Agnieszka Radwanska has fallen in the opening round at Eastbourne for the third year in a row, losing to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a tight, high quality three set battle. This win seemed to mean a lot to Pavlyuchenkova, who has struggled with injury and inconsistency of late.
The first set was played at an amazing standard considering it was the first match of the grass court season for both ladies. Pavlyuchenkova played exceptionally well, she hit 17 winners to just 7 unforced errors. At 3-4 and facing a break point it seemed like the set was slipping away from Pavlyuchenkova however a gutsy service hold leveled the set at 4-4. In the next game it was Radwanska’s turn to face a break point however she was unable to remain composed, double faulting to hand Pavlyuchenkova a chance to serve for the set. Two big aces brought up set points for the Russian, she squandered her first two chances but it was third time lucky as she took the set 6-4.
The second set saw the number 1 seed gain control as Pavlyuchenkova’s level slightly dropped off. Radwanska broke for a 3-1 lead and would maintain a lead for the entire set. A big first serve down the tee would see Radwanska clinch the second set 6-3, sending the match into a decider.
The third set was as tight as it gets, surprisingly it was Radwanska who would fold when it mattered most. When Pavlyuchenkova double faulted away her opening service game it seemed that Radwanska was in control of the match but the Russian refused to go away. Radwanska was twice forced to serve to stay in the match and succeeded on both occasions. However it was Pavlyuchenkova who gained the early momentum in the tiebreaker, taking a 3-1 lead. Radwanska was too timid in the tiebreaker, hitting multiple weak groundstrokes into the net. Pavlyuchenkova would comfortably serve out the tiebreaker. A confidence-boosting win for the talented Russian.