- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

EASTBOURNE, England (AP) - Dominika Cibulkova reached the Eastbourne International final after dispatching Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig 6-2, 6-1 on Friday.

The Slovak will play Karolina Pliskova for the title after the Czech defeated Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3.

Cibulkova always held the upper hand, holding two break points for a 2-0 lead before breaking for 4-2, and again for the set. A further break for 2-0 in the second set put her firmly on the way to a comfortable victory.

“From the first match I was playing really, really good,” said Cibulkova. “I just kept going. I also had no expectations.”

Pliskova will be seeking her second grass-court title in three weeks after lifting the Nottingham trophy.

Neither player faced a break point in the opening set before Konta claimed the tiebreaker.

Pliskova then broke for 3-1 in the second set, and Konta fell while holding three break points in the next game.

Although Konta continued without any apparent ill effects she failed to break serve and also failed to convert a further two break points in the ninth game.

Pliskova then broke serve twice to lead 3-0 in the final set on the way to ending Konta’s hopes of becoming the first British finalist at the event since Virginia Wade 40 years ago.

Earlier, Cibulkova defeated top seed and former champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in a quarterfinal that took more than three hours to complete over two days.

Play resumed after overnight rain with Radwanska leading 3-2 in the second set, but Cibulkova immediately broke to level, and after Radwanska failed to convert a break point to lead 5-4, Cibulkova dominated the tiebreaker.

Radwanska again failed to take advantage of her opportunities in the final set, letting two break points for a 3-1 lead slip away before Cibulkova swept the last four games.

“I don’t think I was playing good enough today,” Radwanska said. “She was playing really aggressive, good tennis.”

Pliskova resumed after an overnight break at 4-0 in the opening set, and the Czech went on to overwhelm former champion Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-1, 6-3.

Britain’s Konta also overcame a Russian former champion, defeating Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (5), 6-4.

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