BRISBANE, Australia - For the third straight year time, Karolina Pliskova is back in the semifinals of the Brisbane International.
The No.5 seed didn’t have it all her own way on Friday night, but she nonetheless outlasted Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 to book her spot opposite Donna Vekic in the last four.
"It was a very strange match today, but the beginning of the sets was very important," Pliskova said on-court after the match. "I've never had a match like this, but I'm just happy that I'm back in the semifinals."
The former World No.1 hammered 14 aces and 27 winners over one hour and 23 minutes, hitting just 16 unforced errors in a clean performance.
"I felt actually in the beginning not that bad, but I think she was missing so much. I just lost my rhythm a little bit. I was serving well, so there was not many rallies actually tonight," Pliskova added.
The Czech did not face a break point in the final set after dropping serving three times to be extended to a decider, as Tomljanovic looked to score a victory against her for the first time in eight years.
"She improved in the second set and it went very quickly," the Czech added. "I think I was a little bit flat after the first set. She started to improve and stepped into the court. She was more aggressive and she was serving much better.
"I lost the momentum a little bit, the rhythm in the second, and I think she just step in the court a little bit. She tried to be more aggressive, and she was just going for her shots, especially the backhand. She has a great backhand."
Pliskova will square off against Vekic in the semifinals of a Premier event for the second time in the past three months, as she last defeated the Croatian No.1 en route to winning the Toray Pan Pacific Open last fall.
"I think she's playing well here," Pliskova said of Vekic. "I saw a little bit of her match today and we hit before the tournament. Last time we played in Tokyo, it was a three-setter again. It's the semifinals and there are really no easy matches.
"She's a good player. I think she last half year or maybe one year she improved so much, and I feel like she's going more up and up, not only with the ranking but the way she plays. Of course, she's getting a little bit older. I think she was just too young, so she has more experience now.
"In Tokyo, it was a great match, so for sure I'm looking forward to it."