Li’s lesson in finishing for Cornet

2013 AEGON International, Alize Cornet, Li Na, News

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

li na 2013Li Na’s less than polished performance left Alize Cornet dazed and confused after the world no6 handed her a finishing lesson on Centre Court on Tuesday.

The Chinese no1 was slow off the blocks before turning on the style to ease into the 3rd Round with a 6-2 6-4 triumph, which was delayed by 30 minutes because of a spectator injury.

Li, who hit the heady heights of becoming the 2011 French Open champion, has struggled recently and upset the media in China with abrupt comments.

But Li breezed past her French opponent despite the initial shockingly series of breaks of serve – four in the first six games.

Once Li found her footing on the surface following a testing clay court season, then she moved into cruise control to roll away with the opening set.

Cornet’s nerves showed at 2-2, losing her serve, but there came what proved to be a timely delay to the tie following a spectator injury that required East Sussex Fire Brigade to come to the rescue as they were there for a familiarisation tour.

The half-an-hour delay at least gave Cornet some time for thought, but the power game employed by gutsy Li proved too hot to handle.

 

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Six appeal for Wimbledon ladies

Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Vesnina, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, News, Petra Kvitova, Players

aegon international 2013Six of the top 10 seeds for 2013 Wimbledon are competing at Eastbourne in a warm-up for the coveted Grand Slam event.

Former Devonshire champion Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest of the seeds (no4) playing at Devonshire Park, Li Na (no6), Angelique Kerber (no7), ex-Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova (no8), former AEGON International titleholder Caroline Wozniacki (no9) and Maria Kirilenko (no10) make up six of the best.

And there are 10 other players at Eastbourne who have also been seeded, including Serbian Ana Ivanovic who made a brief appearance at the 2013 AEGON International after being stunned in three sets by Russian Elena Vesnina.

2013 Wimbledon seeds for Ladies Singles draw:

  1. Serena WILLIAMS
  2. Victoria AZARENKA
  3. Maria SHARAPOVA
  4. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  5. Sara ERRANI
  6. LI Na
  7. Angelique KERBER
  8. Petra KVITOVA
  9. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  10. Maria KIRILENKO
  11. Roberta VINCI
  12. Ana IVANOVIC
  13. Nadia PETROVA
  14. Sam STOSUR
  15. Marion BARTOLI
  16. Jelena JANKOVIC
  17. Sloane STEPHENS
  18. Dominika CIBULKOVA
  19. Carla SUAREZ NAVARRO
  20. Kirsten FLIPKENS
  21. Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA
  22. Sorana CIRSTEA
  23. Sabine LISICKI
  24. PENG Shuai
  25. Ekaterina MAKAROVA
  26. Svetlana KUZNETSOVA
  27. Varvara LEPCHENKO
  28. Lucie SAFAROVA
  29. Tamira PASZEK
  30. Alize CORNET
  31. Mona BARTHEL
  32. Romina OPRANDI

Errani withdrawal promotes Stosur

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, EXCLUSIVE, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sam Stosur, Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, Yaroslava Shvedova

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Sam Stosur Sam Stosur has been elevated to the no8 seeding as Italian Sara Errani withdrew from Eastbourne on Thursday afternoon.

Errani, who reached the semi-finals at the French Open but only picked up a single game against eventual champion Serena Williams, is suffering from a foot strain and an abductor strain.

The Aussie ace, who only opted for late wildcards at the grass court tournaments in Birmingham and Eastbourne instead of practice.

Her trademark kick serve is exposed to daze and confuse opponents, with the rest of the seeded players probably breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t have to face her in the opening round.

And with an incredible line-up for this year’s pre-Wimbledon tournament at Eastbourne, it is probably the best place to watch grass court tennis outside of The Championships at SW19.

Six former champions – Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek and Ekatrina Makarova – face stiff competition from the world’s leading ladies.

German Anglique Kerber, who let five match points slip in last year’s final, will be amongst the favourites to be crowned 2013 AEGON International champion.

Petra Kvitova, the Czech Republic’s 2011 Wimbledon winner, has the ability to go all the way on grass whereas top 10 ace Chinese no1 Li Na does not have the style of game particularly suited to grass.

However, grass court experts Stosur and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic will be relishing the opportunity of competing against the top players ahead of Wimbledon, although neither are likely to lift the crown on 22 June 2013.

There are an intriguing trio of Russians also in with a chance of making the final. Maria Kirilenko will be joined by relative veteran Nadia Petrova on their respective hunt for glory.

Players to watch, but who won’t be crowned 2013 Eastbourne champion, include British youngsters Laura Robson and Heather Watson.

America’s rising star Sloane Stephens and Kazakhstani’s Yaroslava Shvedova have withdrawn from the event.

Seeds are:

  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Sam STOSUR

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

Li adds six appeal

Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na, News, Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Li Na, the formLi Na 2013er French Open champion, has been granted a wildcard entry into the 2013 AEGON International following her surprise exit at the French Open – as exclusively revealed by EastbourneTennis.com.

The 31-year-old Chinese no1, who upset the Chinese media with her abruptness after a poor showing at Roland Garros, is one of six stars from the WTA Tour’s world top 10 to compete at Devonshire Park.

Li joins the ex-Eastbourne champions Agnieszka Radwanska an d troubled Caroline Wozniacki in the draw alongside other top 10 aces Sara Errani, former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and last year’s runner-up Angelique Kerber.

Li said: “It’s great preparation for Wimbledon at Eastbourne because the grass courts are immaculate.

“I’m delighted to be heading back, I was last there two years ago.”

Li likely for wildcard

Li Na, News, Players

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

li-na china's no1Li Na, whose controversial comments to Chinese media following her earliest ever French Open exit, is going to request a wildcard for the 2013 AEGON International according to sources close to http://www.eastbournetennis.com

Li, twice a Wimbledon quarter-finalist and 2011 French Open champion, hasn’t entered the grass court event in Birmingham so is expected to be at Devonshire Park for what promises to be a tough draw in the Ladies event.

The Chinese no1 was questioned after her three set defeat to American ace Bethanie Mattek-Sands but did not take kindly to this.

Li retorted: “Do I need to explain? It’s strange. I lost a game and that’s it. Do I need to get on my knees and apologise to them?”

Zhang Rongfeng, a journalist for China’s official press agency Xinhua News, has controversially reported: “Her bad temper and losing the game and were direct triggers of her episode at the presser.

“But if we take a closer look, her unfriendliness has a lot to do with her lack of professionalism. As a successful athlete, Li Na may be very professional with her training, game experience, PR team operation, and so on – but she is not with her attitude towards the media. She’s impatient and not respectful enough to the media.”

Li arrived at Roland Garros having easily dispatched Mattek-Sandsen route to the final in Stuttgart last month, but following a second break for rain lost seven games on the trot that cost her the chance of progressing into the French Open 3rd Round.

Li was swift to defend this lapse at the press conference and said: “I know for sure I lost seven games in a row. But to go back to the court three times is a very tough condition, you know.”

Should Li return to Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park this summer, then no doubt the unpredictable English summer could also upset her and result in more excuses as well as controversial comments that are seeing the Chinese no1’s popularity starting to slip.

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

Great Brit returns

2013 AEGON International, Laura Robson, Petra Kvitova

laurarobsonEB2012Laura Robson, who made her dream debut in the main draw at Eastbourne’s Aegon International last year, is set to return to Devonshire Park for the 2013 tournament.

The 19-year-old, who captured the Junior Wimbledon title aged 14, defeated Spaniard veteran Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez in the opening round at Eastbourne before tasting defeat at the hands of Russian ace Ekaterina Makarova.

Brit Robson explained: “I’m excited to be returning to Eastbourne, it’s fantastic preparation ahead of Wimbledon.”

The six-footer broke into the world’s top 100 in 2012 and picked up a silver medal at doubles with Andy Murray at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The season also saw a remarkable run to the last 16 of the US Open, delivering shocks to former Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters of Belgium and Li Na of China.

And Robson’s promise was revealed at the start of the 2013 season with an incredible display to defeated ex-Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open, which resulted in the six-footer breaking into the world’s top 40.

Li Na

2013 AEGON International, Li Na, Players
Li Na

Birthplace
Wuhan, China
Residence
Wuhan, China
Height
5′ 7 3/4″ (1.72 m)
Weight
143 lbs. (65 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
1999
Despite being a veteran on the WTA Tour, China’s Li Na is arguably one of the fittest ladies on circuit at the moment. She won the 2011 French Open months after becoming the first Asian to reach a Grand Slam final – the 2011 Australian Open. Li finished the 2006 season as world no21 and since 2009 she has been consistently among the highfliers. Her incredible array of skills, determination and natural prowess have kept her as top 10 ace that players wish to avoid in the early rounds of tournaments.

Czech star Kvitova ready to rule

News, Petra Kvitova, Players, WTA Players, Yaroslava Shvedova

 By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Petra Kvitova at 2012 French OpenPetra Kvitova showed glimpses of what made her 2011 Wimbledon champion with her recent formidable form at Roland Garros, and her timing ahead of the grass court season is perfect for the 22-year-old.

The Czech star completed her clay court season in Paris by storming to the semi-finals before being blown away by new world no1 Maria Sharapova.

The battling world no4 has kept faith in utilising all her dangerous weapons – big serve and fierce forehand – that destroyed Sharapova in the 2011 Wimbledon final.

And Kvitova made a magnificent start to the 2012 season, climbing to world no2 in February, prior to a lull.

But Kvitova is back to her purposeful best and brushed aside shock French Open quarter-final opponent Yaroslava Shvedova, despite the world no144 surprising defending Roland Garros champion Li Na in three sets.

Maria Sharapova2012offcourtThe left-hander set up a potentially mouthwatering French Open semi-final showdown with Sharapova, when Kvitova had the opportunity to make amends for their strange semi-final match at the 2012 Australian Open, when Sharapova snatched success in three sets.

But Russian ace Sharapova proved too hot to handle as she reached her maiden Roland Garros final at the third attempt. And has left Kvitova to concentrate on defending her Wimbledon title, and warming up at Eastbourne’s 2012 AEGON International.

Since Kvitova’s triumph at SW19 she has had to grind out victories by refusing to panic, so that she can control the points.

Among the handful of favourites at Devonshire Park, the Czech star is set to shine ahead of her return to Wimbledon’s Centre Court but faces stiff competition for the AEGON International title with such a strong field.