Karolina Pliskova thwarts Naomi Osaka comeback in high-quality Brisbane clash.

Karolina Pliskova thwarts Naomi Osaka comeback

Pliskova Karolina came back from a set down to win the battle of former world No. 1s, putting an end to Osaka’s return from maternity leave.

Karolina Pliskova stood higher in a duel between two comeback kids, winning her 10th straight victory at the Brisbane International, fighting back from a set down to end Naomi Osaka’s comeback, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Pliskova defeated Osaka following a two-hour, 14-minute fight on Pat Rafter Arena.

“I like these conditions, and I’m happy to be back in Brisbane after a couple of years,” Pliskova said after the match. “I’m glad I started here on a high note. I usually have nice matches. The previous match with Naomi here lasted more than three hours…of course, the opening of the season is always essential.”

“I thought I played quite well; there are still a lot of things to work on, but it was a good start.”

Ironically, Osaka and Pliskova last met in Brisbane in 2020,

The last time the tournament was contested before the COVID-19 outbreak canceled it for the next three years.

Pliskova rallied from a set down to overcome Osaka and win the title, and the former world No 1 was charged with repeating the feat on Wednesday when Osaka similarly stormed through the opening set.

Osaka, fresh off her first win since leaving the tour in 2022 to give birth to daughter Shai, put on a stunning performance to open the match, striking five aces and 13 winners to put herself within striking distance of the third round.

Pliskova was also coming to Brisbane after a layoff, having elected to end her season last fall to recover a left wrist ailment.

“I’ve done this sport for many, many years, so I’m happy to be back,” she stated. “I did some good training for a couple of months, so I think I’m in good shape!”

She came from 0-40 down early in the second set to keep the match square, outrallying Osaka in the next tiebreaker to draw the match at one set apiece.

Pliskova, seeded 16th in Brisbane, struck first in the decider, striking a drop shot and gliding the net behind a solid forehand to break Osaka’s serve and save two more break points to keep her lead and edge within two games of victory.

Pliskova saved her 10th break chance with her 15th ace of the match,

Osaka was unable to draw level as the four-time WTA Ace Leader thundered down her 15th ace of the match to save her 10th break point; a 16th arrived on the way for Pliskova to hold for 5-3.

“Of course, we haven’t played for a while, and you can practice as much as you want, but matches are always just a little bit different,” she remarked.

“I felt like the one game where I lost a bit of focus on my serve, but I really wanted to win so I didn’t have to stay on court too much longer.”

Pliskova, who showed no nerves when it came time to serve for the match, rolled over the finish line with a hold to love, securing a Round of 16 match against either No. 3 seed Jelena Ostapenko or Camila Giorgi.

The high-quality match ended with Pliskova and Osaka separated by one point—101 to 100—and featured a total of 87 wins to only 36 unforced mistakes.

Osaka will have much to build on after hitting 14 aces of her own, but she will have to improve her big-point play after converting only two of 12 break chances on the day.

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