Struggling Radwanska seeks seaside tonic

EASTBOURNE, United Kingdom: Struggling top seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be searching for her first victory of the pre-Wimbledon grass court season when the Eastbourne International begins on Monday.


The world number three has played only one match so far this season on the lawns, going out in Birmingham to CoCo Vandeweghe.

“The first match is always tricky pretty much without practice on grass,” Radwanska said.

“I need a couple of more days to adjust. Hopefully Eastbourne will be better.”

Radwanska has a decent pedigree on grass, winning junior Wimbledon in 2006, taking Eastbourne honours two years later and also playing the 2012 Wimbledon final as well as making two semi-finals at the All England Club.

But so far in 2016 results have been modest for the Pole, who lost in the Australian Open semi-finals and went out in the Roland Garros fourth round.

Her only title in 2016 came in Shenzhen just after Australia.

The field at Devonshire Park features seven former tournament champions — Swiss Belinda Bencic (2015), Madison Keys (2014), Elena Vesnina (2013), Ekaterina Makarova (2010), Caroline Wozniacki (2009), Radwanska (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004).

The top of the draw is populated by five of the world’s top 10 — Radwanska, US Open finalist Roberta Vinci, Bencic, fellow Swiss Timea Bacsinszky and double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova who, like Radwanska, is also scratching for form.

All 16 seeds have byes into the second round for the final tune-up week prior to the start of Wimbledon on June 27.

Italian Vinci takes the second seeding while number three Bencic will be testing her fitness after making a return this month after missing more than two months with back pain.

After playing a semi-final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the 19-year-old was unable to complete her first-round match in Birmingham against Irina Begu.

Bacsinszky is seeded fourth, ahead of Kvitova and Russia’s two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova (sixth).

Australian Samantha Stosur takes the seventh seeding as she works with a temporary coach after parting company for the second time with longtime mentor David Taylor.