BRISBANE, Australia: Karolina Pliskova stamped herself as a major contender for the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of France’s Alize Cornet in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday. The third-seeded Czech played almost perfect tennis in the first set, racing through it in just 18 minutes with the shell-shocked Cornet only winning five points. Cornet didn’t get on the board until she held serve in the first game of the second set, which drew almost the loudest cheer of the night from the full house at the Pat Rafter Arena. But while the Frenchwoman recovered in the second set, Pliskova was far too strong and took the match in just 66 minutes on her second championship point.
Pliskova stands at 1.86 metres tall and has one of the most effective serves in the women’s game. She sent down four aces in the first set and three in the second and was able to serve her way out of trouble on the few occasions Cornet was able put any pressure on her. Her groundstrokes were also devastating, often keeping the unseeded Cornet pinned deep in the court. As a result of the win, Pliskova will leapfrog Dominika Cibulkova to become world number five when the next rankings are released on Monday. She will likely be one of the favourites to win the Australian Open and go one better than her runner-up effort to Angelique Kerber at last year’s US Open. — AFP