June 20, 2012
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will kick off the defence of her Wimbledon title next week without a win on grass this year after losing 7-5 6-4 to Ekaterina Makarova in her opening match in Eastbourne.
Kvitova was among the top three women's seeds to fall in the first round of the Eastbourne Championships on Tuesday.
She was followed out of the grass-court tournament by top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, beaten 6-2 6-4 by Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, and third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who was outlasted 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 by American Christina McHale.
"It was a tough opponent for me for the first round, and I didn't play well," Kvitova said.
"She has won here in the past, so I know that she can play well on the grass.
"For me, this was my first match on grass and I didn't expect too much.
"It's not good preparation for Wimbledon, but I have more days for getting ready. I have to work hard now to improve my game."
Radwanska has enjoyed a spectacular season, winning titles in Dubai, Miami and Brussels, and she believes that may have taken its toll.
"I think I have been playing a lot of matches this year, and I'm kind of like a little bit tired," said Radwanska, who double-faulted on match point.
"Of course I was trying everything, but she's really playing good on grass."
Defending champ Marion Bartoli of France at least restored some balance by beating Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2 6-2.
In the men's event, Andy Roddick claimed his first win in seven matches when fellow American Sam Querrey retired with a back injury with Roddick leading 5-2.
"Regardless of what he had going on, I hit the ball really well," said Roddick, whose last victory came in Miami three months ago.
"Last couple of days it's been really good in practice. I don't know why or how or what the process has been, but it's felt pretty good."
It was a mixed day for Australia, with qualifier Marinko Matosevic upsetting top-seed Richard Gasquet of France 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3), but Matthew Ebden was defeated 6-2 6-4 by Belgium's Steve Darcis.