The 27-year-old Karolina Pliskova has been one of the players to beat in the first three months of the new WTA season, kicking off the action with the title in Brisbane and continuing to play on a high level. Following the semi-final run at the Australian Open, Karolina advanced into the last eight in Dubai and Indian Wells, delivering even better tennis in Miami to compete in the biggest final since the US Open 2016.
There, the young Aussie Ashleigh Barty proved to be too strong, beating Pliskova 7-6, 6-3 to win the biggest title in a career and leave the tired Czech empty-handed. After the encounter, Pliskova praised the opponent who outplayed her on the court, also mentioning the tiredness and the lack of more free points from serve that cost her the better result.
Despite the loss, Karolina is happy with the way she performed in the first three months, hoping to carry that form to clay and extend the solid streak. "I think Ashleigh played well. 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 were completely different than what I have played during the night matches. I was not playing the best tennis, not serving at my best and I could have played better for sure.
She just went for it in the tie break, playing some good shots. The first set was the key to the match because I was feeling exhausted from maybe like the fourth, fifth game. If I had won a set, that could have changed the things on the court for me, as I was unable to fight in the second when she improved her game.
The conditions were maybe a little bit slower and that worked her way because she had time to play the slice and run around her forehand. At some points, I was able to put some pressure on her with some good shots although I needed to serve better to chase the win.
I think she has a dangerous game, playing the slice on the backhand, and then she can put a lot of pressure with the forehand. I always thought she serves good and it didn't surprise me. Overall, I will take positive notes, I thought I could have gone further at Indian Wells and it was much better here reaching the final.
Of course, I would have loved to take the title but I think I played some good matches. I managed to beat Simona Halep, something I couldn't do that often in the past and I had great first three months of the season, happy with the way I played."