EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - Karolina Pliskova served notice for next week's Wimbledon Championships by claiming the title at the last grass court warmup event in Eastbourne.
The No.2 seed soared to her second title in Eastbourne, joining the first trophy she won in 2017, without the loss of a set across five matches, and capped it off with a dominant 6-1, 6-4 win over No.4 seed Angelique Kerber in Saturday's final.
The Czech dropped serve just once in the championship match, accounting for the only game she lost in the first set, and proved dominant on her delivery by the time the 71-minute final concluded.
"Especially on the grass, this serve is working. My game I think from the baseline...normally you're never gonna ace 20 times with Angie, but you need to just step after the serve and just to be aggressive," Pliskova said.
"I lost my serve in the first set, but I felt, you know, I could still make this game because I was up in the game. But I think I was serving well, just clever using the slice wide which was working on her. That's what I did. That's why I think I was holding my serve quite easily.
"I felt like I was having a lot of chances in the second set, but, you know, it's always with her you can have some chances but she can fight back because she's trying to do everything possible.
"On the grass, her shots sometimes just stay too low, so maybe I miss a little bit more during the second set, but I think I didn't do much wrong today."
The #NatureValleyInternational 🏆 belongs to @KaPliskova!
Defeats Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4! pic.twitter.com/y1u06e7ZGU
— WTA (@WTA) June 29, 2019
Pliskova lost just seven points on serve overall in the second set, where she served five of her seven aces for the match, never faced break point, and landed 81 percent of her first serves.
The World No.3 also claimed her tour-leading third title of 2019, tying World No.1 Ashleigh Barty for the most amongst singles players, and enters Wimbledon in form after losing just 19 games in five matches en route to the title.
"Of course, it's going to be new start, new beginning. Nobody's gonna really think about this [at Wimbledon]. Maybe me," Pliskova said with a laugh.
"I just want to totally forget about what was here. Just take maybe only the positives but not to be thinking that everything is going to go that easy as this week, because I never had a week like this, that I didn't lose that many games. I felt like everything went quite smooth.
"Maybe the second set today was the toughest, but I felt everything just went the way it should, which for sure is not going to be like this in Wimbledon."
Overall, Pliskova totaled 33 winners to just 16 unforced errors for the match, which including a 20-9 margin in the second Kerber.
To her credit, Kerber posted 22 winners to 19 unforced, but ultimately, proved unable to make inroads on the Czech's serve to get back into the match.
"I think I had some breakpoints which I didn't make, so it was, like, I could go maybe 4-1 or 5-2 in the second set, and after I think it start to be a little bit tighter. She start to play a little bit better," said Pliskova.
"Of course, still the match is going and you want to finish and finish. So it was, like, I need to hold my serve at least. It's not easy actually to hold serve when you break the first game till the end. I was always up but always the pressure that I need to hold.
"I think I did good. I was serving quite well, a lot of first serves. Especially in the second set, the percentage was high."
Another wonderful @KaPliskova point!#NatureValleyInternational pic.twitter.com/oeeSZm8tU9
— WTA (@WTA) June 29, 2019
For the defending Wimbledon champion, it is now a hatrick of defeats in Eastbourne finals, as Kerber took home her third runner-up trophy at the event.
The German nonetheless reached the semifinals or better at both grass-court tune-up events for her title defense at the All-England Club, where she will face compatriot Tatjana Maria to begin her fortnight on Tuesday.
"I think she played a perfect match. She really played the whole week very well. For me, I was trying to finding actually my game, but it just start in the second set because she really played well. She served good. She didn't give me the chance to find my rhythm," Kerber said.
"At the end I was still trying, especially at the end of the match, to break her back and stay in the match. But, she played well. The chance that I had, I couldn't take it.
"I will try to take the positive things from the whole week, from the last two weeks before going to Wimbledon now. I take the positive, how many good matches I had here. Of course today it was not the result that I wished, but I played against a good opponent.
"Right now, of course I will try to think about this match a little bit what could I do better next time. But starting from tomorrow when I arrive in London, I will think about Wimbledon and not anymore about Eastbourne then. So it's just another tournament next week."