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Pliskova locks up fourth SF spot

10 January 2020, by

Karolina Pliskova has made it a clean sweep for seeds in the Brisbane International quarter-finals, holding out American Alison Riske on Friday night.

The two-time Brisbane champion’s 7-6(6) 6-3 triumph booked a rematch of last year’s Australian Open semi-final with No.3 seed Naomi Osaka, of Japan.

Her compatriot, No.5 seed Petra Kvitova, will meet US No.8 seed Madison Keys in the other women’s semi-final on Saturday.

It marks the first time four seeds have reached the Brisbane semi-finals since 2014, when the top four seeds Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic battled it out in the final four.

“Always close. I don’t what it is about Alison but I think we always play good tennis,” Pliskova said.

“We have actually similar games so its somehow always a similar game so always some tie-breaks.

“I was lucky this time, she had a couple of set points. But happy that I managed in two sets because it was a really hard match today.”

Pliskova had won seven of her eight encounters with the 19th-ranked Riske and made the quicker start under lights with the early break.

After a crucial hold, in which she saved five break points, Pliskova had the first set within sight.

But the American kept swinging and from 2-5 down she levelled as the Czech’s error count began to rise.

From 4-1 up in the tie-break, Pliskova lost six straight points to gift Riske two set points.

But the Czech quickly stemmed the flow, snatching the tie-break when Riske double-faulted after 66 minutes.

After three early breaks in the second set it was Pliskova who took the reins and capitalised on her opponent’s 11 double faults.

She broke to seal the result to set a fifth showdown with third seed Osaka.

The pair is deadlocked at 2-all in their head-to-head ledger and Pliskova admitted it was not only the crowd looking forward to that showdown.

“Yeah, me too, actually,” she said. “But on the other hand, it’s just normal match.

“It’s the semi-finals so it doesn’t matter who is really there. But I think it can be challenging because we didn’t play for a while.

“So we, last time we played it was in Melbourne last year and it was pretty close, all the matches are always one break in each set.

“So it’s, there’s not many chances because she can serve well, I can serve well, so it’s going to be about couple points.”