Eastbourne 2019: Karolina Pliskova beats Angelique Kerber in straight sets to win title

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Eastbourne 2019: Karolina Pliskova beats Angelique Kerber in straight sets to win title

World number three Karolina Pliskova outclassed Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 to win her second Eastbourne title in style.

Pliskova, from the Czech Republic, will head to Wimbledon full of confidence after a superb display sealed victory over the German in 71 minutes.

She broke fourth seed Kerber's serve three times to take the first set and once on her way to winning the second.

The 27-year-old did not lose a set during the Nature Valley International.

"All week I was playing quite perfect," said Pliskova. "But not all the matches were as easy the score says, especially today."

In the men's tournament, 21-year-old Taylor Fritz won his first ATP title with a 6-3 6-4 victory over fellow American Sam Querrey.

The women's final between two former world number ones was billed as a battle between Pliskova, the great server, and Kerber, the great returner.

Pliskova's big serve dominated all week but it was the way the second seed attacked 31-year-old Kerber's serve that proved the difference.

The Czech player broke Kerber's opening service game and the German did not manage to hold her serve until the third game of the second set.

Pliskova then broke Kerber's serve at the first opportunity in the second and although the three-time Grand Slam champion played much better, the depth and power of the Czech's groundstrokes continued to give her control of the key points.

She dropped just seven points on her serve in the set and finished with seven aces and 33 winners in the match.

Pliskova, who has yet to win a Grand Slam, gets her Wimbledon campaign under way against China's Zhu Lin on Monday.

She will bid to become the first player since Jana Novotna in 1998 to win Eastbourne and go on to triumph at Wimbledon.

Kerber, now a three-time Eastbourne runner-up, will open the defence of her Wimbledon title against compatriot Tatjana Maria on Tuesday.

"It will be a special moment stepping onto Centre Court again," said Kerber. "I'm feeling good, I'm playing good and hopefully I can continue on my play from last year."

Analysis

Former British number one Sam Smith on BBC TV

I think that was one of the best performances we've seen on this court.

It was such an intelligent display tactically. The way Pliskova mixed up her serving Kerber didn't know which way to go and was standing so far back.

There was also clear thinking about where she wanted to hit her returns and clear thinking in the exchanges with the way she changed the pace of her shots which meant she gave Kerber constant problems to solve.

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