Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
On a day when rain again dominated proceedings at the Aegon Classic Birmingham, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat the weather and first-round opponent Lucie Safarova before calling for a longer grass court season.
I wish the grass season can be longer.
The Czech fifth seed dispatched her good friend and countrywoman just as she had on their previous eight encounters.
More importantly, she managed the 6-3, 6-2 win in 68 minutes and was back in the locker room by the time a massive thunderstorm arrived at the Edgbaston Priory Club on Tuesday.
“I think the schedule was perfect for me today, we finished before the rain,” Kvitova said after securing a second-round meeting with Jelena Ostapenko.
“I'm excited to be on the grass again. I wish the grass season can be little bit longer, but that's how it is. I just feel great. Normally I do have some problems with the movement in the beginning of the grass season, but I felt good with the movement today as well.”
Kvitova’s early exit at Roland Garros meant a change of routine in the preparation for the change of surface and, as a result, a wild card at Birmingham.
Wearing identical blue dresses and both left-handers, the clash of the Czechs produced a mirror image on the Ann Jones Centre Court, but that was where the similarities ended - although Safarova hung on long enough to save a match point.
Kvitova said: “I put in an extra week on the schedule because the beginning of season wasn't really perfect for me and I think I'm kind of missing the matches. “You never really know what happens the week before Wimbledon, which I can play only one match, for example. That's why I asked to play here and have more matches on the grass.
“Definitely a few matches will help me for confidence. If I lose in the second round here and the first round at Eastbourne, I don't think I
will be that happy.”
It was a frustrating day for many of the players but Australian Open and Aegon Classic champion Angelique Kerber (GER) was able to negotiate a
tricky passage past China’s Shuai Peng, at 30 the oldest competitor at Edgbaston.
After winning the first set on a tie break, the second seed had a lucky intervention in the eighth game of the second set with a net cord which gave her two break points.
Peng served a double fault to hand a 5-3 advantage to her opponent and Kerber duly served out as the black clouds raced in.
“I was trying not to look at the clouds,” laughed Kerber. “I was trying to stay in the moment and not thinking to making things faster. When I was also up 5-3 in the
second set, I think it was a little bit raining so I was trying not to think.
“Against her, it's always tricky because she's really playing flat and fast. But after the rain, I was a little bit careful with my movement because you never know if it's a little bit slippery in the corners.
“I think I was feeling well with my movement, so it was not too bad for the first match. I had a little bit more luck on my side (net cord) but
she was lucky with Hawk-Eye in the first set so it’s always ups and downs.”
Only five matches were completed before play was called off for the day. Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2010, has come through qualifying in Birmingham and is now in the second round after beating Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and five minutes.