The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Road to Rogers Cup: Karolina claims the title in Rome

May 19, 2019

Karolina Pliskova claimed a third clay court title of her career as she won the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Sunday with victory over Britain’s Johanna Konta in Rome. The Czech, ranked No. 7 in the world and favourite heading into the final, showed tremendous ruthlessness to beat her opponent 6-3, 6-4.

Despite overcoming the likes of seventh-seed Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and winner of the recent Madrid Open Kiki Bertens on her way to the final, Konta was unable to repeat her fine form against Pliskova, falling to a 3-0 deficit early in the first set.

Once the 27-year-old had that advantage, it was always unlikely she would give it up – and within the blink of an eye she had claimed the first set 6-3.

Pliskova, who had avoided any seeded players en route to the final but did have to get past Victoria Azarenka and Sofia Kenin, showed no signs of nerves in the second set. The Czech put on an outstanding service performance, methodically picking off Konta at the opportune moments.

She had to show some patience, though. In the seventh game of the second set Pliskova cut a frustrated figure after botching three break points on Konta’s serve. She made no such mistake on the fourth, firing to Konta’s left with the Brit scrambling across the court in sheer desperation.

From there on in, it all seemed a formality. After a slightly shaky next game on her own serve, Pliskova regained her poise to see out the match and win the Italian Open at Foro Italico, claiming her 13th career title in the process.

(Feature photo: Internazionali BNL d’Italia)