Venus Williams makes her singles debut at the Nature Valley Classic against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, while twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova face off for the first time in six years as rain-delayed first-round matches conclude and second-round action begins. Scroll down for full order of play.
Alex Macpherson
June 19, 2019

WEATHER

Light rain is forecast for the morning in Birmingham, with a 33% chance of precipitation at midday, but dry weather is predicted for the rest of the afternoon.

MATCH POINTS

Former World No.1 Venus Williams will play a Wimbledon warmup for just the fourth time in her career today. All three previous occasions were at Eastbourne: in 1997, on her grass-court debut, the American qualified and defeated Chanda Rubin in the main draw before falling to Nathalie Tauziat 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the second round; the following year, Williams lost to Natasha Zvereva 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. In 2011, playing her first tournament after being sidelined for five months due to a hip injury, the five-time Wimbledon champion reached the quarterfinals before losing 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to Daniela Hantuchova.

Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova will clash for the first time in a WTA main draw today. It will be their 11th meeting overall following one junior tilt, eight ITF encounters and their most recent match in the final round of Eastbourne qualifying in 2013, with the head-to-head all square at 5-5 (although Karolina has a 5-4 lead in the pros). Kristyna won the Eastbourne bout 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3, and is 2-0 against Karolina on grass overall.

Doubles partners Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova will meet for the seventh time in singles, with their six previous encounters stretching over a 13-year span from a first meeting in Bangkok qualifying in 2005 (won by Hsieh 3-6, 6-3, 6-0) to their most recent in the Auckland quarterfinals last year (also won by Hsieh 0-6, 6-2, 6-2). The Chinese Taipei player also won their 2008 Australian Open qualifying tilt, but Strycova was victorious in 2009 US Open qualifying, the first round of Osaka in 2013 and the first round of the 2014 Australian Open to make the head-to-head even at 3-3. Today's match will be the first time they have played each other off hard courts.

In a battle of one-time Wimbledon semifinalists, No.7 seed Johanna Konta is 3-1 against former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko - but each of their last three encounters has gone the distance. The Briton was victorious 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in the third round of Eastbourne in 2017, their only previous grass meeting, and 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of Montréal last year, but Ostapenko won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of Rome last year.



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Ace?🤸🏼‍♂️

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Gate-crashing #TeamJule 😏👯‍♀️🌱

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ORDER OF PLAY

ANN JONES CENTRE COURT (starts 11.30am)
Donna VEKIC (CRO) vs [2] Ashleigh BARTY (AUS)
[WC] Venus WILLIAMS (USA) vs Aliaksandra SASNOVICH (BLR)
Jelena OSTAPENKO (LAT) vs [7] Johanna KONTA (GBR)
[Q] Kristyna PLISKOVA (CZE) vs [3/WC] Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE)

COURT 1 (starts 11.30am)
Jennifer BRADY (USA) vs Lesia TSURENKO (UKR)
[6] WANG Qiang (CHN) vs [Q] Lauren DAVIS (USA)
HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) vs Barbora STRYCOVA (CZE)
Margarita GASPARYAN (RUS) vs Petra MARTIC (CRO)

COURT 2 (starts 12 noon)
Alicja ROSOLSKA (POL) / YANG Zhaoxuan (CHN) vs [3] Nicole MELICHAR (USA) / Kveta PESCHKE (CZE) (to finish 0-1)
[4] Anna-Lena GROENEFELD (GER) / Demi SCHUURS (NED) vs CHAN Hao-Ching (TPE) / Latisha CHAN (TPE)
WANG Qiang (CHN) / Dayana YASTREMSKA (UKR) vs Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) / Julia GOERGES (GER)