2022 Eastbourne International: Main draw action underway, Kvitova & Badosa practice

Sunday is always my favourite day at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne as most players have arrived and there are no restrictions so you can go any court that you like. From Monday, you need a separate ticket to get on the top three courts 🀬. It was another fun day although the weather was trying at times! The day began with a three hour rain delay between 11am and 2pm, and another frighteningly cold finish. Read on for highlights from day 2 with the start of main draw action and still plenty going on on the practice courts.

Day 2 Matches 🎾

Magda Linette d. Danka Kovinic, 7-6(1) 6-1 (R1, Court 1)

There wasn’t a stand-out in the first set of matches on the schedule. Therefore, I opted for court 1, which is definitely my favourite court at Devonshire Park. I love the view in the two rows of seats behind the baseline. When seating becomes restricted from Monday onwards, I tend to just stand behind the court and peek in through one of the entrances.

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The first set went completely with serve. Twelve straight service holds and no break points. There were no deuce games either! Linette pulled away in the tiebreak with a couple of decent points where she went cross-court and managed to drag Kovinic out wide and force the error. Kovinic took a medical time-out in between the first and second sets for what looked like a shoulder injury? I noticed she seemed to be stretching out her forearm in the first set.

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The second set couldn’t have been more different to the first as Linette cruised to a straight sets victory. It felt like Kovinic’s spirit was broken from losing that first set. The one thing I always take away from watching Kovinic is she has a good serve, definitely better-than-average on tour. It was a classic Linette display. Very solid and you know what you’re going to get most of the time. I’ve always felt her game is worthy of being ranked higher. I didn’t know that she is now coached by Iain Hughes, the former coach of Elina Svitolina and Anastasia Potapova.

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Sara Sorribes Tormo d. Panna Udvardy, 6-3 6-0 (R1, Court 1)

Sorribes Tormo began her grass court season in convincing fashion. I caught the final few games where Sorribes Tormo was spinning her web to frustrate a very erratic, Udvardy. It was the first time i’d seen both play a match live. It’s almost an automatic assumption in my mind that grass wouldn’t be Sorribes Tormo’s thing but she does have facets to her game that make her very effective on this surface, notably the slice. And remember that match against Kerber last year at Wimbledon?! 😍

Sorribes Tormo looked thrilled at the end and understandably so as this was her first win since Madrid having missed Roland Garros with a stress fracture in her rib. I noted she had lots of strapping on her arm in this match but she didn’t seem impeded.

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Magdalena Frech d. Zheng Qinwen, 6-3 6-0 (R1, Court 1)

I stayed on court 1 to watch two moreee players i’d never seen play a match live. I’d seen Zheng for the first time on Saturday who was striking the ball in menacing fashion. To be honest, that didn’t translate too successfully in this one! Zheng did go up an early break. However, Frech broke straight back and then again at 4-3 in a six deuce game, which proved to be the turning point in the match. I left at the end of the first set. Kind of surprised that Frech didn’t lose another game, winning nine games in a row.

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I’ve watched Frech a few times on TV and every time wondered how she is not higher ranked. I think she’s got a super game. There were signs of what Zheng is capable of but she clearly needs time to find her feet on the grass. I looked at her history on grass on Tennis Abstract and there is nothing prior to Berlin this year! There were quite a lot of miscues in the first set. I noticed Conchita Martinez was watching in the corner as Frech will now play Muguruza in the second round on Monday.

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Shelby Rogers d. Marie Bouzkova, 3-6 6-3 6-4 (R1, Centre Court )

My lone outing on Centre Court this year was for what I thought was the pick of the first round matches and it lived up to expectation. Sadly I didn’t stay for the end as my brain was fried again from the cold. I dressed inappropriately once again although in truth, I was missing my woolly hat and many, many, many extra layers πŸ˜‚.

I joined the match with Bouzkova leading *2-1 in the first set. I just love her attitude and she makes it so hard for her opponent because it’s such a constant level that she brings. Bouzkova kept on tracking down balls and had some really neat touches. Rogers was error-strewn for much of the first set. Slowly but surely, Rogers began to settle down and overpower Bouzkova. I left when Shelby consolidated her break to go up 5-2 in the second set because I knew I couldn’t cut it for a third set!

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I watched the end on TV (forgot about the weird camera angle for ‘Bourne) where Rogers toughed out a break-happy third set. Bouzkova had a number of slips and tumbles in the decider. You’ve got to do well to put Marie away and I thought this was an excellent win for Shelby from a set down.

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Practices 🎾

Before the rain arrived at 11am, I watched Heather Watson practising with Viktoriya Tomova. Hev was very smiley and the pair seemed to get on well. They wished each other good luck at the end for their qualifying matches. Watson asked Tomova at the end who she was playing.Β  Sadly they both lost although Watson got a lucky loser spot into the main draw. Watson and Tomova were sharing a court with Nuria Parrizas-Diaz. Next door was Kaia Kanepi and Lesia Tsurenko, and further down was Viktorija Golubic and Kirsten Flipkens.

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As mentioned yesterday, Court 12 is a weird court, but if you find someone decent playing then it’s a score! Petra Kvitova and Paula Badosa were warming up together with barely anyone watching. I saw about five minutes before the rain came. I got a shot of Petra looking up – I think she was looking at the sky as it was about to rain πŸ˜‚. Didn’t get a great vibe from Petra on the court but let’s see how this week goes. I enjoyed the practice while it lasted!

After watching Linette-Kovinic, it was back to the practice courts where GarbiΓ±e Muguruza and Alison Riske were playing a set together. Again, it was a bit of an uncomfortable watch. Muguruza was subdued and I didn’t think she was playing well at all with many of her groundstrokes drifting long. I’m pretty sure Riske was winning but it was hard to follow! There wasn’t much interaction between Muguruza and coach, Conchita Martinez who was just feeding balls. The only smile was at the end when Muguruza shook hands with Riske.

Yulia Putintseva was playing with what I assume was a practice partner. Yulia wasn’t in the best of moods. She was practising her charges to the net but kept hitting the first ball into the net. She bounced her racquet on the grass at one point 😬.

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I spotted Karolina Pliskova for the first time this week who was practising with coach, Sascha Bajin. They were doing some drills and he had some pointers. There was something she wasn’t quite doing right in her positioning when hitting the ball but I didn’t fully follow.

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On the next court, Elena Rybakina was hitting with coach, Stefano Vukov. I only stayed for a few minutes but thankfully there seemed to be less critique compared to my account from yesterday! I completed the sweep of the practice courts to see Camila Osorio and Ajla Tomljanovic hitting together.

Around the grounds 🌱

I love the vibe at Eastbourne. There are so many players just wandering around the grounds without security, and it’s got such a friendly feel. Petra was warming up with her team, kicking a football, at the start of the day, and she seemed very at ease.

Once again, the grounds didn’t feel that busy. Perhaps the early rain may have put some people off. The practice courts were generally quiet and you could always get a spot to watch. Centre and Court 1 were both empty for much of the day. I was surprised they didn’t put any of the Brits in qualifying on the top two courts but I guess they were favouring main draw matches. Watson-Tsurenko on court 2 was full for the start at 2pm.

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! Ding ding ding, we have a clear winner for Sunday. When I was walking back to my hotel, Camila Giorgi and Papa Giorgi walked past me. Papa Giorgi was showing Camila something loud on his phone πŸ˜‚.

New player alerts πŸ””

My quest is always to see and photograph players for the first time! It’s been a great trip for ticking players off my list. After two COVID years, I feel like i’ve caught up. Gauff, Pegula and Fernandez now top of my list of players never seen live.

Nuria Parrizas-Diaz βœ…

Magdalena Frech βœ…

Panna Udvardy βœ…

Sara Sorribes Tormo βœ… (missed off the list yesterday!)

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Snap of the day πŸ“Έ

Any smiling Petra pics are an automatic photo of the day.

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Day 2 album πŸ“š

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