Pliskova, Djokovic win in Eastbourne
Karolina Pliskova defeated Caroline Wozniacki, 6/4; 6/4 to win the Ladies tournament in Eastbourne, while Novak Djokovic followed on the same court and defeated Gael Monfils 6/3; 6/4 to lift the Men’s trophy.
The third seeded Pliskova broke Wozniacki’s serve to take the fifth game and held hers to extend the lead 4-2. The Danish lady reduced the tally but the flow ended routinely with the first set going to her opponent 6-3. She evinced greater determination in the second set and held her serve to take the first game and saved two break points to hold in the third. With her powerful serve flowing down from her tall frame, Pliskova took her service games quickly.
However, in the sixth game, she was stretched to deuce and saved three break points while needing an equal number before holding. Pliskova broke her opponent’s serve in the ninth game and proceeded to win her own for the set and the championship. In all, she hammered ten aces.
The men’s title match was determined by the serve. The Frenchman won the toss and opted to serve first. That decision is contrary to conventional wisdom of allowing your opponent to serve first. He paid for the wrong choice right away, as he failed to make a single first serve and lost the game to concede an early break. The physically relaxed Djokovic registered his first serve in the second game.
Although he lost that point, he took the next three to extend the lead 2-0. Monfils delivered two aces and clinched the third game but Djokovic won his serve to extend the tally 3-1. Monfils was pushed to deuce but held serve to win the fifth game. Djokovic held easily to lead 4-2, but Monfils had to come back from three break points to deuce with his fourth ace. He saved another break point before holding serve. Djokovic served routinely and won the eighth game. Serving to save the set, Monfils took the first point but dropped the next three to lose game and first set 6-3.
There was a glimmer of resurgence in the first game of the second set. Djokovic faced break point at 30-40. His next first serve was a “let it be played again”. The waiting period before delivery resulted in a service return error and deuce. Monfils had the first advantage but a Djokovic first serve cancelled it and held the game on his first opportunity.
The games proceeded with the serve. Djokovic faced a break point in the fifth game but survived to hold. With his rhythm established, Monfils held to level three games apiece. Down 4-5, Monfils needed to hold his serve. A hard service return by Djokovic placed him ahead 15-30. Although Monfils leveled 30-all, Djokovic took the next two points and won the set and match. He extended his one-sided head-to-head career record to 14 victories over Monfils.
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