Iga Swiatek, the fourth seed, came back to beat Heather Watson in three sets and claim her first career main draw win on grass at the Viking International in Eastbourne on Tuesday. Swiatek came back from a 4-1 deficit in the deciding set to win 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5 on a busy day of first-round matches at the Wimbledon warmup competition following a full day of rain on Monday.
“I have a love-hate relationship with grass, so winning will give me more confidence, especially against such an experienced player,” said Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion playing just her fourth tournament on grass.
Swiatek managed to avert an upset, but reigning champion Karolina Pliskova was unable to accomplish so. Camila Giorgi defeated the former No. 1 player 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. In 2018, the Italian qualifier reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Pliskova, the Czech Republic’s fifth seed, won the title at Eastbourne in 2017 and 2019. The event was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka defeated Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.
CoCo Gauff rallied to beat Elise Mertens, 0-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5. It was the 17-year-old American’s first match since reaching the quarterfinals of her first Grand Slam tournament, the French Open. Second-seeded Elina Svitolina defeated Paula Bedosa 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 in the quarterfinals of the French Open. The Ukrainian will face Elena Rybakina, who was also forced to play three sets before upsetting British player Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4.
Bianca Andreescu, the third seed, defeated American qualifier Christina McHale 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to avenge early losses in the French and German Opens. The 24th ranked Ons Jabeur, won her 29th match of the year, defeating Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6. (4).
With a 7-5, 6-4 win against Daria Kasatkina in the Viking Classic final in Birmingham on Sunday, Jabeur became the first Arab woman to win a singles title on the elite women’s tennis tour. After beating eighth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-3 in the Russian’s first match since losing the French Open final, Jabeur will play Jelena Ostapenko in the second round.
On the men’s side, Liam Broady of the United Kingdom upset Frances Tiafoe of the United States 6-3, 7-6 (4) to earn a second-round match against Alex De Minaur of Australia. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the sixth seed, defeated Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 7-5, 6-1. Monday’s first day was rained out.