Tennis

Angelique Kerber feels at home on grass, finds form ahead of Wimbledon

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber eased into the quarter-finals of the Eastbourne International last night by defeating Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 7-6 (7/4), 6-0.

The 31-year-old German saved two break-points at 5-4 in the first set before winning it on a tie-breaker, then cruised through the second set.

Her opponent in the last eight will be another former world No. 1 Simona Halep, who defeated Slovenia's Polona Herzog 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

Said Kerber: "The first set was really close and tough. I mean, (Peterson) had set-points in the first set, but then I was playing good in the tie-break. And then starting good in the second set and finding then my rhythm even better in the second set, so it was a good match."

Kerber made the semi-finals at the Mallorca Open last week to kick off her grass-court season and will be hopeful of claiming her first title of the year in Eastbourne, where she has twice reached the final.

"I like to play on grass," Kerber added. "For me, it actually doesn't matter if it's hot or it's raining or whatever.

"It's just a great tournament here for me.

"I have great memories, and I'm always playing good here, feeling good. So it's great to have another match before going then to Wimbledon."

Kerber was seeded fifth in yesterday's Wimbledon draw.

The top seed is Australia's Ashleigh Barty, while seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams is down in 11th.

Johanna Konta's Eastbourne campaign was ended by Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, though. Britain's world No. 19 lost 6-3, 6-2 to the world No. 62 in the third round.

Elena Svitolina was another top-ranked player to exit on Tuesday as the Ukrainian fifth seed bowed out 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to Alize Cornet.

The Frenchwoman led by a set and a break before play was stopped on Monday, but Svitolina quickly broke back to level at 3-3 in the second and then saved a match-point to break again and take it to a tie-break.

Cornet, however, bounced back to race through the tie-break 7-3.

OSTAPENKO OUT

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko retired from her third-round match against Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova last night after trailing 6-3, 2-1.

In another second-round match played earlier, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki won in straight sets, beating Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4, to set up a rematch of last year's final against Aryna Sabalenka. - AFP

Tennis