Brits in Birmingham
Just the two Brits in action in Birmingham which is a surprise. Emma Raducanu and Heather Watson are out injured and Sarah Grey, Emily Appleton, Freya Christie and Katie Swan all lost in qualifying which leaves us with…
Harriet Dart vs Maria Camila Osario Serrano
Katie Boulter vs Alison Riske
For the first time since 2003 only two British players are in the main draw at Birmingham. Katie has been in good form but Alison Riske is a tough test with the American having finished as runner-up in Eastbourne. Harriet Dart who doubled up with Venus Williams a couple of years ago is up against a tricky opponent in Maria Camila Osario Serrano, the Colombian has made her name on the clay courts winning a WTA title on debut last year at home but it will be a fascinating opener between the two.
One former champion in Petra Kvitova, will the Czech make it a hat trick but opens with a tricky match vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
Petra Kvitova has always found Birmingham as a home, the two time Wimbledon champion is also a two time Birmingham champion. In December 2016 the former No.2 was burgled at home and stabbed in her left hand, her playing hand. Petra has spoken about the experience and the fear she had and how her tennis career then relied on surgery to fix her wrist.
Just over 6 months later having taken forced some off the tour she won the WTA title in Birmingham in a really wonderful and emotional week of tennis. The title win against Barty in 2017 was backed up with a win over Rybakina in 2017 but her ranking has slipped but you know at this time of the year the Czech is a danger.
Talking of dangers, Beatriz Haddad Maia has also been in exceptional form and is the Czech’s opening round opponent. The recently turned 26 year old from Brazil has just won her first singles title in Eastbourne having begun her year ranked at 83 in the world and is now up to around 32 in the world.
Simona Halep & Jelena Ostapenko lead the line
Jelena Ostapenko knows Birmingham well, the former Roland Garros champion has been here a few times in her career and for the first time the Latvian is top seed.
Earlier on in the year she was in fine form down in Dubai but hasn’t found that level since.
Simona Halep is also on the British grass courts for the first time since her Wimbledon win in 2019. The Romanian sadly missed her title defence last year due to a torn calf that meant after over eight years she had left the top ten in the world.