NOTTINGHAM, Great Britain - Karolina Pliskova and Alison Riske emerged victorious after a busy day of quarterfinals and semifinals action to book their spots in the final of the Aegon Open Nottingham.
With rain washing out the day yesterday, players had to complete both rounds on the same day to stay on schedule.
Top seed Pliskova was originally slated to play three matches today - two singles matches and a doubles semifinal with her sister Kristyna Pliskova - but didn't have enough in the tank after singles.
"This morning I was thinking maybe I can have three matches today, with the doubles, but no, then we had to withdraw," Pliskova said after her second match.
"It's been a long time since I played two singles matches, maybe once in years, I don't remember. But it just happened and you have to be ready for it."
Up first for the Czech was Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who was competing at the WTA level for the first time in two years. The Australian didn't show any rust, and despite the defeat she kept the score line narrow 7-6(2), 7-6(7). In fact, she held set points in both sets before Pliskova edged out the victory.
Barty had only positive takeaways from her first WTA tournament since 2014.
"It's nice to know that straight off the bat I can come in and compete with the best in the world," she said. "That's really good, this week's been a massive bonus for us [me and my team]. Being able to get so many matches against quality players has been really good.
"It's been great to be back on court at the WTA level, it's obviously been a while since I played at this level. It's just pleasing to know that straightaway I'm able to come back in and mix right in the fold."
With one match already under her belt, Pliskova flew through her semifinal against No.4 seed Monica Puig in just 54 minutes, 6-2, 6-2. The Puertorrican, who bested Tamira Paszek in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, couldn't keep up with Pliskova's powerful serve; she was unable to break in three chances and allowed nine aces to zoom past unanswered.
"It would be nice to end the week with a win," the Czech said. "So I'm just going to get ready for that. I had a tough day today, so hoping for nice weather tomorrow and even if I don't get the trophy I still think it was a good week on grass, for a first week."
Joining Pliskova in the final of the Aegon Open Nottingham is Riske, the unseeded American who notched back to back wins over Anett Kontaveit and Saisai Zheng to reach her second WTA final of the year.
"My first match was quick, because I knew that if I won I would have to play a second one," Riske said after her semifinal match. "Both players were very tough, I had to be in it to the end. I'm looking forward to the final tomorrow."
Despite an innocuous-looking score of 6-1, 7-5 against Zheng, the American faced almost let slip away the second set. She was up 5-2 and held match point two times as the Chinese player rattled off three straight games to level the score. Riske finally took her third match point, winning after an hour and 26 minutes.
Pliskova leads the head-to-head record against Riske with two wins to one, but their last match came in 2013.
"I think we're both different players from that time," Riske said. "She's always at the top of her game, so I'll look to play my game and put as much pressure on her as I can and see what comes from it."