EASTBOURNE, June 25, 2018 (Press Release)
Tennis fans at the Nature Valley International are set for a day of mouth-watering clashes on Monday, with Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka among the stars in action at Devonshire Park.
The defending champion, Pliskova will begin her Eastbourne campaign with a second-round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who overcame Romanian Sorana Cirstea 2-6 7-5 6-4 in the opening Centre Court match of the tournament on Sunday.
Czech No.2 seed Pliskova said she is feeling confident as she prepares to embark on her title defence in Eastbourne, after suffering a surprise 6-2 6-3 first round defeat to Magdalena Rybarikova at the Nature Valley Classic last week.
“I am feeling great,” said Pliskova. “I didn’t play well in Birmingham, but that was the beginning of the grass court season, so I have had a few more days to prepare before my first match. I have my team here and the weather looks like it’s going to be very nice, so hopefully I can have a nice tournament again in Eastbourne.
“I’ve played well here in the past couple of years, I was in the final in 2016 and I won the title last year. I’ve felt great here in the past, but the draw is tough here, and the great players play well here always, so I am just hoping to have a good tournament.”
Top seed in the women’s draw, Wozniacki, also takes to the court at the 2018 Nature Valley International for the first time on Monday, facing Camila Giorgi, a 6-2 6-2 first round winner, over Irina-Camelia Begu on Sunday.
Giorgi can expect a tougher task against Wozniacki however, the world No.2 saying she’s looking forward to embarking on her tenth Eastbourne campaign.
“I like coming back to Eastbourne, and the fans are great here, so I’m very happy to be here,” said Wozniacki. “I’ve had great results in past so it’s great to be back for another year. There’s always a tough draw here so I’m looking forward to getting my first match in, feeling comfortable on the grass, and doing my best, and also getting my grass court game ready for Wimbledon.”
Fourth match on Court on Monday sees a blockbuster clash between former world No.1 Andy Murray and former world No.3 Stan Wawrinka.
Both on the comeback from injury, they enter the Nature Valley International as wild cards in a match worthy of a final.
Currently ranked No.156 and No.261 in the world respectively, Murray and Wawrinka last met on the clay of Roland Garros last year, Wawrinka winning in five tight sets 6-7 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-1.
The pair has faced each other on 18 separate occasions (excluding 2017 Roland Garros), with Murray leading their head-to-head 10 matches to eight. Murray has won both the pair’s previous grasscourt meetings in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2009, and in the second round at the London 2012 Olympics.
There are a host of other stars in action at Devonshire Park on Monday, with former champions Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Ekaterina Makarova, Britain’s Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Jay Clarke, former world No.3 David Ferrer, and former US Open champion Sam Stosur embarking on their singles campaigns, and British No.1 Johanna Konta taking to the court in doubles.