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.

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.

Radwanska flops to hard hitter Hampton

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

jamie hampton eb 2013Jamie Hampton continued the tradition of causing upsets at Eastbourne’s pre-Wimbledon tournament by inflicting a shock straight sets defeat over top seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

The American qualifier was in staggering fine form to net a 7-6 6-2 1st Round success over ex-Devonshire Park winner Radwanska on Tuesday.

Hard hitter Hampton, who had tasted defeat in all four WTA Tour encounters against the world no4, turned the tables on 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska.

Poland’s no1 was slow to get her game into gear but clawed back to 5-5 when Hampton was serving for the opening set. Radwanska fluffed her only set point at 6-5 and in the resultant tense tiebreak appeared jittery to fail miserably 7-2.

The 23-year-old then overwhelmed Radwanska throughout a one-sided second set to wrap up an incredible victory – her fourth in as many days at the seaside resort’s grass court event.

And there may be no stopping Hampton, who can take inspiration after Austria’s Tamira Paszek claimed the AEGON International by scything her way through seven matches – including qualifying.

German-born Hampton admitted: “I was a little rattled against her because the last time we played something similar happened with me speeding ahead.

“So I was thinking ‘I’m not going to crack. I’m going to hold on and get to a tiebreak.’ It worked out today for me!”

Radwanska’s game may lack raw power but her intelligent play on court has paid dividends with two titles this season and an incredible win-loss record of 28-9 going into Wimbledon.

Radwanska said: “I was a little bit scared to move even though it wasn’t slippery. Playing her in the first match on the grass was tough, and the fact that she played three matches before helped her a little bit.”