Eugenie Bouchard and Madison Keys are the first two seeded players to compete in the Aegon International with very different expectations from the stars of the circuit.
Bouchard, who last appeared at Devonshire Park two years ago and failed to negotiate her way of Qualifying, make her main draw debut at Devonshire Park but in a very different mode to last season.
The Canadian captured the hearts of tennis fans worldwide with her delightful play and fantastic results to carve her way through the field at 2014 Wimbledon. Only for the Canadian to be outplayed and overpowered by Czech star Petra Kvitova.
But what a difference a year makes with #7 seed Bouchard, last season seen as a sports marketing dream, stuck in a rut and slipping out of the world’s top 10 following 10 defeats from her past 11 matches – including her appearance in the Fed Cup.
Bouchard’s 2nd Round opponent is faces American Alison Riske who easily disposed of France’s Alize Cornet 6-0 6-3 on Sunday.
Belinda Bencic, fresh from scraping through in two marathon sets against German Mona Barthel, has a 2nd Round showdown with #12 seed Keys.
And American Keys has gone from strength to strength since winning her maiden WTA Tour title at last year’s Aegon International.
Keys was a quick learner to master the conditions at Eastbourne and has employed former Wimbledon winner and compatriot Lindsay Davenport as coach in order to become a regular top five player.
Keys explained: “Eastbourne will always be one of my favourite places and the courts are fast, which makes life easier for me.”
The defending champion will face a seemingly exhausted Bencic, with Switzerland’s rising star having recently reached the grass court final at the Topshelf Open in the Netherlands.
British wildcard Harriet Dart, an 18-year-old Londoner faces a tough task against Dominika Cibulkova as one of eight 1st Round ties due to be contested.
Heather Watson, the British #1 who crashed out of last week’s Aegon Classic in Birmingham, faces American Varvara Lepchenko.
The strong USA contingent sees Madison Brengle take on Polona Hercog with Qualifiers Christina McHale and Lauren Davis set a tasty challenge against recent Topshelf Open champion Camila Giorgi and Australian ace Jarmila Gajdosova respectively.
And Czech Barbora Strycova clashes with Irina-Camelia Begu.
Qualifiers Magdalena Rybarikova and Marina Erakovic will pit their wits against former Eastbourne winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and Tsvetana Pironkova respectively.