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Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova returns the ball to Kiki Bertens, of the Netherlands, on day six of the Nature Valley International tennis tournament at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, England, Friday June 28, 2019. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova returns the ball to Kiki Bertens, of the Netherlands, on day six of the Nature Valley International tennis tournament at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, England, Friday June 28, 2019. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis Saturday: Abrams picks the Nature Valley WTA Eastbourne final, Kerber vs. Pliskova

The match starts at 7:30 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Nature Valley International
Eastbourne, Great Britain
Women’s Singles Final

Angie Kerber over Karolina Pliskova
I kinda knew that Ons Jabeur wouldn’t be able to lace them up to play Kerber in the semis, after she turned her ankle against Alize Cornet. In fact, I mentioned it yesterday when making the semifinal pick. It’s just a shame that Jabeur didn’t retire when she held match point over Cornet. Had she done that, she wouldn’t have deprived the fans of another great match to watch (Kerber versus Cornet), and would have rewarded them with a contest after they paid good money (even Euros are good money) for tickets. But she simply withdrew and Kerber received a walkover. This is very good news for the German, because we all know that the real reason players are in Britain is to play at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, and this tournament is just a warm-up to that one. This walkover allows Kerber to play for a title and the confidence that goes with it, without experiencing any activity in the semis. She couldn’t have planned this any better had she been able to play God and fix the draw herself. But she’ll have her hands full in the finals with Karolina Pliskova, a convincing semi-finals winner over the tough Kiki Bertens. Pliskova hits hard and deep. Where I have trouble backing her in big matches against elite players starts with her inability to run particularly fast, and ends with her unwillingness to follow her incredibly effective hard, deep forehands into net, which would win easy points for her. With this said, I like Kerber over Pliskova, but my guess is that it will go the distance.

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