Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Pliskova sweeps past Konta to win Italian Open

Pliskova sweeps past Konta to win Italian Open

Karolina Pliskova produced a dominant performance to defeat Johanna Konta in straight sets as she won the Italian Open title in Rome. But Bertens double faulted to let Konta serve for the second set and Konta got an early break in the third.

The serve remains the foundation of Pliskova's game, but she has developed into a very accomplished clay-court player, and will be the second seed at the French Open.

Pliskova, 27, earned a service break in the seventh game to grab a 4-3 lead that she built up on to serve for the match at 5-4.

Pliskova is finding form at just the right time ahead of the upcoming grand slam in Paris as she became the first Czech woman since 1978 to win the title in Rome.

Top seeds Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova had pulled out injured during the event, while Roland Garros champion Simona Halep crashed out in her opening match in Italy.Four-time Rome victor Serena Williams also withdrew before the second round as her return after a two-month layoff was cut short when her knee injury flared up.

'It was a great week for me and my team, ' Pliskova said during the trophy ceremony.

Pliskova also now leads Konta 6-1.

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.

Pliskova, the fourth seed, beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-2 on Friday and plays 39th-ranked Sakkari, who ousted France's Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, for a place in the final. As for Pliskova, she has played her fair share of tough matches in the past, and this one will be no different.

It marked the first time in an Open Era-record 54 meetings, and in their 142nd set against each other, that Nadal won a set against Djokovic without conceding a game - otherwise known as a bagel. "I'm very pleased to be making that progress".

"To make it to a final here, this is my second biggest final after Miami, this is a big moment for me". And she began the first British woman since 1971, to play in the finals on the Roman dirt. But with Johanna Konta beating favourite Kiki Bertens, anything can happen with that momentum.

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