Kirilenko and Safarova through to third round in Eastbourne

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PinExt Kirilenko and Safarova through to third round in Eastbourne

The Aegon International tournament being played this week on grass in the run up to Wimbledon 2013 has already thrown up one major surprise.

41st ranked qualifier, Jamie Hampton of the United States, took out the top seed and last year’s Wimbledon runner up, Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets 7-6 (2) 6-2 in the first round. On Wednesday, she beat Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan in the second round, also in straights 6-4 7-6 (7-2). Next up for Hampton will be the Czech Lucie Safarova.

The 29th ranked Safarova defeated her 33rd ranked compatriot Klara Zalapalova 6-4 7-6 (3) in her first round match, then got the better of 14th ranked Aussie Sam Stosur, who got a wild card into the tournament, overcoming her 7-6 (5) 6-3. Stosur had taken out 8th seeded Russian Nadia Petrova, in the first round. Against the strong Czech leftie, Stosur’s serve went walkabout, as she served six double faults to five aces, while Safarova only had one of each; and her overall service stats were far better that Stosur’s.

The much improved 6th seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko got her first round win against 40th ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia after a tough breaker in the first set 7-6 (5) and then strolled through the second set 6-1. In the second round, she met the British veteran, 185th ranked wild card Elena Baltacha, who had a 7-5 7-6 (3) first round win over the qualifier Krystina Pliskova. Playing way beyond her ranking, Baltacha took the first set against Kirilenko 6-4, but was unable to keep up that level and the Russian took the next two sets 6-4 6-3. Her next opponent will be Yanina Wickmayer.

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