The Nature Valley International, Eastbourne, final is set with Angelique Kerber taking on Karolina Pliskova in the women’s singles.
It's not the way I would like to reach the final, because to getting another match under my belt before going to Wimbledon, that was the goal. But of course, I hope that she recovers soon and she is ready for Wimbledon Angelique Kerber
Reigning Wimbledon Champion Kerber was granted free passage into Saturday’s final when Ons Jabeur withdrew from their semi-final with a right ankle injury.
The No.4 seed, Kerber said: “It’s not the way I would like to reach the final, because to getting another match under my belt before going to Wimbledon, that was the goal. But of course, I hope that she recovers soon and she is ready for Wimbledon.”
And Kerber, who has twice reached the final at Eastbourne, in 2012 and 2014, said fans can expect a great final on Saturday.
“We played a lot of finals already against each other, a lot of matches,” said Kerber. “(Pliskova) knows what to expect from me; I know what to expect from her. She’s serving good. She hits the ball very fast and deep. It will be a good match.”
Jabeur said she was disappointed not to take her place in the semi-final. “I woke up sore in the morning, a little tough to walk,” said the Tunisian. “I tried to warm up. Wasn’t the best warmup. Tried to tape, run, do a few movements that I do on the court. It was very difficult for me.
“(It was a) tough decision. I hate to withdraw, especially in the semi-final (but) I’m just trying to keep very positive.”
The champion at Eastbourne in 2017, No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova was at her blistering grass court best on Friday, reaching her third Eastbourne final in four years with a 56-minute, 6-2 6-1 win over against No.3 Kiki Bertens.
Pliskova, who lost to Bertens in straight sets in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, said she played a more aggressive match to clinch today’s win. “Last year (at) Wimbledon… I think I was too passive, which I didn’t want to be today. So I really put some pressure on her serve and it worked out.
“I was just playing much better than last year, more free, and just went for it a little bit more. She was always under pressure and I was just always attacking… coming to the net a little bit more than I was last year, so I think I just used my game better than I did last year against her.”
And she said she was looking forward to a challenging match in Saturday’s final. “I already had a couple challenges this week. (Kerber’s) tough, she’s lefty. On grass obviously she’s feeling maybe the best. But I beat her before. We played once on grass (and) I have to look maybe back on that match and just to get the positives out of it and let’s see. I think I’m ready.
“It doesn’t matter what’s gonna happen tomorrow, it’s a good week, (a) good tournament for me on grass. I’ve had good matches, and I have been playing well.”
Saturday’s women’s doubles final will be decided between Bethanie Matter-Sands and Kirsten Flipkens, and 2014 Nature Valley International Champions Has-Ching Chan and Latisha Chan.