Pliskova reaches Miami final after storming past Halep

Karolina Pliskova won 10 of the last 11 games against Simona Halep as she earned a clash with Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open decider.

Published : Mar 29, 2019 12:29 IST

Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova will face Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open final on Saturday.
Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova will face Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open final on Saturday.

Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova will face Ashleigh Barty in the Miami Open final on Saturday.

Karolina Pliskova blitzed Simona Halep in a stunning performance as she reached the Miami Open final. Czech star Pliskova stormed past second seed Halep 7-5, 6-1 in Thursday's rain-interrupted semifinal clash at the Premier Mandatory event.

Halep led 5-3 in the opening set, however, Pliskova reeled off the next four games to stun the world number one hopeful.

Pliskova won 10 of the last 11 games against Halep – who needed to reach the Miami final to dislodge Naomi Osaka atop the WTA rankings – hitting 23 winners and 16 unforced errors.

There was another rain delay as Pliskova moved within a game of a showdown with Ashleigh Barty – play eventually resuming after 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

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Halep returned and managed to avoid a second-set bagel but it only temporarily halted the inevitable in the early hours of Friday morning.

"Not easy, day and night, because we waited for so long," Pliskova – who converted five of seven break-point chances – said in an on-court interview. 

"The conditions can change here in Miami so I think we were both ready for this day because since the morning it was tough.

"But I stayed half the day in the hotel which was nice and now it was a little bit long, but after the first break I just started playing a little bit better. I was fighting a bit more and just playing more aggressive and it paid off."

-Barty eases past Kontaveit and into Miami final-

Ashleigh Barty moved into the biggest final of her singles career, reaching the Miami Open decider with a straight-sets win over Anett Kontaveit on Thursday. The Australian, who is moving into the top 10 in the world rankings, cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory against a below-par Kontaveit in their semifinal.

Australian Ashleigh Barty cruised past Anett Kontaveit to book her spot in the Miami Open final.

Barty has won three WTA Tour titles, but the decider in Miami – against Pliskova – will be her first at WTA Premier Mandatory level.

She capitalised on what was a rusty display from Kontaveit, who committed 33 unforced errors to lose in one hour, 17 minutes. Rain interrupted the clash early, but there were no further delays after play resumed at 2-2 in the first set.

A Kontaveit double fault and forehand into the net gave Barty a 4-3 lead before the 12th seed took the opener 6-3. Kontaveit, the 21st seed, finished with 17 unforced errors in a difficult first set.

It seemed a lengthy third game in the second set would prove important as Kontaveit broke for 2-1, but the Estonian was lacking patience as she gave up that lead. Barty won five consecutive games from 3-1 down, sealing what was an impressive victory with an ace.

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