The ones to watch

Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic

Agnieszka Radwanska comes to Devonshire Park as the top seed for the women’s singles competition, currently enjoying the highest world ranking of her career at number three.

Radwanska has had a successful start to the year, taking the Dubai Tennis Championship title and the Sony Ericsson Open, the latter of which she did so without dropping a single set.

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

Along the way to a final with French Open champion Maria Sharapova, she beat Venus Williams and current AEGON International champion Marion Bartoli.

Alongside her ten WTA singles titles, the Polish star has experienced success in Grand Slam tournaments too, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2008, 2011 and 2009 and getting to the same stage at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009.

The 23-year-old beat Venus Williams again in this year’s French Open but fell at the third round, despite entering as the third seed, to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Petra Kvitova will no doubt fancy her chances at Eastbourne after hitting fine form leading up to the tournament.

Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic

The reigning Wimbledon champion comes into the AEGON International tournament on the back of reaching the semi-finals in the Australian and the French Open, losing out to Maria Sharapova on both occasions as the Russian went on to take the two titles.

Kvitova did get the better of Sharapova last year, when she beat her in the Wimbledon final to take the prestigious Grand Slam crown.

The Czech left-hander, who burst onto the scene in 2011, reached the final of the Eastbourne International last year but lost out to Marion Bartoli.

She was ranked at number two in the world at the tail end of last year but is currently ranked fourth. At the beginning of the year, she was tipped to become world number one.

Caroline Wozniacki is hoping to put a shaky 2012 behind her as she tries to regain the crown she won in 2009.

Wozniacki was victorious at Devonshire Park three years ago when she beat Virginie Razzano in the final. That same year, the former world number one recorded her best result in a Grand Slam to date by reaching the final of the US Open, only to lose to Kim Clijsters.

Since then, the Dane has got to the semi-finals of both the US Open and the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of the 2011 French Open and the Australian Open earlier this year. However, that result aside, Wozniacki hasn’t enjoyed the best start to 2012, losing her world number one ranking to Victoria Azarenka in January.

She then went on to suffer defeats to Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Lucie Safarova, Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber, all of whom are competing in Eastbourne this month. The 21-year-old is now ranked seventh in the world.

Marion Bartoli makes her return to Eastbourne this year in defence of her AEGON International title. The Frenchwoman got the better of Petra Kvitova in last year’s final to take the trophy after numerous attempts.

Prior to 2011, Bartoli had reached four consecutive semi-finals at Devonshire Park, but had always missed out on a place in the final.

The current French number one and world number eight has defeated three reigning number ones in her career so far, including victory over Justine Henin on her way to the Wimbledon final in 2007.

The 27-year-old, who has seven WTA titles to her name, is known for her unorthodox style of play, using two hands on both her forehand and backhand.

Bartoli was the eighth seed heading into the French Open but was knocked out in just the second round by Petra Martic.

She’s entered into the Eastbourne International as the fourth seed.

Vera Zvonareva hopes a niggling shoulder injury won’t stop her from competing at Devonshire Park.

The Russian was forced to pull out of the French Open on the first day, just ahead of her opening match, due to the injury to her right shoulder.

Zvonareva, who has won twelve WTA titles in her career so far, hit her peak in 2010 when she reached the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open to propel her to number two in the world.

The 27-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, reached the semi-final of the Australian Open the year later but since then has failed to create a stir on the singles circuit.

Instead, she has enjoyed doubles success, taking the Australian Open women’s doubles crown earlier this year with compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Zvonareva’s inclusion in the tournament could reignite the rivalry between her and Agnieszka Radwanska. Zvonareva is currently trailing 4-2 in the head-to-head.

Ana Ivanovic hopes to rediscover the fine form that sparked her career as a world-class tennis star when she returns to Eastbourne this year.

The Serb has fell from the dizzy heights of world number one down to number 14 in the rankings after a shaky few years on the circuit.

After reaching the Australian Open final in 2008 and winning the French Open in the same year, she was propelled to the top of the pack but has since struggled to retain the same winning form.

Following her success in 2008, she has failed to progress further than the fourth round in any of the major Grand Slam tournaments.

However, Ivanovic has still remained a force to be reckoned with on the WTA Tour, scooping 11 titles.

While 2012 has not seen much success for the 24-year-old, she did crack the world top 15 for the first time since 2009 and became Serbian number one again after losing that title in 2008.

Richard Gasquet heads to Devonshire Park as the number one seed for the AEGON International tournament, despite a fourth round exit in the French Open to Andy Murray last month.

This year will be the first time the former world number seven has competed in the Eastbourne International and he boasts the highest world ranking of all the men’s singles entrants in the current line-up. The Frenchman, who will turn 26 during the tournament, won the mixed doubles French Open title in 2004 but his best achievement as a singles player was reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2007.

He’d edged through the quarter-finals after a memorable match with Andy Roddick before Roger Federer beat him in the semi-final. It was that run in the Wimbledon Championship that saw him debut in the top ten world ranks.

Gasquet will be hoping his trademark backhand down the line will be his lethal weapon in his attempt to take the AEGON title.

Bernard Tomic, despite being the youngest of all the competitors in this year’s competition, is one of the most hopeful.

At just 19 years old, Tomic is the youngest player in the top 219 in the world and can already boast an impressive career.

He is the highest ranked Australian player on the circuit at number 28 and, most notably, reached the quarter finals of the Wimbledon Championships last year, beating fifth seed Robin Soderling on his way to the final eight.

He lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, but not without taking a set off the Serb first.

Tomic won eight titles as a junior tennis player but started to focus solely on senior tournaments in 2009. He was given a wildcard into the 2009 Australian Open where he became the youngest player to ever win a senior Australian Open Grand Slam match.

Tomic, who also plays for the Australian Davis Cup team, reached the fourth round of the Australian Open earlier this year before a straight-sets defeat to Roger Federer.

Andreas Seppi returns to Eastbourne this year to try and retain the title he won at Devonshire Park last year.

The reigning champion beat world number eight Janko Tipsarevic in last year’s final after the Serb retired at 5-3 down in the third set with the score at 1-1. As of this month, the Italian is enjoying a career best rank of number 24 in the world. This came after he reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at Roland Garros last month.

Unfortunately, Seppi’s run in the tournament was ended by world number one and 2012 French Open finalist Novak Djokovic.

Including the Eastbourne International, Seppi has two singles titles to his name. The second came in May of this year when he triumphed in Belgrade against Benoit Paire. He beat David Nalbandian on his way to the title.

Marcos Baghdatis is also set to make his debut at Devonshire Park this summer as he looks to add to his four singles titles.

The 26-year-old Cypriot has enjoyed one of the more successful careers to date of the competitors this year, boasting a number 8 world ranking and a handful of appearances in the latter stages of Grand Slam competitions.

He most notably reached the final of the Australian Open in 2006, despite entering it as an unseeded player, but lost to Roger Federer in four sets. Later that year, Baghdatis also reached the semi-final of Wimbledon and almost repeated his success the following year but just fell at the quarter-final hurdle, losing to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic respectively.

Baghdatis can boast four singles titles in China, Croatia, Sweden and Australia between 2006 and 2010. He is currently ranked at number 39 in the world.

ANDY RODDICK will be delighting the crowds at Devonshire Park for the first time this year after accepting a wildcard into the pre-Wimbledon tournament.

The big-hitting American is well-known for his powerful style of play, especially his serve.

He held the world record for the fastest serve between 2004 and 2011 with a thumping 155mph.

Roddick claimed the US Open title in 2003, the same year in which he reached the dizzy heights of world number one.

Currently ranked 27th in the world, the 29-year-old character excels on the grass courts, reaching the Wimbledon final on three occasions.

Most memorably, he battled with Roger Federer in the 2009 final, eventually losing out 16-14 in the fifth set.

Audiences will be hoping for more breathtaking performances from the likeable star, both on and off the court.