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Birmingham & Bad Gastein On Tap This Week

Sabine Lisicki aims to defend her title at the first grass court event of the season in Birmingham, while Julia Goerges is the favorite in Bad Gastein.

Published June 10, 2012 06:29

Birmingham & Bad Gastein On Tap This Week
Sabine Lisicki

With the dust still settling on a memorable French Open fortnight, some WTA players head to Birmingham to get their grass court games geared up for Wimbledon, while others remain on red clay for another week in Bad Gastein.

The AEGON Classic is played at Edgbaston Priory Club, where the origins of the modern game of lawn tennis are believed to have started as early as 1859. Among the contenders to take home the Maud Watson Trophy at the historic venue are several players seeking to put forgettable French Opens behind them.

Sabine Lisicki's big serve and powerful groundstrokes are well-suited to grass, as evidenced by her run to the title last year in which she did not drop a set, despite being unseeded. Seeded second this year, she will be trying to shake off an upset first round defeat at the French Open.

No.3 seed Daniela Hantuchova had to pull out of Roland Garros with a left foot injury, but surely will relish another appearance at the tournament where she made her WTA debut in qualifying in 1999 and has had several strong outings, highlighted by a runner-up showing last year. No.1 seed Francesca Schiavone fell in the third round of the French Open, however, the week before she netted her first title in two years at Strasbourg. No.5 seed Jelena Jankovic isn't in her best form, having lost in the second round at Roland Garros, but was victorious at Birmingham in 2007 and was runner-up in 2005.

Doubles No.1 seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond were first round losers at the French Open, but have three titles in Birmingham between them.

Julia Goerges is the top seed at the sixth annual NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies, where she is the only former champion in the draw. Her triumph in 2010 was her first career title and she has since gotten as high as No.15 in the world. However, fifth-seeded Petra Martic comes into the event with as much confidence as anyone. She scored her first career Top 10 win over World No.8 Marion Bartoli in the second round of the French Open en route to a fourth round showing - her best Grand Slam result to date.

Others to keep an eye on include fourth-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro and seventh-seeded Alizé Cornet. Suárez Navarro's three finals appearances have all occurred on red clay. Cornet had her best result in four years in getting to the final of Strasbourg last month.

Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Martic and Irina-Camelia Begu and Mandy Minella are the No.1 and No.2 seeds in doubles, respectively.

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