World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova made her case on Saturday as the favorite heading into Wimbledon, with a chance to take the No. 1 ranking, after defeating former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the grasscourt Aegon International Eastbourne.
“I didn’t really expect this start of the grasscourt season, but it gave me a lot of confidence coming to London,” said Pliskova, the runner-up last year to Dominika Cibulkova, who said she played the week before Wimbledon to get some additional grasscourt feel.
The flat-hitting Czech broke early in the first set, and in the second set broke in the seventh game after Wozniacki failed to convert on four break points the game earlier.
“I think we were both serving pretty well both sets,” said Pliskova, who dealt 10 aces to one for the Dane. “I was checking the statistics, and we both had pretty high percentage of the first serve. It was just about a few points. Still was a little bit shaky at the end, the last two points, but I made it. I’m happy.”
The loss was a double blow for Wozniacki. She fell to 0-4 in finals this year, and is now mathematically eliminated from the race for No. 1 at Wimbledon, where a handful of players have a chance to take over the top spot due to Serena Williams’ time off the tour due to pregnancy.
“It’s been great to get the feel, because especially on the grass, if you don’t feel 100 percent comfortable, it can be pretty tricky,” said Wozniacki, who won her lone grasscourt title eight years ago at Eastbourne. “That’s why I think I’m feeling good, and hopefully that will mean that I can play well at Wimbledon next week.”
Pliskova improved to 9-10 in career finals while Wozniacki, 2-0 in championship matches last year, dropped to 25-21.
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