Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Chan advances in Eastbourne

STRAIGHT SETS:Despite a tight first set, which the cross-strait duo of Chan and China’s Zheng edged in a tiebreak, they won the second set 6-3 in 31 minutes

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, EASTBOURNE, England

Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia returns to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in their women’s singles match at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie of China ousted the third seeds in the doubles at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, yesterday to claim a spot in the quarter-finals of the final warm-up tournament before Wimbledon.

Chan and Zheng, the runners-up at the Australian Open in January, warmed up for the third Grand Slam of the year by downing third seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France in the first round on the grass courts at Devonshire Park in a match delayed a day by rain on the south coast of England.

The cross-strait duo edged a tight first set 7-6(7/5), converting their second set point in a tiebreak after 46 minutes, before completing the victory by taking the second set 6-3 31 minutes later.

Chan and Zheng saved three of four break-point opportunities and converted two of five, winning 69 of the 131 points contested to advance to a quarter-final clash against either Spanish pairing Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja, or Julia Goerges of Germany and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova begins her title defense next week without any official grass-court matches following her withdrawal at Eastbourne.

“I didn’t feel well when I came here last Thursday,” Kvitova said. “I have a sore throat. I have to stay in bed, and drink tea and rest. I had to make this decision. I hope to be fine for Wimbledon. I’ll stay here in Eastbourne and then slowly move to London. Of course, I wanted to play here, but it doesn’t make sense to play and then not be ready for Wimbledon, I’m not the only one not to play before Wimbledon.”

Kvitova, who claimed the title at the All England Club in 2011 and last year was the top seed in the singles.

Kvitova has not played since losing in the fourth round of the French Open at Roland Garros.

With rain delaying the start of play for several hours at Devonshire Park, the program was reduced.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the champion in 2004 and playing in Eastbourne for the seventh time, reached the second round with a 7-6(7/5), 6-4 defeat of Magdelana Rybarikova.

Kuznetsova improved to a 36-8 career record on grass.

While all 16 seeds had byes into the second round, second seed Caroline Wozniacki was eagerly preparing for her pre-Wimbledon start after an early exit on the Paris clay last month.

The Danish world No. 5 said that making the clay-grass switch is one of the easiest parts of her season.

“I think automatically I just switch, it’s a very easy switch for me to go from clay to grass,” the former world No. 1 said. “It’s worse for me to go from hard court to clay, because you have to get the sliding in and stuff. Here, it just comes naturally to me. It’s easy and I’m like a little kid at a candy store whenever I step on grass for the first time. It’s never been an issue for me.”

Irina Falconi of the US defeated Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-1, 6-1, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova made a winning return after sitting out since February with a foot injury, beating Britain’s Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-3, while Polona Hercog beat Madison Brengle of the US 7-5, 6-4.

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