Hantuchova Moves On, Top 4 On Eastbourne
Published June 18, 2012 12:00
EASTBOURNE, England - It was a busy day at the AEGON International on Monday, with Daniela Hantuchova leading the way as the first round got underway, plus the Top 4 seeds meeting the British press at All-Access Hour.
The No.8-seeded Hantuchova had the simplest win of the day, losing serve once early in the first set but facing just one more break point in her other eight service games to move smoothly past British No.1 Anne Keothavong, 62 63.
Other winners were Tamira Paszek, who won nine of the last 10 games to beat Marina Erakovic, 75 61; Chanelle Scheepers, who won the first and third sets in 23 minutes each to outdo Mona Barthel, 61 46 61; and Aleksandra Wozniak, who won a 63 46 76(5) nail-biter against Galina Voskoboeva, saving match point at 3-5 in the third set and rallying from 2-5 in the breaker.
The Top 4 seeds here, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Marion Bartoli, all met the press in All-Access Hour. Three of them are former champions here - Radwanska, Wozniacki and Bartoli - while Kvitova could be the biggest threat as the reigning Wimbledon champion.
"I really like to play on grass. My game translates well on grass," Kvitova said. "It's very important to know you can win seven matches in a row in the biggest tournament and have a trophy at home. Winning match point and holding the trophy in my hands last year was probably my strongest memory there.
"I feel goosebumps when I go through the gate now, and it will be very nice to step out onto Centre Court again for the first time since last year."
Bartoli, who beat Kvitova in the Eastbourne final last year and is also a former Wimbledon finalist, was also happy to be back on the grass courts.
"I'm really happy to be back on my best surface," Bartoli said. "When you play on grass you need to have a lot of qualities in your timing. You have to play flat and inside the baseline, or close to the baseline. That's really my game.
"I've played some great matches in Eastbourne for a lot of years now."
The French Open wasn't the greatest for Bartoli - she lost second round - but she feels better across the water. "I have more chance to win Wimbledon than to win Roland Garros, that's for sure," she said. "On the other hand you have Serena and Venus, who are so good on grass, and though Serena is now Top 5, Venus is outside Top 50 and you can draw her first round. That's really hard at Wimbledon. So there are those two players who are set apart on grass and who are very, very difficult to beat. That makes it all very hard."
Radwanska and Wozniacki also fell early at Roland Garros - both third round - but are hoping to rebound in Eastbourne, their previous conquering grounds.
"The grass season isn't that long, but it's always nice to be back," Radwanska said. "I'm enjoying Eastbourne too. Sometimes the weather is tough, especially with the rain and wind, but it's always good preparation before Wimbledon. I've been playing here a couple of years now and I'm always enjoying it."
"I've gotten some good practices in and I'm looking forward to my first match," Wozniacki said. "Eastbourne is a nice little city. It feels very cozy and I feel like I know most of the people here already. The first time I came here I think I was 14, playing the girls event, so I feel like a veteran in Eastbourne now."
All four Top 4 seeds will play their first round matches on Tuesday.