LONDON (AFP) - French Open finalist Simona Halep will make it eight out of the women's world top 10 tennis players appearing at next week's Wimbledon warm-up after accepting a wildcard invitation on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Romanian - ranked second in the world and beaten by the unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the French Open final - joins world No. 1 Angelique Kerber and No. 3 Karolina Pliskova at the tournament in Eastbourne, southern England.
Halep, who had a good clay-court season - winning in Madrid but losing in the Rome final before her defeat by Ostapenko in three sets in Paris - said she is delighted to get some grass-court competition in before Wimbledon after pulling out of this week's WTA tournament with a sore ankle.
Play gets under way on Friday and runs to July 1 while Wimbledon begins on July 3.
"I am very much looking forward to playing in Eastbourne," said Halep.
"The quality of the draw is very high so I'm hoping for some great matches to give me the best possible preparation ahead of Wimbledon."
Also in the high-quality field are world No. 6 and defending champion Dominika Cibulkova and local girl Johanna Konta, who is ranked one rung below the Slovak.
Halep will also hope to eat into Kerber's small lead in the world rankings.
Double pleasure for residents of the sleepy seaside resort will be the men's ATP event which runs at the same time and will be honoured by the presence of triple Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who is desperate to find some semblance of form after a quarter-final exit at the French Open.