By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne

  • Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska [1] Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4 2-1 (retired)
  • Petra Kvitova [5] def. Timea Babos 6-4 7-6(5)
  • Caroline Wozniacki [7] def. Sam Stosur 6-2 6-1
  • Defending champion Belinda Bencic bows out in her opener

EASTBOURNE, UK – Three of the biggest draws at Eastbourne made hay while the sun finally shone in Eastbourne, but defending champion Belinda Bencic fell at her first hurdle.

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Agnieszka Radwanska [1] Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4 2-1 (retired)

Somewhat unbelievably the whole stop-start nature of Radwanska’s grass court season was still evident, when Lucic-Baroni had to retire in the second set with a gastro-intestinal illness.

Radwanska’s Birmingham campaign never really got started, with the on-again, off-again programme resulting in Coco Vandeweghe sending the top seed packing for an early train to the sea-side.

It came as a surprise to her then that the hard-hitting Croatian, who had already started the day with a match after Monday’s shortened schedule.

However, despite a competitive first set, Lucic-Baroni retired, having traded breaks with the top seed at the start of the second set,

Radwanska said, after the match: “I didn’t expect that. She was still playing great tennis, very powerful game, very consistent. Well, I was really, really surprised that she was not 100% today. But, well, good game and hoping tomorrow will be less wind and I will have another good match.”

Radwanska will face Genie Bouchard in the third round – the Canadian seems to have regained some of her confidence after what had been a resurgent year with the concussion to mar her progress at the end of last year.

Bouchard admitted that she had needed to maybe reset a little at the end of last year, and we are beginning to see the results of that now.

“I really kind of kicked myself in the butt, and told myself to go after it and not have any regrets. I live an amazing life, so I just kind of want to make the most of it, and then, yeah, I don’t want to look back and have regrets. So I really want to go for it.”

 

Petra Kvitova [5] def. Timea Babos 6-4 7-6(5)

It was a tough battle for the two-time Wimbledon champion who often looked the more vulnerable in the first set to give up the break to Babos.

The Hungarian was returning the hefty Kvitova serve with interest, and even though Kvitova broke at the start of the second set, Babos was not done fighting. She broke straight back and managed to stave off four break points later in the match to force a tie-break, which Kvitova edged.

Kvitova has been maybe a bit luckier in that she got in a couple of matches in Birmingham, and is on her way here.

“I think I’m kind of lucky because I’m not a person who really has to practice every day like three hours. So when I didn’t play yesterday I was not thinking about it. It’s just with the practices you are getting more confident and confident.

“I played in Birmingham, which was great that I was able to play on the grass already. The weather is not really nice for us, but I hope the next two, three weeks will be better.”

She will face Britain’s Johanna Konta in the next round.

 

Caroline Wozniacki [7] def. Sam Stosur 6-2 6-1

After a long lay off and an entire section of the season missed, Wozniacki made light of Stosur’s first grass court outing. After a stutter in Birmingham with the Dane being bounced out in the first round.

There was no danger of that as Wozniacki continued her swathe through the draw, for the loss of just three games.

Stosur said rather philosophically: “I guess the good thing is there is another week till Wimbledon starts. (Smiling.) But no, I mean, have had two hits two days on grass so far. The first day I got here I lost my time because of rain. Then I got a good couple of hours the next two days.

“Yesterday it rained all day and I didn’t do anything. It’s not ideal, but that’s the way it is. Overall I felt like today I still hit the ball pretty well. I had lots of game point opportunities and wasn’t able to take them. Yeah, 2 and 1 is not good, but like I said, it’s only my third day. So, yeah, it is what it is.”

The 2009 champion admitted that things looked to be coming together for her, at just the right time.

She said: “I feel very comfortable here, and I really enjoy playing here. I have always played well here. It was a good match for me out there today. The ankle is feeling good. As long as I’m stable and moving well, it feels good.

“Some results might look easy on the grass but it never is. You always have to focus and take advantage of the break points you get. Yeah, I mean, Sam is a big server, so I was really pleased about the way I was able to return today.”

The Dane will face Monica Puig next.

 

Belinda Bencic bettered by former champion Elena Vesnina

Defending champion Bencic’s return to competition after a back injury ruled her our of most of the clay court season hit another bump in the road as she lost her Eastbourne opener.

Facing former champion Elena Vesnina, who ended Brit hopes for Heather Watson in the first round, she put up a solid and competitive fight.

Splitting breaks of serve and playing nip and tuck in the first tie-break, things settled into more of a rhythm at the start of the second set, as they traded breaks once more.

Bencic fought tooth and nail in the second tie-break, saving three match points but finally relinquishing her grip on the trophy in Vesnina’s fourth try.

Play continues on Wednesday starting at 11am BST.

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