Karolina Pliskova started out the Miami Open final against Ashleigh Barty up a break, but soon saw the match get away from her, losing to the 22-year-old Australian, 7-5(1), 6-3. As Barty regained her confidence, she seemed to get the better of Pliskova, leaving her winded and tired.
Karolina Pliskova spoke about her condition in the press conference afterwards. “I think [Barty] played well, for sure. I think it's a pity or unlucky that I didn't hold the serve a little bit longer because I was up a break, and she quite gave me a lot of mistakes in the beginning, which I think she didn't after.
“And I was tired, super tired. And also, the conditions completely different than what I have played the night matches. So of course I was not playing the best tennis. I was not serving the best. “And then the tiebreak, she just went for it.
She played some good shots. So I think the first set was, you know, the key of the match, because I was feeling very tired from maybe like fourth, fifth game. So if I have a set for me would be maybe different. So was somehow tough to fight in the second”.
The 27-year-old Pliskova seemed to have difficulty recovering from her night match two nights before. The world No. 7 discussed how she felt starting out the final. “Yesterday horrible. Today a little bit better. But still not of course the best.
“Also, I think the experience to not play a day match was also, you could see a little bit, because she played some day matches. She played some doubles, also. So that was a little bit, you know, the difference, I think, also, at some points.
“Of course it's, you know, I went to sleep at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. Yeah, I felt it”. Ashleigh Barty is 22-year-old, one of several young players who have achieved breakthrough wins recently, including 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu, who just won at Indian Wells.
Pliskova was asked about this crop of young stars on the WTA circuit. “I think they are playing just good tennis. You know -- who won Indian Wells? Yeah. No, I think they are going for it. They don't have the pressure which maybe the other players they have”.
Getting to the finals in Miami was part of a highly successful run for the talented Czech player, who achieved her 12th WTA title in Brisbane at the beginning of the year, got to the semis at the Australian Open, and both quarterfinals at Dubai and Indian Wells, in addition to making the Miami Open final.
Come Monday, Karolina Pliskova will crack the Top 5 again, and will become the new world No. 4. Despite the loss on Saturday, the finalist appearance caps off a terrific hard court season in the first quarter of the year.