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Nottingham Festival of Tennis
Aegon Trophy , Aegon Nottingham Challenge & British Open
31st May – 15th June & 15th - 20th July
Last updated: 08/06/2013
Karolina Pliskova, by James Jordan Photography
British hopes of singles glory at the Aegon Trophy were dashed on Thursday with Johanna Konta beaten in the semi-finals and Dan Evans exiting in the quarters-finals at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
World No. 73 Karolina Pliskova fought back from set down to beat British No. 3 Konta 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours.
The Czech goes on to meet former world No. 42 Petra Martic in Saturday’s final after the Croatian eased past Canada’s Sharon Fichman 6-4 6-2.
Pliskova had a torrid time early in the match as Konta blasted through the first set in 30 minutes.
And while Konta made a slow start to the second set, down 4-2, she came back strong to save a set point at 5-4.
With proceedings tied at 5-5, Pliskova broke straight back to take command once again and closed out the set with her serve.
The deciding set started much like the second, with Pliskova breaking early and building a 3-1 lead before Konta broke back to tie it up 3-3. That, however, was the last surge the Briton would make as Pliskova took the next three games to seal semi-final victory.
The Czech said she was fortunate to recover in the second set.
“It wasn’t easy to recover after losing set point, but she helped me a little bit with a few mistakes," Pliskova said.
“I just had to stay focused and calm because I knew if I broke back I could hold my serve again.”
Konta said she would take time to reflect on the match leading up to next week’s Aegon Classic at Birmingham.
“She played the big points better than I did, and credit to her she was a better player on the day," Konta said.
“I have to go back to the training court and work on things now. When you have a close loss like this, it takes a while to get past the emotional side to then be able to analyse it with my coach.”
Martic, who has struggled with foot and knee injuries since last summer, will feature in her first final of the year and first on grass in her career.
The 21-year-old is delighted that her decision to spend the lead-up to Wimbledon on grass has resulted in a match-up with Pliskova.
“In previous years I play Wimbledon only - I’ve not played tournaments on grass before it,” she said.
“Maybe that is the reason I’ve not really liked it, just because I’ve not really played much on it.
“This year I’ve changed my plans and it is working well for me.”
In the women’s doubles, the pairing of Maria Sanchez and Nicola Slater overcame the combination of Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman 4-6 6-3 [10-8].
In the men’s draw, Evans went out in straight sets to Australian Matthew Ebden 7-6(1) 6-2.
The Aegon Team GB Davis Cup player was serving for the first set at 5-4 but was broken, going on to lose in straight sets in one hour 28 minutes.
Evans, who has been awarded wild card entry into the main draw of the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s club starting Monday, said: “It was a disappointing end for me - I didn’t play that good out there.
“I found it hard to play my game against him - he did a good job of imposing his game on me.”
Former world No. 61 Ebden advances to the last four to take on Bobby Reynolds who got the better of Ruben Bemelmans 3-6 7-5 6-4 in his quarter-final meeting.
Elsewhere in the men’s singles draw, Frenchman Kenny De Schepper came from a set down to beat Michael Berrer of Germany 4-6 6-1 6-4. He faces defending Aegon Trophy champion Benjamin Becker in the Saturday's other semi-final.
In the men’s doubles, British brothers Ken and Neil Skupski take on third seeds Jamie Murray and John Peers in Saturday’s final.