Karolina Pliskova 2019

Karolina Pliskova conquers Petra Martic to reach Italian Open final

Former World No 1 Karolina Pliskova battled past Petra Martic to reach her first third successive final at the Italian Open. 

The Czech star recovered from a second set blip to beat the Croatian 6-1 3-6 6-2 in just shy of two hours to book a place in the final, where she will face either Iga Swiatek or Cori Gauff.

Pliskova was ruthless on serve in the first set, losing just three points and winning 83% of first serve points with an 80% first serve percentage.

The second set was more problematic for the 29-year-old, as Martic fought back with two consecutive breaks towards the end of the set to force a decider.

The former World No 1 broke in the first game of the decider before fending off break points to race into a 2-0 lead. Although the Czech was immediately pegged back, she reeled off four consecutive games to book a deserved spot in Sunday’s final.

The Czech has been the most consistent player in Rome over the last few years, lifting the title in 2019 before retiring against Simona Halep in last year’s final. Pliskova has not lost a completed match at the Foro Italico since 2018 (2R, Sakkari).

Despite an impressive display so far this week, Pliskova has hit 22 double faults in her last two matches against Jelena Ostapenko and Martic – something the 29-year-old will need to eradicate should she lift a second Rome title.