Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki came back from a break down in both sets to defeat Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6(5) for the Nature Valley International title on Saturday in Eastbourne, Great Britain.
“It’s been a long time ago since I was here as the winner of this tournament, so it’s great that I can still play almost 10 years later,” said Wozniacki, the 2009 winner, who in the first set fought off set points.
Sabalenka lead 5-3 with set points before Wozniacki reeled off four straight games. In the second set the Belarusian served for the set at 5-4, again failing to close.
Sabalenka was +17 for winners over Wozniacki, but was undone by her +22 unforced errors as opposed to the Dane.
The 20-year-old Sabalenka was appearing in her first Premier-level final. She beat former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova en route to the final, with all her matches prior to the final going three sets.
“I will remember playing 17 sets this week!” Sabalenka said afterwards. “This is what I will remember from this tournament, it’s been amazing.”
Sabalenka dropped to 0-3 in career finals, her second of 2018 after Lugano.
The 27-year-old Wozniacki collected her second title of the year after the Australian Open and improved to 29-24 in career finals. She was also runner-up at Auckland this year, and during the next two weeks at Wimbledon will have a chance of wrestling the world No. 1 ranking away from Simona Halep.
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