By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne
- Dominika Cibulkova  def. Karolina Pliskova  7-5 6-3
- Has made finals on four surfaces, and wins her first on grass
EASTBOURNE, UK – Dominika Cibulkova capped off a near flawless week by winning the Aegon International title, defeating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.
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It actually was a quick start by Pliskova, who maybe looked to have a handle on the very breezy conditions quickly breaking Cibulkova right at the start, with the sound of the wind whistling around the court, rattling the flagpoles.
However, the gusty conditions had other ideas, as the Czech struggled in a game littered by double-faults, giving Cibulkova an immediate reprieve before the first hold of the game.
Were things going to settle into a rhythm? Well, no not really as the pair exchanged breaks before both consulting with their coaches. We were not done trading breaks as the momentum swirled about, not unlike the wind.
Still at least it was dry, as things settled back on serve at 4-4, before Cibulkova broke the Czech to take a tight first set with some particular high quality ball-striking towards the end.
As some particularly grumpy looking clouds gloomily settled over Centre Court, it looked a lot more competitive for the first three games at least before Pliskova dropped her serve once more.
Cibulkova continued to push forward, but Pliskova was not done, forcing the Slovakian to save four break points as she tried to get the break back, in the longest game of the match.
Third time was the charm, as Cibulkova edged it on her third match point, to claim another title this year, and her first career title on grass.
After the frustration of injury the year before, Cibulkova ripped up the clay in such style, she felt she had not wanted to switch to grass, but she has shown that she is a real danger.
Although it will be a disappointing end to a long grass run-in for Pliskova she probably will not complain – a title in Nottingham, the doubles title in Birmingham (albeit finished indoors) and also heads into Wimbledon very match sharp.
She told reporters: “I didn’t do a set, but I think I had a lot of chances even in the first and even in the second set. But on the other hand she was playing really well even in the wind. For me was more tough because of the serving and everything. But she was playing aggressive and without almost mistakes. So she deserved to win.”
She smiled wryly when asked about just how many matches she has had these past three weeks.
“It’s different if you are winning and if you are doing well. I don’t feel that tired like if you are practicing and losing. So I just feel ready. I have one more day to rest. I have to go practice tomorrow, unfortunately (smiling). Yeah, I feel fine. I don’t have any injuries so far, so everything is going well. And the results I think it can even help me to play better in Wimbledon.”
Cibulkova dropped just one set on her way to the final – to top seed Agnieszka Radwanska – on her way to another WTA Premier title.
She said, after the match: “This is a special title. It’s second title of the year. I was never able to win two titles in one year. We’re in the half of the season and this is my second one. So it feels just great.
“It’s my first one on the grass. This tournament, I would say it’s the toughest one before the Grand Slam, because everybody want to play on grass and this is a big one. The competition here was really strong. I was able to beat the top players on the grass, so it gives me a lot of confidence.”
Cibulkova catches a break with a Tuesday start at Wimbledon, which was met with some relief.
“You have to be kind of lucky, you know, in these things. I have really tough opponent playing Mirjana Lucic. I played her once at Wimbledon, won 7-5 in the third set in a really, really tough match. In that year I played my quarterfinal at Wimbledon. So if I pass that, it can be a good Wimbledon for me.”
Wimbledon starts on 27 June.
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