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Petra Kvitova falls from Eastbourne tournament

Thursday, June 21, 2012
AP


EASTBOURNE, England -- Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was among the top three women's seeds to fall in the first round of the Eastbourne Championships on Tuesday.

Kvitova was the first to exit, going down 7-5, 6-4 to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 7-5, 6-4.

She was followed out of the grass-court tournament by top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, and third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who was outlasted 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-4 by American Christina McHale.

“It was a tough opponent for me for the first round, and I didn't play well,” Kvitova said. “She has won here in the past, so I know that she can play well on the grass.

“For me, this was my first match on grass and I didn't expect too much.”

However, defending champ Marion Bartoli of France beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-2.

In the men's event, Andy Roddick claimed his first win in seven matches when fellow American Sam Querrey retired with a back injury with Roddick leading 5-2.

“Regardless of what he had going on, I hit the ball really well,” said Roddick, whose last victory came in Miami three months ago. “Last couple of days it's been really good in practice. I don't know why or how or what the process has been, but it's felt pretty good.”

Top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France was also shown the exit door when he was beaten 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) by Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic, and fifth-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau went down 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (4) to Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan.

The second-seeded Kvitova put on an erratic performance during her first match on grass since lifting the trophy at Wimbledon last year.

She broke serve twice in the opening set, but Makarova broke back each time and broke a third time for the set with a perfectly executed winner down the line.

Makarova, who won the event as a qualifier two years ago but lost to Kvitova in 2011, fought off two break points at the start of the second set and broke to lead 4-2.

Kvitova then broke at love when Makarova served for the match at 5-3, but she responded by taking Kvitova's serve again, forcing an error from a powerful service return.

“It's not good preparation for Wimbledon, but I have more days for getting ready. I have to work hard now to improve my game,” Kvitova said.

Radwanska has enjoyed a spectacular season, winning titles in Dubai, Miami and Brussels, and she believes that may have taken its toll.

“I think I have been playing a lot of matches this year, and I'm kind of like a little bit tired,” said Radwanska, who double-faulted on match point. “Of course I was trying everything, but she's really playing good on grass.”

Wozniacki always looked uncomfortable against the big-hitting McHale.

After splitting the first two sets, McHale broke to lead 2-1 in the third. Although she allowed Wozniacki to level at 4-4, the American broke serve again at love and closed out the match on her fourth match point.

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