BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reached her first grass-court final when she beat Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 7-6 (6) in the Aegon Classic on Saturday.
Pliskova’s final hurdle will be Angelique Kerber, who won the other semifinal against German compatriot Sabine Lisicki, the former Wimbledon finalist, 6-3, 6-3.
The sixth-seeded Pliskova and unseeded Mladenovic were interrupted three times by downpours, and after two of them Pliskova immediately broke serve.
Mladenovic, who knocked out three seeds, missed three set points in the tiebreaker and lost her chance to extend the match.
“I knew the end of that match was key,” Pliskova said. “I knew I had to stay calm and focus on each point at a time. And I got a little bit lucky.”
She will play her fourth final this year, and for her second title of the season against Kerber. They are 2-2 on head-to-heads.
The fourth-seeded Kerber produced a consistent, containing, and counterattacking game against eighth-seeded Lisicki.
Lisicki, who delivered a record with 27 aces in her opening match, and who totaled 45 in three matches, was allowed only three this time, and was harassed into too many errors to have much chance of success.
“It’s always difficult to play another German,” said Kerber, who does not seem to have so much difficulty with Lisicki, whom she has beaten on all five occasions they have met. “It was even more difficult with the rainy weather.” Their match was delayed by an hour.
Having reached a semifinal at Wimbledon and a final at Eastbourne, Kerber agreed that her first grass-court title would be timely and nice.
But she dwelt on that possibility only briefly, preferring to point out that last time they played, she lost to Pliskova, albeit on clay. Another defeat would see her lose her No. 10 ranking to Pliskova.
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