The last WTA event ahead of the third Grand Slam singles tournament of the year, Wimbledon has concluded. The third seed Karolina Pliskova, was a runner-up at the Aegon International in Eastbourne last year, losing to Dominika Cibulkova. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old defeated 2009 champion and sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 21 minutes to claim her third title of the year.
Pliskova became the first Czech player since Jana Novotna in 19 years to win the Aegon International. It could be a good omen for the former world number as two as her compatriot went on to win Wimbledon in 1998. Nevertheless, Pliskova was the deserved winner, and she has a good chance of claiming her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon and the world number one ranking.
It was more heartbreak for Wozniacki as she was competing in her 46th career final, and she has now lost all four finals that she has participated in this year. Losing twice to Pliskova, to Elina Svitolina in Dubai and to Johanna Konta in Miami.
Pliskova claims the opening set
Last year's US Open runner-up was well rested as she was due to play against Johanna Konta in the semifinals for the second year in succession but the Brit withdrew after sustaining a nasty fall in her quarterfinal victory over the world number one Angelique Kerber. Nevertheless, the two-time US Open runner-up began proceedings in the grass court Premier event in Eastbourne. Wozniacki held to love in the first game of the match, and Pliskova held onto her serve to restore parity at 1-1.
Both players were settled in this final early on, displaying some scintillating shots, and entertaining rallies for the crowd. The former world number one held onto her serve from 15-30 by remaining aggressive on her serve and continued to play well. Pliskova played the drop shot effectively, and the big-serving Czech remained on level terms at 2-2.
However, the turning point in the opening set was the fifth game of the match as the third seed continued to apply pressure on Wozniacki's serve, and Pliskova created two break points. She converted it at the first time of asking by producing a devastating forehand return winner down the line, leading 3-2.
The world number three consolidated the break with a hold to love by producing a stunning ace down the T. The former world
number one continued to be under pressure on her serve in the next game but she managed to hold on and served well to remain just one break down.
The third seed remained in front easily by producing consistent first strike tennis. The 2009 champion was unable to get a hold of Pliskova' serve as the Czech held comfortably by producing an ace down the T, and a forehand winner down the line to lead 5-3.
Wozniacki had to serve to stay in the opening set, which she did with flying colors by holding to love. Furthermore, it was not enough as last year's US Open runner-up held to love with a flawless game to love, and she produced a stunning half-volley drop shot winner at the net to lead 6-4 in 34 minutes.
The Czech staves off Wozniacki to claim a ninth WTA career title
Both players are former US Open finalists, and they held serve comfortably in their opening two games. However, the former world number one had some problems in her next game as she was taken to deuce, nevertheless, she produced two good serves to lead 2-1.
The next two games went with holds to love but the third seed was under pressure in her next service game for the first time in the match. Pliskova had to fend off four break points, and in typical Pliskova fashion, she produced two back-to-back aces in a game that lasted over ten minutes to restore parity at 3-3.
The Dane didn't let that get to her, and she continued to remain aggressive by producing some more forehand winners down the line to lead 4-3. Furthermore, last year's runner-up trailed 15-30 but her booming serves, bailed her out of trouble to level the match at 4-4.
However, the inevitable occurred in the ninth game as Wozniacki quickly fell at 0-40 on her serve, and despite saving the first two break points, the third seed broke by producing a stunning forehand winner down the line on the run to lead 5-4, and serve for the title.
Pliskova served for the match in emphatic fashion as she raced out to a 40-0 lead, which included two aces in that game. The former world number one saved two championship points but Pliskova converted her third championship point and won the match, 6-4, 6-4 in just one hour and 21 minutes by producing a forehand down the line, forcing the error from Wozniacki.