2016 Aegon Open

Pliskova scoops maiden crown this term

Czech ace battles past Riske

Riske (left) with 2016 Aegon Open champion Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova dug deep to dismantle unseeded American Alison Riske 7-6(8) 7-5 to clinch the Aegon Open at Beeston in Nottingham.

But typical British summer weather initially dampened the ambience, with play delayed by rain until 4pm, before the players produced fireworks with a top-quality shoot-out.

The top seed appeared on Centre Court with her left thigh heavily strapped, yet she was unaffected by this injury and soared into a 3-1 lead.

Riske, the world #89, who won a lower tier tournament at Eastbourne last week, quickly broke back to level matters at 3-3 and piled on the pressure.

But Devonshire Park-bound Pliskova had to pull out all the stops to save six set points and force what transpired to be an enthralling tiebreak, the Czech snatching it 10-8 for a narrow lead.

Riske, who was on a nine-match winning streak on grass, turned the screw on Pliskova to break serve and surge into a 3-2 lead.

Only for Pliskova to hold her nerve and level at 4-4 by winning Riske’s service game.

With the match winner on a knife-edge and high quality rallies, Riske stepped up a gear to edge ahead 5-4 and was serving for the second set.

But the world #18 staved off the danger and went into a 6-5 lead and leave Riske serving to stay in the contest.

Pliskova piled forward to unnerve her opponent and wrapped up the game to bag her fifth career title but her first WTA Tour crown this season.

She moves down the road to Birmingham for next week’s Aegon Classic tournament held at Edgbaston’s Priory Club, where she finished runner-up last year, then is set to compete her warm-up for Wimbledon at Eastbourne’s Aegon International.

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