PHOTOS from Birmingham: The UK grass season kicks off at Aegon Classic

Qualifying at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham has started and our photographer Jimmie48 was there on Saturday to capture all the action, including Petra Kvitova‘s practice session.

 

The Aegon Classic is the first Premier-level grasscourt event leading up to Wimbledon and the 2017 edition was supposed to set a new record in terms of star players since eight of the current Top 10 had signed up to play, rounded out by Maria Sharapova joining the event via a wildcard.

Unfortunately for the tournament held in Birmingham’s Edgebaston Priory Club, the original player list fell apart in spectacular fashion. Following Maria Sharapova’s injury withdrawal, one after another top players had to pull out with injuries, including last year’s champion Madison Keys, Roland Garros finalist Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Even the tournament’s last-minute try to entice Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko fell apart, rounding out what was truly bad luck with players this year.

Nevertheless, there still are some big names left in the draw as Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are signed up to play, joined by Petra Kvitova who continues her comeback from the horrific knife attack, having arrived on her favorite playing surface.

The tournament’s main draw is set to start on Monday. Keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog for all the latest from Birmingham all week long!

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