WTA Prague: Lucie Safarova makes the finals sending defending champion Karolina Pliskova home
Safarova makes her first final in months | Photo: Pavel Lebeda

It was a battle of the Czechs between second seed Lucie Safarova and third seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the finals. The pair clashed just last week with Pliskova coming up tops in a tight three set affair. The defending champion dropped just three games in her quarterfinal match whereas Safarova was made to work in hers.

It was a bright start by the second seed who found the early break to take the first set. Pliskova was not able to play her brand of tennis as her mini fightback was pegged back by Safarova to force a tiebreak. Eventually, Safarova went on to seal the match to make her first final of 2016.

Safarova too solid for Pliskova

It was sluggish start by the defending champion who immediately found herself facing triple break point. Safarova took advantage to break before consolidating comfortably for a 2-0 lead. Pliskova struggled to get her racket on Safarova’s well placed serves but was hanging on keeping herself within touching distance of the second seed.

Safarova with the early break | Photo: Pavel Lebeda
Safarova with the early break | Photo: Pavel Lebeda

Pliskova got her first opportunity in the sixth game hitting a great volley which Safarova could only help into the net. The defending champion overcooked her shot but had another chance to get the break back. That too slipped away as the second seed maintained her lead for 4-2. Pliskova looked to put pressure on Safarova who was serving for the set at 5-4, but Safarova continued her solid performance to seal the first set 6-4.

Safarova wins the Czech battle in a tiebreak

This time the defending champion got off to a better start carving her first chance to break in the second game. Safarova uncharacteristically hit a double fault to hand the game and a 2-0 lead to Pliskova. The second seed threatened to get the immediate break back but each time Pliskova was able to hit some huge serves to pull away to 3-0.

Pliskova off to a perfect start in the second set | Photo: Pavel Lebeda
Pliskova off to a perfect start in the second set | Photo: Pavel Lebeda

At 4-1, Pliskova put some pressure on Safarova but the second seed hung on trailing 2-4. Pliskova looked to be in control at 40-15 to close out her game for 5-2, but Safarova stepped up and was rewarded with the break back. She went on to level the set 4-4 as the match got tighter. Both women though were holding on to their service games with their big serves coming to their rescue and before long the set went to a tiebreak.

The defending champion let her lead slip away and was not able to play the way she wanted | Photo: Pavel Lebeda
The defending champion let her lead slip away and was not able to play the way she wanted | Photo: Pavel Lebeda

Safarova had chance for the immediate mini break but squandered it with a wasteful shot allowing Pliskova to find the winner. She did went on to draw first blood after the defending champion hit a double fault to give Safarova a 3-1 lead. Pliskova though got it back after Safarova let a shot fly past her thinking it was going out. Safarova however looked to have the edge as she was winning most of the rallies and went 5-3 ahead. Serving at 5-4, the second seed created match points after Pliskova sent her shot wide and went on to duly close out the match 6-4, 7-6 (4),

Safarova gets it done in a tiebreak | Photo: Pavel Lebeda
Safarova gets it done in a tiebreak | Photo: Pavel Lebeda

With that big win, the Czech goes on to face Samantha Stosur in the finals after Svetlana Kuznetsova was forced to withdraw from the other semifinal match up.

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