EASTBOURNE, England (Reuters) - Top seed Caroline Wozniacki got the perfect boost for Wimbledon as she beat Belarussian upstart Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 7-6(5) to claim the Eastbourne grasscourt title on Saturday.
The Dane found herself behind in both sets and had to save a set point in the opener at a sunny Devonshire Park but used all her experience to claim a 29th career title.
Wozniacki, who will be second seed at Wimbledon, knew she was in for a tough challenge as she took five minutes to hold her opening service game against the fired-up 20-year-old.
Sabalenka did break to love in the third game only for Wozniacki to hit back immediately.
Wozniacki was struggling to contain her attack-minded opponent though and found herself 5-3 behind before finding another gear and reeling off the next four games.
Sabalenka was not deterred and continued to blaze away with some ferocious groundstrokes and served for the second set at 5-4 only to be pegged back once again.
Even in the tiebreak Sabalenka made all the running, moving 5-2 ahead, but Wozniacki kept her cool in the soaring temperatures to snatch victory.
German Mischa Zverev claimed his first ATP Tour title with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Slovakian Lukas Lacko in the men’s final.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond