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Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova eye Wimbledon after Eastbourne wins

July 3, 2017

The Championships, Wimbledon start today (July 3rd) and both Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova go into the tournament in fine form after victories in the Aegon International Tournament at Eastbourne. 
 
Djokovic was in need of a boost after his recent struggles and duly got it as he took the men's title without a set, defeating Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4 in the final. 
 
The Serb is not the only one finding form. Roger Federer won the Gerry Weber open at Halle last week to tune up for the big event and with Murray getting the home crowd's backing and Rafael Nadal well rested after his unstoppable charge to glory on the Roland Garros clay, it is hard to see the big four's run of victories - which stretches back to Federer's first triumph in 2003 - coming to an end. 
 
Stan Wawrinka is one man with a huge incentive to end the sequence, as it would add his name to the select group of players who have won all four Grand Slams. However, he has never won a grass court tournament and joined Murray in being knocked out in the opening round of the Aegon championships.
 
As defending champion, Murray will get the Centre Court action underway, but with no wins on grass this season and a hip problem he may need anti-inflammatories to control, he will be hoping to ease into form as he goes along, just as he did in his run to the semi-finals in Paris. He faces Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik in the opening match.
 
The tournament could go a long way to shaping the line-up for the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in November. While Murray should still be there along with the other biggest names, fans will watch carefully for the form of youngsters like Alex Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios, who will hope the five 30-somethings who have dominated men's tennis in recent years cannot do so for much longer.
 
Pliskova's victory at Eastbourne, where she beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 in the final, puts her in the frame as one of the favourites in a tantalisingly open ladies' championship. Speaking to BBC Sport after her victory, she said: "Hopefully I can go far at Wimbledon".
 
She added: "I think my service is definitely my biggest weapon and if it's working, it causes the other player a lot of problems."
 
With Serena Williams on maternity leave, the title is certainly there for the taking and Pliskova is not the only player to make a statement in recent weeks. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won at Edgbaston, her first tournament win after career-saving hand surgery. 
 
If a Kvitova win would be the romantic’s choice, Britons will still have high hopes for Johanna Konta. Her win at Eastbourne over world number one Angelique Kerber suggested the sixth seed will be a serious contender, provided she has recovered from the back injury sustained in a fall during that match that caused her to pull out of the semi-final.
 
Heather Watson will also be one to watch, after beating Dominika Cibulkova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on a fine run to the Eastbourne semi-finals.

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