10.06.13 WATSON READY FOR CZINK CHALLENGE
British No. 2 Heather Watson will make her 2013 Aegon Classic debut on Tuesday, taking on World No. 110, Melinda Czink of Hungary in one of the marquee matches of day two of the WTA tournament in Birmingham.
Watson is one of three British players in singles action on day two at the Priory Club, alongside her Aegon GB Fed Cup team-mates Johanna Konta and Tara Moore. Konta, who reached the semi-finals of last week’s Aegon Trophy in Nottingham, is up against Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara and Moore takes on talented young Frenchwoman – and 12th seed – Kristina Mladenovic.
Watson is playing only her second match since returning to competition after a four month break while she recovered from glandular fever. There will also be British interest in the doubles on Tuesday, when Laura Robson and her accomplished American partner Lisa Raymond play Cara Black – who, like Raymond, is another former World double No.1 – and New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic. Robson will begin her singles campaign on Wednesday, when she takes on either former Aegon Classic finalist Daniela Hantuchova or Australia’s Casey Dellacqua.
The tournament served up some upsets on its opening day on Monday, with defending champion Melanie Oudin sent tumbling out in the first round by Croatian Ajla Tomjanovic and Great Britain’s Anne Keothavong beaten by American qualifier Alison Riske.
10.06.13 KEOTHAVONG AND OUDIN TO HEADLINE DAY ONE OF THE AEGON CLASSIC
British star Anne Keothavong and defending champion Melanie Oudin of the USA will headline the opening day of the 2013 Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
udin, who won her first WTA Tour title at the Priory Club a year ago, takes on Croatian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round, while former British No.1 Keothavong faces a potentially tricky opener against American qualifier Alison Riske. Riske was a quarter-finalist at last week’s Aegon Trophy in Nottingham, losing to another Brit, Johanna Konta.
Both matches are scheduled for the newly-named Ann Jones Centre Court. Keothavong has known Ann Jones since she was a junior player and said it was a fitting honour for one of the best players that Great Britain has ever produced. “I’ve known Ann for years, so I’m really pleased for her that she’s been honoured like this,” said Keothavong. She’s been involved in tennis for as long as I can remember and she’s done so much for the game. It will be fantastic to play on a court that is named after her.”
Keothavong’s fellow GB Fed Cup player Melanie South will also be in action on Monday when she faces 16th seed Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round. Laura Robson and Heather Watson are both seeded and so have a bye into the second round of the singles, with Robson likely to play her opening doubles match on Tuesday with Lisa Raymond. Robson is likely to start her singles campaign on Wednesday against either a qualifier or former runner-up Daniela Hantuchova.
Up-and-coming international players Madison Keys (USA), Jamie Hampton (USA) and Donna Vekic will also all be in action on what is set to be a busy opening Monday.
ORDER OF PLAY - MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
M Oudin (USA) vs [Q] A Tomljanovic (CRO)
[WC] A Keothavong (GBR) vs [Q] A Riske (USA)
E Bouchard (CAN) vs  B Jovanovski (SRB)
[WC] M South (GBR) vs  M Rybarikova (SVK)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
T Pironkova (BUL) vs L Davis (USA)
M Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs K Pliskova (CZE)
C Vandeweghe (USA) vs K Pliskova (CZE)
[Q] N Kichenok (UKR) vs T Babos (HUN)
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
 S Hsieh (TPE) vs J Hampton (USA)
M Keys (USA) vs L Tsurenko (UKR)
[Q] A Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs K Date-Krumm (JPN)
E Svitolina (UKR) vs M Erakovic (NZL)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
V Dolonc (SRB) vs M Koehler (POR)
 A Morita (JPN) vs [Q] A Van Uytvanck (BEL)
P Cetkovska (CZE) vs M Johansson (FRA)
Not Before 4:00 PM
C Giorgi (ITA) vs D Vekic (CRO)
09.06.13 HENMAN, WATSON AND CO. SERVE UP NEW ANN JONES CENTRE COURT
British tennis stars Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Heather Watson joined Aegon Classic contender Sorana Cirstea to christen the newly-named Ann Jones Centre Court at Edgbaston Priory Club today (Sunday) with a light-hearted doubles match which had the sell-out crowd enjoying every point.
Watson and Henman took on Rusedski and Cirstea, with a little bit of help from soprano Laura Wright, who had earlier sung five of her biggest hits as part of the day’s entertainment. Wright showed off her tennis skills for a few points while first Henman and then Rusedski took a breather.
Ann Jones herself played a big part in the celebrations of the new court by unveiling a name plaque and received warm applause from her local crowd.
Jones, who comes from nearby Kings Heath, won two French Open singles titles and was also a winner at Wimbledon. Since her glittering playing career ended, she has devoted her life to tennis through coaching, officiating, the media and her work at The Championships, Wimbledon. She was also a driving force behind bringing a world class WTA event to Birmingham in the 1980s.
“Ann was a brilliant player and she’s still massively involved in the game,” said Henman. “She’s got good insight into the game, great experience and she’s obviously passionate about tennis. I think it’s very fitting that the court here is named after her.”
The Ann Jones Centre Court is part of a £12 million redevelopment, to which the LTA has contributed £5 million. This also includes the Indoor Tennis Centre, which was opened last year with the aim being to help grow the game locally.
“This is a great facility. There is great tradition at Edgbaston Priory Club with tennis in this area and hopefully people can really utilise it because we need that accessibility for the junior players,” said Henman. “We need more and more kids coming to play and this is what they need. Indoor courts, a good gym – they’ve got everything they need.”
Watson agreed, saying: “This will encourage more people to come because it’s such a great place and everything else, like the facilities, the new gym and the new buildings are, like, wow…”
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Tickets are available at www.aegonclassic.co.uk/tickets.
Prices start from just £10 on Monday 10 June and go up to £30 on finals day.