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

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

Tuesday’s shock treatment

Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Petra Kvitova, WTA Players

By Roger Hudson

AEGON InternationalI’ve formulated an ambitious plan for Tuesday at the 2012 AEGON International, I’m going to try to watch at least some of the matches played by the top three seeds in the WTA draw – Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki. In the end, I watch as all three are dismissed by lower-ranked opponents.

Kvitova, the defending Wimbledon champion, opened the day’s play on Centre Court against Ekaterina Makarova – a former Eastbourne champion who has beaten seven Top 20 players on these courts over the years.

Kvitova started beautifully to serve for the set at 5-4, but her early fluidity and confidence disappears, and her forehand leaks errors to be broken back. A couple of games later the Czech Republic puts a down-the-line backhand long to lose the opening set 7-5.

Having been played into the match by her opponent’s many errors, Makarova is quick to seize her opportunity. Pressed hard on serve early in the second set, the Russian unerringly targets Kvitova’s forehand whenever she is break-point down, eliciting errors. Kvitova looks increasingly miserable and is broken in short order.

While she finds a flurry of those magnificent winners to break back as Makarova serves for the match, a double fault and poor backhand in Kvitova’s next service game open the door again.

After scampering in to wrong foot Kvitova and a strong return, Makarova eventually wins 7-5 6-4, sending the Wimbledon champion off to SW19 a little earlier than expected.

Over on Court 1 Radwanska fell to Tsvetana Pironkova. Russian star Pironkova had never progressed beyond the 2nd Round here in six attempts, which is surprising as she’s beaten Venus Williams twice at Wimbledon (to reach the quarter-finals in 2011 and the semi-finals in 2010).

The dainty-looking Pironkova has always struggled with slicing her forehand rather than hitting through it. But she had no problems using that side to dictate play today.

As I arrived Radwanska was serving at 2-3 in the first set, as the Bulgarian ran her from side to side. The world no3 is generally considered a crafty player with a bulging bag of tricks, but it was Pironkova who took the initiative by throwing in a short slice and volleying behind it to take the first break of serve.

Two games later Pironkova struck a clean forehand winner for a set point, then a return winner down the line to take the opening set 6-2.

After a brief resurgence in the second set, Radwanska’s poor serving lets Pironkova – who won 6-2 6-4 – dominate the rallies and break back immediately for 2-2.

But I can’t stay because over on Centre Court there’s another upset brewing as Wozniacki has lost the first set to Christina McHale 6-1.

Joining the match at the beginning of the second set I can see how McHale, who already had one win over Wozniacki, managed to dominate the first set so conclusively.

The two are similar in so far that both are more conspicuous for a tireless work ethic and competitive spirit than a particular big shot.

But McHale today did one thing that Wozniacki can’t, or won’t, do – taking the ball early on her forehand, flattening it out, driving the ball deep, and going for winners.

The American is also consistently attacking down the lines, something Wozniacki does reluctantly, if at all.

Watching how a similar player has improved her forehand and aggressive instincts underlines the lack of similar improvement in Wozniacki’s game since she reached world no1. But the Dane is still a top player, and she plays a delightfully cagey rally to break and lead 3-2.

There was a noticeable change in Wozniacki’s service stance today, placing her right foot further behind her to widen her stance and obliquely change the angle at which she stands to the baseline.

McHale was quick to pick up on the change, landing deep forehand returns to break back for 5-4, but also making more unforced errors. It’s one too many, a backhand wide, that loses her the second set 9-7 on a tiebreak.

One thing that McHale did magnificently was to stick to her guns.

Breaking early in the third to lead 2-1, the American continued to go for her shots, even when a poor game leads to Wozniacki recovering the break.

At 4-4 McHale dragged Wozniacki into the net and passes her, then plays another punishing rally and puts the ball too low for the Dane to handle to earn three break points. McHale breaks, but it’s a struggle to serve out the match, as Wozniacki finally hits out on her forehand whenever she is down match point.

On McHale’s fourth match point, earned with a pair of blinding winners, she crosses the finish line to win 6-1 6-7 6-4 for the third big upset of the day.

2012 Ladies Singles – Tuesday’s Results

Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, Laura Robson, Lucie Safarova, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, Results, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, WTA Players

2012 AEGON International

1st Round

Jie Zheng lost to 3-6 6-4 3-6 Klara Zakopalova

Ekaterina Makarova won 7-5 6-4 v Petra Kvitova

Angelique Kerber won 3-6 6-0 7-5 v Elena Vesnina

Agnieszka Radwanska lost 2-6 4-6 to Tsvetana Pironkova

Su-Wei Hsieh lost 2-6 0-3 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Christina McHale won 6-1 6-7 6-4 v Caroline Wozniacki

Laura Robson won 3-6 6-2 6-2 v Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez

Timea Babos lost 6-3 3-6 6-7 to Lucie Safarova

Petra Cetkovska won 3-6 6-2 6-1 v Andrea Hlavackova

Marion Bartoli won 6-2 6-2 v Sorana Cirstea

Greta Arn lost 3-6 4-6 to Heather Watson

Stephanie Dubois won 6-4 6-4 v Carla Suarez Navarro

Pole axed by Pironkova

2013 AEGON International

Tsvetana-Pironkova2012EBwarmupTsvetana Pironkova pulled off the second shock of the day, following Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova being dumped out at the first hurdle, with her comprehensive straight set success.

The leggy Bulgarian destroyed the high hopes of 2008 Eastbourne winner Agnieszka Radwanska with an emphatic 71 minute 6-2 6-4 victory.

Agnieszka_Radwanska1Stunned Radwanska confessed:

“It was not my day today, that’s for sure, I’ve had a lot of matches this year and I’m a bit tired.

“I was trying everything, but she is playing really good on grass.

“It’s not much time till Wimbledon so I can’t really have a lot of time off, but one or two days off will be good for me. A day off means no racquet at all, not even sports shoes.”

Pironkova ended her five match losing streak to Radwanska, and six was the unseeded player’s lucky number as she dropped just six games.

Her superb serve and pinpoint returns overturned the world no3, coming up with four out of nine break point chances.

2012 Tuesday preview

Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, Sorana Cirstea, WTA Players

2011 Wimbledon winner

Courted success: Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon winner, is due to play her first grass court match since being crowned champion at SW19 when she opens up Centre Court proceedings against Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

But the 22-year-old Czech Republic ace faces a stern task as Makarova won the 2010 Eastbourne title.

Caroline Wozniacki, another former Devonshire Park champion, has a tricky task in her 1st Round clash against American Christina McHale second on Centre Court.

The great Dane has a new bite about since installing a coach to guide her back to her not so distant former glories. The ex-world no1 will be aiming to emulate her 2009 run to the title on her first return to Devonshire Park since that triumph.

The all-American clash between the big servers is a mouth-watering tie, third on Centre Centre. Andy Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, and Sam Querrey are playing well below their usual standard with a run at the AEGON International needed by both to boost much-needed confidence.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2008 Eastbourne winner and top seed, has a battle against Bulgarian beauty Tsvetana Pironkova in the second match on Court 1.

Marion Bartoli will begin the defence of her title by bringing her unorthodox French flair against Romanian Sorana Cirstea for the third match on Court 1.

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.

 

2012 Ladies Entrants

Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, EXCLUSIVE, Klara Zakopalova, Laura Robson, Lucie Safarova, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Provisional players for Eastbourne, not all in the main draw, are:

  1. Greta Arn 
  2. Mona Barthel
  3. Marion Bartoli
  4. Petra Cetkovska
  5. Sorana Cirstea
  6. Stephanie Dubois
  7. Marina Erakovic
  8. Daniela Hantuchova
  9. Andrea Hlavackova
  10. Su-Wei Hsieh
  11. Anne Keothavong
  12. Angelique Kerber
  13. Petra Kvitova
  14. Ekaterina Makarova
  15. Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez
  16. Christina McHale
  17. Li Na
  18. Tamira Paszek
  19. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
  20. Tsvetana Pironkova
  21. Agnieszka Radwanska
  22. Laura Robson
  23. Lucie Safarova
  24. Chanelle Scheepers
  25. Carla Suarez Navarro
  26. Elena Vesnina
  27. Galina Voskoboeva
  28. Heather Watson
  29. Aleksandra Wozniak
  30. Caroline Wozniacki
  31. Klara Zakopalova
  32. Jie Zheng 

No waltz for Williams

Marion Bartoli, News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Serena-Williams 2011 EastbourneSerena Williams overpowered Tsvetana Pironkova in the opening round, much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd and on-watching sister Venus.

The wildcard made an stuttering competitive comeback, having not played on the WTA Tour since winning 2010 Wimbledon, and gained some revenge over the slim and sultry Bulgarian for beating Venus at SW19 last year.

The delicate 5’11″ Bulgarian is certainly no slouch on grass, having reeled off a string of fantastic results to reach last year’s Wimbledon semi-finals – her best run on the WTA Tour – and she tested Williams to the hilt in the early stages.

Williams looked lost on grass and her usual risk game plan failed to pay dividends, with unforced errors leaving her staring a swift exit in the face at 5-0 down in the first set. Although she then held her serve was unable to fight back and fell a set behind in what was arguably her worst ever grass court performance.

However, the comeback queen was not yet dead and buried so rallied herself back into the tie by playing a more consistent – and cautious – game against her talented opponent. She steamed into a comfortable 3-0 advantage and soon levelled matters to silence any would-be critics of her in the packed stands.

Fashion entrepreneur Williams turned on the style in the third and decisive set, though did not produce as many unforced errors as she tidied up her usual game plan determined to move into the next round, and served out victory at 6-4. Williams said:

“I love winning – I’m just here to do the best I can and I’m here not to lose!

“I’m just taking everything one day at a time and I’m not putting too much expectations on myself or on my game.”

Williams could face in-form Sam Stosur or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-finals and probably Victoria Azarenka or Marion Bartoli in the last four.