Following an entertaining week in Birmingham, the WTA tour moves over to Eastbourne, where many of the top female competitors are present for the pre-Wimbledon warm-up. One of the appealing first-round matches is between Agnieszka Radwanska and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who have crossed paths on five previous occasions on the tour. The Polish No. 1 leads the head-to-head series 5-0, with four consecutive had court wins and one grass court victory back at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships.
It has been a relatively strong season for Radwanska, as she reached the semi-final at the Australian Open and the final at Indian Wells, which boosted her ranking No. 3. While she did lose to Alize Cornet in the Katowice semi-final, she rebounded with a strong 2-0 weekend for her Fed Cup team, but would have her momentum halted in the quarter-final round of Stuttgart, when she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova. She would lose to Sharapova a second time at the Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals, where she barely managed five games against the Russian. From there, she would suffer a third round loss to Jelena Jankovic in Rome and another third round exit at the French Open, which dropped her ranking to No. 4.
World No. 26 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova end her clay court run with a second round loss to Kiki Bertens, after she retired down 3-0 in the third set. She had only played four tournaments on clay this season and gathered a 4-4 record on the surface. Considering her hard court season was not much better, she will be looking for a brighter start to her grass court run this year.
This marks the sixth time these two competitors cross paths on the professional tour, with Radwanska leading the series with a perfect 5-0 record against Pavlyuchenkova. The most recent contests in 2013 both went to three sets, but ultimately lead to a strong finish from the Pole. It will be interesting to see what happens as these athletes step out on grass for the first time this season.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska in Three Sets