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.

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

Klara Zakopalova

2013 AEGON International, Klara Zakopalova
Zakopalova, KlaraZakopalova, Klara

Birthplace:
Prague, Czech Republic
Residence
Prague, Czech Republic
Height
5′ 5 1/4″ (1.66 m)
Weight
121 lbs. (55 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
1999
She cracked the world’s top 100 in 2003, the year that she reached the 3rd Round of the Australian Open, at no76.

The following season she edged into the world’s top 50 when she finished runner-up twice, at Hertogenbosch and Sopot in Poland.

Her 2005 saw Zakopalova claim her first WTA Tour crown, winning at Hertogenbosch, then following it up with the Portoroz title but from 2007 until she slipped out of the top 50 until 2010.

Zakopalova made the top 30 for the first time in 2012, which included two semi-final appearances – at the Paris Indoors event and Eastbourne’s AEGON International.

2012 Eastbourne Tennis Videos

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Klara Zakopalova, Marion Bartoli, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

Paszek problem for Bartoli

Angelique Kerber, Marion Bartoli, Tamira Paszek

Tamira Paszek saw off the challenge of French star Marion Bartoli with a fiercely-fought three set thriller over 185 gruelling minutes.

The 21-year-old Austrian ace saw off the defending champion 4-6 7-5 6-4 in blustery conditions on Centre Court.

Paszek, the world no59, admitted:

I had to try to keep moving and keep focused because it was very, very tough conditions out there.

“It was very, very tough, I just had to try to keep moving, keep my focus. I was actually pretty calm. But I felt my hands were freezing cold all through the match.

“I wasn’t frustrated with the way it is, the weather was that way. You cannot change Mother Nature, so for that reason I just tried to keep focus on every point.

“It feels amazing to be in the final, and I love Eastbourne – it feels like home coming back every year.”

Paszek will play in her first WTA final this term, and in her maiden Eastbourne title decider.

She faces rising German star Angelique Kerber who thrashed Czech Republic’s Klara Zakapolova 6-0 6-3 in an hour.

Beaten Bartoli, who needed her thigh strapped when trailed 3-2 in the final set, fumed:

It was a nightmare to play in those conditions! I got chances in every single game and ended up losing them.

“My leg got pretty tight and then tired, but I think in two or three days it will be back to normal.

“In these conditions, even if I was leading, I never felt comfortable. I didn’t make one ace today, where yesterday I served 10 or 12. It’s really levelling when you have those kind of conditions.

“But I really tried my hardest, and there is not much I could have done better or try harder. On the other hand Tamira played really well, she deserved to win.”

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

Five alive from Zakopalova

Angelique Kerber

Klara ZakopalovaEB2012Klara Zakopalova will face rising German star Angelique Kerber for an intriguing semi-final contest following her dismantling plucky Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Czech Republic always had the upper hand against Pavlyuchenkova, running away with the opening set 6-3.

But she seemed to have a ‘blonde moment’ with a torrid start to the second half and trailing 5-2.

With the rain clouds hovering over Devonshire Park, Zakopalova calmed her nerves to play a more aggressive game and up the tempo.

But rain interrupted the match, after Pavlyuchenkova’s sixth double fault had given Zakapalova a break point – which she converted to lead a set and 6-5.

Following the rain break, the pair came back for three minutes as Zakapaolov closed out to triumph.

The spectators at Court 1 had been treated to an intriguing battle as well as spectacular shots, with Zakopalova capturing five games on the bounce to book her berth in the last four – and ultimately a shot at winning the title.

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

Blonde’s dizzy heights

Klara Zakopalova, WTA Players

Klara ZakopalovaEB2012Klara Zakopalova overcame Petra Cetkovska 6-1 1-6 6-2 in the battle of the Czech Republic beauties.

Stunner Zakopalova raced away with the opening set, only for Cetkovska to level matters by dropping just one game in the second set.

But the blonde ambition of Zakopalova was enough to beat the talented and plucky brunette and an Eastbourne quarter-final spot.