Bartoli beats elements to set out green credentials

France's world No 9 takes title-winning form into wide open draw

After Friday's complete washout both semi-finals and the final had to be played at Eastbourne yesterday in the Aegon International. Marion Bartoli, French No 1 and the sixth seed here, beat the fifth seed, Czech left-hander Petra Kvitova, 6-1 4-67-5 in conditions that beaten semi-finalist Sam Stosur described as the worst she has ever played in.

The prevailing gusty wind played havoc with the finalists' serve and groundstrokes alike, although both were valiantly going for the lines, only to see some beautifully played shots sailing out, carried by the wind. But Bartoli, who was togged out against the freezing wind in leggings and jumper, appeared to adjust to the conditions more quickly.

Bartoli, 26, a beaten semi-finalist four years in a row at Eastbourne, is now at a career-high world ranking of nine after reaching the semi-finalsof the French Open. The former Wimbledon finalist, who lost in straight sets to Venus Williams in 2007, is like a jumping jack on court at the best of times, bouncing and bobbing between each point, and yesterday looked like a woman possessed – or at least a woman possessed of an urge to go into the warm for a nice cup of tea and a bun – and after taking an early break to go 3-1 up took the first set 6-1 in 30 minutes.

In the second Bartoli, who has an unorthodox style in which she plays two-handed on both forehand and backhand, immediately broke Kvitova's serve and then held her own, and again took a 3-1 lead. But Kvitova, 21 – who broke into the top 10 earlier this year after winning three WTA titles, and who was beaten in last year's Wimbledon semi-finals by the eventual champion, Serena Williams – wasn't finished yet. There followed several games of fine rallies, with the Czech more willing to come to the net and winning several points as she passed Bartoli. She went on to take the set 6-4.

Games went with serve in the third set until Bartoli broke Kvitova to take a 4-3 lead. But again Kvitova rallied to get back at five-all. Kvitova's forehand, which had provided so many of her winners, deserted her and Bartoli broke to lead 6-5. She had two match points but needed only one as another Kvitova forehand sailed out.

Bartoli and Kvitova, seeded nine and eight respectively at Wimbledon, will play qualifiers in the first round. No such luck for the Williams sisters, who are both back from long injury layoffs. Venus, seeded 23, meets Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan, while the defending champion Serena faces a tough opponent in Aravane Rezai of France. Before Eastbourne, where she went out in the second round, Serena had not played a competitive match after winning her fourth Wimbledon crown last year.

It appears to be the most open competition in years for the women's title at Wimbledon and Daniela Hantuchova, semi-finalist at Eastbourne and seeded 25 at SW19, believes it makes it more interesting for fans. "It's great when so many players could win," she said. She also welcomed the return of the Williamses, saying: "It's great to have such big champions back and it shows the women's game is at a high level."

The British No 1, Elena Baltacha, will meets a qualifier but will not be taking anything for granted. "I never, ever underestimate qualifiers because I've qualified for slams myself, and you have to tough it out to do that," she said. The 27-year-old world No 61, added: "I'm coming into Wimbledon playing well and in really good form. My preparation has been perfect."

Britain is guaranteed at least one woman in the second round after Anne Keothavong was drawn against Naomi Broady while the Guernsey teenager Heather Watson, the British No 2, who broke into the world's top 100 last week, meets Mathilde Johansson of France.

Ana Ivanovic, seeded 18, faces the promising young American Melanie Oudin, while Maria Sharapova, who won the title in 2004 has a tough first-round opponent in the Russian Anna Chakvetadze. The French Open champion Li Na, the third seed, meets Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and the top seed, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki will face the Spaniard Arantxa Parra Santonja, ranked 107.

Four to watch

This year, perhaps more than any other, the women's tournament looks open to an outsider. With the Williams sisters still creaking, attention will turn to the rest. And what a diverse lot they are... from the Chinese who has taken the game by storm to the Russian who many believe will be in with a shout, if not a grunt this time round.

Li Na (China)

Age 29

World Ranking 4



Became the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title when she won the French Open a fortnight ago, and she lost the Australian Open final in January. She gave up tennis for two years after the Chinese authorities insisted she concentrate on doubles but improved rapidly after she was allowed togo her own way. Twice a Wimbledonquarter-finalist.

Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

Age 21

World Ranking 8



She has won three titles already this year and is considered by many as the best outside bet at Wimbledon. She reached the semi-finals 12 months ago, losing to Serena Williams after beating Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. She uses her 6ft frame to hit huge ground strokes. She trains at the same club in the Czech Republic as the 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych.

Andrea Petkovic (Germany)

Age: 23

World Ranking: 11



She has reached the quarter-finals of both Grand Slam events this year but creates as much interest for off-court activities. Records music with friends and has attracted cult following for an off-the-wall video blog under the online persona of "Petkorazzi". Admires Che Guevara and wants to form her own political party and/or become a journalist.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)

Age 19

World Ranking 14



Former world junior No 1 and the youngest player in world's current top 50. She reached the French Open quarter-finals earlier this month with a victory over world No 3 Vera Zvonareva before losing to the 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone. She has never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon but has the game to trouble the very best.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

News

Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?