Karolina Pliskova to meet Simona Halep in Italian Open final
The top two seeds will duel for the title in Rome on Monday
Last Updated: 21/09/20 9:15am
Karolina Pliskova has progressed into the Italian Open final and will meet Simona Halep, as she bids to retain her title on Monday.
Pliskova, the second seed played a focused semi-final and beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4, while Halep needed two hours and 14 minutes to prevail over Garbine Muguruza 6-3 4-6 6-4.
The two players know each other well after meeting three times in 2019 and having played each other 11 times in total.
Halep leads the head-to-head with seven victories to four and will hope it is third time lucky in the championship match, having lost to Elina Svitolina in both the 2017 and 2018 finals.
Pliskova spent 82 minutes on court against Vondrousova and came into the semi-final off the back of a 6-3 3-6 6-0 result against Elise Mertens.
The 28-year-old started strongly and quickly found the rhythm that she'd shown against Mertens. A 4-1 lead was just reward for her work and Vondrousova couldn't find a weakness in her opponent's game.
Vondrousova stayed mentally tough though, and showed her determination by breaking Pliskova at the start of the second set and again when Pliskova had created a 4-2 advantage.
As the set moved into its latter stages, she just wasn't able to handle Pliskova's game and was broken for a final time at 5-4.
The other semi-final between Halep and Muguruza saw the top seed extend her winning streak to 13 matches.
The Romanian began brilliantly and when she led 6-3 4-2, looked to be on course for a straightforward victory. Muguruza had other ideas and duly reeled off four games in a row.
The Spaniard had heavy strapping on her left thigh and as the tussle continued, Halep looked physically stronger.
She moved into a 5-1 lead in the decider before being broken twice while serving for the match. Muguruza was unable to level the deciding set and her disappointment was obvious as she served back-to-back double faults to end the match.
"I feel confident now that I was able to win this match," Halep said on the WTA's website.
"I know I had so many chances to maybe finish it a little bit faster and easier, but as we saw, she doesn't give up. I'm happy that I was a little bit stronger and I was more aggressive when I needed to be."