Source: China State Council Information Office
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia came back from a set down to move past No. 2 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen on Saturday.
Barty had bested Pliskova in three of their five previous meetings, the most recent victory taking place in Miami earlier this year.
A pair of unforced errors from Barty on her opening service would bring it to deuce, but she managed to hold after saving three break points and peppering in an ace.
Pliskova also had a few hiccups on her first service, double faulting but managing to claw her way out of a ditch for a hold to 30 sealed through a spectacular forehand volley from the service line.
The next two service games would both go to deuce, with neither player managing to convert. But it was Barty who began to slip the most, surrendering her first break point through a wide backhand unforced error.
Pliskova kept it clutch on Barty’s service at 2-all, taking her to break point for the third consecutive game. A netted forehand unforced from Barty would hand Pliskova a crucial break as her second service stat fell to an abysmal 30 percent and the Czech went up 3-2.
Barty would tighten up considerably on second return from there, but it would not be enough to halt Pliskova’s dominating forehand. With Pliskova serving for the set at 5-4, Barty managed to create a break point off a netcord winner, but it came naught after a perfect cross-court baseline shot from Pliskova. The Czech sealed the opening set in 48-minutes, firing off 12 winners on 77 percent first service shooting.
Each player would hold their opening services of the second, but Pliskova kept the pressure up on Barty, who had to stave off four break points to grind it out and go up 2-1. Pliskova then coughed up a backhand unforced followed by a double fault on her next service to hand Barty an easy break.
Pliskova kept up the pressure, particularly on the forehand side, getting a hold to 15 to go 2-4. Barty then replied with an easy hold to love and ignited an all-court push on Pliskova’s service at 2-5, breaking the Czech with a hookshot forehand winner to end a long rally and force a decider.
Barty dominated Czech’s returning game in the second set. Pliskova coughed up 11 unforced errors on 29 percent first return shooting on the way to dropping the set in 33 minutes.
Each player held their opening services of the third set to 15, and would serve out to 3-2 for Barty. Pliskova then began to cough up netted unforced errors just as Barty really lit up the court, handing the Australian an easy break on a silver platter.
Barty’s run of points continued with a hold to love go up 5-2. Plisvoka then responded with a hold of her own, sealed through a dropshot winner that Barty could not do much with.
Although Pliskova put up a good fight in the dying moments of the match, there was not much she could do in the face of the one-break deficit so late in the set. With Barty serving for it, Pliskova would stave off two match points and fight to deuce, but in the end was powerless to stop the Australian’s march into the finals.
When all was said and done, Pliskova had coughed up 30 unforced errors (20 of them in the second and third sets) on the way to dropping the match in just under two hours.
Barty set up a meeting with defending champion and world No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the final set for tomorrow evening. On court after the match, Barty said that she was looking forward to the upcoming clash.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. I am just going to try and enjoy it and end my regular season really well. It is an opportunity against an extremely tough player who obviously knows how to win these situations. I can’t wait to get back out here,” Barty said. Enditem