This years crop of WTA players heading to Eastbourne is considerably weaker than last year’s line-up; however the tournament has still managed to attract five of the top ten players and should see some fine tennis as we edge closer to the third Grand Slam of the season. I will be going on Tuesday so stay tuned for some match reports and photos later this week 🙂 Lets take a look at the draw…
Agnieszka Radwanska is the number one seed and will be confident of progressing to the final with her draw. She plays Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round, who has flourished on the grass in the last two years having made the semi-finals and quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Pironkova can use her deft forehand slice to great effect on this surface but I predict Radwanska will win their first rounder. Radwanska’s second round opponent will be either Carla Suarez Navarro or a qualifier; originally she could have met Petra Cetkovska in the second round, but Ana Ivanovic‘s withdrawal has meant she was moved to the number nine seed allowing Radwanska to breathe a sigh of relief. Daniela Hantuchova is Radwanska’s projected quarter-final opponent.
Marion Bartoli and Lucie Safarova could meet in the second quarter-final. Bartoli is the reigning champion, but since beating Victoria Azarenka in Miami earlier this year, her form has dipped considerably. She has a tough draw here with Sorana Cirstea in the first round, who beat her in Madrid. I think she will get past Cirstea this time round but I believe she will exit to Aleksandra Wozniak in the second round. Lucie Safarova has never had her best results on the grass and I could see an early exit in either of the first two rounds, which could open this section up for the young Brit, Heather Watson.
The third quarter-final is seeded to be between Petra Cetkovska and Caroline Wozniacki. Cetkovska plays a qualifier in the first round before a second round match with either Zheng Jie or Klara Zakopalova. The Chinese player picked up an injury in her semi-final match in Birmingham and is unlikely to be in fighting form to compete in Eastbourne. Caroline Wozniacki has a tough first round match against Christina McHale, who beat her in Cincinnati last year. The Dane won the title in 2009 and although I cannot see her winning this year, I expect her to beat McHale in the first round and progress to the semi-finals.
The final quarter-final is projected to be between Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova, who met twice during the clay court season. Kvitova will play Ekaterina Makarova in the first round, who she defeated at this event last year, 7-6 7-6. Makarova has been playing in Birmingham so I question her fitness although she obviously loves the courts in Eastbourne having won the title in 2010. Kerber plays a qualifier in the first round before a second round meeting with Mona Barthel or Chanelle Scheepers. Barthel has struggled for form of late but reports suggest she is hitting well on the grass and could be a severe test for Kerber in the second round assuming she can break a three match losing streak against Scheepers.
Final Prediction – Petra Kvitova d. Agnieszka Radwanska
I originally had a surprise finalist when I saw Radwanska had Cetkovska in her section but I have now gone back to Radwanska. Kvitova is the one to beat for me on the grass and I think she will be the favourite for this tournament. I see a number of upsets along the way but I predict that the final will be played out between the top two seeds.
You can view my full predictions for Eastbourne HERE. There is also a joint tournament in Holland at s’Hertogenbosch, but I will be focusing on all the action in Eastbourne this week so please keep reading!