WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova withstood a barrage of aces from fellow Czech Lucie Hradecka to take home her first WTA title of the year at the J&T Banka Prague Open.
WTA Staff

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Karolina Pliskova may have been out-aced, but the WTA Rising Star rose up at just the right time to edge Lucie Hradecka in an all-Czech final at the J&T Banka Prague Open.

Pliskova is the ace leader for the season so far - yes, hitting even more aces than Serena Williams. But in the final of her home event on Saturday her opponent, fellow Czech Hradecka, came out serving bombs, 17 of them to be exact. And Hradecka came so close to victory, too - after taking the first set, 6-4, she rallied from 5-2 down to even the second set up at 5-all, just points from her first WTA title.

But Hradecka's long week may have caught up with her at that critical juncture - she had to win three matches in qualies before winning four more main draw matches en route to the final - and the No.1-seeded Pliskova took control then and there, eventually squeaking past her compatriot, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Pliskova was no slouch in the aces department, either - she fired eight of them herself. She now has a WTA-leading 28 match wins this year, two better than the next player on the list, Simona Halep, and she now has four WTA titles, having previously won Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and Seoul and Linz in 2014.

"It was very tough to play a Czech girl in the final in front of a Czech crowd," Pliskova said after the match. "Lucie and I are good friends, we practice a lot together at tournaments, and we played Fed Cup together twice, so we know each other pretty well. I didn't want to beat her, but I had to!

"I'm just happy she was playing really well in the first set. In the second set I was serving at 5-3 and I didn't make it, so I'm happy I could win the second set in the end anyway. In the third set she was playing really fast and serving really well, so it was tough, and I was having some emotions.

"But I'm just happy that I stayed calm in the end and I was able to make it today."

Hradecka is now 0-7 lifetime in WTA finals, finishing runner-up at Bad Gastein in 2008, Strasbourg and Istanbul in 2009, Barcelona in 2011, Québec City in 2012, Strasbourg in 2013 and now Prague in 2015.

The doubles final was played Friday, with two more WTA Rising Stars, Belinda Bencic and Katerina Siniakova, defeating Kateryna Bondarenko and Eva Hrdinova in straight sets for the title, 6-2, 6-2.

For Bencic it was her first WTA title of any kind - Siniakova already had one WTA doubles title.