Main draw action at the 2015 AEGON Classic in Birmingham got underway on Monday and the local British fans had plenty to celebrate on the first day of the prestigious tournament.
Held in the Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston since 1982, the AEGON Classic has become one of Britain’s most important WTA tournaments following a recent upgrade in status.
Having been held as an International-level tournament for most of its existence, the tournament has been elevated to Premier-status in 2014 and now boasts a 56-player main draw field.
Due to its preferable position in the now-extended grass season two weeks ahead of Wimbledon, the tournament has been able to attract a stunning lineup of players for the 2015 edition, including Simona Halep, 2014 champion Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber & Eugenie Bouchard.
While the big names enjoyed another day of rest & preparation, Monday was all about the British players as three local girls tried to make it into the tournament’s second round.
The first Brit to play was Naomi Broady, who made her way through qualifying to face Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round. While the Brit feels right at home on the green lawn, the Croatia-born Australian isn’t particularly fond of playing on grass, a difference that set up up what became a much-celebrated win for the local girl.
While Tomljanovic fought hard to hang on and force herself into the match, Broady was able to rely on a rock-solid serve, serving up no less than 12 aces that helped her to keep her opponent at a safe distance. Broady’s win does not only enable her to play top seed Simona Halep on Tuesday, the impressive performance might also help her chances of clinching a Wimbledon wild-card.
Following Broady into the second round is Johanna Konta who remained victorious in yet another British-Australian duel, ending Jarmila Gajdosova’s hopes of a good run in Birmingham. The final Brit to kick off her Birmingham campaign was Katie Swan as the 16-year old hopeful faced off with Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova. Unfortunately for the plenty of local fans at hand, the young talent couldn’t make it three for three for the British girls today, losing her match against a much more experienced opponent in straight sets.
Monday also had two rather significant upsets in store as Christina McHale was able to beat Alize Cornet in three sets, while Magdalena Rybarikova steamrolled Garbine Muguzura to send the popular Spaniard packing early.
Tuesday’s order of play will see the center court debut of two of the tournament’s main players as both Victoria Azarenka and #1 seed Simona Halep are due to play their first match, joining 13 other exciting matchups for a full day of great tennis ahead in Birmingham.