Angelique Kerber beat sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the final of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham to clinch her first grass-court title yesterday.
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 sneaking 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.
Meanwhile, Laura Robson has received a single’s wildcard for Wimbledon, tournament organisers have announced.
The 21 year old played in her first match in 17 months on Saturday, following a wrist injury in Eastbourne in 2014, losing 6-0, 6-1 to Daria Gavrilova.
Robson reached the fourth round on her last appearance at the All England Club in 2013.
Her last Grand Slam appearance came at the Australian Open last year.
Robson has dropped out of the top 1000 in the world in singles following a prolonged absence from the WTA tour.
She reached a career-high singles ranking of world number 27 on 8 July 2013.