Joy for Djokovic and Pliskova in Eastbourne
Originally published on 01/07/17 00:00
It was the Serbian’s first tournament victory since January and he appears to be back in form in time for Wimbledon. The former world No.1 did not drop a set en route to the title and he has extended his winning run over Monfils to 14 matches.
Djokovic made a bright start and secured an immediate break of serve. Monfils was an injury doubt prior to the final and although he thrilled the crowd with his athleticism and flair, he dropped the first set and a comeback appeared unlikely.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion was less assured in the second set and he had to be alert to fend off three break-points. A tiebreak looked likely however the Frenchman faltered when serving to stay in the match and the contest was soon over.
“It has been a great week,” remarked the world No.4 after winning a 68th career title. “It’s always special to win a tournament on grass. This used to be the most common surface we had in the sport and three out of the four Grand Slams were played on grass. We now only have three or four weeks in the entire season on grass so this is the best possible preparation for what is coming up next week.”
Monfils said: “It was a great week for me coming down here and playing on a court that is not my favourite surface. It was a great final against Novak and I’m very happy. I have some confidence and next week will be a new week for me.”
In the women’s event in Eastbourne, Karolina Pliskova defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-4.
The 25-year-old Czech, who was defeated in last year’s final by Dominika Cibulkova, deservedly won a ninth career title and she is rightly amongst the favourites to contend for the Wimbledon title.
Pliskova fired down 10 aces and was rarely troubled on serve. It was a dominant display from the world No.3 as she overpowered her opponent with her crunching groundstrokes.
“I was just hoping that this year I could get the trophy,” said Pliskova after her victory. “I feel quite okay on grass but I’m still waiting for some results at Wimbledon. I think my serve is definitely my biggest weapon and I’m winning a lot of points behind it. If it’s working [my serve], then it’s a lot of trouble for my opponent.
“I know it’s going to be very tough to do well at Wimbledon. This week was quite tough with a lot of matches but I will take it step by step and hopefully go far.”
It was a fourth final defeat for Wozniacki this year, but she was pleased with her work in the seaside town. "I thought I played really well,” admitted the former world No.1. “I did what I could today but Karolina played better than me. I had trouble getting returns back in play but I thought we both played some great tennis.”