Moo’s Report and Photos from the AEGON International, Eastbourne Part 2

As promised, here is the final write-up from my experiences of the 2013 grass court season.  I spent a few days down by the seaside in Eastbourne to watch some tennis at the AEGON International.  For those who missed my first write-up from the Monday, you can read it HERE.

I woke up to glorious blue skies on the Tuesday morning and decided to get to the venue as gates opened at 10am (of course with a detour along the beach).  On my way, I had my first tennis spot of the day as Li Na, her husband, Jiang Shan and coach, Carlos Rodriguez came trundling out of their seafront hotel and I followed them all the way to Devonshire Park (not like a complete stalker, we were actually going to the same place).  I had to cross the road though because to my shock, Li’s husband smokes!

I met my Brother at the gate and we went straight in at 10am and headed to the practice courts where there was barely any spectators.  Devonshire Park did not really fill up until 10.30am, which was certainly an advantage of staying overnight in Eastbourne.  Immediately, we spotted Rory and stood right next to him as we watched Caroline Wozniacki, already in her match attire.  There were quite a few people asking Rory for autographs and he happily obliged.  Caro was soon replaced by Sorana Cirstea.

Caroline Wozniacki

I have nice teeth

Rory watching on

We mingled around the practice courts for an hour or so and saw the Pliskova sisters, Jonny Marray playing with his doubles partner, Colin Fleming and swearing loudly, and Bernard Tomic too watched on by a man in sunglasses, who I believe was his father ( I should have taken a picture, schoolboy error for sure).

Bernard Tomic

It’s nice to see Tomic come into some form after such a rocky few months
There were so many good matches at 11am and I was not that impressed with the line-up on the Centre court so we decided to go into the unreserved section on court 1 and watch Caroline Wozniacki against Tamira Paszek.  I thought this would be a fascinating match, particularly as their last match at Wimbledon was my favourite match of 2012.  We were sat in the same row as some crazy Paszek fans, who I think might have actually been family.  They were shouting “come on Mimi” after every point she won.

Caroline on Court 1 up against Paszek

Wozniacki serving

Focus
The match started pretty well with both holding their serves comfortably and Paszek was playing some good stuff.  However from 2-2, Wozniacki broke away as Paszek started to miss more regulation shots and the set quickly went, 6-2.  In the second set, my brother suddenly noticed that Paszek was limping and moving extremely tentatively.  Following a really long game, where Paszek somehow managed to break Wozniacki, she laughed in almost disbelief and immediately called the trainer.  

It’s a crazy serve!

Frustration
She solidered on, but it was obvious she could barely move and that was that.. I was really gutted for Tamira who was the defending champion and having lost first round at Wimbledon, she will most likely have to qualify for the US Open.  We later saw her sporting a glum face and limping around the grounds.

I think a 100% Paszek could have given Wozniacki a match despite her woeful recent form

Sad

Following the disappointing end to Wozniacki-Paszek, we headed straight out to Court 2 to watch the end of the womens match between Angelique Kerber and Sorana Cirstea.  This was a good match, very competitively fought and with both going for their shots.  I was quite impressed by Kerber, who was a touch more consistent, but also attacked where she could.  Cirstea didn’t play a bad match, far better than when I saw her just a few days prior in Birmingham when she lost to Donna Vekic.

Angelique Kerber

Kerber, with I believe Yuliya Beygelzmier in the crowd on the opposite side to me

 

Yes, good shot Sorana!

Is anyone else obsessed with handshakes or is it just me?!

Hilarious they are wearing the same dress… a lot of women were wearing this Adidas number


The scheduling had really narked me as the first match between Bernard Tomic and James Ward finished quickly and the next match was a “not before 1pm”, which meant on a potentially rain affected day, the Centre Court had no play for about 45 minutes.  This meant an outpouring to the grounds, which were extremely busy for a time.  It was obviously all for TV but I was still annoyed!  We hung around the practice courts and watched a bit of Kvitova-Niculescu before heading over to our seats of the Centre Court.


The first womens match was Li Na up against Alize Cornet.  It was not a match that excited me much, but I had never seen either play before so I wanted to get a few snaps.  It was a pretty quiet opening set with Cornet battling well, but it was quite evident that if Li could put in a relatively clean performance, her game was going to be too strong for Cornet and it proved that way.

Boom, Li Na

Ready to serve

If I am honest, I don’t find watching Li play that exciting

The most shocking moment of the match and the day was during the second set when a lady at our gate entrance took a very nasty fall.  It resulted in a 30 minute delay and both players going off court, which I have never ever seen before! We knew it wasn’t great because the half of the crowd that could see the incident gasped when she fell.  I was sat next to the most infuriating of people, who kept moaning at the paramedics for how they were dealing with the situation… it drove me mad.  Eventually they managed to get a spinal board and transport the poor lady off the court to a muted applause.

Alize Cornet

Cornet is best on the clay, but she wasn’t bad on the grass

Li and Cornet came back after the delay and Li promptly wrapped up the match in straight sets.  The post-match interviewer told us that the lady who fell was conscious and being treated by the paramedics, which was nice.  The next match on Centre was a very puzzling choice as Laura Robson had been given top billing against the weakest player left in the draw, Yuliya Beygelzmier.


Li and Cornet at the net


Li Na wins

Instead of watching Laura, we headed out to the outside courts and caught the end of the match on court 2 between Sam Stosur and Nadia Petrova.  Court 2 had a terrific line-up and it definitely did seem that the women had been shunted on the Tuesday’s order of play.  It was a normal Nadia performance, who didn’t look too bothered.  Stosur looked solid and hit two aces in her final service game to finish off proceedings.

Sam Stosur out on Court 2

That’s the win!
Nadia Petrova

The Stosur-Petrova handshake

We had another wander around the outside courts and decided to go on court 1 again and watch the match between Agnieszka Radwanska and Jamie Hampton.  In terms of tennis quality, Tuesday wasn’t a great day, but this match was quite comfortably the best match I watched over my two days at Eastbourne.  I thought Hampton was absolutely terrific.  She served for the first set at 5-4, but played a poor game and quickly fell 5-6 down, playing one of the worst shots I have ever seen in the history of tennis as she tried to be cute with a shot at the net, which promptly ended at the bottom of it.  She recovered from it marvellously well though and managed to win the first set on the tiebreak.

Seats on Court 1 for Aga vs. Jamie (taken with my mobile hence the poor quality)

Agnieszka Radwanska in full flight

Still no smile 😉

Radwanska wasn’t especially bad, but there was no spark about her play and she was content at just getting balls back in play as Hampton displayed some tremendous variety with slices, drop shots and well thought out tactics.  It was a good match, but that was the end of the ladies action on Tuesday as all the 1st round matches concluded in straight sets.

Hampton frustration when she failed to serve the first set out

Jamie in full glory at Eastbourne

Definitely a player I will be following closely, a really bright future ahead

That’s the win!

It was rather disappointing that all the matches on the outside courts finished so swiftly so we headed back to Centre to watch the match between Kevin Anderson and Julien Benneteau.  It was an alright match, Benneteau was very impressive and I noticed how pumped he was to win this match.  Both players slipped a lot, Anderson requiring the trainer in one case when he slipped three times during the same point.  I’ve watched Benneteau a lot and cannot recall a match where he didn’t slip dramatically or call the trainer… he’s hilarious.

Julien Benneteau

This guy is so dramatic lol

Benneteau was the better player in this match
Kevin Anderson

I was surprised Kevin turned up after retiring from his match the week before in Queens

We headed off for our train at 6.30pm just before Benneteau wrapped up the win.  It certainly had not been as good as the first day because of the unfortunate incident on centre court, which a put slight dampner of things and the quality of matches was not that impressive as every one, both mens and womens finished on Tuesday in straight sets, which was rather amazing!


Still, I would not hesitate at all in going back to Eastbourne and recommending it to any avid tennis fan.  I got photos of practically every player in the draw and the only one who continues to elude me every year is Marion Bartoli! I really love the place and I hope to do a Monday-Tuesday visit again next year.  I really enjoyed watching on court 1, particularly right behind the baseline so I think next year I may get court 1 tickets for one day and centre court for the other day.  The real excitement of Eastbourne is watching matches on the outside courts and i wasn’t so thrilled with the action on Centre this year. 

See you next year, Eastbourne 🙂
Top spots of the day
1. Ekaterina Makarova and her coach watching Petra Kvitova against Monica Niculescu on court 2 and laughing in the direction of Niculescu…

Ekaterina Makarova

2. Milos Raonic watching Ivan Dodig play Denis Istomin, the winner being his first opponent at Eastbourne.

3. Eugenie Bouchard taking photos with two very excitable women.

Bouchard, before she got hunted down for autographs!

4. We noticed the BBC studio with John Inverdale (I could write a whole post about Inverdale, but I won’t).  The glare from the studio light was particularly annoying when watching matches from court 1. 

John Inverdale in the BBC studio
5. Olga Puchkova literally standing for two solid minutes with her racquet on the floor when she disagreed with a line call.  I was not surprised to hear she lost the second set to Ekaterina Makarova, 6-0.

Olga Puchkova

6. There had been reports that Gilles Simon had picked up a nasty injury on the Monday, but we saw him practising on Tuesday and he had no strapping or anything and looked completely fine.


7. Sara Errani doing interviews behind the practice courts.  She pulled out before the draw was made.

Sara Errani

I hope you enjoyed my accounts from the grass court season of 2013.  It’s something different to all my preview and prediction posts and I hope to do the same next year.  I have got tickets for the ATP World Tour Finals this year at the O2 so I hope to do another report in November.

I am not sure how much time this week I will have to blog for the five tournaments, but I may be able to provide some match previews later in the week.  Rest assured, my full previews for next week’s line-up of tournaments will return at the weekend as I settle back into work and get over Wimbledon.  Thanks to all who have left comments in the last few days, it means a lot to me that people are enjoying reading my blog.

2 thoughts on “Moo’s Report and Photos from the AEGON International, Eastbourne Part 2

  1. Thanks!I post previews and tournaments for most tournaments, but unfortunately haven't had the time this week and felt like taking a bit of a breather after Wimbledon. I will be back to normal blogging duties for next week's tournaments and all the upcoming events in the US.

    Like

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