I’m back from my trip to Eastbourne. I had such an brilliant time and I hope you liked all the photos. I’ll be posting a final wrap-up from Eastbourne tomorrow with a selection of my best photos from the four days. If you missed any of my posts live from Eastbourne then you can check them out below. Thursday is quarter-finals day at the Aegon International as attention slowly begins to switch to Wimbledon.
Saturday posts: Photos from the practice courts HERE
Monday posts: Photos from first round matches (Kuznetsova-Rybarikova, Davis-Gajdosova, Strycova-Begu and McHale-Giorgi) HERE
Tuesday posts: Photos from the practice courts HERE, photos from court 1 matches (Safarova-Cibulkova and Petkovic-Garcia) HERE, photos from Babs-Sara HERE and photos from outside court matches (Gavrilova-Giorgi and Pliskova-Dellacqua) HERE
1. Tsvetana Pironkova v Agnieszka Radwanska
There are surprises all round in the Eastbourne draw and I think one them is actually Agnieszka Radwanska making the quarter-finals! She has lost just five games in her first two matches, beating Karolina Pliskova in the third round, 6-2 6-1. While Pliskova seemed to have her mind elsewhere, Radwanska played her best match in a very long time and claimed her best scalp of the year in terms of ranking. Tsvetana Pironkova is once again peaking for the grass season. She’s taken out Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova back-to-back and becomes a different player on this surface. Radwanska leads the head-to-head, 8-2. Pironkova’s last win over Radwanska came at Eastbourne in 2012, while Radwanska won their last match at Wimbledon in 2013, an excellent fourth round match. I’ve got Pironkova as my finalist which doesn’t look quite as hilarious right now. Attention is turning to Wimby and i’m leaning towards Tsvetana…
Prediction: Pironkova d. Radwanska in 2 tight sets
2. Belinda Bencic v Johanna Konta
Both Belinda Bencic and Johanna Konta are having a great grass court season; Bencic reached the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and has secured another three wins in Eastbourne, beating quality opposition along the way. She advanced into the quarters after Eugenie Bouchard retired with an abdominal injury. Konta reached the quarter-finals of Nottingham and the second round of Birmingham, bagging three top 100 wins. For a player ranked at 146 in the world this is big. In Eastbourne, she has beaten Zarina Diyas, Ekaterina Makarova and Garbine Muguruza which is a sensational effort. Konta is not to be written off here as she did beat Bencic in Eastbourne last year in a match I watched live. This is a big occasion for Konta and it will be interesting to see how she deals with it. I’m teetering on the fence with this one, but i’d go for Bencic. Although Keys played a poor match in the second round, I was very impressed with how Bencic played in that match and particularly how she served. Confidence will likely be high…
Prediction: Bencic d. Konta in 3 sets
3. Daria Gavrilova v Sloane Stephens
Daria Gavrilova has had a superb week as a lucky loser. After falling to Marina Erakovic in the final round of qualifying, she benefited from Petra Kvitova‘s withdrawal and took her place into the draw straight to the second round. She saved a match point with a gutsy win over Camila Giorgi in the second round, 3-6 7-6(6) 6-3 and then backed it up with another three setter, this time against Sara Errani, 6-1 5-7 6-2. Stephens had a shaky opener against Naomi Broady where she blew a match point on a simple putaway when serving for the match. She eventually prevailed in a third set tiebreak. Since that match, Stephens has secured straight set victories over Carla Suarez Navarro and Heather Watson. This will be a first career match-up and my instinct says Sloane wins this comfortably. I’ve really warmed to Dasha this week so i’d like her run to keep going.
Prediction: Stephens d. Gavrilova in 2 sets
4. Caroline Wozniacki v Andrea Petkovic
The last match of the day is the most visually appealing on paper featuring two top 15 players. Caroline Wozniacki blew a 5-1 lead against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first set and then lost it on the tiebreak. She rebounded to win in three, 6-7(3) 6-3 6-1. Kuznetsova went up an early break in the third set and had a game point to up 2-0, but ended up losing the last six games. It was an excellent match with both coming away with a positive winners to unforced errors differential. Wozniacki went for her shots and that was really encouraging to see. Petkovic has done well to reach the quarters this week with straight set wins over Caroline Garcia and Coco Vandeweghe and shown a marked improvement on her first match on grass in Birmingham against Katerina Siniakova. Woz is my champion for the week and i’m sticking by that.
Prediction: Wozniacki d. Petkovic in 2 tight sets