2016 Aegon International

Bouchard aims to reign

All eyes will be on charismatic Canadian

© David Purday|phcimages.com

Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, is just one of 26 players waiting for the rain to stop at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park.

The charismatic Canadian, who soared to world #5 before her meltdown last season that has seen her struggle for back-to-back wins on the WTA Tour, is set to play American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko.

The match has been scheduled for Court #1, which offers intimacy and for the small crowds to lift their favourite player with morale support from the stands.

Many superstars has tasted defeat on the same grass on Court #1, most notably the legendary Martina Navratilova in a qualifier when she was refused a wildcard into the main draw of the tournament she had dominated.

But Bouchard is making progress on the circuit, and should overcome Lepchenko. Although her indifferent results mean that it is a lottery who will progress to the 2nd Round.

With play scheduled to start at 2pm, although that looks unlikely given the forecast that it will be raining until around 3.30pm, then fans are set to served up a real treat of top tennis.

The British pair of Heather Watson and wildcard Tara Moore are both pitched against former Eastbourne champions from Russia.

Watson faces Elena Vesnina and Moore will play Ekaterina Makarova.

Had Laura Robson, the ex-British #1, not withdrawn because of her thigh injury yesterday then she could well have seen off American Madison Brengle in the qualifiers. Brengle has been drawn to face another qualifier, Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, today.

There are a trio of lucky losers set to play today, Zheng Saisai, Anett Kontaveit and Denisa Allertova.

China’s Zheng, who beat both Broady and British #1 Johanna Konta on the Nottingham grass two weeks ago, has a tough task against German Andrea Petkovic.

Petkovic said: “Grass is like the type that grows. It’s not love at first sight, it’s the one that you have to get to know.

“It took me almost two or three years to get used to the surface. Maybe it’s like a long lost friend, after long years you meet again and you fall in love.”

Estonian 20-year-old Kontaveit faces German Anna-Lena Friedsam who came into the main draw as a last-gasp replacement.

And Allertova plays Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

 

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