Wimbledon winners return

2013 AEGON International, Legends

eastbournetenniscourtsLindsay Davenport and Rennae Stubbs, both former world no1s at Ladies Doubles and each victorious at the Wimbledon Championships, are set to treat the Devonshire Park crowd to their grass skills this year.

The pair, who have both claimed the crowns at Eastbourne, have signed up to compete in the Legends Exhibition Mixed Doubles matches at Eastbourne on Sunday June 16.

American Davenport, a former world no1 at Singles on the WTA Tour, had a wondrous 1999 at SW19 by beating German Steffi Graf for the Singles crown then added the Ladies Doubles title with fellow American Corina Morariu. She also took the Eastbourne title in 2001, one of her 55 WTA Tour triumphs over a 15-year period.

Australian Stubbs is a Doubles specialist who teamed up with compatriot Lisa Raymond to win the 2001 Ladies Doubles at Wimbledon and three years later added her second crown with South African Cara Black.

The two aces will be facing-off on opposite sides of the court with big-serving grass court specialists Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski, both former US Open runners-up. The Australian star will take on Rusedski at Singles before the Mixed Doubles contest.

Rusedski, the ex-British no1, explained: “I’ve had some tough matches against Mark and I enjoy playing on grass, so I’m looking forward to dusting down my racquet.”

Phillipoussis (1998) and Rusedski (1997) were both unseeded and each fell in four sets to Australian Patrick Rafter in tense US Open finals, but never reached the dizzy heights they achieved at the New York Grand Slam event.

Rennae Stubbs

Grass court specialist Stubbs

However, Philippoussis finished 2003 Wimbledon runner-up to Swiss star Roger Federer and collected 11 ATP Tour titles, including on grass at Queen’s in London in 1997. His last success was at Newport in the United States seven years ago, when he dethroned reigning champion Rusedski.

For Rusedski, Newport proved to be a happy hunting ground as he took the title three times and won the first (1993) and last (2005) of his 15 ATP Tour crowns on the grass courts.

Stubbs boasts an impressive record at Devonshire Park, having captured the Ladies Doubles title with American Lisa Raymond four times and finishing runner-up on four other occasions.

She revealed: “Eastbourne holds a special place in my heart because it was my last victory, my 60th title, in 2010. If you asked me to play in any tournament again, apart from Grand Slams, I would have always picked Eastbourne so I can’t wait to get back.”

 

Ladies – Monday 13 June 2011

Agnieszka Radwanska, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2011 AEGON International at Eastbourne

Venus off to winning start

Venus Williams booked a 2nd Round slot at the expense of German no5 seed Andrea Petkovic in a Centre Court thriller. The powerful ex-Wimbledon champion made a stuttering start after a five-month injury lay-off but captured the opening set 7-5 after moving up a few gears when trailing 3-2.

Martina Predicts for 2011Legend: Li has Wimbledon hope

Veteran Martina Navratilova, unable to play Legends Exhibition Singles at Eastbourne due to rain all day on Sunday, has predicted that 2011 French Open champion Li Na could be the player to watch at The Championships.

“If Li Na can cope with all of the attention that I’m sure she’s getting now she’s got a good shot at winning Wimbledon, and she does well on grass. She won Birmingham last year and her game transfers well on every surface.”

– Martina Navratilova

Li Na Q+ALi Na: Questions + Answers

Chinese ace Li Na talks about her 2011 French Open triumph, what she did and where she went after becoming the first Chinese Grand Slam champion, and her hopes for the future.

Powerless Peer continues poor slide

Fitness fanatic Sharar Peer, unable to string together back-to-back WTA Tour victories, returned from her brother’s wedding in Israel slow out of the traps and was easily defeated by Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez.

The Israeli no1, who made an unexpected early French Open exit, had no answer to the range of strokes from the solid Spaniard, and the contest was soon wrapped up 7-5 6-3 in a less than entertaining tie.

Stosur steamrollers past Petrova

Gutsy Australian Sam Stosur was in formidable form as she wiped the floor with Eastbourne regular Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-4.

The no7 seed, a real contender for the Eastbourne title, left the Russian for dead in a lop-sided opening set and appeared to be heading for a comfortable win before some delaying tactics by the veteran stopped the Queenslander’s rhythm, so Petrova took control at the net and exploited her opponent’s weak backhand at every opportunity.

Petra KvitovaKvitova’s killer instinct returns to grass

No5 seed Petra Kvitova made an uncharacteristic slow start before demolishing Lativian ace Anastasia Sevastova in three sets. The Czech ace, very capable of being crowned champion on a surface that suits her game, failed to adapt to the cloudy and blustery conditions and allowed Sevastova to attack at every opportunity.

Kvitova, keen to impress ahead of Wimbledon, bounced back to run riot and collect a deserved 5-7 6-1 6-3 victory to march into the second round.

Agnieszka RawanskaRisk-taker Radwanska rallies back

Former Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Rawanska bounced back from a slow start to register a 7-6 7-5 success over impressive Australian Jarmila Gajdosova.

The slippery Pole, who was crowned Devonshire Park queen in 2008, is one of the most dangerous unseeded floaters and could face a potential second round tie against 2011 French Open runner-up Francesca Schiavone, who has yet to impress on grass.

“I still want to focus on China right now. I’m still on the Tour, so I still want on the match, on the tournament and then to try the best to win. It doesn’t matter of I will lose in the first round or whether I win Wimbledon because I tried my best already.

“The French Open is over, so now I prepare for Eastbourne and also Wimbledon – I’m looking forward to playing at Wimbledon now.”