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Down match point, Pliskova rises to the occasion to defeat Osaka

Down match point, Pliskova rises to the occasion to defeat Osaka

Karolina Pliskova was forced to dig deep in order to keep her title defense alive. The Czech will next face Madison Keys a Top 15 opponent she has yet to face.

In a match that saw no breaks of serve until the third set, world No. 2 Karolina Pliskova prevailed over world No. 3 Naomi Osaka in the Brisbane semifinal on Saturday. The world No. 2 used her power game and consistency to ultimately break down the two-time Grand Slam champion, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2. 

The defending champion rallied back from match point down at 6-5 in the second set to avenge her Australian Open semifinal loss to Osaka last year.

“Today was one of the best matches I’ve played on this court," said Pliskova in her on court interview. "I just kept fighting and it paid off."

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Next up for the  27-year-old Czech is Madison Keys, who clawed her way back to overcome Petra Kvitova.

"She's the last top player I've never played," Pliskova said. "I think it's great that there's still someone I've not played."

Keys is playing some of her best tennis in Brisbane and she's showing no signs of slowing down. She may have lost her first set of the tournament but she managed to pull out a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Kvitova and punch her ticket into the Brisbane final.

Keys pushed the momentum in her direction after breaking Kvitova to go up 5-3 in the third set. Although the two-time Wimbledon champion kept the pressure on by running down balls, Keys continued to dig deep and used her aggressive baseline game to push through. 

It's been a successful week for the 24-year-old American, who defeated Samantha Stosur, Danielle Collins and now the No. 5 seed. 

The world No. 13 will look to capture her sixth WTA title and her first since last August, where she dismissed Svetlana Kuznetsova for the Cincinnati crown.