Brits Fall on Rain-Hit Day in Eastbourne
Elliott Cornish for Tennis Atlantic from Eastbourne
EASTBOURNE—British trio Heather Watson, Tara Moore and Naomi Broady all suffered first-round defeats on a rain-affected day at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
Watson, the British number two, would have been hopeful of a deep run on home soil in the last Wimbledon warm-up but missed chances throughout against Elena Vesnina, losing 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 12 minutes.
The Russian saved all six break points she faced – three in each set – ensuring she was always in control of the contest. Vesnina also prevailed when the pair last played at Eastbourne in 2013, and will now face defending champion Belinda Bencic in round two.
Wildcard Moore failed to capitalise on a productive past few weeks, falling 7-5 6-4 to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in the second match of the afternoon. The Brit begun brightly in the apparent mismatch – she is ranked 190 places below Makarova at 229 – breaking for a 5-3 lead in the eighth game.
However, three set points spurned on serve, followed by two more in the following game, put paid to her chances. After losing two lengthy games, Moore succumbed quickly from 5-5, dropping the final eight points of the set.
Makarova broke midway through the second to assert further command, but was made to work for the victory after she was broken while serving for the match. However, Moore’s inexperience eventually showed, as Makarova broke for a fourth time to seal the win and a second-round meeting with the second seed Roberta Vinci.
Broady, sister of ATP player Liam, was unable to get a foothold against qualifier Monica Puig, picking up just two games in a 60–minute rout. The Puerto Rican broke the Briton’s serve five times, while Broady could not create even a single break point.
Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard made swift work of Varvara Lepchenko on Court 1, breezing through 6-1 6-2 in under an hour. The Canadian, who has slipped to 48th in the rankings, will play Irina-Camelia Begu in the last 32.
Elsewhere, Andrea Petkovic scraped through against China’s Saisai Zheng in the day’s only three-setter. The lucky loser snatched the first set 7-5, but a determined Petkovic fought back – winning the last two sets 6-2 6-4 – to advance in two hours 42 minutes.
Heavy rain prevented any play before 3pm, and only six matches were completed on Monday after play on all outside courts was called off. However, the tournament will be confident in making up for lost time with the forecast looking much brighter for the rest of the week.
Top seed Agniezska Radwanska and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will enter the fray on Tuesday. The former will take on either Denise Allertova or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, while Kvitova is first on Centre Court versus Timea Babos.
Monday’s cancelled match between Caroline Wozniacki and Sam Stosur will be second on Centre, and 11th seed and home favourite Johanna Konta will also open her bid on Tuesday against Lesia Tsurenko or Zhang Shuai.
In Tuesday’s other selected matches, Timea Bacsinszky will face Kristina Mladenovic and Vesnina will square off against Bencic.