Karolina Pliskova and Alison Riske to battle for Aegon Open Nottingham title

Top seed Karolina Pliskova will face America’s Alison Riske in Sunday’s Aegon Open Nottingham final after both blasted through two rounds of action on Saturday.

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

Czech star Pliskova, 24, runner-up at last year’s Aegon Classic Birmingham, breezed through to another decider on grass after an impressive 6-2 6-2 victory over fourth seed Monica Puig. That victory came after she got past Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the quarters earlier in the day.

All semi-finalists were required to double up after rain restricted play on Friday to just 43 minutes.

Riske resumed her match against Anett Kontaveit at 5-3 in the first set of her quarter-final and wrapped it up 6-3 6-3. The winner of last week’s Aegon Trophy Eastbourne title then triumphed 6-1 7-5 over Zheng Saisai, who dispatched of three Brits – 18-year-old Freya Christie, World No. 18 Johanna Konta and Tara Moore in Saturday’s quarter-final – to book her meeting with Pliskova.

Despite the heavy work load, Pliskova came out looking fresh against Puig, breaking the Puerto Rican twice en route to taking the opener in just 27 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with the World No. 17 again breaking Puig twice, before serving out with minimal fuss to seal victory in just 54 minutes.

Pliskova was delighted with her improved performance against Puig, after struggling to get past qualifier Ashleigh Barty earlier in the day.

“That was probably my best match of the tournament,” said Pliskova.

“I’m really happy with my performance because I think Monica is a dangerous player and she can play really good matches.

“I think the match against Ashleigh today was the worst one here. I just didn’t feel very well this morning on the court.”

She will face Riske in Sunday’s final at 2pm, after the American beat Zheng Saisai in straight sets. The decider at the Nottingham Tennis Centre will be their first meeting for three years.

“‘We’re both different players from that time “said Riske, who fell at the semi-final stage of the Aegon Open last year.

“She’s obviously at the top of her game and I’m going to look to play my game and put as much pressure on her as I can. We’ll see what comes of it.”

The doubles final, which will follow the singles decider, sees the fourth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Yang Zhaoxuan take on Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai.

Dabrowski and Yang beat Britain’s Naomi Broady and her partner Anastasija Sevastova in the semi-finals, while Hlavackova and Peng got a walkover after twin sisters Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova withdrew from the event. While it was Karolina who reported a hip injury, she insisted it would not affect her singles hopes.

Sunday’s Centre Court order of play begins with a mixed doubles exhibition match at 12pm featuring former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, former British No. 1 Anne Keothavong, Nottingham’s Jocelyn Rae and two-time Grand Slam winning mixed doubles player Jeremy Bates.

Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, will team up with Keothavong, who retired from the tour three years ago. They will take on Bates, the Head Coach of Women’s Tennis for the LTA, and Aegon Team GB Fed Cup doubles player Rae, who was a finalist with Anna Smith at the Aegon Open last year.

You can follow all the action from the Aegon Open Nottingham, including post-match reaction by following the live tournament blog here. or search ‘Aegon Open Nottingham’.

AEGON OPEN NOTTINGHAM – NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND, $250,000
6-12 JUNE, 2016
RESULTS – JUNE 11, 2016
Women’s Singles – Semi-finals
[1] [WC] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) d [4] M. Puig (PUR) 62 62
A. Riske (USA) d S. Zheng (CHN) 61 75
Quarter-finals
[1] [WC] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) d [Q] A. Barty (AUS) 76(2) 76(7)
[4] M. Puig (PUR) d [LL] T. Paszek (AUT) 64 63
A. Riske (USA) d A. Kontaveit (EST) 63 63
S. Zheng (CHN) d [Q] T. Moore (GBR) 62 64
Women’s
Doubles – Semi-finals
[4] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Z. Yang (CHN) d N. Broady (GBR) / A. Sevastova (LAT) 64 62
A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN) d Ka. Pliskova (CZE) / Kr. Pliskova (CZE) walkover

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2016
CENTRE COURT start 12:00 pm
MIXED DOUBLES EXHIBITION – J. Bates (GBR) / J. Rae (GBR) vs P. Cash (AUS) / A. Keothavong (GBR)

2:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – [1] [WC] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Riske (USA)
DOUBLES FINAL – A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Peng (CHN) vs [4] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Z. Yang (CHN)

Tickets are still available. Please check the LTA website for more information.

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