Aegon International Final Preview: Caroline Wozniacki vs Karolina Pliskova

The showpiece final on Saturday at the Aegon International sees the 2009 champion Caroline Wozniacki play the finalist from last year, Karolina Pliskova.

Both players started their grass court season late. Pliskova pulled out of the Aegon Classic last week citing an elbow injury thus extending her resting period after Roland Garros, where she made the semi-finals. Wozniacki also went deep at that tournament, but crashed out to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-final.

So what is the key to victory for both players tomorrow? The game plan for Wozniacki is to make the match as physical as possible and to demonstrate her battling, committed tennis from the back of the court. It’s the sort of game style that got her to World No.1, it is the exact style that took her to two Grand Slam finals and she will try to work with what she has got to get the win on Saturday. The Dane played an extra match yesterday, while Pliskova had the day off as Johanna Konta withdrew due to injury, so in that aspect, Pliskova holds the advantage, but Wozniacki operates like a machine during the majority of her matches and physically should still be ready for this encounter.

Another reason why Wozniacki should show off her style of game is because Pliskova is not the greatest of movers. When any player approaches a match against Pliskova they try to push Pliskova around the court in awkward positions. Pliskova is a fabulous net player, but if you bring her forward, on your terms, then she struggles immensely. She likes coming forward when she’s in control.

Wozniacki has to prevent hitting the ball into the hitting zone of Pliskova. If the Czech grabs hold of a ball with venom and unrivalled power, then the point is in her hands and on her racquet for the entirety of the match. If Wozniacki hits a similar, short ball then Pliskova’s footwork will not be compromised and it makes the final that much easier for the Czech.

What can Pliskova do to win her first Eastbourne title? Well, Wozniacki doesn’t have the same power, precision and penetration on her serve. She also is ailing from an abdominal injury, so the key for Pliskova is to continue to get cheap points and freebies on her own serve, like she usually does. And another key is for Pliskova to expect the extra ball when going into a match with Wozniacki. If Pliskova puts together a confident, complete performance then the match is hers to lose and I expect Pliskova to give Wozniacki her fourth loss in a WTA final this season.

Prediction: Pliskova in three sets