Kerber to play Pliskova in Eastbourne final


EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber will face Karolina Pliskova for the Eastbourne title after semifinal opponent Ons Jabeur withdrew with a right ankle injury on Friday.

Jabeur rolled the ankle on Thursday in the quarterfinals and couldn’t recover in time for her second career semifinal.

Chasing her first title since she beat Serena Williams in last year’s Wimbledon final, Kerber will play in the Eastbourne final for the third time after losing in 2012 and 2014.

The second-seeded Pliskova didn’t face a single break point in beating Kiki Bertens 6-1, 6-2. For Pliskova, it was her third consecutive match dropping three games or fewer.

“I’m just pleased that I made it,” Pliskova said. “I didn’t spend too much energy and too much time on court.”

Bertens stumbled and hit her head on the court at 1-0 in the second set and went on to lose the next five games.

Pliskova beat Caroline Wozniacki to win the Eastbourne title in 2017 after losing to Dominika Cibulkova the year before.

Kerber has a 7-4 record against Pliskova and won their only previous meeting on grass in Birmingham in 2015. Pliskova is 2-1 in finals this season and won the Italian Open last month.

Kerber will start her Wimbledon title defense against Tatjana Maria and is in the same quarter of the draw as Williams and French Open champion Ash Barty.

There’s an all-American final in the men’s draw as Taylor Fritz plays Sam Querrey. Both are unseeded. Fritz upset third-seeded Kyle Edmund 7-6 (8), 6-3, while Querrey downed Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3.