WTA Eastbourne final preview: Karolina Pliskova vs Dominika Cibulkova

The 10th seed Karolina Pliskova will play the 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova in the final of the Premier-level Aegon International, held on grass courts in Eastbourne, UK.

Background

Pliskova has found her feet on the grass this summer, reaching her second final two weeks after securing her fifth career title in Nottingham. Like her upcoming opponent, the Czech has improved on a third round defeat here last year and has lost only one set all week. This occurred in the semifinals where the 10th seed was forced to recover against the home player Johanna Konta to win 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 and maintain her unbeaten record against the Brit.

Serving more aces than anyone else on tour, Pliskova relies on her serve and flat groundstrokes to dictate the play.  The 24-year-old is deceptively low ranked at number 17 when last summer she peaked at a career high of number seven. However, Pliskova has struggled in finals with eight defeats and is yet to win a Premier-level title, losing all four finals she’s contested, including on the grass at Birmingham in 2014.

At only five feet three inches tall, Cibulkova throws everything into her tennis. Source: Getty Images/Tom Dulat

Cibulkova has played consistently well this season, winning her fifth career title in Katowice as well as losing finals in Acapulco and Madrid. In only her second appearance at the event, the Slovak will contest her first grass court final after recovering from a set and a break deficit to upset the world number three Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the quarterfinals. The 12th seed then proceeded to trounce the qualifier Monica Puig 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals.

A dogmatic competitor, Cibulkova is pugnaciously aggressive on court and will certainly look to boss the rallies on her terms. Though ranked down at 21 in the world, the 27-year-old was ranked at number 10 shortly after reaching the Australian Open final in 2014. A winner of three Premier-level titles, Cibulkova has the greater big-match experience though she also has lost more finals than she’s won with nine defeats.

Head-to-Head

Cibulkova won her only previous meeting against Pliskova 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of Kuala Lumpur 2014, back when the Slovak was a top 10 player.

In their first meeting on grass, Pliskova will have the advantage as she is almost a foot taller than her opponent at six feet one inch tall and can utilise her height effectively on serve. Though Cibulkova will give her all as always, she may struggle on the return having not yet faced such a confident server this week.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova in straight sets

VAVEL Logo