June 29, 2018 / 4:18 PM / 22 days ago

Tennis-Wozniacki battles past Kerber into Eastbourne final against Sabalenka

June 29 (Reuters) - World number two Caroline Wozniacki saved a match point in the second set before recovering to earn a 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4 victory over German Angelique Kerber in a thrilling semi-final encounter at the pre-Wimbledon Eastbourne championships on Friday.

The Danish top seed will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final 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-final.

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

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

In the earlier match, Sabalenka, who stunned Pliskova in the quarter-finals, took control of her match from the opening set with her aggressive style of play, which saw the Belarusian rack up 25 winners.

Radwanska won six games in a row in the second set as she mounted a comeback and Sabalenka’s powerful but risky game plan backfired with her making 17 unforced errors.

Sabalenka trailed 3-2 in the decider but worked her way back into the contest, 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 about the final. (Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru Editing by Alison Williams)

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