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Pliskova Conquers rain, reaches final in Birmingham

Karolina Pliskova conquerors rain and Kristina Mladenovic to reach Birmingham final. Mladenovic has been playing like a top-ten player all week.

On a dreary rain interrupted day at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham; a sight many have become accustomed too during the British summer time, the pesky weather didn’t stop Karolina Pliskova from reaching her fourth final of 2015 and her first at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham- beating the giant slaying Kristina Mladenova 6-2 7-6 (6).

Pliskova conquers rain; reaches final in Birmingham

The first rain plagued match of the day was contested by #6 seed Karolina Pliskova and unseeded Kristina Mladenovic. Despite entering the draw without a seeding, Mladenovic has been playing like a top-ten player all week, knocking out #5 seed Eugenie Bouchard in the second round and #1 seed Simona Halep in the quarter-finals, an impressive feat for the world #43.

Karolina Pliskova, seeded #6 at this year’s tournament has also been playing fantastic tennis all week, her hard-hitting brand of tennis has kept the world #12 flying under the radar, however her QF win over #3 seed Carla Suarez Navarro bumped her up to ‘dark horse’ territory, and with a serve and forehand as big as hers it’s no wonder the Czech player is currently sitting at 7th in the ‘Road to Singapore’ rankings and looking like a real threat ahead of Wimbledon.

With Pliskova’s sheer power the first set was completely one-way traffic. The Czech came flying out of the blocks, racing out to an early 3-1 lead before play was suspended for over an hour due to heavy rain. Once both players returned to court Pliskova continued like they’d never stopped playing, breaking her French opponents serve for the second time to lead 5-1. Despite the first set getting away from her Mladenovic showed her fight with some gutsy play to hold serve, forcing her opponent to serve out the set, with Pliskova ultimately serving out to love for a 6-2 score line.

Once the second set commenced and Mladenovic held her opening service game the heavens opened once more, both players were taken off court for the second time for 25 minutes before play finally resumed. Mladenovic finally started landing her shots allowing her an early 2-0 lead, it wasn’t long lived as the Czech broke straight back. With both players continuing to hold serve well into the end of the second set a tiebreak was inevitable.

Mladenovic started the better of the two women in the tiebreak, winning points on her opponents serve with persistent play, forcing errors from her Czech opponent, racing out to a 6-3 lead. Mladenovic’s early advantage wasn’t to be, Pliskova ensured the Frenchwoman wouldn’t win another point, eventually taking the set and the match 6-2 7-6(6).

Despite entering the match with a 0-1 head-to-head record against the Frenchwoman Pliskova produced her best tennis when it counted; “I was shaking. She (Mladenovic) played better in the second set than the first set, and a third set would have been very tough.

Plisokva add; “The end of the match was key. I was trying to stay calm and to centre on every point and to hold serve. My last return was a bit lucky.”

Pliskova is currently having one of her best seasons on tour, winning her home tournament in Prague late April and reaching the Dubai and Sydney final, perhaps it time for Czech tennis to have a new name in lights, one thing is for sure, the Czech player will definitely be one to watch throughout Wimbledon.


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