Round 2. Day 3. Karolina Pliskova

Host Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2018. Round-2. Day-3. Karolina Pliskova

Host. Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2018 / Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
[5] Karolina Pliskova -05- (CZE) def Alize Cornet -39- (FRA) 62 63

Karolina Pliskova is the defending Doha Champion. Last year’s rain-soaked tournament was a scheduling nightmare. Essentially, she won her 8th career title by playing FOUR matches in THREE days.

Like this year, as a top-seed, Pliskova enjoyed a 1st-Round bye in 2017. Because of the incessant rain, she didn’t play her opening match until Thursday, where she defeated World #24 Caroline Garcia in straight-sets.

On Friday, she was forced to play both her Quarterfinal and Semifinal match, giving-up only 2-games to Shuai Zhang, then dispatching World #5 Dominika Cibulkova for the first time.

In the Championship match on Saturday, she dominated Caroline Wozniacki 63 64, earning her first career win over the Dane. It was Karolina’s second of three titles last year, in a season that saw her reach her first Semifinal at Roland Garros and claim the World #1 ranking.

Pliskova v Cornet. Chapters I and II

5-years-ago in Gaungzhou’s Round of 16, Alize Cornet bageled Karolina after capturing the first set in a tie-break.

Last year in the Brisbane Final, Pliskova bageled Cornet in the opening set, before securing the title in two.

Pliskova v Cornet. Chapter III

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Pliskova looked troubled early.

Over the weekend, she was in Prague for the Czech Republic’s Fed Cup victory over Switzerland, but was merely a spectator. Just before play on Saturday, she picked up a virus and was too ill to take the court. Admittedly, she came into Doha depleted, but determined to make her best run at a title defense.

Cornet broke to open the match, then delivered a decisive hold. Uh-oh. However, any concerns over Pliskova’s health were immediately crushed, as the World #5 blew through six straight games to take the opener.

Set-2 was a re-run of the first. Cornet broke to open, then easily held. After trading the next two service games, Pliskova won 5 in-a-row to emerge the victor.

So much for the sniffles.

UP NEXT: [Q] Cici Bellis -48- (USA)

Karolina and Cici just played their first match week-one of the season in Brisbane’s Round of 16. Pliskova won easily 61 61. Common sense says tomorrow’s Round of 16 clash will be an entirely different match.

Karolina has only had 45-minutes on court to get used to Doha’s faster new surface. Meanwhile, Bellis played through qualifying and scored upsets over Daria Kasatkina in Round-1, and World #14 Madison Keys in Round-2. In her match with Madison, the 18-year-old lost the first set 2-6, then only allowed the US Open Finalist 3-games the rest of the way. She’s playing with peak confidence, and is a dangerous opponent if Karolina is still dealing with a lingering illness.

Karolina Pliskova

At 25-years-old, she is your defending Qatar Total Open Champion. Last year, after her victory here in Doha, she went on to reach the French Open Semifinals for the first time, won the title in Eastborne, and became the #1 Player in the World. A Grand Slam Finalist, she reached the championship match of the 2016 US Open, defeating World #1 Serena Williams in the Semifinal; and now owns 9 career WTA Singles title in all. A 2-time Fed Cup Champion, she’s earned a spot in the WTA Finals Singapore two years running, and reached the Semifinals of the year-end championship back in November. Here in Doha for the 5th time, from the Czech Republic – Please welcome 2017 Qatar Total Open Champion and the #5 Player in the World, Karolina Pliskova

Alize Cornet

At 28-years-old, she owns 5 WTA Singles titles and has been ranked as high as #11 in the World. Last year, she started the season in Brisbane, reaching her 11th WTA Singles final; and at Roland Garros, became one of three French women to play-through to the Round of 16 for the first time in 23-years. Remarkably, in 2014 she defeated World #1 Serena Williams three times; and last month, earned her 15th top-10 win by defeating World #8 Caroline Garcia in Brisbane’s 1st-Round. A 3-time Olympian and 2016 Fed Cup Finalist, she’s excited to be back in Doha for the first time in three years. Competing in her 3rd Qatar Total Open, from France – Please welcome, Alize Cornet