Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova will face-off on the grass at Birmingham and could repeat the feat at Eastbourne’s Aegon International as they are pitched on opposite sides of the draw.
Kerber, a finalist at Devonshire Park in 2012 and 2014, knows the ropes and seems ready to be crowned champion at the south coast tournament.
Pliskova is edging ever closer to cracking the world’s top 10 and appeared destined to be a future Grand Slam champion.
Kerber is seeded #6 at Eastbourne and due to face either Sweden’s Johanna Larsson or, more likely, American Coco Vandeweghe. A 3rd Round beckons against German #10 seed Andrea Petkovic, if she overturns France’s Caroline Vinci or Italian Roberta Vinci.
Kerber should breeze past Petkovic, who is returning from a layoff, and should come face-to-face with great Dane Caroline at the quarter-final stage although a Qualifier could merge instead.
The most dangerous players in the other quarter of Kerber’s draw is defending champion Madison Keys, the American is coached by the legendary Lindsay Davenport and gaining momentum on the circuit, and former Eastbourne winner Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Pliskova has to play the winner of Australian Casey Dellaqua and Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, which should be a formality for the 23-year-old.
But the unknown quantity and quality of a Qualifier or ex-Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the next match could prove a step too far if Pliskova is exhausted from her exploits at Birmingham.
Compatriot Lucie Safarova, the #3 seed, seems like the most likely quarter-final opponent and a very tricky tie. The winner of these talented Czechs has a semi-final showdown with potentially a compatriot, with top seed and defending Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova the top seed.
Kvitova has a tough opening match as she faces either a Qualifier or Italian Camila Giorgi, who won the grass court 2015 Topshelf Open in the Netherlands for her maiden WTA Tour title.
Focus on Angelique Kerber
The German has experienced an erratic year and slip out of the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2012 that then saw an upturn in fortune with a set of solid results. The former top five ace fended off rising star Madison Keys to capture the 2015 Family Circle Cup for her first crown in almost two years.
The left-hander followed this up by shocking defending champion Maria Sharapova on her way to claiming the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title to propel herself back into the world’s top 10.
Grass has been mastered, as displayed by finishing runner-up twice over the past three visits at Eastbourne and storming to the 2012 Wimbledon semi-finals.
Focus on Karolina Pliskova
Pliskova is riding the crest of Czech tennis and is a real threat to emulating compatriot Petra Kvitova by becoming a Wimbledon winner.
She is on the brink of climbing into the world’s top 10 thanks to her strong serve and solid groundstrokes, the perfect ingredients to succeed on grass as displayed by finishing runner up at the 2013 Nottingham Open and racing into the 2015 Aegon Classic final.
This season she has reached four WTA Tour finals and cracked the world’s top 20, but she seems ready to produce the wow factor at Wimbledon having only reached the 2nd Round at SW19 in her past two visits.