out of his skin to spectacularly see off Russian Igor Andreev, 7-6(6), 6-2. 

Given slightly more trouble to dispatch British wildcard James Ward, who at world no224 was the only player ranked lower than him that he’s faced in the main draw, Dancevic edged through the second round contest 7-6(6), 6-4 in the second round.

He avoided playing a seed in the quarter-finals because France’s Julian Benneteau upset no5 seed Mikhail Youzhny, a quarter-finalist at Queen’s Club the previous week, and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer beat Benneteau. The encounter against world no70 Mayer proved to be Dancevic’s toughest match en route to the final despite the 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 result.

“It was a difficult match and I was lucky to hang in there,” said the 24-year-old. “I came into this tournament wanting to get a few matches before Wimbledon and I’m on a pretty good roll. Grass is definitely one of my favourite surfaces and when I play on grass I feel at home.”

In a one-way semi-final Dancevic defeated no4 seed Fabrice ‘The Magician’ Santoro. The French veteran remains a force to be reckoned with, despite playing his final year on the ATP Tour, but Dancevic survived the legendarily tricky shots coming from the other side of the net to progress 6-4, 6-4.

“I played super aggressive today against Fabrice,” admitted serve and volley expert Dancevic. “It was a difficult match because of the way he plays and the wind, but I went out thinking I’m going to go for everything and hit the ball as hard as I can.”

Dancevic has played in one ATP Tour final, beaten by Dmitry Tursunov at 2007 Indianapolis.

Final record || won 0 lost 1

DMITRY TURSUNOVEB2009DMITRY TURSUNOV ||| Russian, Seeded no2
As expected, Dmitry Tursunov has reached the inaugural ATP Tour final at Devonshire Park. The world no27 opened his campaign by struggling against enthusiastic Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

The 26-year-old Russian was almost out of the tournament in the second round when he was fully stretched by Alex Bogdanovic in a three set thriller on Centre Court.

Tursunov found himseld trailing 5-3 in the final set tiebreak to the ace British qualifier before grabbing the next four points to seal a nervy 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(5) success.

And Tursunov admitted: “I thought I played well, I played a good tiebreaker,” said Tursunov. “He’s a difficult guy to play, he’s got all the shots. I definitely think he should be ranked much higher than he is but he just needs to put everything together.”

The entertaining Russian’s brush with failure has since seen him in emphatic form. He pulled off victory in a very close quarter-final to oust Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 7-6(6), 6-4, who had seen off no6 seed Sam Querrey.

But Tursunov’s most comprehensive win was surprisingly reserved for his semi-final showdown with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The no8 seed seemed to have run of out steam after impressively defeating Russian Evgeny Korolev, Andy Murray’s Olympic conquerer Yen-Hsun Lu, and Serbian grass court expert Janko Tipsarevic.

Although Garcia-Lopez hit a string of winners off that showed more variety in his tactics than the Russian, it was Tursunov’s trademark power that paid dividends with a flattering 6-2, 6-2 result. But his lack of volleys give the game away as to why the sturdy Russian is not really a force to be reckoned with among the world’s top 10.