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Tennis: Pliskova wary of ‘aggressive’ Lisicki in Hong Kong Open final

The height of Karolina Pliskova (pictured) will take on the might of Sabine Lisicki in the Prudential Hong Kong Open final. Photo: Halo Studio.

The height of Karolina Pliskova (pictured) will take on the might of Sabine Lisicki in the Prudential Hong Kong Open final. Photo: Halo Studio.

September 13, 2014: Top seed Sabine ‘Boom Boom’ Lisicki will meet third seed Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open after each player needed three sets to win entertaining semi-finals on Saturday.

 

Lisicki, last year’s Wimbledon finalist, eventually overcame a tiring Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to set up a showdown with Pliskova, the tall Czech who earlier survived a rollercoaster clash with Alison Van Uytvanck before winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

 

Lisicki – who broke the WTA’s record for fastest serve in July – cut a delighted figure at Victoria Park Tennis Centre after beating Schiavone, the 34-year-old Italian who won the French Open in 2010 before finishing runner-up to Li Na the following year.

 

“It was an entertaining and fun to match to play. She’s a great fighter and returns a lot of balls,” said the 24-year-old Lisicki, who’s seeking her fourth WTA career title, but her first since August 2011.

 

“When I was down 2-1 in the final set, I got fired up. I really wanted to win and get into the final. I think I’ve played pretty well this week and improved from match to match.”

 

Lisicki has already beaten Pliskova twice this year, at Madrid and Wimbledon, in their only career meetings, but played down the significance of past results.

 

“She’s serving really well and I have to be aware of that and take the weapon away from her by returning well, but also not forget to serve well myself,” she said. “It’s going to be tough, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

 

Pliskova’s worst fears were realised when the German won, after earlier declaring who she would rather face in the final.

 

“I would prefer to play against Francesca because she’s not really aggressive like Lisicki, who’s serving really well and really fast,” said the six-foot one-inch Pliskova. “I wouldn’t say there’s no chance, but it’s going to be hard to win.”

 

After two losses to Lisicki, Pliskova is hoping to make it third time lucky on two fronts, having been beaten by Ekaterina Makarova and Eugenie Bouchard at WTA finals in Pattaya and Nuremberg earlier this year.

 

“I’m really happy to be in the final and I’ll do my best to win it,” said Pliskova, who won her first and so far only WTA title at last year’s Malaysian Open. “It’s my third final this year and I would like to win at least one title this year.”

 

Pliskova stormed through the first set against Van Uytvanck before the red-headed Belgian fired back by winning the second, showing the form that helped her knock out second seed Daniela Hantuchova on Thursday night.

 

Van Uytvanck broke Pliskova in the first game of the decider and was serving at 4-3 before the Czech broke back. Pliskova then had to save two break points on her own serve from 15-40 before making it 5-4, finally securing the match with her second break of the set.

 

“She was making quite a lot of mistakes at the beginning, as I think she was a little bit nervous, but the second set started a little bit harder, as she started to serve better,” Pliskova said.

 

“I also started to get mad on my serve, even though I was only one break down. In the third set, I started to calm down and played a little bit better and that’s why I won. Even though she broke me early, I was always close to breaking her serve.”

 

After winning the Malaysian Open in March 2013, Pliskova won the 10th ITF singles title of her career last September in Sanya, China, having already won four ITF titles in Japan. She hopes Asia will again prove a lucky host for her.

 

“I’m always playing good in Asia. Even when I played ITF events, I always did well here. I’m always happy to come back and I’m always playing good here.”

 

For more information, visit: www.hongkongtennisopen.com

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