Brisbane: Karolina Pliskova said her tough three-set win Sunday over Madison Keys in the final of the Brisbane International tennis tournament was the ideal preparation for next week’s Australian Open.
The Czech World No.2 won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours, seven minutes on the Pat Rafter Arena.
Pliskova’s third Brisbane title in four years and her 16th on the WTA tour stamps her as one of the favourites for the year’s first Grand Slam. The former World No.1 is yet to win a Grand Slam singles title, but she reached the semifinals in Melbourne last year, falling in three sets to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
Pliskova beat Osaka in a marathon three-hour semifinal Saturday night, and the way she backed up to defeat Keys in another gruelling clash Sunday shows she has form and fitness heading into the Australian Open. She said while she still saw the Brisbane International primarily as part of her Melbourne preparations, it was a good tournament to win.
“Especially beating the last two players, Naomi and Madison,” said Pliskova. “I think it always gives you some extra confidence and at least you know which level are you at, so I think it was a great way to start the year. But of course, Grand Slam or any other tournament it always starts on zero, so there’s nobody’s really thinking that, ‘Oh, she won a tournament two weeks ago’. I am confident, but I know that I have to start from zero again,” added Pliskova.
Keys, who reached the US Open final in 2016 on her way to a career-high world ranking of No.7, had a resurgent 2019, winning titles in Charleston and Cincinnati.
She will also fancy her chances at Melbourne Park after coming from a set down to beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals and then pushing Pliskova all the way in the decider.
“I think, obviously, it’s great because you’re playing some really good tennis going into some of the biggest tournaments,” Keys said after the match.