A packed centre court crowd was treated to a thrilling day’s tennis at the Nature Valley International on Monday, Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova and Andy Murray among the stars in the winners’ circle as a capacity crowd flocked to Devonshire Park for the combined men’s and women’s event.
I'm just happy to get myself tested on the grass this week, and this one was a great test for me, a great one leading up to Wimbledon Caroline Wozniacki
On centre court, No.2 seed in the women’s draw, Karolina Pliskova, was taken the distance by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, sneaking through 6-4 2-6 6-3, while tournament top seed Caroline Wozniacki overcame a wobbly start to overcome Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-3.
“I’m happy to be on this surface, happy to be playing here,” Wozniacki,a former champion, said. “I think it also helps that centre court here is so nice and so cozy. To have the crowd so close, it feels great. I feel very at home. I’m just happy to get myself tested on the grass this week, and this one was a great test for me, a great one leading up to Wimbledon.”
Meanwhile on court one Dominika Cibulkova won the battle between two former Eastbourne champions, easing past Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 7-5 6-4 to earn a second-round assignment against two-time Eastbourne finalist Angelique Kerber.
Wrapping up an action-packed day, British wild card Harriet Dart set up a second-round clash with No.11 seed Anastasija Sevastova, beating world No.78 Kristyna Pliskova 7-5 3-6 6-3.
British No.1 Johanna Konta embarks on her hometown campaign on Tuesday, taking on Aleksandra Krunic. The Eastbourne native said she was excited to make her return to the Devonshire Park courts.
“When you get the opportunity to play in front of big crowd they bring energy to the match,” said Konta. “It’s a privilege for an athlete to play in front of their home crowd, so for me it’s especially great to be playing here as the fans have always given me a lot of support.
“It’s a very strong field this year – as it is every year – so this is a good opportunity to keep working on good habits and to try to battle my way through this draw and to do as well as possible. Every tournament is an opportunity to perform and gain ranking points. I’m really looking forward to this event and playing some great tennis here.”
No.3 seed Petra Kvitova also begins her Eastbourne campaign on Tuesday with a tricky second round assignment against qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko. The Czech two-time Wimbledon champion returns to Eastbourne in top form having claimed the Birmingham title last week.