EASTBOURNE, England - Hard, clay, grass - it doesn't matter what the surface is, she's probably going deep. Angelique Kerber continued to pile up the wins as the second round was played at the AEGON International on Wednesday, and now the German has just as many as anyone on the WTA this season.
Kerber, the No.5 seed at the Premier-level grass court tournament, needed just 67 minutes to beat Chanelle Scheepers and record her 38th match win of the year, tying Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska at the top of the list. And with neither still playing this week, the path is clear to top that list.
Next up for Kerber is Ekaterina Makarova, who followed up her first round upset of No.2 seed Petra Kvitova with a 64 75 win over British qualifier Laura Robson, never losing serve and breaking once per set to move through.
Makarova has beaten Kerber in both of their previous meetings, although Kerber wasn't ranked anywhere near as high as she is now in them (No.118 in the first, No.49 in the second - No.8 now). But Makarova does love this event - she won her only WTA title right here in 2010, without even losing a set.
Kerber wasn't the highest seed through to the final eight - No.4 seed Marion Bartoli continued to storm through the draw, beating Aleksandra Wozniak in 58 minutes, 62 62. "I played extremely well today. I was really feeling my shots from the baseline," Bartoli said. "That was probably one of the best overall matches I've played on grass. I played some great ones last year, but I think this was at the same level. Hopefully I will be able to keep going like this."
The Wimbledon seeds came out on Wednesday, and though the All-England Club sometimes deviates from the rankings and alters the seedings based on previous grass court results, this year's seeds went right with the rankings.
"Hopefully Venus will be seeded," Bartoli said, without knowing the seeds were already out - and the five-time Wimbledon champion was not bumped up. "She's not? Okay. I didn't know it was out today, so I did not look at it at all."
"Kim is different on grass. She hasn't had the same results as Venus. But Venus being unseeded is a bit hard. I hope she's not going to draw Serena first round. We will see how the draw comes out. But if Venus is unseeded, for sure the draw is going to be hard for whoever draws her in the first or second round.
"I love challenges, but I hope not too early."
Speaking of challenges, next up for Bartoli is No.7 seed Lucie Safarova, who toughed out a 60-minute first set then rolled past British wildcard Heather Watson, 76(5) 61. Though Bartoli has won six of her seven previous meetings with Safarova, in their only previous grass court meeting - here last year - Bartoli had to save match point to win, and then went on to win the title.
Other winners earlier in the day were Klara Zakopalova, who scored a 61 16 62 upset over No.9 seed Petra Cetkovska; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won two games from 4-all in the third set to edge Christina McHale in just under three hours, 75 36 64; and Tsvetana Pironkova, who came from 3-1 down in the third set to beat Canadian qualifier Stéphanie Dubois, 60 46 64.