Pliskova beats Wimbledon champ Kerber in Eastbourne final
EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Karolina Pliskova beat Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4 in the Eastbourne final on Saturday, two days before the grass-court Grand Slam starts in southwest London.
The No. 3-ranked Pliskova took the first set in just 31 minutes with three service breaks, and she held on to an early break in the second to win the title. She hit seven aces and won 71% of points on her first serve.
Pliskova said the score didn't accurately reflect a tough match.
"I was fighting a lot and I think Angelique is one of the best grass-court players," she said.
Pliskova didn't drop a set all week in Eastbourne, losing just 19 games across five matches, including a 6-1, 6-2 rout of fourth-ranked Kiki Bertens in the semifinals. She never has gone further than the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Kerber hasn't won a tournament since beating Serena Williams in last year's Wimbledon final.
Pliskova also won Eastbourne in 2017, a year after losing the final. Kerber has lost all three finals she has played at the Wimbledon tuneup.
Kerber starts her Wimbledon title defense against fellow German Tatjana Maria, and is in the same quarter of the draw as Williams and top-ranked Ash Barty. Pliskova starts against China's Zhu Lin.
Taylor Fritz won an all-American final for the men's Eastbourne title, beating Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4. It's the first career ATP title for the 21-year-old son of former top-10 player Kathy May.
Fritz broke in Querrey's first service game in each set and each time held on to take the set.
"I tried to not think about winning the title," he said. "I just tried to, you know, stay calm. When I stepped up to serve out the match, I felt totally relaxed."
Fritz had reached the final in Memphis in 2016 in his second career ATP tournament but lost in straight sets to Kei Nishikori.
"It feels funny to say I have been waiting for a long time to win a title when I'm only 21," he said Saturday. "But when you, you know, have that idea of 'I could have won a title when I was 18,' it's in my head for a long time, wanting to get that first title."
Querrey is 10-9 in career finals.