PLISKOVA SHINES IN WIN OVER VONDROUSOVA TO REACH MIAMI OPEN SEMIFINALS
By Tucker Verdi
Miami Gardens, FL — No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova is on her way to the semifinals of the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itaú after defeating 19-year-old compatriot Marketa Vondrousova, 6-3, 6-4. She will now play in her second Miami Open semifinal following an appearance in 2017.
Accounting for two of the three Czech quarterfinalists this year — the other being Petra Kvitova — the match paired two players who were born a little more than 60 miles from each other in a country of just over 10,000,000 people. The landscape of their clash is far different from the one they grew up in — the cool yet humid evening in South Florida providing the backdrop for their matchup 5000 miles from home.
Pliskova, a former World No. 1 and the 2016 US Open finalist, slowly and meticulously worked on her game before bursting onto the scene at age 24 with that US Open run, during which she defeated top-ranked Serena Williams. Vondrousova is finding success even earlier than her opponent, and had a chance to reach her maiden Premier Mandatory semifinal with a win.
Pliskova, however, overwhelmed Vondrousova from the start. Her power from the baseline was too much for the smaller of the two Czechs, with Vondrousova’s effort appearing futile at times in the first set. Vondrousova’s first serve also let her down immensely as she only landed them 46 percent of the time.
The second, however, got off to a much different start. Vondrousova appeared laser-focused and had shaken off the frustration of the first set. She broke Pliskova to open up a 3-0 lead in the set. As has been the case throughout this entire thrilling 2019 tournament, though, Pliskova was not going to allow Vondrousova to force a decider. She regained her composure and imposed her will over her less-experienced countrywoman, winning six of the next seven games to take the set and match — including holding from 15-40 down while serving for the match.
Pliskova will now take on No. 2 seed Simona Halep in the semifinals, both of them seeking their first appearance in the Miami Open women’s singles final. Halep has the added incentive of playing for the World No. 1 ranking, which she will regain if she beats Pliskova to reach the championship match. Pliskova can also rise in the rankings, leaping up to the No. 2 spot if she manages to capture the title.