Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko is off and running at the Rothesay International Eastbourne. The eighth-seeded Latvian scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ajla Tomljanovic on Tuesday to open her 2022 campaign at the WTA 500 event, her sixth straight win in the British coastal city.
“She’s a good player and I knew it was going to be a tough battle. Some moments, I didn’t feel comfortable, but then I managed to win the match. It’s great to be back … and I’m happy to be back here,” Ostapenko said in victory.
Looking for grass-court revenge on Tomljanovic, her conqueror at Wimbledon 12 months ago, Ostapenko was a break down in each set. She came from 4-2 behind in the first set to win it, and also lost her serve to open the second set.
“I was just trying to not miss any balls and put more balls in play, but also still to stay aggressive,” the defending champion added. “I felt like, in some moments, balls that I shouldn’t miss, I missed. I’m just glad I managed to win.”
As the No.8 seed, Ostapenko is now the highest seed remaining in the third quarter of the draw after Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina upset No.3 seed Maria Sakkari later in the day in 2 hours, 8 minutes.
After failing to convert two set points in the 10th game of the second set, Kalinina made no mistake on her second opportunity to extend the match, and came all the way back to earn her second Top 10 victory this season, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
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Kvitova beats Vekic for first grass win of season
Since reaching the quarterfinals in Miami in March, Petra Kvitova has struggled for wins: The two-time Wimbledon champion arrived in Eastbourne with a 1-5 record in her last six events, including a first round loss to Beatriz Haddad Maia in Birmingham last week, a place where she’s won the title twice. A streaking Haddad Maia left Birmingham with the title, while Kvitova needed an extra week to earn her first grass-court win of 2022: the Czech, seeded No. 14, defeated former Top 20 player Donna Vekic, 6-1, 7-6(1), to do so.
Kvitova’s 1 hour, 12-minute win was the first match between the two on a natural surface all-time; she’d won two of their prior three that were all played on hard courts. After Kvitova dominated the opening set, breaking Vekic’s serve twice, neither woman faced break point in the second set; Kvitova caught lightning in a bottle in the tiebreak, though, and won the first three points and the last four.
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Madison Keys is the third former champion competing in Eastbourne this week alongside Ostapenko and Karolina Pliskova, and she’ll play Ostapenko in Round 3. Seeded No. 11 this week, Keys was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Lauren Davis in her first grass-court match of the season.
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Keys last played at Roland Garros, where she reached the fourth round in singles and the semifinals in doubles with compatriot Taylor Townsend. Keys won her first career WTA singles title in Eastbourne eight years ago, and is playing here for the first time since her title defense ended in the second round the next year.