Eastbourne | Women’s Preview – Badosa leads the field

The draw is done for the Rothesay International at Eastbourne next week, the last WTA 500 event before The Championships at Wimbledon, and World No 3 Paula Badosa from Spain leads a field that includes 5 of the Top 10.

 

Notable absentees are World No 1 Iga Swiatek from Poland, Estonian Anett Kontaveit, ranked 2, Aryna Sabalenka (5) and Britain’s Emma Raducanu (11).

Swiatek is resting a troublesome shoulder, while Kontaveit, who was the runner-up here last year, is still dealing with the after-effects of COVID-19.

Both were scheduled to kick off their grass season this week in Berlin, but pulled out of the WTA 500 tournament.

“I still need to recover and take care of my health after my infection to Covid recently,” Kontaveit said. “I didn’t feel good on court lately so I prefer not to take any risk and come back when I will be at 100 per cent. Hope to see you all in Eastbourne in 2023.”

Raducanu, the British No 1 and reigning US Open champion, was not on the wild-card list, having suffered an injury to her side at Nottingham and she will head to Wimbledon with just 7 games of competitive preparation on the grass.

She had until 4pm on Friday to accept a wild-card to enter the Eastbourne tournament, which gets under way on Sunday, 19 June, but the 19-year-old opted against doing so, and may decide to play an exhibition match at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition at the Hurlingham Club next week instead.

Meanwhile, Coco Gauff has withdrawn from Eastbourne after the draw was made due to a change in her schedule, so her spot now will be filled by a qualifier or a lucky loser.

The big buzz, of course, is the re-appearance of Serena Williams who is set to play in the doubles with Ons Jabeur after an absence of a year from competition because of injury.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion and the current World No 4 will open against Czech Marie Bouzkova & Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain in the first round in what will be Williams’ first match in either singles or doubles since Wimbledon last year, when she retired after just 7 games in the first round.


Paula Badosa, the World No 3, leads the field that includes 5 of the Top 10

© Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images

Top seed Badosa steps onto the grass for the first time this year, while Jabeur, seeded 2nd from Tunisia, Maria Sakkari (3) of Greece, and Czech Karolina Pliskova (4) round out the top seeds in Eastbourne in a draw where the last seeded player is Kazakh Yulia Putintseva at 16, and all receive byes into the second 2.

Along with Badosa, former champion Pliskova and 7th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova from Czech Republic have been drawn into the top half of the draw.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded No 14 is also in the top half, and the left-handed Czech could face Pliskova in the 3rd-round.

Badosa will open against either Croatia’s Petra Martic or Jodie Burrage, the British No 7, and could face a red-hot Beatriz Haddad Maia in the 3rd-round, the Brazilian having won her first 8 matches of the grass-court season, backing up her maiden title in Nottingham with a run to the semi-finals in Birmingham.

Former World No 2 Krejcikova is also set to play her first grass-court event of the season, the 2021 Roland Garros champion having made her Wimbledon debut last year where she proceeded to make the Round of 16.

In Eastbourne, she will face either Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic or Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine in the 2nd-round, with another Swiss, 10th seed Jill Teichmann, looming as a potential 3rd-round opponent.


Jelena Ostapenko will bid to defend the Eastbourne title she won last year at Devonshire Park

© Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA

Defending champion and 8th seed Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia, 3rd-seeded Sakkari, and No 5 seed Garbiñe Muguruza from Spain join Jabeur, the 2nd seed, in the bottom half of the draw.

Ostapenko, who is bidding to successfully defend a title for the first time in her career, having mowed down the field last summer for her 5th career title, opens against either Ajla Tomljanovic from Australia or a qualifier, with her first possible seeded opponent being 2014 champion Madison Keys, who is seeded No 11.

2017 Wimbledon champion Muguruza is hoping to erase her negative record in Eastbourne, where she is 1-2 in her career, but the Spaniard faces a tough opening test against either 19-year-old Zheng Qinwen from China or Poland’s Magdalena Frech, while 12th-seeded Camila Giorgi from Italy could be waiting in the 3rd-round.

British interest in Eastbourne lies with Harriet Dart, Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage, who have received wild-cards into the main draw for the WTA 500 event at Devonshire Park, while Heather Watson, Yuriko ‘Lily’ Miyazaki, and Freya Christie compete in the qualifying competition.


Serena Williams is making her return to the tour after a year away from the game with a doubles appearance at Eastbourne

© Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

In the doubles, top seeds Krejcikova & Ena Shibahara from Japan are teaming up for the first time and lead the draw alongside Madrid champions, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski & Giuliana Olmos from Mexico.

Wild-cards Williams & Jabeur have been drawn into the bottom half of the draw to face the unseeded duo of Bouzkova & Sorribes Tormo, with the winners facing either the No 4 seeds, Czech Lucie Hradecka & Sania Mirza from India, or Japan’s Shuko Aoyama & Chan Hao-Ching from Taipei.



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