Karolina Pliskova stamped herself as a major contender for the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of France’s Alize Cornet in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.
The third-seeded Czech played almost perfect tennis in the first set, racing through it in just 18 minutes with the shell-shocked Cornet only winning five points.
Cornet didn’t get on the board until she held serve in the first game of the second set, which drew almost the loudest cheer of the night from the full house at the Pat Rafter Arena.
But while the Frenchwoman recovered in the second set, Pliskova was far too strong and took the match in just 66 minutes on her second championship point.
Pliskova said she felt in control from the moment she got on court.
“I didn’t miss almost the whole first set,” she said. “Yeah, I was feeling pretty good today.”
Pliskova stands at 1.86 metres tall and has one of the most effective serves in the women’s game.
She sent down four aces in the first set and three in the second and was able to serve her way out of trouble on the few occasions Cornet was able put any pressure on her, winning 91 per cent of her first serves.
“She’s serving really, really well,” Cornet said. “I played Serena a few times, and I was always able to return a first serve.
“Against Karolina, it’s impossible to read it. That’s the toughest thing ever. She has always the same toss. She just guides it with the wrist wherever she wants.”
Pliskova’s groundstrokes were also devastating, often keeping the unseeded Cornet pinned deep in the court.
Cornet said Pliskova’s experience in big finals was telling.
“She has a little bit more experience at this stage in this kind of a tournament,” Cornet said.
“She started the match really strongly, returning well, serving very, very well, making a lot of aces and being super-aggressive.
“I was a little bit tense, but I think she didn’t give me a chance to get back in the match. She was just too good for me tonight.”
As a result of the win, Pliskova will leapfrog Dominika Cibulkova to become world number five when the next rankings are released on Monday.—AFP