Chalkdust Chronicles – Breaking news – Sunshine in Birmingham, as they keep to the schedule.
(June 11, 2014) BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – With the tournament well underway, the top seeds were in good form, despite the varying descriptions you get from players about the grass.
On Tuesday, Ana Ivanovic described it as feeling as though your legs were stuck to the ground and in the opening match on a gloomy Centre Court, it did appear as though third seed Sloane Stephens was still a little wary of her footwork, taking her time to move back into position, as she rounded out a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
It was a less good outing for her fellow Americans in the draw, as Timea Babos halted top WTA teenager Madison Keys, and Sam Stosur made light work of Christina McHale.
The Aussie wasted no time in coming into press for her usual technical analysis of the game:
“Things can change very quickly in grass court tennis. When she had that break point, I tried to play good kind of percentage point; won that one, and then obviously very happy to get through that service game and ultimately all the pressure is back on her.”
Joining Stephens in the next round was her next opponent and compatriot Alison Riske, who has twice been a semi-finalist at this event.
“I’m always happy to be back in Birmingham. Obviously I’m playing on grass, which I love, so it’s a very comfortable place.”
She will meet Stephens for the first time in the third round:
“Obviously she’s an amazing player. She’s been top 15 in the world for some time now. She has a lot of experience behind her. I’m just going to look to kind of play my game and do the best that I can really, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Such is the way with the British grass court tennis season, there always has to be some kind of contingency to get back on track, although in a brief chat in passing with Tournament Director Patrick Hughesman, his relief that the slight drizzle of Tuesday was nothing, and that the tournament is still on schedule.
A relief as many players who slip up early on the slick surface here will be desperate to pick up a chance to play in Eastbourne for one more week. Of course next year with an additional week of grass court preparation before Wimbledon, the turnaround may not be quite as frantic, although some players are still quite sanguine about it.
Stosur said: “If it was there, fine. If it wasn’t, I would still be fine. So I guess I’ll adapt my schedule and plan accordingly.”
The top three seeds will head up an action packed day, and already the turf is looking battle-scarred so we expect to see no tentative tippy-toes back and forth as the players seem to have their grass legs firmly underneath them.
AEGON CLASSIC – BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
9-15 JUNE 2014
RESULTS – JUNE 11, 2014
Singles – Second Round
 S Stosur (AUS) d C McHale (USA) 61 63
 S Stephens (USA) d F Schiavone (ITA) 62 64
 K Flipkens (BEL) d C Giorgi (ITA) 63 62
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d  L Safarova (CZE) 63 36 75
 K Koukalova (CZE) d V Razzano (FRA) 57 76(5) 76(0)
P Cetkovska (CZE) d  M Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
 S Zhang (CHN) d S Peer (ISR) 63 36 62
[LL] T Babos (HUN) d  M Keys (USA) 62 61
K Date-Krumm (JPN) d  M Puig (PUR) 26 64 76(7)(saved 1mp)
 A Riske (USA) d [Q] N Kichenok (UKR) 76(4) 61
 C Dellacqua (AUS) d V Lepchenko (USA) 64 63
[Q] A Wozniak (CAN) d [WC] J Konta (GBR) 64 62
Doubles – First Round
K Date-Krumm (JPN) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d  A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) 75 62
H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) d D Hantuchova (SVK) / M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 75 46 10-7
C Garcia (FRA) / S Zhang (CHN) d [WC] N Broady (GBR) / H Watson (GBR) 46 63 10-5
L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA) d M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) 64 76(0)
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2014
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
 S Stephens (USA) vs  A Riske (USA)
 D Hantuchova (SVK) vs K Date-Krumm (JPN)
 A Ivanovic (SRB) vs L Davis (USA)
 C Dellacqua (AUS) vs  S Stosur (AUS)
Not Before 5:00 pm
C Garcia (FRA) / S Zhang (CHN) vs K Date-Krumm (JPN) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [LL] T Babos (HUN)
 S Zhang (CHN) vs P Cetkovska (CZE)
C Vandeweghe (USA) vs  K Koukalova (CZE)
[Q] A Wozniak (CAN) vs  K Flipkens (BEL)
COURT 2 start 1:00 pm
 R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE)