WTA Eastbourne second round preview: Andrea Petkovic vs Sara Errani

Andrea Petkovic will be coming into the Aegon International at Eastbourne unseeded, something she will have to get used to at Wimbledon after losing to Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham coupled by Caroline Garcia's title victory at the inaugural Mallorca Open which confirmed Petkovic's fate.

Sara Errani, the 13th seed will be playing against Petkovic in her first tournament since the French Open when she lost to former Wimbledon semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova who eventually reached the quarterfinals.

Petkovic's potential route to the final

The German's potential path to the final at the Aegon International is a tricky one. If Petkovic overcomes Errani in the second round, she will face former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Ekaterina Makarova or 2nd seed Roberta Vinci in the third round.

11th seeded Brit Johanna Konta or two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova could be waiting in the quarterfinals. The defending champion Belinda Bencic or Aegon Open champion Karolina Pliskova could await in the semifinals.

The top half of the draw is stacked and if Petkovic gets through to the final she could face a few former Grand Slam champions and finalists that include, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova or Dominika Cibulkova.

How they got here

Errani as the 13th seed has the privilege of receiving a bye through to the second round of the competition but grass is her least favoured surface and she needs some matches under her belt to get comfortable.

Petkovic overcame China's Saisai Zheng in 2 hours and 42 minutes coming back from a set down to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 and it was one of five matches to be completed due to a rain delay that forced plenty of matches to be postponed.

Sara Errani in action at the Mutua Madrid Open last month (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Source : Getty Images)
Sara Errani in action at the Mutua Madrid Open last month (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Source : Getty Images)

Their history

Petkovic and Errani have faced each other five times on the WTA tour and the Italian leads their head-to-head 5-4. They have played each other four times on Errani's favoured surface, clay and once on hard courts.

Their first four meetings took place at the Mutua Madrid Open and Roland Garros and they both have a win each at those events. Petkovic defeated Errani in Madrid in 2010 in three sets, Errani gained her revenge four years later in 2014 defeating the German 7-5, 6-1.

A few weeks later, a resurgent Petkovic who came back from injuries had a breakthrough at the French Open in 2014 as she reached the semifinals there for the first time, beating the Italian easily 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

A year later at the French Open, Errani won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to level their head-to-head and the Italian gained the upper hand in their rivalry by winning their last 16 encounter in Beijing in three sets.

Who wins

This is their first meeting on grass and you could say that grass is both their least favoured surface as both players have reached the quarterfinals or better at the other three Grand Slam events and not Wimbledon.

The third round at Wimbledon has been the furthest both players have been at SW19 as the German has done it on three occasions whilst Errani has done it twice.

Errani was on the receiving end of a humiliating experience at Wimbledon in 2012 as she surrendered a Golden Set to Yaroslava Shvedova in the first set as she failed to win a single point. 

Petkovic has had a few matches on grass already, therefore, she has the advantage in this match as she is used to the conditions here in Eastbourne.

Errani's having a terrible year as she has a 12-14 win-loss record but she won the biggest single's title of her career when she won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships back in February.

The Italian has not won a Grand Slam match this year after suffering first round losses in Melbourne and Paris. Her win over Jelena Ostapenko in the second round of the US Open was her last win at a major.

Both players will fancy their chances to win this match but this is a good opportunity for Petkovic to level their head-to-head.

Prediction: Petkovic in straight sets.