Milos Raonic looks for Wimbledon boost by seaside
Milos Raonic will hope for some valuable grass match touch after taking a wild card as top seed into the men's draw at the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International starting on Monday.sports Updated: Jun 16, 2013 07:30 IST
Milos Raonic will hope for some valuable grass match touch after taking a wild card as top seed into the men's draw at the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International starting on Monday.
The Canadian, ranked 15 in the world, crashed out of the Halle event in Germany in the first round to Gael Monfils after an early disappointment at the French Open.
Raonic and new coach Ivan Ljubicic will be keen for some confidence heading into Wimbledon.
The 22-year-old might take hope from last year's high profile wildcard, Andy Roddick, who won the title after his own last-minute entry on the English south coast.
"It's a positive change to get onto the grass," said Raonic. "I think it'll be good. But I've got a lot of work to do. I've got to get better on that surface. I need to pipe down and put in the work."
Raonic, second seed Gilles Simon of France, number three German Philipp Kohlschreiber and Argentine Juan Monaco, seeded fourth, all get first-round byes, with Raonic due to face the winner from Denis Istomin and Croatian Ivan Dodig.
South African Kevin Anderson is seeded fifth and faces a first-round test with Frenchman Julien Benneteau while sixth seed, Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine starts against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
Italians Andreas Seppi, the 2011 champion, and Fabio Fognini complete the men's seeded lineup at the event, their last chance for grass play before next Monday's start at Wimbledon.
On the women's side, Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2008 titleholder, who lost in the first round a year ago, takes the top seeding ahead of former French Open winner Li Na.
German Angelique Kerber is third trailed by 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.
Former number one Caroline Wozniacki will want to find some immediate success after winning just one round at the French Open.
The Dane, who stood atop the WTA rankings for two seasons, lifted the title at Devonshire Park four years ago but was another first-round victim at the 2012 edition.
Wozniacki, seeded fifth, faces Tamira Paszek in the opening round with Austria's Wimbledon quarter-finalist at the last two editions only winning her first match since January this month at the Challenger level on grass.
Russian Maria Kirilenko begins her grass campaign as sixth seed with a meeting against Serb Bojana Jovanovski while former number one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, a crowd favourite on the blustery south coast, starts against Russian Elena Vesnina.
Marion Bartoli, the 2011 champion, comes in unseeded at this edition but with excitement for the short grass campaign.
"The grass season is so short that it's really hard to play a lot of matches on the surface. So for everyone it's a matter of two, three, maybe the best four matches before going in," said the Frenchwoman.
Former US Open winner Samantha Stosur will play as an unseeded wildcard with her ranking down to 14th after a Paris third round loss. The Australian reached semi-finals in her last two Eastbourne appearances, in 2010 and 2011.
She faces a challenge from the start in a match with eighth seed Nadia Petrova.