Kasatkina and Fritz win Eastbourne titles ahead of Wimbledon

Champion's joy: Russia's Daria Kasatkina lifts the trophy after defeating <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Canada;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Canada</a>'s Leylah Fernandez in the final of the Eastbourne International WTA Tour event (Glyn KIRK)

Daria Kasatkina and Taylor Fritz won the women's and men's singles titles respectively at the Eastbourne International on Saturday as they both enjoyed morale-boosting grass-court triumphs just days out from the start of Wimbledon.

Kasatkina's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Leylah Fernandez gave the Russian her first grass-court title a year after she lost in the Eastbourne final to Madison Keys.

By contrast top-seed Fritz became the first three-time men's singles champion at Devonshire Park with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian qualifier Max Purcell.

Sixth seed Kasatkina, in defeating former US Open finalist Fernandez, won her seventh career title and first since 2022 following three previous defeats in finals this season.

"It's been a year, but it feels like it's been a few days since last year when I was standing here," said the 27-year-old. "It was a tough battle today. It's been a long road to the title but I am really proud."

Kasatkina now heads to Wimbledon, where she is seeded 14th, to play China's Zhang Shuai in the first round of the women's singles as the grass-court Grand Slam gets underway on Monday.

- Game of 11 deuces -

Fernandez's serve was broken in the first game and Kasatkina backed that up by holding her own serve.

A gruelling fifth game of 11 deuces, which lasted just over 20 minutes, including a stoppage while a spectator received medical treatment, saw Fernandez force three break points.

Nevertheless, Kasatkina held and stayed ahead before clinching the set with a second break in the ninth game after the 21-year-old Canadian double-faulted.

Kasatkina, who knocked out Britain's Emma Raducanu in the quarter-finals, then surged into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

But Fernandez, defeated by Raducanu in the 2021 US Open final, fought back to 3-3 and then broke Kasatkina for the second time in the set as the Russian double-faulted.

Fernandez now led 4-3 only for Kasatkina to break back immediately.

With Fernandez's confidence dented, Kasatkina stayed ahead and won the match when her opponent overhit a forehand.

Fernandez, however, was happy with her week's work after reaching her first grass-court final.

"It's a beautiful tournament at Eastbourne and I enjoyed my time here. Hopefully we have many more of these finals," Fernandez said.

"My team have pushed me the past couple of months and the hard work is paying off so now we have to keep going, working and never give up."

Fritz's win over Purcell, appearing in his first ATP final, meant the 26-year-old American had not dropped a set all week.

"I'm pumped. I always feel like I play well here," said Fritz, who also won Eastbourne in 2019 and 2022. "I kind of just had that feeling coming into the week as well. I did a great job."

Fritz will now face another Australian when the 13th seed plays Christopher O'Connell in the first round of Wimbledon.