In a battle between a former World No.1 and a potential future World No.1, it was experience that won out over youth as Caroline Wozniacki edged Laura Robson in a tight two-setter.
WTA Staff

EASTBOURNE, England - In a battle between a former World No.1 and a potential future No.1, it was experience that won out over youth as Caroline Wozniacki edged Laura Robson in a tight two-setter.

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Wozniacki, who had won the pair's only previous meeting just a few weeks ago at the French Open, 63 62, looked like she was headed for another routine victory as she reeled off five straight games from 3-4 in the first set to build a 64 20 lead. Robson came alive from there, winning four of the next five games to build a 4-3 second set lead, but the No.5-seeded Wozniacki closed it out anyway, 64 64.

"It was obviously on a much different surface this time around and Laura has a very powerful game," Wozniacki said. "For me it was just important to serve well myself and try to get as many returns in as deep as possible, and move her. I thought it was a very good match. I'm happy to be the winner of it."

"I guess it was better than when I played her in Paris," Robson said. "I definitely had chances. I got myself into a very good position in the points sometimes and just couldn't finish them off. I thought sometimes I was going for a little too much, but against her that's how you have to play. She's such a good defensive player - if I tried to play defensive, then I probably would have lost a lot easier.

"It's just a bit disappointing, obviously, but in general it was better than Paris, I guess."

Next up for Wozniacki is Ekaterina Makarova, who surprised No.3 seed Angelique Kerber, 63 64.

Wozniacki has beaten Makarova in all five of their previous meetings.

"I've played her many - I don't know how many times," Wozniacki said. "I think I played her on grass before - I think I played her here a few years back. She really likes grass. I think it's her favorite surface. She plays flat, takes the ball early, a lefty again - we'll just have to wait and see."

Elsewhere, No.2 seed Li Na and Elena Vesnina set up a quarterfinal clash as well, with Li the first to advance when her opponent, Marion Bartoli, had to withdraw from the tournament due to a viral illness.

"I'm really disappointed to have to withdraw from Eastbourne because it's so nice here and I've always done well at this tournament," Bartoli, the 2011 champion here, said. "I have a virus at the moment and a fever so I'm feeling terrible. I started to feel a bit this way on Monday and each day it has gotten worse. After a few days of rest hopefully I'll be back on the court to get ready for Wimbledon."

Li expressed her sympathies afterwards. "I would like to say I'm so sorry for her," Li said. "This is not the best way to win a match. I feel so sorry for her and I hope she will get better very soon."

Vesnina beat out British hope Heather Watson, 61 36 62, rebounding very nicely from dropping the second set - the Russian reeled off the first five games of the third set, including three breaks.

"It was a good day physically, but not so much mentally," Watson said. "I was in and out of focus. I thought the first three games I was playing well, and then I suddenly switched off the rest of that set, and it went so quickly. I managed to get it back in the second, and then once again, something happened in the third, just switched off, and before I knew it I was 5-0 down. It went so quickly.

"I thought it was a good opportunity wasted here, but I've just got to sweep that one under the rug, get back on the practice court, work hard and make sure it's a good week next week."

Vesnina leads Li in their head-to-head series, 2-1, though they haven't played since 2009.