A tremendous performance from Petra Kvitova saw her ease past Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to win the Eastbourne International on Saturday.

Reigning champion Ostapenko had not dropped a set on the way to the final, but could not halt Kvitova, who was making her first appearance in a final in 2022.

The former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – made a strong start, breaking Ostapenko early on and racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

Ostapenko, the Latvian number eight seed, faced eight break points in the opening set, saving seven, but she was unable to force any of her own as Kvitova comfortably served out to move ahead.

Kvitova was hitting the ball with immense power, particularly on returns, but Ostapenko showed initial improvement in the second set with her first serve accuracy, which had been down at 55.9 per cent in the first.

However, it was not enough to keep her opponent at bay as some more fierce returning from Kvitova saw her break in the third game of the second set.

Ostapenko finally threatened to break the Czech's serve, but was unable to take any of the five break points she earned in a game that lasted more than 12 minutes.

Her first serve dropped off again, which allowed the relentless Kvitova to take full advantage, breaking for a second time before serving for the championship and sealing her first-ever Eastbourne title.

It was Kvitova's 29th triumph on the WTA Tour, but her first since March 2021. Her last success on grass had come in Birmingham four years ago.

Reigning Eastbourne International champion Jelena Ostapenko will go up against Petra Kvitova in 2022 Saturday's final.

Ostapenko won as a wildcard in 2021, and the world number 14 confirmed her place in this year's showdown by overcoming Camila Giorgi on Friday.

She is the first female player to reach back-to-back finals in Eastbourne since Caroline Wozniacki in 2017 and 2018.

The Latvian, who is also going to compete for the doubles title, prevailed 6-2 6-2 and will now go up against Kvitova. The pair have faced off eight times previously, with each player winning four matches.

It is Kvitova's first appearance in a final in 2022, with the former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – having ended Beatriz Haddad Maia's winning streak.

Haddad Maia won in Birmingham last week and Nottingham the week before, but her run came to an end at 12 matches, with Kvitova triumphing 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

"For me, a final after almost a year [without one] will be great, so I’m glad already," said Kvitova, who was a runner-up at Eastbourne in 2011 and last reached a final on grass in Birmingham four years ago.

"Jelena loves to play here, obviously, we saw it, she has a really great game for grass."

Meanwhile, at the Bad Homburg Open, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu reached her sixth career final courtesy of a walkover against Simona Halep.

The Romanian withdrew from the semi-final clash with a neck injury, which will worry the 2019 Wimbledon champion ahead of the season's third grand slam at the All England Club.

"I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semi-final match," Halep said in a statement.

"But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability."

Andreescu will face Caroline Garcia, who saved a match point before going on to beat fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 7-6 (11-9) 3-6 7-5 to reach an 11th tour-level showpiece.

Bianca Andreescu dismantled top seed Daria Kasatkina to reach the semi-finals of the Bad Homburg Open, while Beatriz Haddad Maia moved a step closer to a third straight title in Eastbourne. 

A resounding 6-4 6-1 win over Kasatkina saw Andreescu advance to the last four of a WTA Tour grass-court tournament for the first time. 

The last time she reached the semi-finals in any event was the 2021 Miami Open, where she finished as runner-up after retiring with an ankle injury in the second set of the final against Ash Barty. 

Andreescu limited Kasatkina to just 17.6 per cent of the points behind the Russian's second serve and saved four of the six break points she faced to book a meeting with Simona Halep. 

Former world number one Halep sent down 10 aces and converted all three of the break points that came her way in a 6-2 6-1 success over Amanda Anisimova. 

The other semi-final will be an all-French affair after Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia downed home hopes Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki respectively. 

After going all the way in Nottingham and Birmingham this month, Haddad Maia progressed to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International courtesy of a walkover against Lesia Tsurenko. 

Next up for Haddad Maia is Petra Kvitova, who she beat in straight sets in the first round in Birmingham, after the Czech ended Harriet Dart's run to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 win. 

Jelena Ostapenko cruised to a 6-3 6-2 victory against Anhelina Kalinina and will take on Camila Giorgi for a place in the final. Giorgi comfortably overcame lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova 6-2 6-1 in 64 minutes. 

Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur have pulled out of their Eastbourne International doubles semi-final due to an injury concern just days before Wimbledon begins.

Organisers said Tunisian world number three singles star Jabeur was troubled by a right knee injury, forcing her brief alliance with Williams to come to an end.

They had won through two rounds in increasingly impressive style, with Williams making her return to the WTA Tour, having not played competitive tennis since injuring an ankle at Wimbledon last year.

The 40-year-old Williams was clearly enjoying the partnership with Jabeur, who in May became the first African or Arab woman to win a WTA 1000 singles title when she triumphed at the Madrid Open.

They had named themselves 'Onsrena' and were due to face Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette in the semi-finals, before news emerged on Thursday of their withdrawal.

No details of the seriousness of Jabeur's injury were disclosed, and it may prove a precautionary withdrawal given Wimbledon is so close, with the latter starting on Monday.

Jabeur won a title on grass in Berlin last week, showing she could pose a threat to top seed Iga Swiatek, providing she is not hampered by injury.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam singles champion, will also be competing at Wimbledon after being handed a wildcard entry into the tournament where she has won seven singles titles.

Serena Williams lauded her doubles partner Ons Jabeur after they advanced to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International on Wednesday. 

Playing in her first tournament since retiring from the opening round of Wimbledon injured last year, Williams acknowledged she was particularly reliant on Jabeur during their 6-2 6-4 success over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. 

The 23-time grand slam singles champion opted to only play doubles on the south coast as she gears up for a return to the All England Club. 

"I think we played together much better," said Williams. "Although I thought we played really good together [against Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on Tuesday] too. 

"But Ons really held me up. She was really playing so good. I was looking at her and was like, 'Wow, this is great.' It's good." 

Williams and Jabeur will take on Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette for a place in the final. 

Jabeur playfully asked the 40-year-old if she would like to play together at the US Open, to which the former world number one responded: "Sign me up!" 

The Tunisian added: "I'm getting used to this. It was really great to play here and I didn't know we are in the semi-finals. It's super fast, but it's great for us." 

Garbine Muguruza saw her Wimbledon preparations take a hit as she fell to a last-16 defeat at the Eastbourne International on Wednesday. 

World number 26 Camila Giorgi battled from a break down in both sets to beat fifth seed Muguruza 7-5 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes. 

That meant 12th seed Giorgi made her second straight quarter-final, following a last-eight appearance in Birmingham, and will next face Viktoriya Tomova, who defeated Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-3 6-4. 

Jil Teichmann, the 10th seed at the tournament, was a notable second-round elimination, falling to a 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 defeat to Briton Harriet Dart, who later triumphed 6-4 2-6 6-4 over Marta Kostyuk. 

Dart's fellow Briton Katie Boulter stunned last year's Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova in the second round but had no such luck against Petra Kvitova, losing 5-7 6-0 7-5. 

Beatriz Haddad Maia, the winner at the Birmingham Open last week, extended to a 12-match winning streak with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Jodie Burrage. 

Jelena Ostapenko also progressed after Madison Keys retired when 6-3 down and will next face Anhelina Kalinina, who battled to a 6-3 2-6 6-3 win over 16th seed Yulia Putintseva. 

While seeds fell at Eastbourne, there were not as many shocks at the Bad Homburg Open, where Angelique Kerber defeated Lucia Bronzetti 6-2 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. 

Fourth seed Simona Halep also made the last eight with 6-0 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek and will meet Amanda Anisimova after she won an All-American match against Ann Li 6-0 6-2. 

Alize Cornet downed Tatjana Maria 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to tee up a clash with Kerber, while Bianca Andreescu will meet top seed Daria Kasatkina after defeating Katie Swan 6-4 6-4. 

Serena Williams doubted whether she would return to elite tennis as she stepped up her Wimbledon preparations by playing doubles with Ons Jabeur at the Eastbourne International.

Williams teamed up with Jabeur on Tuesday to record a thrilling win over Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in her first competitive outing since last June, when she was forced to retire from her first-round Wimbledon clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich through injury.

Having been granted a wildcard entry to the year's third grand slam, which begins next week, Williams is bidding for her first major title since winning 2017's Australian Open.

But speaking after her successful return to the court, Williams admitted her comeback had been far from certain.

"Did I ever doubt I would return? Absolutely, for sure. I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't and now my body feels great," she said.

"I definitely felt good out there and I was talking with Ons in the first set saying 'we're not playing bad' because they were just playing really good in that first set.

"But obviously winning, getting more balls and playing a little bit more made us feel a lot better. It definitely felt reassuring. It has been clicking in practice and now it seems like it is clicking. It is doubles but it still means a lot to both of us to be in it."

Williams and Jabeur will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-Ching in Eastbourne's doubles quarter-finals after posting an impressive 2-6 6-3 13-11 victory in their first outing.

With Williams now ranked 1,204th in the world and aged 40, speculation has abounded as to whether her SW19 appearance will mark the beginning of a farewell tour for the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

However, Williams is not rushing to make any further decisions about her future in the game.

"You know what, I am literally taking it one day at a time. I really took my time with my hamstring injury so I am not making a ton of decisions after this," she added.

"I did a lot of non-training in the beginning obviously and after I couldn't play New York [2021's US Open] I went cold turkey of not working out.

"It felt good, but I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you are going to play Wimbledon.

"I love tennis and I love playing otherwise I wouldn't be here, but I also love what I do off the court."

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 made a thrilling return to the WTA Tour as she and Ons Jabeur teamed up to win a nail-biting doubles contest at the Eastbourne International.

Czech player Marie Bouzkova and Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo provided stiff competition but eventually succumbed 2-6 6-3 13-11 as Williams grew in belief.

This was the first competitive match for 40-year-old Williams since abandoning her Wimbledon first-round clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last June, due to an ankle injury.

It was also her first doubles main-draw match on grass since she and sister Venus won the 2016 Wimbledon title, so she was understandably rusty in the early stages, while world number three Jabeur's nervousness about playing with Williams, which she spoke of after the match, was also evident.

Williams will be on a wildcard at Wimbledon next week, due to her ranking plummeting, as she chases what would be a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title.

Her game looked sketchy early on, with a smash into the net handing over the second game, before she then blazed a volley over the baseline to concede the early break.

Her own serve was broken as Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova snatched a 4-1 double-break lead in the opener, which they soon wrapped up.

Williams lost her footing on the grass midway through the second set, slipping over, but she was soon back up, with the contest becoming increasingly competitive.

Jabeur and Williams forged a 4-3 lead in the second set and then broke to force the match tie-break.

All-out assault from Williams brought up a first match point, but the American then rattled a backhand long after Jabeur failed to put away a volley at the net early in the rally.

Another match point slipped away as Jabeur netted from another great chance, but a drop shot from the Tunisian brought up a third, and this time Sorribes Tormo volleyed wide to herald a scream of delight from Williams.

"Oh my god, it was so fun to play with Ons," said Williams. "Our opponents played amazing. They played so well in that first set, they were jamming.

"We were just trying to stay in there after the first set, it was good though.

"I caught some fire behind me, so that's good; I needed that."

Garbine Muguruza recorded a much-needed win to reach the last 16 at the Eastbourne International.

World number 10 Muguruza, who had only won two tour-level matches since the start of March, was tested in a gripping second-set tie-break by Magdalena Frech, eventually triumphing 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

After the victory, Muguruza said she was pleased to have overcome challenging weather conditions to reach the next stage, saying: "I feel like I fought hard against the wind, and I haven't played many matches on grass either.

"I could see today that if I didn't fight as hard as I can, I wasn't going to win."

A minor upset saw 17th seed Alison Riske slip to a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss to Magda Linette, while Yulia Putintseva surged to a 7-5 6-1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo and seventh seed Barbora Krejcikova saw her contest with Marta Kostyuk halted by darkness at one set apiece.

Ajla Tomljanovic beat Aleksandra Krunic 6-0 4-6 6-3 and Heather Watson went down 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to Canada's Rebecca Marino, as the Sussex crowds prepared for Serena Williams' eagerly anticipated doubles outing alongside Ons Jabeur on Tuesday.

There was frustration for Muguruza's fellow former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber at the Bad Homburg Open.

Kerber's match against Anastasia Gasanova got under way, but play was stopped due to fading light and a damp court after a rain-hit day. Third seed Kerber led 4-2 in the first set of a contest that will conclude on Tuesday.

The only other seed in action in Germany made routine progress, as France's Alize Cornet raced to a 6-2 6-4 win over Anna Kalinskaya.

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!"

Ons Jabeur has announced she will not take part in the singles tournament at the Eastbourne International.

Jabeur will continue to play in the doubles, where she will pair with American legend Serena Williams, who has not played a competitive match since a first-round defeat at Wimbledon last year.

The news of the Tunisian's withdrawal from the singles tournament comes on the same day that she was elevated to world number three, after her victory at the Berlin Open on Sunday.

She beat Belinda Bencic in the final after her Swiss opponent retired with an ankle injury.

"I feel like I need to be smart about this decision," Jabeur told reporters about her choice not to play singles at Eastbourne.

Jabeur and Williams will face off against the unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

 

Ons Jabeur hailed Serena Williams as a "legend" as she expressed her nervousness and excitement to pair with the American great at the Eastbourne International.

Williams has not played a competitive match since defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's Wimbledon and is now ranked at 1,204 in the world.

The 40-year-old, who is one grand slam title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, will feature at the third grand slam of the year, which starts next Monday.

Eastbourne will serve as preparation for the upcoming grass-court major after Williams received a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Jabeur.

Jabeur has been in fine form in 2022, winning the Berlin Open and Madrid Open and rising to world number three, though she remains nervous to play with Williams at Eastbourne.

"I wanted to tell everyone, but obviously I couldn't," Jabeur told the WTA Tour in an interview. "I told my family, but even my close friends, I didn't tell anyone.

"Excited, really lucky that she picked me. I'm pretty glad that I can share the court with her. I always watched Serena playing and always supported her.

"She's such a legend and such an example for our sport. I'm really nervous to play. I hope the match will be great and we'll have great matches.

"I don't know why she picked me to be honest. Maybe she watched Madrid. I met her a few times outside the court and she was always nice.

"I remember exchanging pins with her in Rio. I respect her so much. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I had to take my time in Berlin, but now it's Eastbourne. I cannot wait for this moment."

Williams and Jabeur have been drawn against unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

Serena Williams has been handed a Wimbledon singles wild card after confirming her return from injury after a year out.

The 40-year-old has not played competitively since losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's tournament at SW19 and is now ranked at 1,208 in the world.

Williams hinted at her imminent comeback in a social media post on Tuesday, however, and it has now been confirmed she will take part in the third grand slam of the year.

Twenty-three time major winner Williams will also compete in the upcoming grass-court event at Eastbourne after receiving a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Ons Jabeur.

That will act as preparation for Wimbledon, a competition she has won seven times, the most recent of those triumphs coming in 2016.

Williams is one major title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, which has been the case since her most recent triumph at the 2017 Australian Open.

She missed last year's US Open on home soil, as well as this year's Australian Open and French Open.

In her earlier Instagram message, Williams posted an image of her trainers on grass and captioned it: "SW and SW19. It's a date. 2022, see you there."

American Williams joins 10 British players on the initial batch of wild cards for the Wimbledon singles, while three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka will also take part.

Serena's sister Venus, a five-time singles winner at Wimbledon, was not named on the initial batch of wild cards but two spots remain up for grabs.

The tournament in London gets under way on June 27.

Angelique Kerber won two games on Friday to progress to the final of the inaugural Bad Homburg Open, with unseeded Katerina Siniakova her opponent.

Kerber made home advantage count, following up a 2-6 6-3 6-3 quarter-final win over Amanda Anisimova – a match that was pushed back from Thursday when rain washed out play – with a triumph over top seed Petra Kvitova.

The former world number one came back from behind to win 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and take a spot in her first WTA singles final since 2019.

Kerber and Kvitova have now met 15 times, with the German winning on nine occasions.

She will go up against an unexpected finalist in the form of Siniakova, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The Czech is the world number two in doubles, winning three grand slam titles in that format, and will be looking to replicate the feat of her regular partner Barbora Krejcikova, who triumphed at the French Open this year.

At the Viking International in Eastbourne, Jelena Ostapenko made light work of Elena Rybakina, while Anett Kontaveit made it into the final due to Camila Giorgi's retirement.

Latvian wildcard Ostapenko finished her 6-4 6-1 victory with zero double faults – the first time she has managed such a performance since winning in Luxembourg two years ago.

"I'm really happy with the way I played this week, and every match I played better and better," Ostapenko told a news conference after clinching a spot in her ninth career final.

"It's been a while [since making a] final, so I'm really happy to be in a final and looking forward to tomorrow's match."

The 2017 French Open champion will face Estonia's Kontaveit, who has won their previous two meetings and was 5-4 up in the opening set against Giorgi when her opponent retired hurt.

"It's actually nice to have a Baltic final, because [we're] not such big countries, but we still have good players," Ostapenko added.

"Anett, I know since juniors. We have been playing a lot, maybe not so many matches but we practice sometimes together, in juniors, and played even doubles. So I know her quite well."

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