Belinda Bencic will play Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Adelaide International 2, though neither of them had to play a semi-final.

Bencic was due to go up against Veronika Kudermetova in the second scheduled semi-final on Friday, only for the Russian to withdraw due to a hip injury.

It was a similar story for Kasatkina, who received a walkover after Paula Badosa pulled out of their match, citing a thigh problem.

While Bencic and Kasatkina will now get the chance to claim a trophy early in the season, the focus for Badosa and Kudermetova will be on regaining fitness in time for the Australian Open, which starts next week.

Badosa was confident she can recover for the upcoming major, where she has been drawn against American Caty McNally in the first round.

"I'm really disappointed that I had to withdraw because I was really looking forward to the match," Badosa told reporters.

"When I was playing [against Beatriz Haddad Maia], it was a very tough match, especially physical, so I felt a little bit in my abductor. I felt like I pulled it a little bit.

"I feel a little bit worse, so I have the Australian Open ahead, and I hope I can recover for that."

Badosa needed two hours and 35 minutes to get past the Brazilian on Thursday, having knocked off Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi in the earlier rounds.

"I played three really good matches," the Spaniard said. "I think that helps me, as well, on my confidence for the tournaments ahead. Now it's something that I cannot control, so it is what it is."

At the Hobart International, Elisabetta Cocciaretto set up a showdown with Lauren Davis.

Sofia Kenin, the 2019 champion, fell 7-5 4-6 6-1 to world number 67 Cocciaretto, who has reached her first Tour-level singles final.

"It’s unbelievable for me to be here in the final of such a great tournament, and I’m really happy about my performance," Cocciaretto said.

"[Kenin is] a very good player, I was a junior when she won the grand slam [2020 Australian Open], so for me it's an honour to play against her."

Davis, meanwhile, saw off Anna Blinkova in straight sets. She has not featured in a Tour-level final since clinching the trophy in Auckland in 2016.

Veronika Kudermetova saved five match points as she beat Danielle Collins to reach the Adelaide International 2 semi-finals before Belinda Bencic knocked Caroline Garcia out.

Sixth seed Kudermetova showed great defiance to defeat American Collins 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 on Thursday.

Kudermetova fended off five match points when serving to stay in the tournament at 6-5 down in the second set and duly forced a tie-break.

Collins, runner-up to Ash Barty in the Australian Open final last year, took a 3-0 lead in the breaker, but back came her Russian opponent to level the match.

The world number nine dominated the deciding set to seal a meeting with Bencic in the last four.

Eighth seed Bencic got the better of WTA Finals champion Garcia 6-2 3-6 6-4.

Garcia broke straight back after going 3-1 down in the final set, but Bencic broke for the fourth time in the match to go through.

Paula Badosa and Daria Kasatkina will contest the other semi-final after beating Beatriz Haddad Maia and Petra Kvitova respectively. 

Elisabetta Cocciaretto saved two match points as she came from a set down to beat Bernarda Pera 5-7 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Hobart International. 

The 21-year-old Italian will now face 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who also stormed back to defeat Anhelina Kalinina 4-6 6-3 6-1.

Lauren Davis and Anna Blinkova will do battle in the other semi-final following wins over Wang Xinyu and Yulia Putintseva respectively. 

Paula Badosa savoured a strong serving day as she overcame Anett Kontaveit in a tricky Adelaide International 2 opener ahead of the Australian Open.

Badosa and Kontaveit both got as high as number two in the world rankings last year, but neither currently sits in the top 10, with Badosa down at number 11 and Kontaveit 17th.

Tuesday's tussle in South Australia went the way of the Spaniard, with Badosa scoring a 6-4 6-3 win against her Estonian opponent.

She had five aces and only one double fault, winning 77 per cent of points when landing a first serve in.

Another Estonian awaits her at the last-16 stage in veteran campaigner Kaia Kanepi and Badosa is happy with how she had begun the tournament.

"I think I started really good," Badosa said in an on-court interview. "I was serving very well. I was going for the first shots."

Asked about signs of improvement with her serve, Badosa said: "It depends on the day, to be honest. I worked a lot this past 10 days and was really focused on that, so I'm happy about that."

Czech Barbora Krejcikova, another player with a career-high ranking of number two, earned a second-round shot at Russian Daria Kasatkina after winning 6-2 7-6 (7-3) against last year's runner-up Alison Riske-Amritraj.

Other winners in Adelaide on Tuesday were Amanda Anisimova, Zheng Qinwen, Veronika Kudermetova, Anna Kalinskaya and Katerina Siniakova.

At the Hobart International, second seed Elise Mertens fell 6-4 6-4 to fellow Belgian Maryna Zanevska, while French third seed Alize Cornet was also knocked out, losing 6-4 6-2 to Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin had no such trouble, seeing off China's Zhu Lin 6-2 6-2

Dan Evans helped Great Britain reach the last eight of the inaugural United Cup as his 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas decided the team's Group D tie against Spain.

Rafael Nadal's shock defeat to Cameron Norrie – coupled with Katie Swan's win against Nuria Parrizas-Diaz – put Spain 2-0 down in the best-of-five tie ahead of Sunday's action.

World number 13 Paula Badosa put them back into contention with a hard-fought 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win against Harriet Dart, but Evans gave Britain an unassailable lead by battling past Ramos-Vinolas, recovering from a dismal second set.

Having topped Group D, Britain will face the Croup C winners – the United States, Germany or the Czech Republic – for a semi-final place on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hubert Hurkacz doubled up to help Poland past Kazakhstan, teaming up with Iga Swiatek in the mixed doubles after beating Alexander Bublik.

Hurkacz beat Bublik 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-3 in just over two hours before Magda Linette overcame Zhibek Kulambayeva 6-2 6-1.

With Poland's first win in the competition secure, world number one Swiatek helped Hurkacz put the icing on the cake with a 6-3 6-4 victory against Kulambayeva and Grigoriy Lomakin.

The Czech Republic also enjoyed a fruitful day as two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova downed Laura Siegemund in straight sets to seal the team's win against Germany, but Casper Ruud was less fortunate, with Norway losing their tie against Brazil despite his success against Thiago Monteiro.

It was a great day for the highly ranked Americans at the Guadalajara Open on Wednesday, headlined by world number five Jessica Pegula and her 2-6 6-3 7-6 (10-8) comeback win over Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Pegula, who is now locked into the top-eight and therefore will qualify for the WTA Finals, struggled to win points on her serve in the opening set, but raised her 57 per cent success rate up to 69 per cent in the second set, and 66 per cent in the decider.

The American had to come from a break down in the second set to keep her tournament alive, and she will now face Canada's Bianca Andreescu in the third round.

Meanwhile, fellow United States star Coco Gauff was too good for Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto, winning 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 to book a third-round clash with another Italian, Martina Trevisan, who earned her way there with a 6-0 4-6 6-3 win over Katerina Siniakova.

The other two seeded Americans were also successful, with 13th seed Madison Keys coming from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6 6-4 6-3, and 14th seed Danielle Collins repelled the challenge of Magdalena Frech 6-3 6-4.

There were positive signs for former world number five Eugenie Bouchard, who ended up losing, but showed she still has her talent by taking a set off world number 23 Jelena Ostapenko in a 7-5 2-6 6-1 result.

Russian pair Anna Kalinskaya and Liudmila Samsonova both emerged in three-set outings, with Kalinskaya outlasting Elise Mertens 6-4 0-6 7-5, while Samsonova upset world number four Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 2-6 6-2.

World number 12 Veronika Kudermetova kept her WTA Finals hopes alive with a 6-4 7-5 win over Donna Vekic, and the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova ousted Colombia's Camila Osorio 6-3 6-1.

In the late window, Sloane Stephens eliminated Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-4 6-4, and top overall seed Paula Badosa retired due to injury after losing the first set 6-2 against Victoria Azarenka.

World number one Iga Swiatek thrashed Coco Gauff to clinch a third straight WTA Tour semi-finals berth after moving into the San Diego Open final four on Friday.

Swiatek was irrepressible against the 18-year-old American, extending her head-to-head dominance to 4-0 with a 6-0 6-3 victory in 66 minutes.

The Pole won the first eight games of the match and always appeared in control with her reliable forehand a key feature.

Swiatek laced 13 winners with only nine unforced errors, breaking Gauff five times. The American committed 26 unforced errors for the match.

The victory is Swiatek's 62nd of the season, moving her closer to Angelique Kerber's 2016 mark of 63.

Swiatek will face fourth seed Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals as the Pole aims for her eighth WTA title of the season.

Pegula secured her berth in the final four with a 6-4 7-5 victory over compatriot Madison Keys in their first-ever meeting in one hour and 34 minutes.

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka was a surprise casualty as Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic continued her excellent week with a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 in two hours and 37 minutes.

World number 77 Vekic has beaten former world number three Maria Sakkari and two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova this week.

Second seed Paula Badosa was also bundled out by American Danielle Collins 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Collins will meet Vekic in the last four.

World number one Iga Swiatek commenced her San Diego Open campaign with a hard-fought three-set victory over Chinese lucky loser Zheng Qinwen in rainy conditions on Thursday.

The 2022 French Open and US Open champion triumphed 6-4 4-6 6-1 in two hours and two minutes, bouncing back strongly after losing the second set.

Zheng's power and forehand top spin proved challenging for the Pole, who was solid from the baseline to secure her 11st tour quarter-finals appearance this season.

The Chinese had broken Swiatek to lead 1-0 in the third set, but the top seed responded in trademark style, improving her record in the United States this season to 21-1.

Swiatek will take on eighth seed Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, with the match-up marking a re-match of this year's French Open final.

Gauff worked her way into the last eight with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

The 18-year-old American also had to fight back from a set down in the third set to win in a match that lasted just over two-and-a-half hours.

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka fought back from a lopsided opening set to knock out American Sloane Stephens 1-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and one minute. The Belarussian will take on Donna Vekic in the next round.

Second seed Paula Badosa eased into the last eight, winning in 53 minutes against American qualifier Louisa Chirico 6-0 6-3. Badosa will face Danielle Collins in the quarter-finals.

Madison Keys triumphed over eighth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 27 minutes to secure a quarter-final date with fourth seed Jessica Pegula.

Iga Swiatek is through to the quarter-finals of the Ostrava Open after Ajla Tomljanovic retired hurt in their second-round match on Wednesday.

The world number one had won the first set 7-5, but her Australian opponent was forced to concede at 2-2 in the second.

Swiatek is now the female player with the most wins in a single year (58) in the last five seasons. Former world number one Ash Barty recorded 57 victories in 2019.

The second seed in Ostrava is out after Paula Badosa was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 by Petra Kvitova in front of a delighted Czech crowd, while Elena Rybakina is also through to the last eight after coming from behind to win against Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-5.

Wednesday's two other matches saw more success for Czech participants as Karolina Muchova beat seventh seed Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4 6-4, while Barbora Krejcikova defeated Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-2.

There was less Czech joy at the Jasmin Open in Tunisia, where Katerina Siniakova was beaten 7-5 6-2 by Claire Liu.

Elsewhere, number three seed Alize Cornet eased past Harriet Dart 6-3 6-4, Elise Mertens came from behind to beat Despina Papamichail and Diane Parry went through against French compatriot Lucrezia Stefanini after the latter retired hurt in the second set.

The top two seeds were eliminated in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo as Paula Badosa and Caroline Garcia both crashed out on Wednesday.

Badosa was defeated in just 78 minutes by Zheng Qinwen, with the number one seed going down 6-3 6-2.

It was 19-year-old Zheng's first completed win against a top 10 opponent in her career, and she said afterwards: "Even though the score was like this, there were a lot of emotions for me in this match and I'm very proud of myself. It's not a surprise. I always knew I had the level, I just had to make it."

Second seed Garcia hit 27 aces in her match against Zhang Shuai, the most in a single WTA-level contest since Kristyna Pliskova against Monica Puig in Luxembourg 2019 (28), but it was not enough as she lost two tie-breaks to lose 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5).

Number three seed Garbine Muguruza had more success as she beat Greek opponent Despina Papamichail 6-4 6-2, while Claire Liu also eased to a win against Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1, and will play Zheng in the quarter-finals.

Eighth seed Elena Rybakina suffered a first-round exit as she lost to Liudmila Samsonova 6-2 6-4, who will play Xinyu next.

The seeds fared better over at the Korea Open, with Emma Raducanu sealing a first-round win against Moyuka Uchijima 6-2 6-4, while Magda Linette also eased past Arianne Hartono, 6-2 7-5, though fifth-seed Varvara Gracheva was knocked out by Anna Blinkova 6-4 7-6 (7-1).

In the second round, third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova is through after beating Han Na-lae 6-1 6-3, as is Lin Zhu of China following her straightforward 6-1 6-3 victory against India's Ankita Raina.

There were also wins for Tatjana Maria against Kimberly Birrell, and 17-year-old Andorran Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva against eighth seed Rebecca Marino.

The Serena Williams' farewell tour in Toronto is over after she was knocked out of the Canadian Open 6-2 6-4 by 12th seed Belinda Bencic on Wednesday.

Williams, playing for the first time since declaring on Tuesday her intention to retire after this month's US Open, was no match for Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Bencic.

The 23-time major winner was unable to claim back-to-back WTA singles wins for the first time since last year's French Open, having defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz for her first victory in 430 days on Monday.

Bencic triumphed in one hour and 17 minutes, winning 84.2 per cent of first-serve points and converted five of eight break points throughout the match.

Williams' power was on show with 13 winners, but Bencic was physically more capable and decisively managed 25 winners with only 13 unforced errors.

Elsewhere, 2019 US Open winner and local hope Bianca Andreescu edged Alize Cornet in a see-sawing clash in the evening, winning 6-3 4-6 6-3 in two hours and 26 minutes.

Fourth seed Paula Badosa and fifth seed Ons Jabeur, who was last month's Wimbledon runner-up, were forced to retire due to injury.

Spanish 24-year-old Badosa withdrew against Yulia Putintseva 7-5 1-0 due to muscle cramping, while Zheng Qinwen had a walkover against Jabeur 6-1 2-1 due to abdominal pain.

Top seed Iga Swiatek brushed aside Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2 in 64 minutes. The win means Swiatek is the first player to win 15 WTA 1000 matches in straight sets in a row since 2009.

Canadian 13th seed Leylah Fernandez also bowed out, going down 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who will face Swiatek in the third round.

Second seed Anett Kontaveit lost 6-4 6-4 to Jil Teichmann in one hour and 27 minutes. Teichmann will next face Simona Halep who won in 71 minutes against Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-2.

Sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka got past Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round meeting with Coco Gauff after she defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-3) in an epic that lasted two hours and 49 minutes.

Jessica Pegula won 6-2 7-5 over American qualifier Asia Muhammad to progress through to face Camila Giorgi after she knocked off Elise Mertens 7-3 7-5.

Third seed Maria Sakkari triumphed in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-2 over Sloane Stephens and will face Karolina Pliskova next after the Czech beat Amanda Anisimova 6-1 6-1.

Eighth seed Garbine Muguruza won 6-4 6-4 against Kaia Kanepi and Alison Riske toppled 16th seed Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 7-5.

Shelby Rogers continued her dream run at the Silicon Valley Classic with victory over ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova securing a spot in the final against last year's runner-up Daria Kasatkina who toppled Paula Badosa.

Unseeded 29-year-old American Rogers has knocked off top seed Maria Sakkari along with Amanda Anisimova and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu on her way to the decider.

Rogers is also yet to drop a set, maintaining that run against the higher-ranked Kudermetova for a 6-3 6-4 victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

The triumph marks Rogers' biggest final in her career and her first on tour in six years.

Rogers, who trailed 2-0 in the second set, broke Kudermetova's serve with her second match point to clinch victory.

Second seed Badosa was bundled out by Kasatkina 6-2 6-4 in 46 minutes in the other semi-final on Saturday.

Badosa did not appear 100 per cent physically throughout the match and Kasatkina capitalised to secure back-to-back finals in San Jose.

The Spaniard had three break points in the decisive game before Kasatkina converted her first match point.

Kaia Kanepi and Liudmila Samsonova both powered their way into the Citi Open final with comfortable victories on Saturday.

Sixth seed Kanepi ruthlessly swept aside Australian Daria Saville 6-3 6-1 in one hour and 13 minutes, moving her closer to her fifth career title. The 37-year-old Estonian blasted 18 winners for the match.

World number 60 Samsonova proved too good for China's Wang Xiyu, winning 6-1 6-1 in one hour and seven minutes. Samsonova's big hitting was a key feature behind her win with four aces and 17 winners.

Despite being ranked fourth in the world, Paula Badosa came into her quarter-final showdown with the red-hot Coco Gauff as the underdog, but she played like a favourite en route to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory.

Usually one of her stronger weapons, Gauff's serve was a liability on Friday, with six double faults in the first set alone to drop the opening frame despite breaking Badosa twice.

In the second set, while Badosa was converting 92 per cent (11-of-12) of her accurate first serves into points, Gauff's figure was down at 53 per cent (eight-of-15) as the Spaniard's return game was at its best.

Badosa will meet seventh seed Daria Kasatkina in the semi-final after the Russian beat Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka 4-6 7-5 6-0. The longer the match went, the less effective Sabalenka became with her ability to return serve.

In the first set, which Sabalenka won, she was successful in 53 per cent (19-of-36) of the points against Kasatkina's serve, and that number plummeted to 14 per cent (two-of-14) in the decider.

Third seed and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur was eliminated by ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, and she will meet unseeded American Shelby Rogers in the second semi-final after she defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-4.

Meanwhile, in Washington at the Citi Open, Emma Raducanu felt the effects of her gruelling match 24 hours prior as she went down 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 to Liudmila Samsonova.

On Thursday, Raducanu played in the longest two-set match of the WTA season as she eventually made her way through two tiebreakers against Camila Osorio in two hours and 49 minutes, and she ran out of steam after another tough tie-break against Samsonova.

Samsonova will play China's Xiyu Wang in the semi-final after another upset, knocking out fourth seed Victoria Azarenka in convincing fashion 6-1 6-3.

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi booked her place in the second semi-final after a 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3 win against Anna Kalinskaya, where she will meet Daria Saville after the Australian got the better of Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-1 7-5. 

Second and third seeds Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur eased into the Silicon Valley Classic quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Simona Halep and Jessica Pegula were bundled out of the Citi Open.

Last month's Wimbledon finalist Jabeur proved too good for American Madison Keys 7-5 6-1, winning in one hour and 22 minutes.

Jabeur, playing for the first time since Wimbledon, converted six of nine break points for the match, dominating the second set where she won 90.9 per cent first serve points.

Second seed Badosa survived a scare to win over qualifier Elizabeth Mandlik 6-2 5-7 7-6 (7-5) in two hours and 31 minutes.

Eighth seed Karolina Pliskova was knocked out by American Amanda Anisimova 3-6 7-5 6-1, while last year's runner-up Daria Kasatkina beat Taylor Townsend 6-4 6-0.

Two-time major winner Halep was forced to retire due to illness and top seed Jessica Pegula was bundled out by Daria Saville at the Citi Open.

In warm conditions, the 30-year-old Romanian battled throughout the match but eventually retired down 7-5 2-0 to Anna Kalinskaya after one hour and six minutes.

Halep had fought back from a 4-0 deficit in the first set to square it up at 5-5, before losing the first set.

However, the former world number one succumbed to illness early in the second set, handing Kalinskaya her passage into the quarter-finals.

On a dramatic day for the Citi Open favourites, world number seven Pegula was eliminated by Saville in straight sets in one hour and 38 minutes, 7-5 6-4.

Pegula was not helped by a first-serve percentage of 44.8 per cent, while she struggled to convert break points, with the Australian saving nine of 10 for the match.

Saville's win means she is 3-3 against top 20 opponents this year, progressing into the last eight where she will face Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino.

Marino, who beat Venus Williams in her return to singles in the first round on Monday, knocked off Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-3 3-6 6-1.

Estonian sixth seed Kaia Kanepi progressed into the quarters where she will face Kalinskaya after beating China's Zhu Lin 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Katie Boulter stunned last year's Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova at the Eastbourne International as the Briton secured the first top-10 scalp of her career.

Despite making a strong start, fourth seed Pliskova faltered and lost 1-6 6-4 6-4 to the world number 127 in the pair's last-32 match.

Boulter said: "I'm super-proud of myself today. I went out there and didn't feel great on court, and I worked so hard to battle and fight, and against a player like that it means so much to me, coming through that."

There was another major shock win for a British player later in the day as Jodie Burrage knocked out top seed Paula Badosa, the world number 169 triumphing 6-4 6-3 against a player who will be seeded fourth at Wimbledon.

Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-4 and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova saw off Donna Vekic 6-1 7-6 (7-1), while Beatriz Haddad Maia's strong form on grass continued with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

Brazilian left-hander Haddad Maia is coming off the back of title wins in Nottingham and Birmingham and stretched her winning run on grass to 11 matches.

There were also wins in Eastbourne for Camila Giorgi, Madison Keys and Barbora Krejcikova, but Greek third seed Maria Sakkari bowed out, losing 3-6 7-5 6-4 to Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina.

At the Bad Homburg Open in Germany, the 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep scrambled for a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win against Katerina Siniakova, and sixth seed Amanda Anisimova came from a set down to see off Alison van Uytvanck in a third-set tie-break.

Bianca Andreescu saw off Martina Trevisan 6-3 6-1 and Angelique Kerber also won in straight sets, while top seed and recent French Open semi-finalist Daria Kasatkina reached the quarter-finals with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 win over Germany's Jule Niemeier.

Kasatkina will be absent from Wimbledon due to the ban on Russian players.

Serena Williams will find it "super difficult" to challenge for an eighth Wimbledon singles title when she returns to SW19 next week, according to Karolina Pliskova.

Williams announced her participation at Wimbledon after receiving a wildcard last week, having been absent since a first-round retirement against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at The All England Club last year.

The American great will team up with Ons Jabeur to play doubles at Eastbourne over the coming days as the 40-year-old prepares for her Wimbledon return.

But Pliskova, who lost last year's Wimbledon final to Ashleigh Barty, says Williams could struggle to match her previous exploits after coming back from a long-term leg injury.

"I don't know how long it has been since she has played. Has it been a year? It is a long time, and she is not the youngest any more, so I suppose the body also takes some time to get back into shape," Pliskova said ahead of her own campaign at Eastbourne.

"Playing matches at tournaments is still very different to just practising and from what I understand, she is not playing [singles] here, she is just playing doubles.

"I think it will be difficult, super difficult for her, no matter what kind of player she is because this is a thing where you still need some time.

"But of course, she is an amazing player, she achieved so much and still a number of players will be super scared to play her. This is her advantage but let's see the level. I cannot really say."

Pliskova has won two of her three grand slam meetings with Williams, eliminating her at the quarter-final stage at the 2019 Australian Open and in the final four at the 2016 US Open.

While the world number seven may have cast doubt upon Williams' chances, Paula Badosa is not keen on the prospect of facing the 23-time major champion on the grass.

"I think it surprised everyone but it's very good to have her back. It really amazes me how she has all this hunger for the game," the world number four said.

"It is a great inspiration. It is nice to have her back and I hope she can be back for much more time because I think she does very good for tennis.

"But the other side, of course I don't want to play against her! I hope the draw goes for another player because no one wants to play against Serena and [even] less on grass. Let's pray for that!"

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