Karolina Pliskova tipped to go one step bet­ter

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Karolina Pliskova will be hop­ing to go one stage fur­ther and win the Dubai Duty Free Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships ti­tle af­ter fin­ish­ing as run­ner-up to Si­mona Halep last year.

One of the most ex­cit­ing new­com­ers on the WTA Tour, the 23-year-old en­joyed a break­through sea­son in 2015 as she climbed as high as seven in the world rank­ings.

She gave an in­di­ca­tion of what was to come when she reached Dubai af­ter ad­vanc­ing to the fi­nal in Syd­ney and the semi-fi­nals in An­twerp. Once she ar­rived in the UAE Pliskova bat­tled her way to the fi­nal with suc­ces­sive three-set vic­to­ries over for­mer world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, Lu­cie Sa­farova and Gar­bine Mugu­ruza.

She went on to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals in Mi­ami and win her fourth ca­reer sin­gles ti­tle on home ground in Prague.

In Birm­ing­ham, she beat world No. 9 Carla Suarez Navarro be­fore be­ing edged in a third-set tiebreaker in the fi­nal by this year's Aus­tralian Open cham­pion An­gelique Kerber. This sea­son, Pliskova has made a solid start by reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals in Syd­ney where she was stopped again by Halep, and the third round of the Aus­tralian Open.

Last week­end, she was in Fed Cup ac­tion when she al­most sin­gle-hand­edly earned a 3-2 vic­tory over Ro­ma­nia. She not only over­came Halep this time in a three-set thriller, but beat Mon­ica Niculescu in an­other three-set bat­tle be­fore clinch­ing vic­tory for her coun­try in the de­ci­sive dou­bles rubber.

"Karolina Pliskova's per­for­mance against Ro­ma­nia in Fed Cup was as­ton­ish­ing and has left us in no doubt that she will once again be a strong chal­lenger for the ti­tle here," said Colm McLough­lin, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Chair­man, Dubai Duty Free.

"It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how she fares against one of the strong­est fields ever to play in the 16 years of the WTA event, which in­cludes four cur­rent or for­mer world No. 1s and three Dubai cham­pi­ons."

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