2022 Eastbourne International: Around the grounds at Devonshire Park

Monday was my final day at Eastbourne. I stuck around for the morning and early afternoon but had to get back home and avoid any trouble with the impending rail strike in the UK. I’ve had a great two and a half days at the tennis. The weather has been challenging at times but it’s all part of the experience! Eastbourne was weird last year with access restricted to the outside courts so it made this year extra special that the tournament felt back to normal. Feeling happy and just a few more days of work to get through before Wimbledon. Read on for my final post from Devonshire Park and final sweeps of the practice courts!

Day 3 Matches 🎾

Lesia Tsurenko d. Camila Osorio, 7-5 7-6(2) (R1, Court 5)

Two hours and 13 minutes and enough momentum swings to give you motion sickness πŸ˜‚. It was a wild ride but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The first set – Tsurenko 2-0 to Osorio 3-2 to Tsurenko 5-3 and then Tsurenko 7-5. Osorio missed some chances to seal the break at 3-2 in developed into a lengthy and pivotal game. Tsurenko had a really nasty looking slip and looked in pain. The umpire got out of his chair and Osorio asked Tsurenko if she was alright. She was OK to continue and then seemed to lock in, managing to hold to 3-3.

Cue one of those momentum shifts as Tsurenko quickly went up 5-3. But then, Osorio came charging back. Osorio was fist pumping and vocalising after practically every point she won and coach, Ricardo Sanchez was living and breathing every point too. Tsurenko missed three set points at 5-3, another two at 5-4, but finally sealed it on her sixth with a cracking winner down-the-line.

I went off for a wander after that longg first set and came back to find them deep in a second set! This was a long match and it was only two sets. Osorio had led 5-3 in the second set and even had a set point before Tsurenko found a purple patch. Osorio played a great game to break back Tsurenko when she was serving for the match at 6-5 including a gorgeous drop shot. I thought on the whole, Tsurenko just about shaded it and was the more purposeful player as she came through the second set tiebreak.

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The pair had a long chat at the net – I don’t know if something happened while I went off for a wander? Or something I wasn’t paying attention to! I think Osorio went to shake hands with the guy in Tsurenko’s box. It all seemed friendly in the end. Osorio was extremely gracious in defeat. She’s a fun player to watch but i’m not sure she’s found her game on grass just yet.

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Practices 🎾

I started my day on court 11 to watch Camila squared – Camila Giorgi and Camila Osorio. It was a gorgeous morning and the sun was perfect for taking pictures.

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It has to be one of the few times, perhaps the only time (can’t remember to be honest), that i’ve seen Giorgi practice with another player. And I was surprised that they seemed very friendly! The pair hugged at the end which took me by surprise. It was a really nice practice to watch and both were smiling and there was plenty of laughter. At one point, both players and their support teams all erupted in laughter. I think it was to do with Giorgi practically kneeling when she hit a shot. Giorgi’s groundstrokes on the grass are immense and she will always be a dark horse for Wimbledon in my eyes.

Random spot – I saw a Giorgi super fan watching on with one of the best t-shirts i’ve seen – a part of it read “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, hits like a thunderbolt, that’s Camila Giorgi” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

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Next to Osorio-Giorgi, Heather Watson, Alison Riske, Lesia Tsurenko and Viktoriya Tomova were all sharing a court. After Osorio went off to prepare for her match, I wandered round to practice courts 6, 7, 8 and 9. Reilly Opelka and Brandon Nakashima were warming up together. So yeah, Opelka is a giant. I walked by him later and I think I came up to his elbow πŸ˜‚. Sebastian Korda was also warming up. Surprised to see him lose to John Millman today and then pull out of Wimbledon.

Karolina Pliskova and Paula Badosa walked by and then onto the practice court – an all top ten practice! I’ve seen Badosa sooo many times this week on the practice courts. Not much of note from what I saw of them warming up before they went onto play a practice set. I hadn’t seen much of Badosa before this week but I feel like she has been quite subdued on court this week.

After the first set of Tsurenko-Osorio, I naturally went for another sweep of the practice courts. Donna Vekic and Magdalena Frech were practising together. Annoyed that the only shot I got of Donna was out of focus πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ. Anhelina Kalinina was hitting, as was Madison Keys! I know Keys has been out and about but it was the first time i’ve seen her this week.

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Keys seemed content. I stood behind her for a while she hit returns. Just wow πŸ”₯. A few forehands into the net but she looked to be serving well. Her hitting partner (?) put out some cones as she aimed for the targets. Considering that Keys states that grass is her best surface, it’s always surprised me how few of the warm-up tournaments she has played in recent years. Really pleased to see Madi in Eastbourne this year.

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As I finished my sweep, Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo came out on the practice courts. These two seem to be really good friends. It’s lovely to see. Madison Brengle and Aleksandra Krunic also followed onto the practice courts.

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My final sweep of courts 10 and 11 were good ones as I spotted Maria Sakkari for the first time! Nothing really of note from her practice just with her team. I also saw Jannik Sinner who was playing a set with Dan Evans. Darren Cahill was watching on. I find Sinner is much more impressive in person than watching on the TV.

Anddd the final practice pair I saw was Sorana Cirstea and Yulia Putintseva. They hit together for a time before Cirstea asked if they could play with their respective hitting partners when the court next door opened up. Putintseva responded “no problem”!

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Around the grounds 🌱

Monday was noticeably busy. On the previous two days, there was barely a queue to get in. On Monday there was a proper queue when I joined a few minutes before the gates opened. Thankfully today they had worked out how to use the ticket scanners so it wasn’t a long wait at all.

The grounds were much, much busier, as expected. There are three reserved courts for Monday – ridiculous and one for another time… There’s an area in the centre with deckchairs which was heaving for most of the day. When I walked by court 12, I saw Petra and her team playing football again. Presumably a bit more hidden today because it was so busy around the grounds! Once the Centre Court crowd went in at 11am, the outside courts were fine. Like any tournament, when a match finishes and a court empties, the grounds became very busy.

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FPAs 😎

I’m always on the hunt for FPAs (famous person alert) but i’m alone for this trip so no competition with the bro! I think today’s FPA had to be a first sighting of Ons in Easty! She watched a few points of Tsurenko-Osorio, took one selfie with a fan and then walked off. It’s now been confirmed that Jabeur will not play singles in Eastbourne but is still on the schedule to play doubles with Serena on Tuesday evening. Can’t wait!

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New player alerts πŸ””

My quest is always to see and photograph players for the first time! No newbies for Monday but I did get to see my first live match of Camila Osorio. It’s been a great few days for ticking players off the list. The highest ranked players now on my list of players never seen live are Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula and Leylah Fernandez.

Snap of the day πŸ“Έ

One for handshakes & hugs. And an unexpected one!

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Day 3 album πŸ“š

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6 thoughts on “2022 Eastbourne International: Around the grounds at Devonshire Park

  1. Really interesting set of notes here James, looks like you had a great time. Can’t comment on everything but it’s good to see Madison back; I hope she does well at Wimbledon this year. Ons and Serena playing doubles looks intriguing too; reminds me of when Garbi Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro played doubles together with their contrasting styles.

    Just wanted to say well done Katie Boulter for beating Karolina Pliskova today and making it through to the final 16 at Eastbourne. Karo’s serve seems to be really off at the moment (she hit 4 double faults in one game, thus breaking her own serve), which is sad for those of us who’d quite like to see her win a slam at some point; she’s 30 already.

    If I didn’t follow anything else in tennis I’d like to keep up with the grass court season in June and July; it’s by far my favourite part of the tennis calendar (apart from perhaps Indian Wells, which in its usual slot in March feels to me like a winter holiday).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Graham. Ons and Serena playing has been a real highlight this week. Shame I didn’t get to see them while I was down in Eastbourne! Boulter was great. I think the Brits have had a fantastic grass court season. Really hoping they get some decent draws at Wimbledon. This is my favourite time of the year so just soaking it all in 😊

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      • You’re welcome James, and I agree about the Brits too.

        If you’re thinking of doing a handshake page at the end of this year, I think you’ll be lucky to find a better one for inclusion than this one between Petra and Katie, at 7:42;

        Really shows how it should be done.

        Like

  2. Yes, I agree James. As you probably know Petra went on to win the title, her 29th in all. Very well deserved.

    I didn’t see that match but I did see the latter half of the final in Bad Homburg between Bianca Andreescu and Caroline Garcia, which was streamed live (and for free) on Youtube by Bein Tennis, although maybe they shouldn’t have done because the WTA have since blocked it.

    It was a good match IMO, a closely fought three-setter; but Caroline was just that bit better, especially in the points that mattered, and eventually won 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. Bianca had a point to go 3-0 up in the third set which could well have proved decisive had she been able to take it, but she wasn’t.

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