BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Angelique Kerber beat sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4) Sunday in the final of the Aegon Classic to clinch her first grass-court title.
The big-serving Pliskova had 11 aces but Kerber’s ability to contain this threat, along with greater flexibility in longer rallies, eventually turned the match the German’s way.
“It was an amazing match, and perfect for a final,” the fourth-seeded Kerber said. “It will have given great confidence in my preparation (for Wimbledon).”
Although Kerber made the first break of serve immediately, she was later unable to convert the four set points it had made possible. After Pliskova broke back, narrowly sneaked the first set, and broke again early in the second set, Kerber seemed out of the match against the dominating Czech.
But Kerber dominated for the next hour, patiently constructing winning rallies and creating two breaks in the second set with another in the third.
Pliskova showed her fighting qualities too, hanging on by narrow margins and saving break points in three different service games. She infuriated Kerber by breaking back with the help of a wildly mis-hit shot which sailed for an unintended lobbed winner.
Kerber held serve to recover from 5-6 down in the decider, and in the tiebreaker took her chance of a mini-break on the ninth point. From 5-4 she served out the next two points without fuss.
“I was happy with the way I played because I did everything I could,” Pliskova said. “It felt as though Angelique was everywhere, and she moves so well.”
Pliskova had more than 50 winners, along with 42 unforced errors. Kerber had 34 winners and only 14 unforced errors.
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