This Brisbane International quarterfinal match between Roberta Vinci and Karolina Pliskova was a one to look out for in the schedule as it would be an exciting match with both players having contrasting styles of tennis. Pliskova, the 2016 US Open finalist, is a big server and an offensive-minded player, whereas Vinci, the 2015 US Open finalist, is a player who likes to use her slices to trouble her opponents and turning defense into offense. The result turned out to be the unexpected one, as the Czech defeated the Italian for the first time in her career, and progressed to the semifinals of the Brisbane International for the first time in her career.
Vinci runs away with the first set
The Italian started the match perfectly, as she comfortably held her service game with some on-point serves, looking very sharp from the start of the match. Vinci almost let Pliskova take the lead in the third game as she managed to let the Czech take the game to deuce twice, but failed to get a break point opportunity all the while.
Pliskova would rue the great chance as she was immediately broken on her serve after Vinci troubled the big server with sliced return shots and hit a forehand return winner on break point to take the lead and put herself in an advantageous situation to take the first set. Pliskova threatened to break back immediately, but Vinci held her nerves to save the break point and hold her serve to keep her lead intact. Vinci’s serve once again looked vulnerable as Pliskova earned another four break points, but unforced errors cost Pliskova greatly as she threw away all the break points to allow Vinci to have a 5-2 lead. The Czech managed to extend the set by holding her serve despite saving a set point. It proved to be just a consolation game as the Italian closed out the set how she started it, with a comfortable hold of serve after 38 minutes.
Pliskova fights back
The Czech seemed much sharper in the second set, and her serve was more accurate and consistent. Missing four break points in the first set, her hard work finally paid off as she earned her first break of service after Vinci crumbled in her service game. Vinci had a chance to break back immediately in the next game as she got to a 0-30 lead in the return game, but Pliskova hit two aces in a row to dismiss any chance of a slip-up. The next game then saw Vinci saving a break point, to prevent Pliskova from running away with the set. Another tight game followed as the Italian earned two break point opportunities to have a chance to return on serve, but once again failed to capitalize on them. The former doubles world number one crumbled to the pressure while serving to stay in the set, losing a 40-15 lead to gift the break and the set to Pliskova which allowed her to level the match.
Pliskova runs off with victory
Vinci had the perfect start to the final set as she broke Pliskova’s serve with some wonderful sliced returns to start the set with. With the confidence after the break of service and using her experience, Vinci held her serve to consolidate the break despite being down 0-40 in her service game. Pliskova seemed to have got through the negative effect on her mindset on the missed break points in that game as she soon went back on serve after winning the last eight of the 10 ten points. The nightmare continued for Vinci when she got broken for a second straight time despite having a 40-15 lead, to give the Czech a 4-2 lead which put her in a good position to reach the semifinals. Pliskova ended the match perfectly, winning eight of the last nine points to clinch the match in straight sets and earn her first victory over Vinci.
Next up for Pliskova
Pliskova next faces Elina Svitolina, who upset the world number one Angelique Kerber in her quarterfinal match. The Czech has a 4-0 head-to-head record lead over the Ukrainian, which means that Pliskova is the heavy favorite there. Nevertheless, Svitolina has been playing her best tennis and would want to earn her first victory over Pliskova to start the year with.