Devonshire Park, Eastbourne: 15th - 22nd June 2013
Andy Roddick by Getty Images
The sun shone and Andy Roddick sailed on at the AEGON International on Wednesday, a straight-sets win over Jeremy Chardy earning the former world No.1 a quarterfinal berth against Fabio Fognini.
Roddick came out of the blocks fast against Chardy, taking the opening set in 29 minutes.
The Frenchman put up a fight in the second set, saving three match points serving to stay in the set against Roddick trailing 5-6, then another three match points in the breaker, before the American clinched the match 6-1, 7-6(6).
“He served great on big points, but I stuck through there,” said Roddick post-match. “I didn't get through on the first match points. I was playing good points. I think he won four points on return on the first serve the whole day, and three of them were (in) a row in the breaker. It seems like that's the way things have been going, but I was able to get through it. I think it was a good step.”
Roddick admitted to some anxious moments in the clutch at the end of the second set. “So he came up with a couple passing shots and stuff he hadn't done the whole match yet, I felt like I was playing good points. In my mind I'm thinking, gosh, don't let this one get away, please.”
But the 2003 US Open champion said he was happy with the way his grass court game was shaping up in Eastbourne. “It's a lot better. I started playing really well in practice when I got here. If you ask me the reason, I'd give you a blank stare, because I have no idea how this game works and why it works, you know, why all of a sudden I came out and I played three really good sets so far. I am comfortable on this surface. The ball has been coming off great in practice. You know, hopefully I can continue on,” he said.
Defending champion and world No.9 Marion Bartoli eased through to the quarter-finals at the AEGON International, defeating Aleksandra Wozniak 6-2, 6-2 in just 58 minutes.
Bartoli was delighted with her form. “I think I played really well, so I made it easy for me," she said. "I was feeling my shot very good from the baseline. I was hitting the ball very hard.
“That was one of the best matches I played on grass overall. Hopefully I will be able to keep it this way.”
The Frenchwoman will face Lucie Safarova in the quarter-finals, the Czech progressing with a 7-6 (5) 6-1 win over Great Britain’s Heather Watson.
“It was a tough match,” said Watson. “I didn’t serve as well as I wanted to. I was getting frustrated with it. It’s been a good learning experience. I have had another few matches on grass and I feel like I’m going to peak next week.”
Ekaterina Makarova, the 2010 AEGON International champion, continued her run of form at Devonshire Park defeating Laura Robson, 6-4 7-5. The British woman was quick to praise her Russian opponent following the match.
“I thought she played extremely well,” said Robson. “She's definitely suited to the grass courts. She served really high percentage of first serves towards the end of both sets, so it was really tough for me to get into her service games.
“But in general, I thought I competed well. There are still lots of things that can be improved, but in terms of where I was a few months ago, I think it's a big improvement already.”
Britain's Jamie Baker posted a plucky performance but couldn't overcome experienced campaigner Philipp Kohlschreiber falling 2-6 6-3 3-6, and Marcos Baghdatis was another casualty on day four, losing to Steve Darcis of Belgium 4-6 6-4 4-6.
Play continues at the AEGON International on Thursday with defending champion Bartoli opening up proceedings on centre court against Safarova. Their match will be followed by Angelique Kerber taking on 2010 champion Makarova. Kohlschreiber faces Seppi third on Centre Court with Fognini and Roddick rounding off the Centre Court action, fourth on.
LTA Summer Grass Court events