No one has spoiled more good times lately than Aravane Rezai, and today, she took away defending champion Caroline Wozniacki's hope of defending her title in Eastbourne.
A contest between top seed Wozniacki and Rezai is a study of contrasts: The former is considered by many to have too defensive a game, without a plan B; the latter is considered by many to have too aggressive a game, without a plan B. Today, the aggression overpowered, and Rezai walked away with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory. Playing in very windy condtions, she also hit ten aces, a feat which does not win a match (ask Lucie Hradecka)--but it doesn't hurt, either.
Rezai is a very high-risk player--too high-risk, to be exact--but to call her a "ball basher," as some fans do, is to fail to take into account the Frenchwoman's ability to establish and control the rhythm of a match. Even I like watching her, and I'm the kind of fan who prefers to sit for hours and watch the likes of Evonne Goolagong or Martina Hingis. Of course, part of Rezai's attraction is her huge on-court personality, which helps her maintain notable intensity for long periods of time.
Of interest: 2010 French Open champion and surprise 2009 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Francesca Schiavone was also eliminated in the first round today. Sorana Cirstea defeated the 2nd seed 7-5, 6-3.
4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska went out, too, defeated 7-6, 6-1 by Victoria Azarenka. And qualifier Ekaterina Makarova upset 6th seed Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-1.
Speaking of qualifiers, Heather Watson defeated Aleksandra Wozniak--also a qualifier--6-3, 6-2. This was Watson's first main draw victory.
7th seed and Birmingham champion Li Na retired today with a left thigh injury; one hopes this isn't a sign of bad things to come.
Wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova won her first round match against Alisa Kleybanova, seed 5th Kim Clijsters ran over Yanina Wickmayer, 6-1, 6-1, and Zheng Jie defeated Shahar Peer.