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Djokovic making progress but errors remain

By Declan Warrington

Novak Djokovic eased into the final of the Aegon International with a straight-sets defeat of Daniil Medvedev that further strengthened his preparations for Wimbledon.

The change to the Serbian's pre-SW19 routine appears increasingly likely to result in the significant boost to his confidence that would come with winning today's final in the first year he has played at Eastbourne.

However, his 6-4 6-4 victory, secured in an hour and 22 minutes, again demonstrated that he remains significantly short of top form.

As has been the case for much of his week on the south coast, periods of promise were followed by a struggle to build momentum.

The World No.4, and second seed for Wimbledon, made a fine start by breaking Medvedev in the opening game, but after then holding his serve, he allowed the Russian to break him back and level at 2-2.

Having rescued three break points, he then broke his opponent again before taking the opening set on his serve. A similar pattern developed in the second, another early break leading to another 2-0 lead.

While threatening with his forehand and serve, Djokovic was again guilty of errors.

This time Medvedev could not break him back and, after the Serbian wasted a match point at 5-3, he earned two more before victory was sealed when his opponent sent a forehand return into the net.

Djokovic, having also beaten Canada's Vasek Pospisil and American Donald Young, is yet to drop a set in Eastbourne and will be favourite to defeat Gael Monfils, who defeated fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-4) in the other last-four clash.

Meanwhile, Heather Watson's fine run at the Aegon International came to an end when she was beaten 6-2 3-6 7-5 by Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals.

The Briton, ranked 126 in the world after a disappointing year, had her serve broken three times by the World No.6 in a nervous first set.

Watson, 25, fought back well to take the Dane to a third set.

But Wozniacki, the 2009 champion, won the key points in a tight decider to secure her place in the final.

Wozniacki, 26, will play third seed Karolina Pliskova for the title after the Czech had a walkover victory over Johanna Konta, who withdrew with a spine injury.

It was a morale-boosting week for Watson after wins over defending champion Dominika Cibulkova, 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Barbora Strycova.

"I like to play the week before a Grand Slam and get matches in," she said.

"The more matches I play the better I feel. It is the best preparation I could have had this week for Wimbledon."

Belfast Telegraph

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