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Pliskova claims her second Brisbane crown

Lesia Tsurenko served for the Brisbane International title before Karolina Pliskova turned the screws to claim her second title on Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday.

Pliskova claims her second Brisbane crown

Lesia Tsurenko served for the Brisbane International title before Karolina Pliskova turned the screws to claim her second title on Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA of Czech Republic plays a forehand against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during the 2018 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA of Czech Republic plays a forehand against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during the 2018 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova has credited Australian coach Rennae Stubbs for rousing her in a 4-6 7-5 6-2 defeat of Lesia Tsurenko to win her second Brisbane International final despite being just two points from defeat.

A courtside pump-up from Stubbs revived a flat Pliskova, who won 13 straight points as Tsurenko went from serving for the championship to trailing in the decider in the blink of an eye.


A rolled ankle in the second game of the deciding set didn't help the unseeded Ukrainian, who was left to ponder what went wrong.

Stubbs' intervention was perfectly timed, with the former doubles champion-turned commentator telling the Czech world No.8 exactly what she needed to hear.

"It's not over ... you know this," she told her.

"You are hitting, not reacting. Hit and go ... I don't care if you lose this match right now, I want to see you do the right thing.

"You know how hard this is going to be for her to close out. She's going to be nervous. Hit it through the middle and then go."

Pliskova then hung on to her serve at 3-5 and watched as Tsurenko made three unforced errors while serving for the match.

An athletic backhand smash winner levelled the match and Pliskova didn't stop there, racing to a 3-0 lead in the deciding set to dash Tsurenko's hopes of a breakthrough top-level title.

The Czech fifth seed enjoyed the victory alongside Stubbs, who has been in her camp since last August providing a tactical and emotional advantage that Pliskova has praised all week.

"Everything was somehow going the other way ... I have to say Rennae helped me quite a bit," she said.

"It was actually that she believed that I can still win it; I felt there is no chance I can win this match."

Tsurenko held sway in the first hour of the contest on Pat Rafter Arena, skipping clear in both sets after the 2017 champion had worked her way back from an early break.

The Ukrainian world No. 27 had not lost a set in reaching her first top-level final and handled the nerves well when ousting favourite Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals.

But it quickly went pear-shaped in the decider, with Tsurenko left asking her own coach what had gone wrong.

Pliskova improved her record in Brisbane to 13-2 and joined Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2016) and Serena Williams (2013-14) as the third woman to win the tournament twice.

AAP


AAP




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