June 15-20, 2009
Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Amelie Mauresmo survived a day of upsets that saw Igor Andreev, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova tumble out of the AEGON International.
World No.9 Wozniacki enjoyed a straightforward victory over Alisa Kleybanova, 6-3 6-2.
“I am happy my match today and the courts are playing really well,” said the Danish woman who plays Australian Samantha Stosur in the second round.
Defending champion Radwanska won the first round battle of the siblings, the No.8 seed defeating younger sister Urszula, 6-1 6-1 and Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo also joined the winners’ list, defeating No.4 seed Vera Zvonareva, 6-3 1-6 6-3.
“It was not my best win playing on grass but it’s always good to get a win and to get the chance to play better tomorrow,” said 2006 Wimbledon champion Mauresmo.
“It was Vera’s first time back and maybe she was a little shaky on her ankle, it’s tough to come back from a long injury break. I didn’t feel great on court. It was a little windy out there and my serve was not so good but the match showed some areas that I need to improve in,” she said.
He was joined on the sidelines by women’s No. 3 seed, Jelena Jankovic, who was beaten 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2 by Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.
“I didn’t really feel comfortable out there today,” said world No.6 Jankovic. “I got into the match and won the first set playing quite well but the ball stayed so low and my legs felt tired and I didn’t want to have to bend down for the balls so I lost my rhythm.”
French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was another first round casualty, falling to Aleksandra Wozniak 6-0 6-3. “The match was really tough for me after two months on clay,” said the No.2 seeded Kuznetsova.
“Here, on this surface, everything is different and for me it’s too much to change in three days. I need more time I’m not a robot who can change so quickly,” she said.
Wozniak was delighted with her victory. “It’s never easy to play the seeds from the start of the tournament but it’s grass so it’s dangerous,” said the Canadian.
“This is another great win for me over a top 10 player. She’s just won the French Open so she has a lot of confidence but she couldn’t find her rhythm against me today.”
Wildcard Ivan Ljubicic defeated Britain’s Goodall in the second round 6-3 7-5. “I felt ok out there and I know what I have got to work on now,” said British No.3, Goodall. “I was missing pretty simple shots but at the moment I am just losing by one break and I feel like today was a step in the right direction.”
On another impressive day of attendance, fans continued to flock to the AEGON International on Tuesday afternoon as Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha rounded off the singles action on Devonshire Park’s centre and No.1 courts.
Keothavong was disappointed by her 6-3 6-2 first round loss to Sybille Bammer. “I expected her to be a tough opponent and today I didn’t give myself a chance,” said the British No.1. “I was spraying balls about and she just had to put the ball in the court.
“Sometimes I can put too much pressure on myself, I know I am capable of beating players like Sybille and today it just wasn’t happening for me. I expect more from myself, I want to perform well and not let people who support me down.”
Baltacha fought hard against world No.20 Na Li, losing their first round contest 2-6 5-7. She said she was encouraged by her performance, despite the loss. “It sounds funny but I can’t say I am disappointed because I feel I learned so much from that match,” said Baltacha.
“At the moment I am not good enough to beat the world No.20 but I’m not that far away from her. I’ve improved so much in the last few months and that match really helped me to believe in myself.
“There was only five or 10 percent separating us on some of the match statistics and that is the exciting thing. I’m not far away and I’m really going to knuckle down and improve on those areas now,” said Baltacha.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS