AEGON International day 8 recap: Konta pulls out with injury, but Djokovic, Wozniacki and Monfils all book spots in the final

Johanna Konta’s withdrawal from the AEGON International was the big news of the day as the British no;.1 had to pull-out of her semi-final match against Karolina Pliskova due to injury.

For Konta, the ideal day would have surely been with her hands aloft, celebrating a victory over the world no. 3 Pliskova and in the process booking a spot in the final. But professional sport can be sad at times, and after falling on Thursday in her match against Angelique Kerber her participation at Wimbledon is in doubt.

After her gruelling day yesterday, where she played Jelena Ostapenko and Kerber; the injury Konta suffered in the match against the world no.1 got worse over night and with Wimbledon around the corner Konta had to pull out.

The first round draw of Wimbledon paired Konta with Su-Wei Hsieh, the player who beat her in the first round of the French Open this year, but it’s unclear whether the Brit will take to the courts in SW19 next week.

The exact injury was a thoracic spine one and with Wimbledon so close, it’s not ideal. But after the heavy fall against Kerber last night it looked as though Konta would have been in the clear and fit to face Pliskova – but after a bad night’s sleep, Konta said she has to think about her health.

Pliskova would then await the winner of Caroline Wozniacki and Heather Watson in Saturday’s final; and after a entertaining three set battle it was the world no.6, Wozniacki who got the better of Watson 2-6, 6-3, 5-7.

For Wozniacki it will be the second time she will be in the final of Eastbourne, her last victory on the sunshine coast was back in 2009.

As for the men’s semi-finals, Novak Djokovic booked his spot in the tomorrow’s final with a straight sets victory over Daniil Medvedev.

The Serb’s performances have been gradually getting better as the week has progressed and today Djokovic was at his best as he overcame the powerful Russian with a strong performance.

And Djokovic will be joined by Frenchman Gael Monfils after he came through a thoroughly entertaining three set match against his compatriot Richard Gasquet, winning 6-2, 7-6, 6-7.

Watson falls at the semi-final stage again as Wozniacki triumphs

It was a gritty performance from Watson but it wasn’t to be as Wozniacki halted the Brit’s impressive Eastbourne run with a good victory on centre court.

Both players have enjoyed impressive weeks in Eastbourne as they have played some solid opponents en-route to the semi-final. But it was the Dane, Wozniacki who held her nerve to reach her fourth final this year.

The world no.6 reached the final in Doha, Dubai and Miami and today she was marginally better than Watson as she continued her love affair with Eastbourne.

As for Watson the last time she reached the final was at Monterrey in 2016, but today Watson’s sluggish start cost her dearly as her 2017 Eastbourne run finished at the semi-final stage.

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It was a strong opening set from Wozniacki as she broke her British counterpart twice showing just why she could be a threat with Wimbledon around the corner. Watson was struggling to make inroads; such was the impressive nature of Wozniacki’s play. The Dane’s style is one of never giving up. And Wozniacki lived up to that mantle in the first set by trying to reach every ball.

Knowing Wozniacki would contest every ball, Watson’s play began to get a little rushed in the opening set, and Wozniacki capitalised the Brit’s mistakes as she closed out a comprehensive first set win.

Watson improved after the first set, and in the second she broke Wozniacki twice later on in the set.  The 26-year-old Dane rallied briefly towards the end of the second set, but Watson held on to level the match at 1-1.

The British no.2 continued her good momentum into the deciding set and with the set locked at 4-3 Watson broke Wozniacki – but the Dane wasn’t easily swayed as she recovered to break Watson immediately back, and with the game heading to a tiebreak it was hard to call which player would reach the final.

But Wozniacki held her serve to go 6-5 up and in the deciding game Watson failed to hold her serve as Wozniacki reached her second final in Eastbourne.

Djokovic cruises into final

On paper the assignment against Medvedev looked tough – the Russian had performed well this week beating Sam Querrey, Robin Haase and Steve Johnson en-route to his semi-final showdown against Djokovic.

But today Djokovic was just too good as Medvedev struggled to find any real rhythm to his play. And that was partly down to how good Djokovic was. The world no.4 said at the start of the week he wanted as much time on grass before Wimbledon, and at Eastbourne he has certainly done that.

But today, against Medvedev who hits the ball hard, Djokovic was calm and collected as he broke the 21-year-old immediately. It looked as though Djokovic would go on to dominate, but the 21-year-old replied with a break of serve as he looked to find a way back into the set.

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But, midway through the first set, Medvedev had the chance to break Djokovic at a pivotal time, but Djokovic held and then the Serbian went on to claim the first set.

The second set followed a similar pattern to the first, with Medvedev looking to unleash the power shot at every opportunity – but with Djokovic moving through the gears it was hard for the world no.52. Djokovic continued to press and got his reward as he broke Medvedev twice before going on to win 6-4, 6-4.

Full day 8 results:

  • Heather Watson lost to Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 5-7
  • Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedov 6-4, 6-4
  • Richard Gasquet lost to Gael Monfils 2-6, 7-6, 6-7
  • Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan beat Andre Begemann & Andres Molteni 6-7, 6-4, 10-3
  • Ashleigh Barty & Casey Dellacqua beat Timea Babos & Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3
  • Nicole Melichar & Anna Smith lost to Yung-Jan Chan & Martina Hingis 0-6, 6-3
  • Robin Haase & Dominic Inglot lost to Rohan Bopanna & Andre Sa 6-7, 6-3, 9-11

Image credits – Getty Images – Charlie Crowhurst


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