While the men’s tour rocks right out of the gate during the brief two-week grasscourt season leading to Wimbledon, the top women players mysteriously stay on the sidelines during the opening season on the lawns. This year is no different at the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, England, which is woefully lacking in marquee attractions.
China’s Jie Zheng is the top seed in the field lacking any Top 10 representation, joined by fellow Top 8 seeds Kaia Kanepi, Aleksandra Wozniak, Na Li, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Ekaterian Marakova, Francesca Schiavone, and Sara Errani. There are a total of 16 seeds in the 56 draw.
Maria Sharapova, who has played only two events this year after shoulder surgery, is in need of match play and enters the event unseeded. The Russian former No. 1 opens against Canadian Stephanie Dubois, then would face the winner of the all-American meeting between No. 9-seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Alexa Glatch. Check your local on-line betting parlor to check on the Sharapova odds of taking this title home, sans any shoulder problems.
“The one thing I’ve always said about ranking is I think numbers never lie,” Sharapova said following her French Open effort. “They always reflect on your performance and what you’ve achieved. But taking that aside, I think no matter if you’re ranked No. 1 or No. 100, it takes just as much work to get there.”
In last year’s star-studded final, Kateryna Bondarenko topped Yanina Wickmayer for the title.
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