Karolina Pliskova beats Angelique Kerber, Taylor Fritz seals maiden ATP title at Eastbourne

Karolina Pliskova beat Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4, while Taylor Fritz overcame countryman Sam Querry. (AFP)
Updated 29 June 2019

Karolina Pliskova beats Angelique Kerber, Taylor Fritz seals maiden ATP title at Eastbourne

EASTBOURNE: Karolina Pliskova beat Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4 in the Eastbourne final on Saturday, just two days before the grass-court Grand Slam starts in southwest London.
The No. 3-ranked Pliskova took the first set in just 31 minutes with three service breaks Saturday, and held on to an early break in the second to win the title. She fired seven aces and won 71 percent of points on her first serve.
Pliskova said the score didn’t accurately reflect a tough match.
“I was fighting a lot and I think Angelique is one of the best grass-court players,” she said.
Pliskova didn’t drop a set all week in Eastbourne, and dropped just 19 games across five matches, including a 6-1, 6-2 demolition of fourth-ranked Kiki Bertens in the semifinals. She’s never gone further than the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Kerber hasn’t won a tournament since beating Serena Williams in last year’s Wimbledon final.
Pliskova previously won Eastbourne in 2017, a year after losing the final. Kerber has lost all three finals she has played at the Wimbledon tuneup.
Kerber starts her Wimbledon title defense against fellow German Tatjana Maria, and is in the same quarter of the draw as Williams and top-ranked Ash Barty. Pliskova starts against China’s Zhu Lin.
Taylor Fritz won an all-American final for the men’s Eastbourne title, beating Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4. It’s the first career ATP title for the 21-year-old son of former top-10 player Kathy May.
Fritz broke in Querrey’s first service game in each set and each time held on to take the set.
Querrey is 10-9 in career finals.


Top riders saddle up for Saudi Cup preview

Updated 28 February 2020

Top riders saddle up for Saudi Cup preview

  • Leading male and female jockeys will feature at King Abdul Aziz Racetrack ahead of the world’s richest horse race

RIYADH: Racing fans will get a taste of the excitement they can expect from the world’s richest horse race, the Saudi Cup, when leading riders compete in the first-ever stc International Jockeys Challenge at King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Riyadh on Friday.

Some of the world’s best male and female jockeys will compete over eight races in the Kingdom Day meet on the eve of the inaugural running of the $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday.

Frankie Dettori, the 2019 Longines world’s best jockey, will be among riders from 10 countries taking part.

Dettori is among the favorites to win the opening leg of the challenge on Moshaghebah, a winner of her last race. 

In the 1,400m event, Matmon will be ridden by three-time New Zealand champion Lisa Allpress.

KINGDOM DAY SCHEDULE - FRIDAY

• Race 1: Saudi-bred Maiden Time: 3:20 p.m. (KSA) Distance: 1,400m (7 furlong)

• Race 2: Equestrian Club Award, Saudi-bred, Open Time: 3:45 p.m. Distance: 1,400m (7 furlong)

• Race 3: International Jockeys Challenge, Saudi-bred, Handicap Time: 4:15 p.m. Distance: 1,400m (7 furlong)

• Race 4: International Jockeys Challenge, Imported and Saudi-bred, Handicap Time: 4:45 p.m. Distance 1,600m (1 mile)

• Race 5: Equestrian Club Award, Saudi-bred fillies, Open Time: 5:15 p.m. Distance: 1,600m (1 mile)

• Race 6: International Jockeys Challenge, Saudi-bred, Handicap Time: 5:45 p.m. Distance: 1,800m (1 mile and 1 furlong)

• Race 7: International Jockeys Challenge, Saudi-bred, Handicap Time: 6:30 p.m. Distance: 1,200m (6 furlongs)

• Race 8: Equestrian Club Prize, Saudi-bred, Open Time: 7 p.m. Distance: 1,600m (1 mile))

“I was thrilled to be invited and am excited to be riding against world-class jockeys for world-class trainers,” Allpress said.

“Hopefully I can show what I can do, but in a challenge like this, a lot comes down to the luck of the draw.

“I can’t wait to get out on the track,” she added. “My first impressions were ‘wow.’ We don’t really have anything like this back at home, so I’m really excited to be a part of this.”

In the second leg, Mike Smith, the most successful jockey in Breeders’ Cup history, will ride Sun Hat, a three-time winner in England and a previous winner over 1,650m in Saudi Arabia.

Group 1 winning trainer Bader Rizaiq could make history with two runners, Aeisam and Nassohah, in the second leg of the challenge. Leading British jockey Nicola Currie will ride Aeisam, while Nassohah will be ridden by Canadian Emma-Jayne Wilson. 

In the third leg, Dettori will ride five-time winner Sha Aem, while Adel Alfouraidi will ride Bajeer, a winner of his last start.

French jockey Mickaelle Michel has a strong chance of finishing the challenge on a high in leg four on recent winner Bint Alaqeelah, while Japanese star Yutaka Take has an outside chance on Yafooz.