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Defending champ Kvitova withdraws from Eastbourne citing fatigue

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND (AP) – Defending champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the Eastbourne International on Tuesday citing fatigue.

Number nine-ranked Kvitova won her 31st WTA singles title on Sunday in Berlin.

The two-time Wimbledon champion was due to start her Eastbourne defence against Jelena Ostapenko, whom she beat in last year’s final. Ostapenko won the 2021 title and the Birmingham trophy on Sunday.

Ostapenko beat Kvitova’s replacement, Barbora Strycova, 6-4, 6-3 in the first round to set up a last-16 clash with Britain’s Harriet Dart. Kvitova followed the exit of Wimbledon titleholder Elena Rybakina on Monday. Rybakina was the top seed but withdrew because of a viral illness, Eastbourne organisers said.

The field was newly led by number five-ranked Caroline Garcia and included four others in the top 10 this week: Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff and Barbora Krejcikova.

Second-seeded Garcia advanced to the last 16 with a 6-1, 7-5 win over American Madison Brengle.

Fifth-seeded Gauff beat Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2 with the all-American match lasting 61 minutes.

“Bernarda is not an easy player, especially a lefty on grass,” Grauff said. “It was really windy today so I think we were just trying to make one more ball in the court.”

Gauff next faces British player Jodie Burrage.

Pegula also advanced in straight sets by beating Zheng Qinwen.

PHOTO: AFP
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