Star Czech

Next gen­er­a­tion tal­ent wins Bris­bane, now for Melbourne

Sunday Herald Sun - - Sport -

THIRD seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova last night claimed the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional women’s ti­tle and emerged as a se­ri­ous threat for the Aus­tralian Open.

The world No.6 routed un­seeded French­woman Al­ize Cor­net 6-0 6-3 in just over an hour on Pat Rafter Arena.

“She (Pliskova) was amaz­ing and I’m sure she will win a grand slam (ti­tle) very soon,’’ Cor­net, an ac­com­plished player who up­set Ser­ena Wil­liams at Wim­ble­don in 2014 and two other times that year, said.

“She’s pretty unique. Her serve is so deep and pow­er­ful and so hard to read.

“I could al­ways be able to re­turn Ser­ena’s serve. Her (Pliskova’s) serve’s im­pos­si­ble to read — it’s such a weapon, it’s a night­mare.’’

Pliskova be­came the sec­ond Czech — and first since Pe­tra Kvi­tova in 2011 — to lift the Evonne Goolagong Caw­ley Cup as women’s cham­pion.

Cor­net had no an­swer for Pliskova’s fire­power from the out­set – the first set lasted just 18 min­utes.

In the end, Pliskova hit 30 win­ners to Cor­net’s 10 and sent down seven aces to her op­po­nent’s one.

The 24-year-old Pliskova has picked up where she left off 2016.

Last year she had a break­out sea­son, mak­ing her maiden grand slam fi­nal at the US Open and fea­tur­ing in the Czech Repub­lic’s third straight Fed Cup tri­umph.

She will reach a ca­reer high world No.5 ahead of the Aus­tralian Open thanks to the Bris­bane win, which also earned her a $262,396 cheque.

Pliskova dropped only one set in the en­tire tour­na­ment, in her quar­ter­fi­nal win over eighth seed Roberta Vinci of Italy.

She lev­elled her head-to-head record against world No.41 Cor­net at 1-1. Cor­net, 26, was the low­est ranked fe­male fi­nal­ist in Bris­bane’s his­tory.

The for­mer world No.11 cruised into the tour­na­ment de­cider af­ter French Open cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza pulled out of their semi­fi­nal with a thigh com­plaint.

Af­ter be­ing handed the tro­phy by Evonne Goolagong Caw­ley, Pliskova thanked her new coach David Ko­tyza, who had long been as­so­ci­ated with Pe­tra Kvi­tova.

“I would like to con­grat­u­late Al­ize. You didn’t win tonight but you had a great week and I wish you the very best for the year,” Pliskova said.

“It’s my third time here and I’m en­joy­ing my­self more each year. And thank you to my box — David and (trainer) Martin (Nosko). It’s our first week to­gether so not a bad week, hey guys.”

Czech Karolina Pliskova ham­mers a fore­hand at Alice Cor­net last night and, inset, lifts the Evonne Goolagong Caw­ley Cup. Pic­tures: AAP

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