Fourth seed Angelique Kerber and second seed Karolina Pliskova will face off for the Eastbourne International title on Saturday, with the German progressing via walkover to the final, whilst Pliskova dismissed third seed Kiki Bertens with ease in their semifinal.
Kerber, who had impressed in a quarterfinal win over Simona Halep on Thursday, was due to face Ons Jabeur in the first semifinal of the day, though the Tunisian fell late on in her quarterfinal against Alize Cornet, and though she was able to recover to win there, her ankle did not recover in time. Her withdrawal means that Kerber, the reigning Wimbledon champion, will be in her third final at Devonshire Park, having been the runner-up at the tournament in 2015. That match was replaced on Centre Court by a doubles match, with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kirsten Flipkens beating Halep and Raluca Olaru 6(4)-7, 6-2 (10-8) to reach the final.
Meanwhile Pliksova was in complete control in the other semifinal against Bertens. The Czech, ranked just one spot above Bertens in the world rankings, has cruised through the draw so far, though was expected to face a tougher test in this match. Bertens has improved on grass massively in the past few years, beating Pliskova at Wimbledon last year, whilst the Dutchwoman beat last year’s runner-up Aryna Sabalenka to set up this last four encounter.
Pliskova, however, was in complete control throughout. The Czech broke early on for a 3-0 lead, and broke again for 5-1 before serving out the opening set. Bertens recovered from an early fall in the second, but could do nothing to match the world number three today, who again broke twice in the second set to, much like Kerber, reach her third final here after dropping just three games in 57 minutes.
This will be the 12th meeting between the two, and the fifth final the two have faced off in. Kerber leads the head to head 7-4, and has won three of the four finals they have faced off in, including the final in Birmingham on grass in 2015. However that match, as well as their 2016 US Open final clash and several other meetings, have been very tight, suggesting we could get another close encounter here.