Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, on Sunday, despite a second-set meltdown.
Chan and Flavia Pennetta of Italy raced to a 6-5, 5-1 lead over Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Alicja Rosolska of Poland before losing six straight games as their opponents claimed the second set 7-5.
However, Chan and Pennetta held their nerve in the super tiebreak to claim a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 victory in 1 hour, 18 minutes at Devonshire Park.
The Taiwanese-Italian duo saved six of 10 break-point chances and converted four of nine to set up a quarter-final against either top seeds Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Sania Mirza of India or Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
Chan’s elder sister, Chan Yung-jan, and Zheng Jie of China were due to begin their campaign against third seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France late yesterday.
In the singles on Sunday, Belinda Bencic booked a place against defending champion Madison Keys with a 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) defeat of Germany’s Mona Barthel.
Keys, seeded 12th, has yet to duplicate the success she found on the English seaside grass courts a year ago when she won the title against Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
Barthel was plagued by six double faults, while losing serve on four of five occasions to Swiss teenager Bencic, a first-round loser a year ago.
Eastbourne local Johanna Konta, ranked 139, thrilled her home public at Devonshire Park with a first-round defeat of Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-2.
“Every first round is tough,” Konta said, after winning her first career match at the tournament. “There is no easy match, but I was happy I could go out there and give my best, and I was fortunate enough to come out on top.”
Konta next faces fourth-seeded former champion Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.
There was no luck for Britain’s Naomi Broady, beaten in her first outing by Sloane Stephens of the US 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
Coco Vandeweghe of the US put out Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-1 and fellow American Alison Riske stopped Alize Cornet of France 6-0, 6-3.
Australia’s Casey Dellacqua beat Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-4, while France’s Caroline Garcia advanced past Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-2, 6-2.
AFP, BIRMINGHAM, England
Angelique Kerber suggested that she is back to her best in time for Wimbledon after lifting her first grass-court title in a compelling final against Pliskova in Birmingham, England, on Sunday.
The German’s 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win sets her up well for the Grand Slam starting on Monday next week and also prevented the Czech from taking over her place in the world’s top 10.
Pliskova has served 320 aces, more than any other woman this year, including 11 more in Birmingham, but Kerber’s movement, tenacity, flat counterhitting and competitive nous managed to frustrate her dangerously improving 23-year-old opponent.
To achieve it she had to come from a set and a break of serve down in the second set and then from 5-6 down in the decider, plus the disappointment of losing a 5-3 lead, in a match which was intriguingly unpredictable.
“It was an amazing match and for a final it was perfect,” Kerber said. “It sounds good to have my name on the trophy next to Billy-Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and I am proud of what I have achieved this week. I just tried to fight point by point and being able to win this will give me great confidence in my preparation [for Wimbedon].”
“I did everything I could,” said Pliskova, who is playing well enough to break into the top 10 very soon. “So I am not really disappointed to play a match like this in a final. I had the feeling Angelique was everywhere and every lefty is tough on grass. She moves so well and plays flat shots which is important on this surface. I will go away happy.”
Kerber walked away with US$124,000 and the Maud Watson trophy — the prize which was presented to the first Wimbledon winner back in 1884. She will hope that it is an omen.
In the doubles, fourth-seeded Spanish duo Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Czech pairing Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4 to finally get their hands on a trophy this year after they were beaten in the finals in Dubai and at home in Madrid.
It was their second WTA Tour doubles title after they triumphed in Stanford, California, last year.
“It means a lot because we’ve only played a few tournaments the whole year, so we kind of feel nervous every time we play together,” Muguruza told the WTA Web site. “We’re really happy and it’s even more special because it’s on grass, where we didn’t expect a title.”
“Hopefully we can keep playing like this going into the next tournaments,” she said. “I think we’re a great team, so hopefully we can continue like this.”
Additional reporting by Dave Carroll
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