Tennis Karolina Pliskova claims her second Brisbane International crown


Karolina Pliskova has won her second Brisbane International, overrunning Lesia Tsurenko 4-6 7-5 6-2 after being just two points from defeat.

A courtside pump-up from Australian coach Rennae Stubbs revived Pliskova, who won 13 straight points as Tsurenko went from serving for the championship to trailing in the decider in the blink of an eye.

A rolled ankle in the second game of the deciding set didn’t help the unseeded Ukrainian, who was left to ponder what went wrong.

The Czech fifth seed was able to celebrate with Stubbs, who has been in her camp since last August providing a tactical and emotional advantage that Pliskova has praised all week.

“Brisbane is my favourite tournament … I have great memories here and always like to start the year here,” Pliskova said.

“Thanks to my team; I would not be here without them … half of the trophy, it’s yours.”

Tsurenko held sway in the first hour of the contest on Pat Rafter Arena, skipping clear in both sets after the 2017 champion had worked her way back from an early break.

The Ukranian world No. 27 had not lost a set in reaching her first top-level final and handled the nerves well when ousting favourite Naomi Osaka in the semifinals.

But, following Stubbs’ emotional and tactical address, three unforced errors and a stretching Pliskova backhand smash at 4-5 changed everything.

No sooner was Pliskova on level terms and when the former world No.1 flattened a backhand down the line for a 3-0 lead in the decider her opponent was left asking her own coach what had gone wrong.

“Congratulations to Karolina, it was an amazing final,” Tsurenko said.

“You raised your level so much, I’m a fan of your tennis.”

Pliskova improved her record in Brisbane to 13-2 and joined Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2016) and Serena Williams (2013-14) as the third woman to win the tournament twice.

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