2015 Aegon International

Tuesday Preview: Wozniacki takes over top spot

Wozniacki's looking to repeat 2009 success at Devonshire Park

Caroline Wozniacki, the highest ranked player left in the draw, is set to meet Qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova as part of Tuesday’s mouth-watering 16 ties.

The #2 seed and former world #1, aiming to emulate her 2009 success at winning the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Eastbourne, is expected to overcome Gajdosova.

But will face a stiff test against the Aussie ace who has already reeled off three victories to reach this stage, including Monday’s three set success over American Lauren Davis.

Wozniacki takes over as the favourite after Petra Kvitova, the top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, was forced to withdraw through illness. This is the second successive season that the Czech ace has withdrawn from the event.

Although it was bad news for Kvitova to be going to SW19 without any competitive matches on grass it was good news for Daria Gavrilova.

The world #41 meets in-form Camila Giorgi, the Italian in emphatic form to destroy American Qualifier Christina McHale in a one-sided affair late on Monday.

The Russian 21-year-old who dismantled Brit Laura Robson on Saturday but tasted a shock defeat to New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic on Sunday, has been reprieved and takes Kvitova’s place in the draw as Lucky Loser.

The focus is now on another Czech, #3 seed and world #6 Lucie Safarova, who will play Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova after she registered a fairly straightforward victory over plucky British teenager Harriet Dart following a four-month layoff due to injury.

Lucie SafarovaEastbourne regular Safarova, competing as a top 10 player for the first time on the circuit, said:

“After waiting so long to break the top 10 and finally reaching it brings happiness and satisfaction.

“I always believed it, there was never a time in my career that I would drop so the dream never really went away.”

However, an upset could be on the cards despite Cibulkova’s lack of match practice as she leads Safarova 3-1 in their head-to-head with the Czech ace’s sole success from their last meeting.

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard’s clash with American Alison Riske and the clash between USA’s defending champion and Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic were delayed from Monday due to rain.

Two other Czech Republic stars are in action. Karolina Pliskova meets Australian Casey Dellacqua and Barbora Strycova battles with Italian Sara Errani.

The American flags are still flying with Irina Falconi against former Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Sloane Stephens tackling Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro and Coco Vandeweghe has a tough task against 2014 Aegon International runner-up Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Andrea Petkovic, another German, clashes with France’s Caroline Garcia to open Court No.1 proceedings.

Two ex-Devonshire Park champions, both Russian, take to the courts. Ekaterina Makarova kicks off the Centre Court action against Eastbourne-based Brit Johanna Konta, and veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova will tackle Italian Flavia Pennetta.

British #1 Heather Watson, a worthy straight set winner over American Varvara Lepchenko, comes face-to-face with Slovak Elina Svitlina.

Tsvetana Pironkova, nicknamed the “Wimbledon dark horse”, brushed aside New Zealander Marina Erakovic to set up a clash with Sam Stosur. The Australian was elevated to the last seeded place after exhausted Swiss star Timea Bacsinszky’s late withdrawal.

And Slovenia’s Polona Hercog, who caused an upset to beat American Madison Brengle, faces another tricky tie with Spain’s Garbine Muguruza her next opponent.

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