AEGON International day 9 recap: Pliskova and Djokovic win their first titles in Eastbourne

Karolina Pliskova and Novak Djokovic both produced stunning performances as they both won their first Eastbourne titles on centre court.

After a week which saw plenty of drama in the end it was Pliskova who triumphed in the women’s final, whilst Djokovic continued his good form heading into Wimbledon as he beat Gael Monfils rather comfortably.

In the first final of the day Pliskova got the better of Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets as the Czech player reaffirmed her status as one of the favourites heading into Wimbledon.

The world no.3 didn’t have to play her semi-final against Johanna Konta yesterday and that extra day of rest seemed to be a deciding factor as she won 6-4, 6-4.

Wozniacki got through a tough test against Heather Watson in the semi-finals and although she played her aggressive tennis today it wasn’t good enough as Pliskova showed her ever growing credentials with Wimbledon around the corner.

Pliskova produces dominant display to oust Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4

Both players have played a lot of tennis this week in what has been ideal preparation for Wimbledon. The pair has enjoyed success this year, with Wozniacki reaching four finals in Doha, Dubai, Miami and Eastbourne.

As for Pliskova, the Czech player reached the final in Brisbane and Doha, and in the later she beat today’s opponent Wozniacki 6-3, 6-4. But today Wozniacki couldn’t get the better of Pliskova as the world no.3 inflicted a second final loss on Wozniacki this year in what was a dominant performance by Pliskova.

In the opening set it was Pliskova that fared the better as she broke the world no.6 twice en-route to a 6-4 first set victory. Wozniacki came out and was playing her usual aggressive tennis from the outset as she looked to take the game to Pliskova.

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But for all Wozniacki’s endeavour, Pliskova was returning well. And after the fast start from 26-year-old, Pliskova gradually warmed to the occasion and began to find her serving rhythm. The Czech’s service game is a big part of her arsenal and throughout that first set she showed just why she could be a big threat in Wimbledon next week.

But the pivotal point of the first set came when Wozniacki had a sloppy service game which allowed Pliskova to break. With that break the Czech never really looked backed as she closed out the first set with a 40-0 service game to end.

At the end of the first set Pliskova was certainly in the ascendency and playing the better tennis. Wozniacki knew she would have to come out in the second set ready to force the issue, and she did. The Dane broke Pliskova early and was trying to put Pliskova on the back-foot.

And midway through the second set Woznaicki had the chance to break Pliskova. But after a tight deuce battle in which Pliskova squandered three game points, the fourth Pliskova held onto and denied Wozniacki what would have been an important break of serve.

With the second set locked at 4-4 Pliskova dealt a body blow to Wozniacki’s chances of winning a second Eastbourne title, as she broke Wozniacki after what was some poor play by the Dane at such a crucial time.

After the disappointment of losing to Dominika Cibulkova in last year’s final, Pliskova served out the match in impressive style as she won her third title of the season.

It was a thoroughly impressive display from Pliskova, she was dominant from the outset and was well deserving of her 6-4, 6-4 victory. It’s been a good season for Pliskova so far and with Wimbledon beginning next week, the Czech will certainly be one of the favourites.

Djokovic clinically beats Monfils in straight sets

Monfils was hoping to end his 13 year hoodoo against Djokovic as the pair met in the final of men’s AEGON International but Monfils wait would have to continue as Djokovic was just too good today as he won his first Eastbourne crown in straight sets.

It’s been a good week for Djokovic who has not had the best of years. But after getting that winning feeling in just before the biggest Slam of the year, the Serbian will certainly feel better about his chances.

And if Djokovic goes onto win his fourth Wimbledon crown in a couple of weeks he will be the first player to win ATP and Grand Slam titles in consecutive weeks since Patrick Rafter took wins at Long Island and then the US Open.

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Monfils himself has also had a good week of practice, playing plenty of games, but today the wildcard entry didn’t have enough left in the tank as Djokovic made light work of the Frenchman.

Yesterday, Monfils overcame a tough battle against fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in an entertaining semi-final, and in the first set it looked as though the 30-year-old was still feeling the effects of that energy sapping contest as Djokovic powered to a comfortable 6-3, first set win.

It wasn’t the start that Monfils wanted as the Frenchman was broken by Djokovic right from the get-go. The plan at the start of the week for Djokovic was to get as much time on the grass court as possible. It’s certainly paid off as the world no.4 has got better as the week has progressed and in the opening set, Djokovic was just much better than Monfils.

Djokovic showcased some superb tennis throughout the opening set and with Monfils lacking that athleticism that is so integral to his game, in the end it was a comfortable first set for the Serbian.

The second set was a lot closer as Monfils looked to mount a comeback but such was Djokovic’s momentum that everything the Frenchman threw at the Serb, he replied. Monfils had his moments to try and take the game into a deciding set.

But it was Djokovic that broke Monfils on his serve to win the game and the title to cap off what has been an uplifting week for the 30-year-old.

Image credits – Getty Images – Mike Hewitt


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