2015 Aegon International

Wednesday’s Preview: More seeds scattered?

Only seven seeds remain in the last 16, with all eight matches set to be played on Wednesday then there is the guarantee of at least one other seed to go by the wayside as #8 seed Karolina Pliskova has a showdown against #9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Pliskova: “Wimbledon dark horse”

Czech rising star Pliskova has an emphatic grass court game, as she proved to dismiss Australian Casey Dellacqua, but so does 2008 Eastbourne champion Radwanska.

The Pole, who has always captured the heart of the Devonshire Park crowd ever since she won the crown in the gentle south coast town, appears to be back to her best having thrashed American Irina Falconi – although she was only a Qualifier.

Radwanska has a 100% winning record over Pliskova, triumphing twice without dropping a set.

Slovak Dominika Cibulkova or pretty Bulgarian Tsvetsana Pironkova battle it out to play one of these seeded players, with each having already dismissed a seed.

The pair pack a real punch with thunderous shots that are generally as accurate as deadly darts. But which one will have the killer instinct to progress?

With three successive straight set successes for Cibulkova over her lofty opponent since 2012 means that she starts as a clear favourite.

Cibulkova overturned Czech #3 seed Lucie Safarova in style. But hard-hitting Pironkova was equally as impressive on an outside court to dispense with #16 seed Sam Stosur.

Pironkova’s nickname of the “Wimbledon dark horse” also equates to a shot at claiming the Aegon International crown although Cibulkova is likely to prove too hot to handle.

In the same half of the draw Sara Errani is the only remaining seed. And being given the #13 seeding almost proved unlucky for the plucky Italian, who had to save a second set match point before overturning battling Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in a mammoth three-set thriller.

Errani takes on ‘Lucky Loser’ Daria Gavrilova, who has stepped into the shoes vacated by top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

The Russian, like Wednesday’s opponent Errani, also staved off a match point to reach the last 16 by edging past talented Italian prospect Camila Giorgi in three fiercely-fought sets.

The winner faces one of the unseeded hyped up players from either Sloane Stephens or Heather Watson, who go head-to-head on Wednesday.

US ace Stephens, deemed to be the next big thing in ladies tennis a few years ago, has yet to live up to her billing although did defeat Spanish clay court specialist and #5 seed Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets on Tuesday.

Watson, the undisputed British #1, made a stuttering start and stuck to her guns by initially trying to win from the baseline before a change of tactics coupled with Elina Svitolina’s right foot problems resulted in a remarkable three set triumph over the #11 seed from the Ukraine.

Stephens beat Watson this year for the first time from the four encounters, but this time Watson has the fervent crowd behind her.

The lower half of the draw sees four seeds try for a second day to overcome unseeded players, with Eugenie Bouchard, Garbine Muguruza, Andrea Petkovic and Caroline Wozniacki hungry to stamp their mark on the Eastbourne tournament.

Britain’s Johanna Konta will fear no-one having dumped world #8 and former Devonshire Park champion Ekaterina Makarova out on Tuesday for the loss of just six games. Konta tackles Spain’s #14 seed Garbine Muguruza, a clay court specialist.

Next up for Konta or Muguruza is the winner of Wednesday’s most intriguing tie, Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

Bencic, coached by Martina Hingis’ mother, saw off defending champion Madison Keys of the United States in under an hour. Bouchard, battling a major confidence crisis until she finally bagged a long overdue victory on Tuesday, is seeded #7 and will be extremely wary of the damage that the rising Swiss star can cause.

Caroline Wozniacki, by far the most popular figure to step onto the Centre Court over the past six seasons, tends to improve as the tournament progresses and following her straight set triumph over Qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova comes up against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Wednesday. The Russian veteran surprised Italian #15 seed Flavia Pennetta but is unlikely to upset great Dane Wozniacki.

The draw has been generous for Wozniacki to progress as the threat of meeting Angelique Kerber, last year’s runner-up, ended when the German cited a viral infection following her triumph on grass to claim the Aegon Classic crown in Birmingham and was replaced by ‘Lucky Loser’ Monica Niculescu of Romania, who promptly loss to Coco Vandeweghe. The powerful and tall American takes on #10 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany on Wednesday to determine who meets either Kuznetsova or Wozniacki the following day.

Last 16: Gavrilova vs. Errani (13), Watson vs. Stephens, Cilbulkova vs. Pironkova, Radwanska (9) vs. Pliskova, Bouchard (7) vs. Bencic, Muguruza vs. Konta, Vandeweghe vs. Petkovic (10), Kuznetsova vs. Wozniacki (2)

24.06. 11:00 Bouchard E. (Can)Bencic B. (Sui)
24.06. 11:00 Cibulkova D. (Svk)Pironkova T. (Bul)
24.06. 12:30 Muguruza B. G. (Esp)Konta J. (Gbr)
24.06. 12:30 Radwanska A. (Pol)Pliskova Ka. (Cze)
24.06. 14:00 Kuznetsova S. (Rus)Wozniacki C. (Den)
24.06. 14:00 Vandeweghe C. (Usa)Petkovic A. (Ger)
24.06. 15:30 Gavrilova D. (Rus)Errani S. (Ita)
24.06. 15:30 Watson H. (Gbr)Stephens S. (Usa)

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