The initial main draw of WTA 500 Rothesay International in Eastbourne was containing a really stunning field with 8 players from top 10 of WTA rankings and the others, who showed up a really good form during the grass tournaments in two previous weeks.
This has changed quite a bit before the start of opening round, as some headline players pulled out of the tournament already after revealing the main draw. Elena Rybakina was supposed to be a top seed there, but the Kazakh has withdrawn on Monday. The Kazakh is a little bit concerned about her health state after suffering the viral infection, which forced her to pull out of the Roland Garros just before the third round.
Petra Kvitova has showed a brilliant form during the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin. The double Wimbledon champion has clinched her 31th career's title and 6th one on grass after overcoming a really tough draw in Berlin. As it occured, the Czech was dealing with a fever, which makes her achievement even more valuable, considering that she had to play 3 matches in just two days because of the changes in schedule forced by the rain. Kvitova was set up to play another difficult match in Eastbourne, being paired up against Jelena Ostapenko in an absolute clash of the opening round. Both the players have met in the final here last year, ended up with a win of Kvitova. Moreover, Ostapenko is also the winner of last week's tournament, as the Latvian has won the WTA 250 Rothesay Open in Birmingham. This clash has not happened though, as Kvitova has withdrawn on Tuesday, just before the match.
There were also other withdrawals from the main draw, all from the really notable names. Maria Sakkari was set up to be the 6th seed in Eastbourne, but withdrew due to the change in her schedule. Marketa Vondrousova was scheduled to play another high quality match-up, which has not happened finally, as the Czech was supposed to play against Ons Jabeur in first round. Linda Fruhvirtova got a chance to play as a lucky loser, but decided not to take part in the main draw event.
Good start for the favorites
Those favorites, who appeared on court during the opening round, has not disappointed and moved through with confident wins. Ostapenko has played against another Czech instead of Kvitova, as the winner from Birmingham faced Barbora Strycova. The experienced player, who comes back to the competition after 2 years of break, showed up well from the start, as she has quickly took the lead over her favorized opponent. Ostapenko has quickly adapted to the conditions though and secured the routine victory with a score 6-4 6-3.
The match-up between Jessica Pegula and Qinwen Zheng was listed as one of the first round's hits after the draw and it was the only one to take place out of the others eventually. The world's number 4 has started her grass season with this match and did it really well, defeating the Chinese 6-3 6-4. Pegula showed up with some aggresive and effective strikes during her opponent's second serves and was able to hold the pressure well, as she defended all of the 6 breakpoints during own serve. It was a good day for the top American racquets in general, as Cori Gauff has defeated Bernarda Pera with 6-3 6-2 in just an hour. It was an ultimate performance from Gauff, who did not face any single breakpoint and scored 6 aces.
Caroline Garcia has become the highest seeded player after withdrawal of Rybakina. The French has played against Madison Brengle, who reached out the main draw from the qualies. Garcia needed just 80 minutes to move onto second round with a score 6-1 7-5.
Ons Jabeur had a bad luck in draw, getting paired up with Marketa Vondrousova, who won their last two meetings in 2023 and showed a good form by reaching the QFs in Berlin last week. The Tunisian did not need to face this opponent though and played against Jasmine Paolini instead. The last year's Wimbledon runner-up has scored a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory in just one hour. It was the first grass victory for Jabeur this season after failing in the opening round of last week's Berlin tournament.
Breakthrough win for Haddad Maia
Beatriz Haddad Maia has approached the opening round against Marie Bouzkova with some pressure on her back. The Brazilian has advanced into top 10 of WTA rankings just for a while after successful Roland Garros campaign, as she did not manage to cover the ranking points gained during last year's amazing run in grass season. After winning both the tournaments in Nottingham and Birmingham in 2022, Haddad Maia did not win any single match in those events this year, facing quite a shocking upset in the opening round in Nottingham and pulling out from Birmingham due to an injury.
The match against Marie Bouzkova did also not start well for the Brazilian, who lost the opening set and was a break down since the start of second one. Haddad Maia managed to bounce back from this and forced the decider after breaking her opponent 3 times in a row. Third set did not bring any breaks, despite two chances for Bouzkova. The Czech could regret the wasted opportunity after all, as Haddad Maia has dominated the decisive tiebreak and clinched a breakthrough win with a score 3-6 6-3 7-6(3). It's not a great time for Bouzkova, who suffered her 4th lose in a row.