June 29, 2018 / 4:21 PM / 5 months ago

Wozniacki battles past Kerber into Eastbourne final

(Reuters) - World number two Caroline Wozniacki saved a match point before recovering to earn a 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4 victory over German Angelique Kerber in a thrilling semi-final at the pre-Wimbledon Eastbourne championships on Friday.

Tennis - WTA Premier & ATP 250 - Nature Valley International - Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, Britain - June 29, 2018 Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki in action during her semi final match against Germany's Angelique Kerber Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The Danish top seed will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final on Saturday after the 20-year-old from Belarus continued her giant-slaying spree to beat former champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 1-6 6-3 in the other semi.

Australian Open winner Wozniacki was pushed to her limits by twice grand slam champion Kerber, conceding the first set with little resistance.

Kerber continued her dominance in the second and almost sealed victory before Wozniacki regained her composure to force a tie break and clinch the set.

Wozniacki held her nerve in the third set and despite hitting 34 winners to Kerber’s 42 in the match, the Dane came out on top to reach her second consecutive Eastbourne final. She lost to Karolina Pliskova last year.

“That was very tough,” Wozniacki said. “I always have tough matches against Angie, and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one today.”

Sabalenka, who stunned Pliskova in the quarter-finals, took control of her match from the opening set with her aggressive play and the Belarusian racked up 25 winners.

Radwanska won six games in a row in the second set as she mounted a comeback and Sabalenka made 17 unforced errors.

Sabalenka trailed 3-2 in the decider but worked her way back into the match, breaking Radwanska’s serve twice to set up match point and finishing her opponent off with a forehand winner.

“I remember one situation with Wozniacki, she was running and put all the balls in, it was the longest point I’ve ever seen. It will be interesting,” Sabalenka said.

In the men’s draw, Mischa Zverev ended Mikhail Kukushkin’s dream run, in which the Kazakhstani beat Kyle Edmund and David Ferrer, as the German sealed a 7-6(9) 6-4 win over the 30-year-old.

Zverev will face Lukas Lacko in the final after the Slovakian recorded a 6-3 6-4 win over Marco Cecchinato, of Italy, in the other semi-final.

Both Lacko, who last reached an ATP Tour level final in 2012, and Zverev, a runner-up in Geneva last year, will be competing for their first tour-level title on Saturday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond

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