2012 Aegon International

Bartoli’s big ask on grass

MarionBartoliEB2012eventMarion Bartoli took one step closer to retaining her Aegon International crown by dismantling shell-shocked opponent Sorana Cirstea for the loss of just four games.

Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up and a regular at Eastbourne, plays an unorthodox game that has outfoxed opponents for years.

But the French ace is happiest when she returns to compete on grass courts, as she has proved.

She admitted: “I’m really happy to be back on my best surface, my game suits grass.

“When you play on grass you need to have a lot of qualities in your timing. You have to play flat and inside the baseline, or close to the baseline – that’s really my game. I’ve played some great matches in Eastbourne for a lot of years now. I know that I have more of a chance to win Wimbledon than to win Roland Garros, that’s for sure.

“Yet you have the Williams sisters, who are so good on grass, and Venus is outside top 50 and you can draw her in the opening round.

“There are those two players who are set apart on grass and who are very, very difficult to beat. That makes it all very hard at Wimbledon. There’s a lot of examples of players losing very early here and going all the way in Wimbledon – or to the final of Wimbledon – which is obviously an amazing result.

“The grass court season is so short that it’s really hard to play a lot of matches on the surface. So for everyone it’s a matter of two, three, maybe the best four matches before going in.

“But for those top players, if they are able to go through the first two or three rounds, then they will find their rhythm and play better into the second week at Wimbledon.”

However, Bartoli battled on to deserved capture the Devonshire Park crown last year – when the Williams sisters made a comeback to the WTA Tour at Eastbourne, only to have a short-lived experience on Centre Court.

Bartoli added, “I wish every tournament would be on grass. It’s a surface that I really like, and I feel like straightaway my game is really working every time just stepping on the grass.

“It’s a lot easier for me than clay courts. But the clay court season is over and I just need to focus now on grass, and further on through the season.”

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