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Kerber leads high-powered trio through in Eastbourne

Kerber leads high-powered trio through in Eastbourne
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - May 26, 2019 Germany's Angelique Kerber in action during her first round match against Russia's Anastasia Potapova REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach -
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KAI PFAFFENBACH(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – A trio of former world number ones stormed into the quarter-finals at Eastbourne on Wednesday with Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova all sharpening their grasscourt games ahead of Wimbledon.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Kerber beat Swede Rebecca Peterson 7-6(4) 6-0 and Pliskova crushed Elise Mertens 6-1 6-2, although Halep was pushed hard by Polona Hercog before emerging with a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory.

Jelena Ostapenko, a semi-finalist at last year’s Wimbledon, suffered an injury scare as she retired in her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Kerber continued to thrive after a tricky claycourt season as she blazed past Peterson following a tough first set.

The fourth seed saved two set points in the opener but eased through the second with a dominant display.

“I’m feeling good so far,” Kerber told reporters.

“The first set was really close and tough. Then I started good in the second set and finding then my rhythm even better in the second set, so it was a good match.”

Pliskova, who reached the Eastbourne final in 2016 and 2017, was even more impressive against Mertens.

“I felt like, it’s bad to say, but there was no chance that I was going to lose today,” she said. “I just felt super confident after I made the quick break in the first set.”

There was an upset, however, as local favourite Johanna Konta was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

Unseeded Jabeur was far too tricky for world number 19 Konta as she reached her first quarter-final of the year.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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