Pliskova wins Brisbane International for third time

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AP) — Karolina Pliskova won her third Brisbane International title in four years with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Madison Keys yesterday.

The second-ranked Pliskova is the first player, male or female, to win the Brisbane-based event three times after wins in 2017 and last year.

Like her semifinal, when she needed nearly three hours to overcome former world No 1 Naomi Osaka, Pliskova was made to work hard for victory, needing two hours and seven minutes to edge past Keys.

“It was my last push today, I think I spent quite a lot of time on the courts this week so finally tomorrow’s a day off for me,” said Pliskova who said her victory would not mean much if she didn’t perform at the Australian Open starting January 20 in Melbourne.

“It was a great way to start the year. But of course, Grand Slam or any other tournament, it always starts on zero. There’s nobody really thinking that ‘oh, she won a tournament two weeks ago’.”

Pliskova’s serve was again on rhythm as she won a tight first set and then took an early break in the second before Keys rallied to take the final to a deciding set.

In a tight third set, a backhand error by Keys handed Pliskova a chance to serve out the match, but the American broke back to 5-5.

On Keys’ next service game, Pliskova opened up another break point opportunity, which this time she took.

“I don’t think I played amazing tennis today and I was still right in that match, so a lot of very positive things to take away,” Keys said.

“I was definitely very happy with, in tight, tense moments, just totally keeping my cool and moving on to the next point.”

Karolina Pliskova reacts after winning a point during her final match against Madison Keys at the Brisbane International tennis tournament. PHOTO: AP