With the 2014 Aegon International celebrating 40 years of international tennis at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park for the world’s leading ladies, we look at the finals since 1974.
Martina Navratilova heads the number of title victories at Eastbourne, with a remarkable 11 crowns. Her last visit to Devonshire Park was in 2005, when the veteran had to negotiate the qualifying rounds to reach the first round of the main draw.
Although she won a match that year, she bowed out graciously in the second round of qualifiers. But to brighten up her preparations before she made her last ever visit to the Wimbledon Championships as a player, Navratilova was granted the freedom of the borough of Eastbourne.
Here are the Singles finals from 1974 to 2013, with no tournament in 1977 because it was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year , which worked out wonderfully for British ace Virginia Wade to prepare for taking the 1997 Wimbledon crown.
PREVIOUS SINGLES FINALS
2013 | Elena Vesnina d. Jamie Hampton 6-2 6-1
Elena Vesnina captured her second crown of the season after crushing jittery American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-2 6-1. Russian Vesnina, who had lost six WTA Tour finals on the bounce before finally securing her maiden crown at Hobart in January, outplayed the 23-year-old in 76 minutes in a totally one-sided affair.
2012 | Tamira Paszek d. Angelique Kerber 5-7 6-3 7-5
Tamira Paszek’s spirit and determination saw the Austrian ace snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to stun Angelique Kerber 5-7 6-3 7-5 – saving five match points in the process. Paszek claimed her first title since she won Quebec City in 2010, her shock triumph arrived on the back of 11 1st Round defeats and just two victories on the WTA Tour all season. But the world #59 needed three match points to triumph, watched by her father and her Eastbourne-based Godparents.
2011 | Marion Bartoli d. Petra Kvitova 6-1 4-6 7-5
Marion Bartoli captured her first Eastbourne title, having never got pass the semi-finals before in four previous attempts, with a hard-fought 6-1 4-6 7-5 success over Petra Kvitova. Czech Kvitova impressed on her Eastbourne debut with two tremendous fightbacks in a day but bowed out in an enthralling final to battling French ace Bartoli.
2010 | Ekaterina Makarova d. Victoria Azarenka 7-6 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova became the first qualifier to ever claim the Eastbourne event, after winning seven matches on the trot. The Russian world #100 stormed to her maiden career title without dropping a set all week, and sealed success with a battling 7-6 6-4 victory over Belarussian ace Victoria Azarenka in 112 minutes.
2009 | Caroline Wozniacki d. Virginie Razzano 7-6 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki bounced onto the scene at Eastbourne with her maiden grass court title, her fifth career crown, with a 7-6 7-5 success over French ace Virginie Razzano. The Danish 18-year-old, already in the top 10 on the WTA Tour, showed why she was destined to become a world #1 and won the hearts of the appreciative Devonshire Park crowds.
2008 | Agnieszka Radwanska d. Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-7 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska kept the lively Centre Court crowd on their toes with a thrilling three set success in the final against Russian Nadia Petrova in 165 minutes. But the Pole, emphatic en route to the final, suffered from nerves in the showdown and fluffed four match points before ending the dreams of Petrova 6-4 6-7 6-4 to clinch the International Women’s Open crown.
2007 | Justine Henin d. Amelie Mauresmo 7–5 6–7 7–6
Justine Henin continued her unbeaten run at Eastbourne with back-to-back titles, and the third in succession at Devonshire Park for Belgian players. In a re-run of the breathtaking 2006 Wimbledon final, Henin tasted sweet revenge against French ace Amelie Mauresmo. But again Henin required a third set tie break to capture the Hastings Direct International Championships, sealing victory 7–5 6–7 7–6 in 165 minutes.
2006 | Justine Henin d. Anastasia Myskina 4–6 6–1 7–6
Justine Henin made her overdue debut at Devonshire Park, more to the delight of the organisers than the Centre Court crowd. And the Belgian ace had a battle on her hands against the very popular figure of Anastasia Myskina in the tight contest. But the Russian was crushed after narrowly losing the third and decisive set on a tie break, conceding the Hastings Direct International Championships by the narrowest of margins 4–6 6–1 7–6.
2005 | Kim Clijsters d. Vera Douchevina 7–5 6–0
Kim Clijsters was formidable at rain-swept Hastings Direct International Championships, and continued her rich vein of form in the final against Russian Vera Douchevina. The Belgian ace struggled to get to grips with the constant stop-starts but edged the opening set. There was no looking back, as she swamped luckless Douchevina to triumph 7-5 6-0.
2004 | Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Daniela Hantuchova 2–6 7–6 6–4
Svetlana Kuznetsova bounced back to snatch the Hastings Direct International Championships in tight final against Czech Republic ace Daniela Hantuchova. The Russian was overwhelmed in the opening set by the popular Hantuchova, and left the vocal Centre Court split on who to support in this fascinating contest. But Kuznetsova forced her way back after winning a second set tie break to triumph 2-6 7-6 6-4.
2003 | Chanda Rubin d. Conchita Martinez 6–4 3–6 6–4
Chanda Rubin made it back-to-back wins at Devonshire Park, previously only achieved by Tracy Austin and the legendary Martina Navratilova. The American ace was involved in a real ding-dong battle against former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martínez, which had the Centre Court support equally divided for a victor. But Rubin’s relentless attacks saw her only just have the winning edge to clinch the inaugural Hastings Direct International Championships by a 6–4 3–6 6–4 margin.
2002 | Chanda Rubin d. Anastasia Myskina 6–1 6–3
Chanda Rubin continued the trend of American winners by following in the footsteps of 2001 champion Lindsay Davenport and lifting the Britannic Asset Management International Championships. Rubin’s 6-1 6-3 success in the final over Russian Anastasia Myskina made amends for the 1995 Eastbourne final defeat at the hands of French ace Nathalie Tauziat.
2001 | Lindsay Davenport d. Magui Serna 6–2 6–0
Lindsay Davenport proved to be a very popular Eastbourne champion. The American ace had the support of the Centre Court crowd throughout the inaugural Britannic Asset Management International Championships. The final was a disappointing affair, with Spaniard Magüi Serna overwhelmed 6–2 6–0.
2000 | Julie Halard-Decugis d. Dominique van Roost 7–6 6–4
Julie Halard-Decugis was the shock champion in a thrilling final that had everything except the big names in the sport. The French ace edged ahead with a tie break success over Belgium’s Dominique van Roost and had top be on top form to capture the last ever Direct Line Insurance Championships, winning the title 7–6 6–4.
1999 | Natasha Zvereva d. Nathalie Tauziat 0–6 7–5 6–3
Natasha Zvereva, back in her first Eastbourne final since her 1988 defeat at the hands of 11-time winner Martina Navratilova, looked out of her depth in the opening set against French ace Nathalie Tauziat. But the plucky Russian levelled matters with an edgy second set triumph against the 1995 Eastbourne champion. And Zvereva made up for her previous disappointment in a Devonshire Park by clinching the third set with ease to run out a 0-6 7-5 6-3 winner in the Direct Line Insurance Championships.
1998 | Jana Novotna d. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6–1 7–5
Jana Novotna triumphed in a repeat of the cancelled 1997 final against gritty Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. The Czech Republic ace romped away with the opening set but Vicario battled back only for Novotna to seal success in straight sets, 6–1 7–5, to claim the Direct Line Insurance Championships for a second successive year.
1997 | Arantxa Sanchez Vicario d. Jana Novotna Did not play
Jana Novotna was on the verge of taking the first set when leading Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-5 before the rain arrived. But the rain simply would not stop and resulted in the first ever shared winners at Eastbourne. With Wimbledon starting on the following Monday, it was decided to share the final prize money of the Direct Line Insurance Championships equally and divide the title between Novotna and Vicario.
1996 | Monica Seles d. Mary Joe Fernandez 6–0 6–2
Monica Seles was in emphatic form throughout her debut at Eastbourne and was the star attraction at the Direct Line Insurance Championships. Seles’ famous grunts were shortlived as she soon saw off fellow American Mary Joe Fernandez 6–0 6–2 in what proved to be a disappointing final, although the tournament was a feast of world class tennis for the fans.
1995 | Rubin v Tauziat
Nathalie Tauziat was a popular new name added to the champions at Eastbourne after a remarkable final that resulted in a standing ovation from most of the Centre Court crowd. In the final, American Chanda Rubin comfortably won the opening set. But Tauziat lifted her game to new heights and put all her efforts into winning the second set without dropping a game. A topsy-turvy final set saw both players take control, but French ace Tauziat triumphed 3–6 6–0 7–5 in the inaugural Direct Line Insurance Championships.
1994 | McGrath v Wild
Meredith McGrath won her first ever tournament by capturing the last Volkswagen Cup as a 21-year-old. She faced Linda Wild, who was in her second Eastbourne in three years, and McGrath duly dispatched her fellow American 6–2 6–4.
1993 | Oremans v Navratilova
Martina Navratilova returned to winning ways to capture her 11th Eastbourne title, a remarkable record that is unlikely to be broken. But Navratilova had to work hard to win the inaugural Volkswagen Cup. In the final, Dutch ace Miriam Oremans caused a sensation by racing to a 6-2 opening set. But wily Navratilova was in no mood to taste defeat in the final for a second time and stepped up a couple of gears to capture the next two sets in style for a 2–6 6–2 6–3 success.
1992 | McNeil v Wild
Lori McNeil became a new name of illustrious champions at Eastbourne after claiming the scalp of fellow American Linda Wild in the final. The battle for what proved to be the last ever Pilkington Glass Championships was a thriller, with McNeil running out a worthy 6-4 6-4 winner.
1991 | Navratilova v Sanchez Vicario
Martina Navratilova, in her 10th successive final at Devonshire Park, was given her toughest test on Centre Court since the 1987 final defeat at the hands of Helena Sukova. Gritty Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez Vicario ran the ten-time champion close but Navratilova proved too strong to win the Pilkington Glass Championships by a 6–4 6–4 margin.
1990 | Magers v Navratilova
Martina Navratilova, by now expecting to win every grass court tournament she entered, faced a relatively unknown in the final of the Pilkington Glass Championships. And unfortunately, American Gretchen Magers was overwhelmed by the final showdown on Navratilova’s second home so understandably fell apart in a disappointing final 6–0 6–2 and meant that Navratilova had captured an incredible nine Eastbourne titles.
1989 | Navratilova v Reggi
Martina Navratilova was understandably eager on retaining her title at Eastbourne and taking her tally to eight triumphs on Devonshire Park’s prestigious grass courts. In the final, Italian Raffaella Reggi battled away only to be edged out in the tie break. The Centre Court crowd were behind the popular figure of Navratilova, which helped lift her confidence to triumph 7–6 6–2 and be crowned the winner of the Pilkington Glass Championships.
1988 | Navratilova v Zvereva
Martina Navratilova, who had lost only at Eastbourne once since 1982, soon ended the disappointment of her 1987 final upset to Helena Sukova by clinching a title at Devonshire Park for a remarkable seventh time. Russian youngster Natasha Zvereva, a clay court specialist, was no match for the ever-popular Navratilova and was duly beaten with aplomb 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Pilkington Glass Championships.
1987 | Navratilova v Sukova
Helena Sukova made it third time lucky after finally beating Martina Navratilova and claiming the Pilkington Glass Championships herself. Having tasted defeat to Navratilova in the 1985 and 1986 Eastbourne finals, the Czech Republic ace changed tactics and after snatching the opening set on the tie break stepped up a gear to take the title with a shock 7–6 6–2 victory.
1986 | Navratilova v Sukova
Martina Navratilova, by now part of the furniture of Devonshire Park, lived up to the high expectations on her young shoulders by claiming the Pilkington Glass Championships. Facing the Czech Republic’s Helena Sukova in a rematch of the 1984 Eastbourne final, the result was a repeat win for Navratilova. But a gritty display by Sukova had the Centre Court crowd on the edge of their seats before Sukova succumbed 3–6 6–3 6–4.
1985 | Navratilova v Sukova
Martina Navratilova seemed unstoppable on the Devonshire Park grass courts as she raced to the final of the Pilkington Grass Classic. With the Czech Republic’s Helena Sukova standing between her and a fourth consecutive Eastbourne title, Navratilova faced a more difficult opponent than the previous two finals but ran out a 6-4 6-3 champion in an entertaining tactical battle.
1984 | Jordan v Navratilova
Martina Navratilova, brimming with confidence on grass, made it three wins in as many years at Devonshire Park. Boosted by the supportive Centre Court crowd she breezed past American Kathy Jordan in spectacular fashion with a 6-4 6-1 success to win the Eastbourne title.
1983 | Navratilova v Turnbull
Martina Navratilova, now a regular face at the annual Eastbourne event, really started to get the deserved appreciation from the Centre Court fans that she deserved. This vocal support helps put her at ease as she wiped aside Australian Wendy Turnbull in the final 6–1 6–1 to win what was the last ever BMW Championships. For Turnbull, this was her second runner-up spot at Devonshire Park, beaten by American Tracey Austin in 1980.
1982 | Mandlikova v Navratilova
Martina Navratilova showed that it was third time lucky in a final, after her comprehensive 6-4 6-3 victory over the Czech Republic’s Hana Mandlikova earned her the BMW Championships. For Navratilova, this made up for the disappointment of 1978 final defeat to American Chris Evert.
1981 | Austin v Jaeger
Tracy Austin played only two tournaments in 1981 prior to Eastbourne because of chronic injuries, but was determined to defend her title. She romped to the final at Devonshire Park without dropping a set, and duly dispatched fellow American Andrea Jaeger with aplomb to claim the BMW Championships with a 6–3 6–4 win.
1980 | Austin v Turnbull
Tracy Austin, aged 17, captured her first Eastbourne title with a tactical game to overturn tenacious Australian Wendy Turnbull in straight sets. After the American teenager edged the opening set on a tense tie break, Austin romped to victory to win the BMW Championships 7-6 6-2.
1979 | Evert v Navratilova
Chris Evert faced the up-and-coming ace Martina Navratilova in the final, a repeat of the 1978 final, but gained revenge for that shock defeat by ousting the then Czechoslovakian in three tight sets. But he American star had to pull out all the stops to win the last ever Colgate International 7–5 5–7 13–11 and claim her third and final title at Eastbourne.
1978 | Evert v Navratilova
Martina Navratilova won the first of her 11 titles at Eastbourne with a rollercoaster ride of a final against Chris Evert. The then Czechoslovakian ace had to deal not only with her opponent, but the crowd’s support for the American beauty and the blustery weather. But Navratoliva held her nerve to triumph 6–4 4–6 9–7 and lift the Colgate International title.
1977 | Tournament not played
Because the Federation Cup was played in the silver jubilee year of the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth II, there was no warm-up for Wimbledon at Eastbourne in terms of the usual annual tournament. This ultimately worked out well for Virginia Wade, who won the Wimbledon title in 1977.
1976 | Evert v Wade
Chris Evert, champion in the inaugural Eastbourne event, faced Virginia Wade in a repeat of the 1974 final. And the American ace registered another two set success over the popular Brit to win the Colgate International final 8–6 6–3.
1975 | King v Wade
Virginia Wade made amends for defeat in the previous year’s final, and with the vocal crowd firmly behind her saw off American Billie Jean King in a three set thriller. The British ace snatched a 7–5 4–6 6–3 victory in the final to lift the Eastbourne International crown.
1974 | Evert v Wade
Chris Evert won in two hard-fought sets over Virginia Wade, the hugely popular British player, to capture the inaugural international tennis title at Eastbourne. The American ace won the final 7-5 6-4 to lift the John Player Championships.