Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Pliskova wins biggest clay title of career at Italian Open

Pliskova wins biggest clay title of career at Italian Open

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova swept past Britain s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to win the WTA Italian Open on Sunday. The Czech player white washed the final with a 6-3,6-4 straight set victory against the British number one to claim her second title of the season.

The unseeded Konta appeared nervous at the start, double faulting then landing a backhand into the net to hand Pliskova a break in her opening service game.

Unforced errors from Konta's end gave Karolina Pliskova to a set point opportunity, but however, she squandered it with a broad forehand and later, Konta earned the hold.

Pliskova, the 2017 French Open semi-finalist, clinched her 13th career title, in the final major warm-up tournament on clay before Roland Garros starts on May 26.

But could she take one more step to win her first title in two years?

"Jo played great tennis so she made it quite tough for me", the Czech said.

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Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo also advanced, moving on when Vera Lapko of Belarus retired while trailing 7-6 (9), 3-1.

Konta, ranked 42, came through 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 against sixth seed Bertens, victor of the Madrid Open last week, after nearly three hours on the red clay of Rome.

"It was I think (at a) couple (of) tournaments already close to happening, the rematch after this". The defending champion triumphed 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours and 25 minutes.

She continued her momentum into the decider, pushing 5-2 ahead before needing four match points to eventually secure a spot in the final with a big serve.

Konta remained upbeat, saying: "I'm pleased with how I've been progressing this year and how I've been improving with every match".

Midway through the second set, Nadal chased down a lob with an over-the-shoulder shot and Djokovic's ensuing overhead landed in the net to conclude a long point. Konta is a highly skilled player who is in terrific form at the moment, but she hasn't been on this stage very often and has struggled with her serve overall this tournament. Pliskova got 61 percent of her first serves in play and saved four of her five break points.

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