WTA Zhengzhou: Karolina Pliskova downs Petra Martic to lift the trophy

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WTA Zhengzhou: Karolina Pliskova downs Petra Martic to lift the trophy

World no. 2 Karolina Pliskova has become the first player with four WTA titles in 2019, toppling Petra Martic 6-3, 6-2 in Zhengzhou Open final for the crown number 15 overall. Karolina had to play against rain delays and the rival who defeated her four times in the previous five meetings, overcoming an early deficit and dominating in the rest of the encounter to wrap up the week with another title that moves her closer to Ashleigh Barty on the WTA throne.

The Czech served at 71% and fended off two out of three break chances, mounting the pressure on Martic who failed to repeat those numbers, dropping half of the points in her games and getting broken four times from eight opportunities offered to Karolina who has never won four titles in a single season before.

The Croat made the best possible start, firing a forehand return winner in the first game to take an early advantage, missing a chance to go 3-0 up and suffering a break in the fourth game following a grueling rally that Pliskova concluded with a forehand winner to level the score at 2-2.

Karolina fended off a break chance in the seventh game with another perfect forehand placed down the line, delivering a break in the next game when Petra sprayed a forehand mistake, moving in front and closing the opener with a service winner a few minutes later for a 6-3.

Carried by this momentum, Pliskova lost only six points behind the initial shot in set number two, sailing through her service games and breaking at love in game three when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. Karolina brought the next game home with an ace and made another big step towards the finish line with another break in the fifth game.

Serving for the title at 5-2, Pliskova hit four winners to move over the top and stay in contention for the year-end no. 1 spot.