In a rain-hampered match, Karolina Pliskova ended the hopes of Simona Halep returning to the No. 1 ranking Thursday night in Miami. The Czech knocked out Halep winning 10 of the last 11 games from 5-3 down in the first set for a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Halep, who had beaten Pliskova in 7 of 10 meetings, would have returned to No. 1 with a win, and also reached her first Miami final.
Instead, after enduring numerous rain delays, Pliskova finished off the Romanian at 1:14am.
“I think I played great the second set,” Pliskova said to the media, in her post-match press conference. “Of course I think [Halep] could maybe do a little bit better. Maybe she was of course frustrated about the first set where it didn’t really go her way. I played some good shots, and it turned after the break. But, yeah, that’s how it is, and I’m happy with my level.”
In the final, Pliskova will bid for her Miami title and first at the Premier Mandatory level against the surpising Ash Barty who overcame an early defciit to beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3.
“I think [Barty] has a completely different style than these girls which I played,” Pliskova said. “She’s also trying to go for some winners. She has a slice backhand, she has a good serve, so she can move pretty well on the court, so she understands the game well, I think.
“So it’s going to be not only about me this time, which actually now a lot of matches were about me more. So I need to accept when she’s playing well, and I know I can beat her.”
The 22-year-old Barty, who had never made even a Premier Mandatory quarterfinal, was thrilled with the big result
I’m so proud of myself and my team for trusting the process and enjoying the journey,” Barty said. “I think we have had some amazing opportunities on the court to do some pretty special things.
“I think now we have another opportunity in a couple days’ time to go out there and try and play a really good match. Obviously it’s another chance at a title. Really excited to be in this position.”
Pliskova and Barty has split four prior meetings. The Czech, seeking a 13th career title, has won six of her last seven finals.
Barty, who will crack the Top 10 on Monday, will bid for a 4th career win.
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