Kuznetsova's Lugano comeback ended by Pliskova in thriller

Kristyna Pliskova proved a step too far for Svetlana Kuznetsova as the Czech reached the last four of the Ladies Open Lugano.

Kristyna Pliskova saved five break points in a crucial second game of the deciding third set.   -  Getty Images

Svetlana Kuznetsova's comeback tournament came to an end in a fiercely competitive three-set encounter with Kristyna Pliskova in the Ladies Open Lugano quarter-finals.

Two-time grand slam winner Kuznetsova, playing her first tournament since September following a knee injury, went the distance in winning efforts in the first two rounds.

But the third time was not a charm on this occasion as Pliskova fought back to win 4-6 6-3 7-5 in a match lasting over two hours to make a first semi-final since a run to the final in Prague two years ago.

There were 20 break points in an opener where holding serve proved tricky, with Kuznetsova's crucial third break helping her take the first set.

A second set of high quality followed. The error count dropped and there was just one break-point chance that Pliskova converted when Kuznetsova netted in game four.

Pliskova saved five break points in a crucial second game of the decider and broke in the next as Kuznetsova appeared to be tiring.

Kuznetsova rallied to level at 4-4 but Pliskova held her composure to quickly break again before serving out for the match.

Awaiting her in the last four is Wimbledon junior champion Iga Swiatek, who came from a set and a break down in both the second and third to defeat Vera Lapko 4-6 6-4 6-1.

On the other side of the draw, Fiona Ferro will face Polona Hercog after respective wins against Stefanie Voegele and Veronika Kudermetova.

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