After a week of competitive play at the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal, we're down to the championship match. On Sunday, No.4 Karolina Pliskova will face off against Camila Giorgi for the title. 

Pliskova, who had never advanced past the quarterfinals at this event, will have her hands full with Giorgi. Pliskova holds a 5-3 advantage, but Giorgi, the World No.71, won both their matches this year, including a straight-sets victory at the 2020 Tokyo Games late last month. 

How will things play out Sunday? Courtney Nguyen and Greg Garber break it down.

Advantage, Pliskova

Statistics are wonderfully pliable; you can often use them to prove either side of an argument. Consider the case of Karolina Pliskova.

The bare numbers say:

She’s lost to Camila Giorgi twice this year already. Yes, on the grass in Eastbourne and the hardcourts of the Tokyo Olympics, the result was the same. A Pliskova defeat.

It says here that Sunday’s Omnium Banque Nationale presente par Rogers final will be different. No one is playing better tennis than the 29-year-old from the Czech Republic. And the No.4 seed isn’t buying into the narrative about her troubled recent history with Giorgi.

In her post-match press conference Pliskova was asked if she had any concerns regarding her two potential opponents.

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karolina pliskova
CZE
More Head to Head
55.6% Win 5
- Matches Played
44.4% Win 4
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camila giorgi
ITA

“No, no, not really,” she said quickly. “But, of course, I know I’ve been losing to them this year. Everybody knows that. It’s a final. We never played in a final.

“I suppose it’s also like a different match in the final than it is in the first or second round. I mean, I have nothing to lose. They both beat me. I believe I’m playing quite solid this week here. Maybe third time is going to be lucky in the final this year.”

Maybe luck won’t have anything to do with it.

Here’s a snapshot of Pliskova’s past six weeks:

  • Blasted her way into her second major final, defeating Aryna Sabalenka in a memorable semifinal at the All England Club before falling to world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in three sets.
  • Reached the round of 16 in Tokyo before losing to Giorgi.
  • In Montreal, defeated Donna Vecik, Amanda Anisimova, Sara Sorribes Tormo – and Sabalenka, who came in with a WTA-high 38 match wins, for the second time in five weeks.

Pliskova has won 12 of 14 matches and is playing a fierce and forceful brand of tennis. In wildly windy conditions, she dispatched Sabalenka 6-3, 6-4. While Sabalenka was constantly losing her grip (so to speak) and smashing her racket, Pliskova was steady, giving in to only the occasional eye roll following an errant shot. Her serve was terrific; there were 10 aces and only two double faults and she won 78 percent of her first-serve points. Her return game was just as sharp. Pliskova broke Sabalenka’s serve four times.

Pliskova, in her own words, was simply super solid.

“Just did everything what I was supposed to do to win this match,” she said. “I kind of accepted maybe it’s not going to be the nicest way how I win this match. So I didn’t try to go for, like, crazy winners. I think maybe she went for too much today, that’s why she was missing so much.”

That’s just how it will go in Sunday’s final. – Greg Garber

Advantage, Giorgi

Camila Giorgi is a confidence player and she sees no reason why she shouldn't walk away on Sunday with the biggest title of her career. Not only has the Italian won 15 of her past 19 matches, but she also defeated Pliskova twice during that span on two different surfaces. The Czech may lead the head-to-head 5-3, but Giorgi knocked her out of Eastbourne in three sets en route to the semifinals and then ended Pliskova's Olympic bid in Tokyo, winning 6-4, 6-2.

On her way to her first WTA 1000 final, Giorgi, 29, had ousted three tough seeds in Elise Mertens, Petra Kvitova and Coco Gauff. Until Jessica Pegula was able to take her to a third set in Saturday's semifinal, Giorgi had not lost a set all week. Giorgi credits her consistent play over the past few weeks to tactical work that she has done with her father.

"We did some changes of the game," Giorgi said. "More tactical, more strategy.

"I think now I'm playing better. I know better how to choose the shots, when I need a little bit to slow down, decelerate. It's more variation in my game I think. This is very important."

Giorgi also credits her ability to play more tournaments this season. Since the start of Rome, she has been able to pack in nine tournaments over 15 weeks.

"I think it's the first time I don't have interruption," Giorgi said after her quarterfinal win over Gauff. "I have [consistency]. I play many, many tournaments now in this year without stopping. So I think this is the key.

"I didn't have [this] in other years. I think I always had some issue physically or injury or something. So I think now I'm playing my game really."

The book on Giorgi has always been to get her moving, change the rhythm and be patient, knowing that her brand of all-or-nothing hitting could not be sustained over the course of a match. That tactic has clearly proven unsuccessful in Montreal, where Giorgi's baseline game has held up and been dominant over five matches. 

"Giorgi, I think she goes for, like, crazy winners," Pliskova said. "If she's on and if she's playing well, you can see she's beating quite easy top players."

With Giorgi showing no signs of slowing down, can Pliskova come up with a plan to beat her? It's a tough task. -- Courtney Nguyen