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Pliskova vs Bertens WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Top-four stars, Pliskova and Bertens go head-to-head in blockbuster Eastbourne semi-final

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 27 Jun 2019
  • Karolina Pliskova vs Kiki Bertens is live from Eastbourne on Friday, 28 June from 12:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST
  • Bertens leads 2-1 in tour-level main draw matches
Karolina Pliskova. (PA Sport)

Top-four stars, Karolina Pliskova and Kiki Bertens meet in a blockbuster semi-final at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne on Friday.

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Pliskova and Bertens recorded contrasting quarter final victories on Thursday, with Pliskova blasting past Ekaterina Alexandrova for the loss of just two games, and Bertens needing three sets and over two hours to fend off the hard-hitting Aryna Sabalenka.

Pliskova has now reached the semi-finals in Eastbourne for the third time in her career, and is aiming to win the title for the second time following her initial success in 2017.

The Czech has been almost unplayable this week, opening with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Margarita Gasparyan in the first round before making very light work of a supposedly difficult second round meeting with Elise Mertens, dispatching the Belgian 6-1 6-2. The world No. 3 followed that up with a 6-2 6-0 dismissal of Alexandrova on Friday, needing just 54 minutes to book her place in the semi-finals. Pliskova blasted 22 winners and just three unforced errors in a remarkably clean performance, dropping just seven points on serve and facing no break points throughout the encounter. 

The 27-year-old is looking to reach her fourth final of the season, after claiming titles in Brisbane and Rome, and earning a runner-up finish at the Miami Open. She also made the semi-finals at the Australian Open earlier in the year. 

Pliskova's Rome success raised optimism about her chances at Roland Garros, but she made a tame exit in Paris, losing to Petra Martic in the third round. That was followed by a Round of 16 loss in Birmingham (lost to twin sister, Kristyna) in her first grass-court tournament in 2019. It hasn't taken her too long to regain her form- she has looked in fine fettle in Eastbourne as she rounds up her preparations for Wimbledon.

Pliskova faces a tough one on Friday as she takes on Bertens, who is competing in the Eastbourne semis for the first time in her career.

Gone are the days when Bertens was only good on clay- the Dutchwoman is now a threat on all surfaces, and is closing in on her first grass court title. She should arguably have won that first title in s-Hertogenbosch a couple of weeks ago, but she failed to convert a plethora of match points in a three-set loss to Alison Riske in the title match.

Bertens cruised through her first two matches in Eastbourne, beating Yulia Putintseva and Anna-Lena Friedsam in straight sets, but she was given a sterner challenge by Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter finals on Friday.

The world No. 4 edged a tight opening set via a solitary break in the third game, but Sabalenka responded in kind in the second, scoring the decisive break in a lengthy eighth game before serving out the set to force a third. Both players exchanged breaks during the decider, but Bertens had the final say, breaking again in the tenth game of the set to squeeze out a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory after two hours and six minutes.

Bertens is into the Eastbourne semi-finals for the first time in her career, while this is just her third grass-court semi-final, after s-Hertogenbosch in 2014 and 2019.

The Dutchwoman leads the tour with 34 match wins this year, and is seeking her third title of the season after St. Petersburg and a brilliant run in Madrid, where she claimed her maiden Premier Mandatory title. She was one of the heavy favourites for the French Open, but her tournament ended in heartbreak, as she was forced to retire from her second round meeting with Viktoria Kuzmova due to illness. She has clearly cast away that disappointment, given her solid results on grass, and she will attempt to make a second straight final on the surface when she plays Pliskova on Friday.

Bertens has a 2-1 in main draw matches (all of those main draw matches were in 2018), including a victory over the Czech in their only previous grass-court encounter at Wimbledon last season.

As is often the case between two top players so close on the rankings, it's touch-and-go between these two, and execution, especially on big points, becomes doubly important. Despite her loss at Wimbledon last year, I still think Pliskova carries the bigger threat on this surface, as she's got the bigger and more consistent serve and generally hits flatter. That serve has worked very well this week, and if she fires in that department on Friday, I think she will be in another Eastbourne final. 

Karolina Pliskova vs Kiki Bertens is live from Eastbourne on Friday, 28 June from 12:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST


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Pliskova vs Bertens WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Top-four stars, Pliskova and Bertens go head-to-head in blockbuster Eastbourne semi-final

World No. 3 plays world No. 4 as Karolina Pliskova and Kiki Bertens meet in the Eastbourne semis on Friday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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