World no. 3 Karolina Pliskova has been one of the players to beat at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, reaching the final in 2016 and lifting the trophy a year later. The Czech is through to another quarter-final in the last pre-Wimbledon test, defeating Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-2 in swift 58 minutes after fending off all three break points.
The pressure was on the Belgian all the time and she couldn't endure it, losing 56% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering four breaks from five chances offered to Pliskova who was pleased with the way she performed, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the week and at Wimbledon.
Karolina is yet to make an impression at the All England Club, scoring just eight wins in 15 matches and never advancing into the quarter-final. "I think I played a great match, from the very first ball to the last one, and there were some positive things like not losing serve, which is great on grass.
I'm getting better and better every day on this surface and hope there's more to come. You need some time to adjust the movement on grass but I feel better on it, especially after coming from clay, it will never be at the top level although the improvement is evident.
I like to play against the rivals from the top ahead of Wimbledon as you may face them there, it is a good challenge for me and I always compete with more focus against the stronger rivals. The draw in Eastbourne is big and tough and it is great preparation for Wimbledon.
I like Eastbourne, I have always played well here and I'm carrying beautiful memories, I like the city where I play good tennis, it is connected with my results. We had some good weather so far, a little bit windy which I don't like but overall it is o.k, the town is small but there is always the crowd that comes to watch us."