Wozniacki faces strong challenge from Pliskova in Aegon International final
By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne
- Karolina Pliskova  v Caroline Wozniacki 
- H2H: Wozniacki leads 4-1
EASTBOURNE, UK – 2009 champion Caroline Wozniacki takes on last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova for the Aegon International title.
Karolina Pliskova – Path to Final
- R1: BYE
- R2: Alison Riske 6-4 6-3
- R3: Peng Shuai 7-6(3) 6-4
- QF: Svetlana Kuznetsova  6-7(7) 6-2 6-4
- SF: Johanna Konta  W/O
Caroline Wozniacki – Path to Final
- R1: BYE
- R2: Naomi Osaka 6-2 7-6(5)
- R3: Elena Vesnina  6-1 6-2
- QF: Simona Halep  5-7 6-4 6-1
- SF: Heather Watson [WC] 6-2 3-6 7-5
Karolina Pliskova  v Caroline Wozniacki  | H2H: Wozniacki leads 4-1
It might not have seemed possible in a combined event at Eastbourne for the first time since 2014 when rain washed out an entire schedule, but here we are at the final.
Karolina Pliskova is many people’s pick as certainly a one to watch at Wimbledon this year. She was knocking at the door of Slam victory at the end of last year, reaching her first Slam final and falling just short at the US Open, but grass is a surface that should suit her powerful serving down to the ground.
She has not had things all her own way – she was down 0-3 to Peng Shuai in round three and came through a tight battle there, and had to come from a set behind against Svetlana Kuznetsova, but she has the advantage of having been rested a day.
Set to play Britain’s Johanna Konta in the semi-finals for the second straight year, Konta had to withdraw after a heavy fall the night before resulted in thoracic-spinal issues that required rest with eyes on Wimbledon next week. Given that most players had to pull double duty on Thursday, this could well be a factor in the Czech’s favour.
Caroline Wozniacki has a real kinship with the conditions here and has tended to do well. She won the final here back in 2009, and has had frequent runs to the quarter-finals and three semi-finals in more recent years.
What is a concern is the left abdominal injury that she picked up and needed treatment for in her semi-final against Heather Watson. It affects her serving, so her best bet will be to go for accuracy and placement to draw Pliskova out wide, and then move her around.
It is a tough one to call but with the slightly heavier and blustery conditions we have seen all week, maybe Pliskova will struggle to get as many free points off her serve as she would like. But her power will probably be too much especially given her breaking her duck against the Dane in Doha shows how far she has improved since their earlier encounters.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova in three sets.
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