World No.8 Karolina Pliskova has made a strong statement to kick off her Australian summer, after she overcame a major scare to claim her second Brisbane International title from fearless Ukrainian, Lesia Tsurenko.
Pliskova will seek her 12th title when she takes on Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine - who stunned Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4 earlier in the day - in Sunday's final.
Tsurenko was 4-0 in her previous WTA finals.
After the match, Osaka chose to withdraw from the super strong Sydney International where she should have been the third seed behind Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, deciding to take a week off and reset her game before the start of the Australian Open where she is among the favorites for the title. She said after the match that she didn't know how to cope once things started to go against her.
Tsurenko went on the attack, earned another two match points with a volley victor and clinched it with the second of those.
The Czech fifth seed was able to celebrate with Stubbs, who has been in her camp since last August providing a tactical and emotional advantage that Pliskova has praised all week.
"You raised your level so much, I'm a fan of your tennis".
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Osaka, who withdrew from next week's Sydney International, said Saturday's experience was better than winning in Brisbane as she gears up for the Australian Open later this month. "So I think like that was sort of my main problem today".
"I was sulking a little bit, and like there are moments that I tried not to do that, but then the ball wouldn't go in, and then I would go back to being, like, childish and stuff. I've played some good matches (against Lesia Tsurenko)", Pliskova said after the win.
"Felt very good physically and, tennis-wise, I think it was flawless", Nishikori said.
The 29-year-old second seed gave his French opponent no chance as he put on a commanding all-court display to advance to the final for the second time in three years.
The 2017 Brisbane International victor claimed 14 of 15 points to force a deciding set, with Stubbs encouraging her to show more emotion. "I felt like I was too fast on the court today (Saturday)..."
"Physically and tennis-wise I think it was flawless".