Pliskova powers past Caroline Wozniacki to win Eastbourne title

It was the 25-year-old Czech third seed’s ninth title as she prepares for the start of Wimbledon on Monday.

Pliskova was fresh for the final after receiving a bye at the semi-final stage after opponent Johanna Konta was forced to withdraw due to injury sustained in the last eight.

The 2016 US Open finalist wrapped up the first set without dropping serve, and she continued to dominate on serve in the second set as the sixth seeded Dane Wozniacki was forced to again accept second best in a final.

Pliskova is among the favourites to win the Wimbeldon title, and she should be confident of improving her best performance at the event which has been the second round in four straight years since 2013.

The Czech world number three demonstrated once again just why, with her big serves and crushing groundstrokes, she could be the one to beat at Wimbledon over the next fortnight as she annexed her third title of the season.

Denmark’s Wozniacki, the world number six who had hoped to regain the title she last won in 2009, held on in game fashion but succumbed to a break of serve in each set and, despite a second set push, could not dent Pliskova’s formidable delivery.

“This feels better,” said Pliskova on court afterwards, comparing her feeling to the defeat in the same final last year.

Reminded that Jana Novotna had been the last Czech woman to win at Eastbourne before going to triumph at Wimbledon in the same year, she added: “My service is definitely my biggest weapon and if it’s working it causes the other player a lot of problems.

“I’m going to go step-by-step and hopefully I can go far at Wimbledon.”

Pliskova took command with a break for 3-2 in the first set and dropped only five points on serve as she took the stanza in 34 minutes.

In the middle of the second set, Pliskova finally faced an examination on serve, having to save four break points in one game and two in the next, but saved them all with a combination of fine serving and Wozniacki’s profligacy.

Pliskova sent down 10 aces as she wrapped up victory in one hour 22 minutes and it is hard to imagine she will not improve on her best previous Wimbledon performances, second round dates in each of the last four years.

For Wozniacki, another live contender in an open Wimbledon, it was a disappointing fourth defeat in four finals this season but she was still able to smile: “I would have loved to have won today but maybe fifth time is the charm as they say.

“I thought I played really well, but Karolina played better than me, definitely with the serves. I had trouble getting them back.”

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