Pliskova Storms Into Kuala Lumpur Final

Karolina Pliskova advanced to her first WTA final with a 60 62 win over No.4 seed Ayumi Morita in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Published March 02, 2013 03:58

Pliskova Storms Into Kuala Lumpur Final
Karolina Pliskova

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Karolina Pliskova continued her imperious form at the BMW Malaysian Open with a quick-fire win over Ayumi Morita in Saturday's semifinals.

Prior to this week, Pliskova had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a WTA event, but she looked far from overawed against No.4 seed Morita, taking just 17 minutes to race through the opening set.

Morita eventually got her name on the scoreboard midway through the second, but by that stage it was merely a case of damage limitation, Pliskova breaking once more to complete a 60 62 victory.

"It's a good feeling for me, but I am already now looking towards the final," Pliskova, who is yet to drop a set this week, said. "I played Ayumi a few years ago and I lost, but I played well. This time I played very well again and, although I'm happy, I'm a little surprised it was that easy.

"Overall I'm happy with my form and the week so far, but I still think I can play better and I will need to in the final"

There she will face wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who reached her fourth WTA final with a 64 61 victory over No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The pair's only previous encounter came last year in Linz, where Mattek-Sands ran out a winner in straight sets.

"Bethanie is a good player, so I can expect a difficult match, that's for sure," Pliskova added. "To reach the final she has played well so I too will need to play well in order to win.

"I played against her once, last year, and I lost. I think it will be a good match and I will just try to play my game."

Unlike Pliskova, Sunday's final will not be a journey into the unknown for Mattek-Sands.

The American, who after an injury-riddled past few years is down at No.197 in the rankings, has finished runner-up on three occasions, most recently two years ago in Hobart.

On another stiflingly hot day in the Malaysian capital, Mattek-Sands' trademark net-rushing tactics had Pavlyuchenkova chasing shadows from the first point until the last.

"I would say that if Bethanie carries on playing like that her singles ranking can definitely get back to the Top 30 or Top 20," Pavlyuchenkova said. "I felt drained the whole day and could not move around the court as freely as I would have liked, although she definitely made it difficult for me in these conditions too."

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