Ekaterina Makarova photo

Aegon Classic 2013 Preview

The Aegon Classic is one of the first transition points on the women’s tour, moving from clay to grass. It rolls into action straight on the back of the French Open and the women’s field descends on Birmingham, England in order to get some vital grass action ahead of Wimbledon at the end of the month. This is only an international tier so it doesn’t attract a lot of the big stars, who will be at least taking some rest after the action at Roland Garros. Still a competitive field around though.

There are no top twenty players around which makes this a fantastic tournament to follow for value. There are still some stand out names in the field though for this level of tournament and most of them are all piled in a busy first half of the draw. Top seed for the week is Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, but there are big threats from Mona Barthel, Sorana Cirstea and Urszula Radwanska as well all in the same half. Who to pick out of that quality bunch of players? Flipkens, who hasn’t had a bad season, has perhaps the toughest draw ahead of her, just to get the quarters, so raises doubts.

We should see more of Barthel on grass than we did on clay. The young German star already has a title under her belt this season too. So she perhaps represents some of the best value in the field. Cirstea has bags of potential, but the young Romanian has been struggling to convert chances since March. Young Urszula Radwanska is one of the most improving players on the WTA Tour at the moment and has every chance in this one, but again, lumped in a tough first half. She and Barthel should probably just take a bit of precedence.

Over in the other half, top ranked British player Laura Robson, who has claimed wins over Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams in her last two outings has been showing some great form. The home crowd will be heavily behind her but in the second half of the draw Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova looks the most likely, because of her experience and class, to make a serious run at the final. Makarova hit the semi’s in Birmingham last season.

Stat: The last two Aegon Classic winners were actually both unseeded.

Tipster’s Best Tip:

Outright Winner: Ekaterina Makarova @ William Hill

To Reach Final: Mona Barthel @ William Hill