Konta Continues Fairy Tale Run at WTA Eastbourne 2015 Wednesday
Elliot Cornish for Tennis Atlantic
British wildcard Johanna Konta continued her fairy tale run at the Aegon International, knocking out Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in three sets in Eastbourne.
The world number 146 once again came out of the blocks quickly, asserting control over her more decorated opponent. Konta maintained her advantage but couldn’t serve out the set, however the Spaniard faltered as well, and was broken to surrender the opener 6-4.
Muguruza settled into the match as it wore on and after moving ahead 2-0 in the second, the rest of the set went on serve – despite the world number 20 having to save five break points – and she took the second, also by a 6-4 scoreline.
In the third, Konta warmed to the challenge, receiving strong support from the British crowd as she stormed into what appeared a match-winning 5-1 lead. However, Muguruza nicked one of the breaks back and held to love to keep the pressure on her Australia-born adversary, but Konta kept her composure, serving out the match in a little under two hours.
In a battle of two former champions, Caroline Wozniacki recovered from a poor conclusion to the first set, to advance past Svetlana Kuznetsova in a high-quality affair.
After surviving a break point in the first game, Wozniacki surged to a 5-1 lead, displaying good movement and her trademark knack of keeping the ball in court. She was, however, broken by Kuznetsova while serving for the set and the Russian capitalised on a flurry of errors from the Dane, breaking twice to get back on serve.
Wozniacki held in the 11th game to edge 6-5 ahead and couldn’t snatch the initiative as Kuznetsova shakily managed to force a tiebreak, which the Russian dominated due to an array of Danish errors, winning it 7-3.
Kuznetsova was broken early though in the second set and after her opponent fought through a tough fourth game, Wozniacki pushed on, breaking once more to level up the match.
She lost momentum though as Kuznetsova took the first game against serve, but Wozniacki refound her groove to roll off six successive games and book a place in the last eight against Andrea Petkovic, who defeated Coco Vandeweghe 6-3 6-4 on Court 1.
On the forthcoming match with Petkovic, Wozniacki said: “Another tough match. We’ve played each other many times and you know she’s had a good year so far, I’m just excited to be in the quarters.
However, there was British disappointment later in the day as Heather Watson fell to Sloane Stephens in straight sets in front of an expectant Centre Court audience.
The Briton struggled to find her rhythm from the off and had already slipped a double-break behind by the time of the first sit down – a combination of unforced errors from Watson and tidy play by the American. Despite sticking around late in the set, Stephens was clinical in wrapping it up 6-2.
Watson worked her way into the battle in the next, but after breaking back to draw level at 2-2, she meekly surrendered her following service game, a blow she was not able to recover from. Stephens offered no further opportunities and, to compound the misery, secured yet another break to complete the win.
Bouchard retirement sees Bencic reach quarters
Eugenie Bouchard retired from her last 16 match against Belinda Bencic while trailing a set and 3-0 with an abdominal injury. The misfortune continues what has been a torrid season for the Canadian and she will enter Wimbledon next week – where she made the final last year – severely undercooked.
The first set of the match was nip and tuck, but Bencic managed to fight off a break point at 3-4 to stay on serve and then she immediately broke the seventh seed in the following game, before serving out the set to 30.
Bouchard’s problems were becoming clearer as the contest wore on, and after slipping behind a double break in the second set she called for the trainer, at which point she decided to pull out.
However, in a bid to allay concerns, she has already commented: “I am going to play Wimbledon no matter what, even if I am on one leg.”
The result moves Bencic into the Eastbourne quarter-finals for the first time – where she will play Konta – and is further indication of the growing prowess of the 18-year-old Swiss, who is currently ranked 31 in the world.
Tsvetana Pironkova brought Dominika Cibulkova’s comeback tournament to an end, roaring back from a set down to defeat the Slovakian on Court 1 at Devonshire Park.
Cibulkova pinched the lead through a tiebreak after a lengthy first set and looked poised to back up her win on Tuesday against Lucie Safarova. However, Pironkova began to excel from thereon and was never in danger after winning the second set, closing out the victory 6-7(4) 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 25 minutes.
Agnieszka Radwańska picked up one of her best triumphs of the season, sailing past eighth seed Karolina Pliskova for the loss of just three games in 56 minutes. The Pole, who has fallen outside the world’s top 10, is due to face Bulgaria’s Pironkova in the quarter-finals.
Daria Gavrilova staved off a second-set resurgence from Sara Errani in the final singles bout of the day on Court 1, making full use of her main draw ticket which came after Petra Kvitova withdrew. Her next obstacle comes in the form of the American Stephens.
In the last doubles duels of the first round, Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina beat Lara Arruabarrena/Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4 6-0. The second seeds will now play Cara Black/Lisa Raymond after they defeated Monica Niculescu/Arina Rodionova.
Julia Goerges/Lucie Hradecka saw off Anabel Medina Garrigues/Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-6(2) 6-1 to book a meeting with Yung-Jan Chan/Jie Zheng in the final eight.
In the quarter-finals, Caroline Garcia/Katarina Srebotnik progressed past the British team of Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith after the latter retired upon losing the first set. They will play Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza in the last four, who battled back to take out Hao-Ching Chan/Flavia Pennetta on Centre Court.
With just four singles matches to be played on Thursday at Devonshire Park now the tournament has reached the quarter-final stage, all of them will take place on Centre Court, with the action scheduled to start at 11.00 A.M.
Pironkova and Radwanska will kick things off before British hopeful Konta takes on Bencic. Then, Gavrilova will continue her quest for a deep run against Stephens, with Wozniacki versus Petkovic set to conclude play in what may well be the match of the day.
In the two remaining doubles quarters, Black/Raymond vs Makarova/Vesnina will follow on from the singles on Centre, while Goerges/Hradecka against Chan/Zheng is due on Court 1 at 1.00pm.