Kerber impresses at Eastbourne, Stephens out


Defending champion Angelique Kerber continued her impressive build-up to Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Australian Samantha Stosur in her opening match at the Eastbourne championships on Tuesday.

German left-hander Kerber, twice a runner-up at Eastbourne, was pushed hard by the former US Open champion but broke serve four times on her way to victory and a place in the last-16.

The fourth seed, who reached the semifinals in Mallorca last week having beaten Maria Sharapova, will face Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson next after she beat Lesia Tsurenko.

Former world No. 1 Simona Halep was also impressive as she opened her Eastbourne campaign by thrashing tricky Taiwanese Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour.

In the match of the day Latvia’s former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, beat American Sloane Stephens 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 in a topsy-turvy match.

Home favourite Johanna Konta moved into the last 16 by beating Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-4, 7-6(4).

The world No. 19 will now face Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

Third seed Kiki Bertens also posted a solid win, beating Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 6-1.

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