Bencic to face champion Keys in Eastbourne

Belinda Bencic booked a place against defending champion Madison Keys at the WTA Eastbourne International on Sunday with a 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) defeat of German Mona Barthel.

Keys, seeded 12th, has yet to duplicate the success she found on the English seaside grass courts a year ago when she won the title over Germany’s Angelique Kerber.

Barthel was plagued by six double-faults, while losing serve on four of five occasions to Swiss teenager Bencic, a first-round loser a year ago.

The woman who beat her in 2014, Eastbourne local Johanna Konta, ranked 139, thrilled her home public at Devonshire Park with a first-round defeat of Kazakh, Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-2.

“Every first round is tough,” said Konta, after winning her first career match at the tournament.

“There is no easy match but I was happy I could go out there and give my best and I was fortunate enough to come out on top.”

Konta will face fourth-seeded former champion Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

There was no luck for Britain Naomi Broady, beaten in her first outing by American Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States put out Swede Johanna Larsson 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-1 and fellow American Alison Riske stopped Alize Cornet of France 6-0, 6-3.

Australian Casey Dellacqua beat Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-4 while France’s Caroline Garcia advanced past Italian Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-2.

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