Karolina Pliskova dodges Dart to reach first WTA final in last 2 years

Pliskova beat Harriet Dart to reach the Transylvania Open finals.

by Claudiu Pop
Karolina Pliskova dodges Dart to reach first WTA final in last 2 years
© Kelly Defina / Getty Images Sport

Former WTA world number one Karolina Pliskova, now ranked 78, reached her first WTA final in the last 2 years and a half after beating Harriet Dart in the semifinals of the WTA 250 Transylvania Open played in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The last time Pliskova played a WTA final was in 2021 at the National Bank Open in Montreal, Canada. At that time, the Czech lost in two sets against Italian Camila Giorgi. Today, Pliskova won in two sets (6-3, 6-3). Before reaching the final, Pliskova also beat Sara Errani, Camila Osorio, and Sinja Kraus.

It's worth noting that Pliskova is yet to lose a set in Transylvania. In the final, Pliskova will meet home favorite Ana Bogdan. „The crowd will be on her side, I will accept that you will stick with Ana. I want the trophy, I haven't won one in a long time,” said Pliskova after booking her place in the final.

How did Pliskova's duel against Dart unfold

Karolina Pliskova facing Harriet Dart at Transylvania Open 2024. © Claudiu Pop / Tennis World USA

Karolina Pliskova started the match strong with a break. At 3-1 for the Czech, Dart conceded her serve once again.

Nevertheless, Harriet responded quickly with a break, making it 4-2. Although shaking on her serve, Dart managed to keep her next service game, but Pliskova kept hers as well. It's 5-3, with Dart set to serve. With even more pressure on her serve, Harriet threw her racket on the floor after Pliskova obtained her first set point.

Needed no more. Karolina ends the first chapter with a 6-3. During the break, Dart cooled off her frustration under a towel. The Czech's characteristic powerful forehands and strong service left Dart helpless in many moments. With the second set afoot, Pliskova kept pressing.

After winning her inaugural service game and breaking Dart's, Pliskova continued playing solid tennis. It's 3-0 and Dart shows no signs of a comeback. Pliskova breaks again. Out of nowhere and following a faulty service game from Pliskova, Dart broke to 0 and won her next service, making it 4-2.

Yet, Pliskova showed that she's in control of the match, holding her serve with a bold 40-0. Fast-forward to 5-3, Dart goes 0-30 on Pliskova's serve but Karolina quickly turned things around and won the game, the set, and the match.

Pliskova to face home favorite Ana Bogdan

Karolina Pliskova will have a tough mission Sunday when she will meet Romanian Ana Bogdan.

As I watched the semifinal in the stadium, I could hear some Romanians joking that Pliskova should stay in her room instead of facing Bogdan.

On her way to the final, Ana Bogdan beat Alycia Parks, Erika Andreeva, Arantxa Rus, and the "Countess" herself Jaqueline Cristian.

Bogdan, however, will enter the final with a disadvantage. She played close to 3 hours in her semifinal match against Cristian. "It was an intense match where we both played well. Jaqueline is in great progress, she has all the future ahead of her.

I'm glad that I managed to overcome some of my moods during the match and because I'm in the final here, where I wanted very much," said Bogdan. "All I want is to recover, rest and enjoy this moment that I have been waiting for four years.

I am very happy to be here and to be back on the court tomorrow."

Ana Bogdan© Morgan Hancock / Getty Images Sport

Also, Pliskova looks eager to climb up the rankings. "I've lost a few points in the rankings, so I'd like to get back into the top 30 or 20 so I can get better shots at the bigger tournaments, and we'll see from there," said Pliskova.

"I've also dealt with some injuries, so the goal is always to be healthy, because once you have injuries, it's more complicated and you don't enjoy it as much. So that's the goal for this year. I'm ok now, but it's also about age, at my age you can never be 100%, but I'm doing my best to be there," continued Pliskova.

Read more: Karolina Pliskova makes very important announcement amid rough 2023 season. As an interesting fact, the two tennis players who will compete in the Transylvania Open final are the same age, 31 years old. Read more: Karolina Pliskova shares retirement, motherhood plans.

Karolina Pliskova Harriet Dart