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Eastbourne | Wozniacki begins title defence

Eastbourne | Wozniacki begins title defence

Defending Champion Caroline Wozniacki made a winning start to her title defence at the Nature Valley International, Eastbourne, winning her opening match against Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-4.

Right now I'm feeling healthy, knock on wood. So hopefully I keep being healthy. When I feel good, then I know I can beat anyone and I can play on my highest level Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki said she was happy to be feeling well as she embarked on the grass court season. “I just love grass,” said the former world No.1. “I think the season so far I have been really unlucky with sickness and with injuries. There is nothing really I can do about it. You just kind of have to keep moving on, moving forward.

“Right now I’m feeling healthy, knock on wood. So hopefully I keep being healthy. When I feel good, then I know I can beat anyone and I can play on my highest level. I’m just taking it one tournament at a time right now and one day at a time. Hopefully my body is going to hold up.”

No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova also looked strong on the grass courts of Devonshire Park on Monday, beating Margarita Gasparyan 6-3- 6-3.

The champion at Eastbourne in 2017, Pliskova said: “I think I played so far the best match on grass.

“Of course I always felt quite good on this grass here in Eastbourne by playing two times in final. Even last year I had some good matches here. So I think it’s similar to Wimby. I felt good out there today.”

Ashleigh Barty poses with the Chris Evert World No.1 trophy presented to her at Eastbourne

The top seed in the women’s event, and the Champion at last week’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, Ashleigh Barty, withdrew from Eastbourne with a right arm injury.

“Eastbourne is a very special place for me, I played my first singles tournament back here in 2016,” said Barty. “I’m sorry not to play here this week, hopefully I can be back to compete next year.”

Barty, who was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Mandy Minella, was presented with the WTA World No.1 Trophy, prior to her departure from Devonshire Park.

Julia Goerges has also withdrawn with a GI illness as has Anastasia Sevastova with a right thigh injury. They were replaced in the draw by lucky losers Viktorija Golubic and Zarina Diyas respectively.

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