World number four Karolina Pliskova has withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open, succumbing to a hand injury.

Pliskova – a two-time grand slam runner-up and 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist – hurt her hand in a practice session.

The 16-time WTA Tour champion will miss the main draw of the year's opening slam event, which gets underway on January 17, for the first time since failing to progress beyond qualifying in 2012.

"Unfortunately I hurt my right hand in practice yesterday and I won't be able to play in Adelaide, Sydney and Australian Open this year," Czech star Pliskova said.

"I am sad not being able to start my season in Australia and I will miss my Australian fans very much."

Australian Open officials also confirmed Pliskova's absence on Thursday.

"You will be missed, @KaPliskova. Wishing you a speedy recovery," the Australian Open wrote via social media.

Pliskova lost in the Australian Open third round at Melbourne Park earlier this year before falling at the second hurdle at the French Open.

The 29-year-old then reached the Wimbledon decider, trumped by world number one Ash Barty, followed by a quarter-final appearance at the US Open.

World number one Ash Barty will start her 2022 season at the Adelaide International along with eight of the other current 10 top players in the world.

Barty has held top spot in the women's rankings since September 2019 and collected five titles – including Wimbledon – in the 2021 season but missed the French Open with a hip injury.

She also opted to not play in the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico due to coronavirus-enforced quarantine concerns that could disrupt her preparation for the following campaign.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) confirmed on Friday that Barty would begin her 2022 season in Adelaide on January 2, along with defending champion Iga Swiatek, WTA Finals victor Garbine Muguruza and Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova, as the world's elite players prepare for the Australian Open.

The entry list for the WTA 500 tournaments also includes Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Barbara Bencic, who finished runner-up to Swiatek in 2021, former world number one Karolina Pliskova and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez.

The field boasts 12 major trophies between them, but three grand slam winners will kick-start their seasons in Melbourne the day after.

Naomi Osaka, who is aiming to defend her title at the Australian Open, gets her preparations underway in the Melbourne Summer Set.

Two-time major winner Simona Halep and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu will play in the Melbourne Summer Set.

The trio are among 20 of the top 50 ranked players in the world for the two WTA 250 tournaments starting on January 3, with the entry list split between the competitions the week before matches start.

Raducanu will feature in just her eighth Tour-level event, and her fourth tournament since winning her first major, while Osaka will be appearing for the first time since an early defeat in the third round of the US Open to Fernandez.

Karolina Pliskova stayed in the hunt for a place in the last four of the WTA Finals with a 0-6 6-4 6-4 victory over Barbora Krejcikova, though her hopes hinged on Anett Kontaveit defeating Garbine Muguruza later in the day.

World number three Krejcikova did not have a win to her name in Mexico, losing to Kontaveit and Muguruza, but raced into the ascendancy on Sunday as she claimed the first set in just 26 minutes of an all-Czech tussle.

Pliskova, who had won both prior singles meetings between the pair, responded brightly in the second set before Krejcikova broke her fellow Czech's serve to take a 3-2 lead and seemingly edge closer to victory.

However, world number four Pliskova fought back by breaking in consecutive Krejcikova service games to level the match. The contest then teetered in the balance in the decisive set but, despite producing a double fault in the penultimate game, Pliskova downed Krejcikova to maintain hopes of an appearance in the final four in Guadalajara.

Wimbledon runner-up Pliskova won earlier in this tournament against Muguruza, who was set to face Kontaveit later on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Pliskova was sure to be paying close attention to that match. She needed Kontaveit, already through to the last four, to beat Muguruza and that would be enough to confirm the Czech's place in Group Teotihuacan's top two.

However, a win for Muguruza would see the Spanish sixth seed go through alongside Kontaveit, with Pliskova eliminated.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Pliskova – 10/30
Krejcikova – 21/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Pliskova – 11/12
Krejcikova – 4/8

BREAK POINTS WON 

Pliskova – 3/8
Krejcikova – 4/11

Anett Kontaveit stormed into the last four of the WTA Finals by securing a hugely impressive 6-4 6-0 victory over Karolina Pliskova on Friday. 

Estonian eighth seed Kontaveit overcame Barbora Krejcikova in her opening match and became the first player to reach the semi-finals in Guadalajara by racking up a career-best 12th straight win in just 57 minutes. 

Pliskova was victorious in each of the pair's previous three meetings and applied some early pressure but was unable to convert any of the three break points she engineered in game three of the opening set. 

Kontaveit, meanwhile, pounced on her first opening, showing the clinical touch that has seen her pick up recent titles in Moscow and Cluj-Napoca with a winner to take the set. 

The world number eight reeled off the next six games to guarantee a top-two finish in Group Teotihuacan and secure a tour-leading 38th hard-court match win this year. 

Pliskova could yet salvage a place in the semi-finals by overcoming Barbora Krejcikova in her final round-robin match, though.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Kontaveit – 20/16 
Pliskova – 9/18 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Kontaveit – 6/3 
Pliskova – 4/2 

BREAK POINTS WON 

Kontaveit – 4/6 
Pliskova – 0/3 

Karolina Pliskova continued her dominance against Garbine Muguruza with an epic three-set win at the WTA Finals.

Pliskova outlasted former world number one Muguruza 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) as the year-ending WTA Finals got underway in Guadalajara on Wednesday.

The first WTA Finals hosted in Latin America, third seed Pliskova prevailed in a third-set tie-break for her ninth victory over two-time grand slam champion Muguruza – her best professional record against an opponent on Tour.

After a slow start, sixth seed and Spanish star Muguruza finished strongly to claim the opening set of the Group Teotihuacan contest under the Guadalajara lights midweek.

Pliskova – the most experienced player in this year's field with her fourth consecutive Finals appearance – raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and it was an advantage she never relinquished.

The pair went toe-to-toe in the final set as a tie-break loomed after Muguruza saved two match points in the 10th game.

Pliskova, however, was not to be denied as Muguruza lost a third-set tie-break on hard courts for the first time since January 2014.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pliskova – 
Muguruza – 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pliskova – 8/9
Muguruza – 8/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Pliskova – 20/34
Muguruza – 23/33

The 2021 WTA Finals look set to be a fitting end to a fascinating season on the Tour.

The 50th year-ending championships, which will take place in Guadalajara instead of Shenzhen due to coronavirus restrictions, will see eight of the top-10 ranked players come together in two round-robin groups, with four semi-final places up for grabs.

Six of the eight competitors will make their debuts at the event, while only two grand slam finalists from this year – and just one champion – will be present. With world number one Ash Barty withdrawing because of concerns around possible quarantine issues, it really does feel like an open draw.

Stats Perform looks at the eight Finalists and the key data you need to know before the action gets underway...

Group Chichen Itza

Aryna Sabalenka (1)

World number two Sabalenka is the top-ranked competitor in Guadalajara, with 44 match wins this year and titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid, where she beat Barty.

The Belarusian boasts formidable weapons: Sabalenka has won 71.1 per cent of first-serve points and has an average of 8.4 forehand winners per match on the Tour this season, both of which are best figures among the eight Finalists.

She has only played two matches since losing to Leylah Fernandez in the US Open semi-finals, though, both of which were at last month's Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Did you know? Since the start of 2018, Sabalenka has won the joint-most matches (three) in WTA Tour main draws after losing the first set 0-6. At the same time, she is 9-13 in three-set contests in 2021.

 

Maria Sakkari (4)

The nearly-woman of 2021, Sakkari has reached more semi-finals this year (seven) than anyone else on the WTA Tour, including at two of the four slams, but made it to just one final (in Ostrava, where she lost to Anett Kontaveit).

Still, this has been a historic year for the 26-year-old, who became the first Greek woman to reach a major semi-final, enter the top 10 and qualify for the season-ending championship.

Since the start of the US Open, Sakkari has lost only four of 14 matches, a run that includes the semi-final of the Kremlin Cup where she retired due to dizziness.

Did you know? Nobody has won more Tour-level matches against top-10 opponents this year than Sakkari (seven, level with Barty and Jessica Pegula). Before 2021, her record in such matches was 10-13.

 

Iga Swiatek (5)

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, is the youngest competitor at these Finals at 20 years and 170 days old (as of the tournament's end). She is just the second player born this century to reach this event, after Bianca Andreescu in 2019.

Although unable to get beyond the quarter-finals of a major this year, Swiatek did win titles in Adelaide and Rome, where she inflicted a double bagel on Karolina Pliskova in the final.

Her success in Australia was her first on a hard court, a surface on which she won 19 of 28 matches this year.

Did you know? Swiatek has won 58 per cent (28 of 48) of her matches this season in straight sets, the highest ratio among the Finalists.

 

Paula Badosa (7)

A successful year for Badosa has been built on clay: she won a Tour-leading 17 matches on the dirt in 2021, reaching the French Open quarter-finals, the last four in Madrid and Charleston and winning the title in Belgrade.

This has been a breakthrough season for the 23-year-old across all surfaces, though, one that culminated in a record-breaking three-set win over Victoria Azarenka in the final at Indian Wells last month.

Badosa clinched that match after a third-set tie-break. She has won four deciding sets in that fashion this year, the most of anyone on the WTA Tour.

Did you know? Badosa has won seven matches (excluding the Olympics) after dropping the first set in 2021. Nobody else has as many come-from-behind victories among the Finalists.

 

Group Teotihuacan

Barbora Krejcikova (2)

The only major singles champion from 2021 at these Finals, Krejcikova has enjoyed a remarkable rise this year.

Along with success at Roland Garros, where she also triumphed in the doubles, the Czech won titles in Strasbourg and Prague; only world number one Barty (five) and Kontaveit (four) have won more this year.

Among the eight finalists, Krejcikova boasts the highest break-point conversion ratio (49.7 per cent, or 142/286) and break-point saved figure (66.4 per cent, or 150/226) for this season. She has become a clutch competitor and will be hard to stop in Mexico, both in the singles and the doubles.

Did you know? Krejcikova has won six matches against top-20 opponents in her career. All six of those wins were in 2021.

 

Karolina Pliskova (3)

Pliskova boasts impressive experience of the year-ending event: she is only the fourth player to qualify for five or more WTA Finals since the current format was introduced in 2003 (after Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Azarenka).

Beaten in her three Tour finals this year, including Wimbledon, the 29-year-old will be desperate to go at least one better than her three consecutive semi-final appearances at this event.

Pliskova begins against Garbine Muguruza, a player she has beaten twice before at the season-ending tournament.

Did you know? Pliskova leads the Tour for aces this season with 364, hitting a year-best 21 in her round-of-16 match with Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart. It's the fourth time in the past six seasons Pliskova has been top of the aces standings.

 

Garbine Muguruza (6)

This is the first time since 2000 that two Spanish players have contested the Finals. Back then, it was Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Muguruza, champion in Dubai and Chicago this year, has won more matches on hard courts (34) than anyone else in 2021 aside from Kontaveit. She also boasts the best average for successful net approaches this year (3.0) among the Finalists, which will make her a challenging obstacle in what will be her first Finals since 2017.

The former world number won made a career-high four Tour finals this year and won more than one trophy in a season for just the second time, sending her back into the top 10 for the first time since 2018. 

Did you know? Muguruza boasts a 10-1 record in WTA tournaments in Mexico, winning back-to-back titles in Monterrey in 2018 and 2019.

 

Anett Kontaveit (8)

With a Tour-leading 37 hard-court wins this year and on a formidable run of form, Kontaveit could spring a surprise at her first Finals.

After losing her fifth match in a row to Ons Jabeur on August 17, the Estonian went on a run of 26 wins from 28 matches, lifted four titles and broke into the top 10 for the first time. It was Jabeur she edged out for a place at this tournament after she won her fourth title of the year at Cluj-Napoca.

Along with Barty, Kontaveit is the only player to reach six Tour-level finals this year, while nobody at the season-ending tournament has won more titles (four).

Did you know? Kontaveit has hit the most backhand winners (293) on hard courts on the WTA Tour in 2021, averaging nearly six per match.

 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova suffered a shock defeat while defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff also were on the wrong end of upsets Monday at the Indian Wells Open. 

World number 115 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil stunned Pliskova in straight sets to reach the round of 16 at a WTA Premier 1000 event for the first time.

The 15th and 16th seeds, Gauff and Andreescu, also exited in two sets, albeit to seeded players. 

 

LUCKY LOSER OUSTS PLISKOVA 

Haddad Maia lost in the final round of qualifying but made the main draw as a lucky loser when Nadia Podoroska withdrew through injury, and she has made the most of that reprieve with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of the world number three. 

She had faced Pliskova once before and it did not go well, a 6-1 6-1 rout at the 2018 Australian Open, but the Czech struggled to find her trademark serve amid powerful winds in the California desert.

Pliskova suffered 12 double faults and won just 43.4 per cent of points on her serve, whole Haddad Maia saved nine of the 14 break points she faced on her own serve. 

 

KONTAVEIT STAYS HOT TO DETHRONE ANDREESCU

Haddad Maia next faces 18th seed Annett Kontaveit, who ousted Andreescu 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to end the Canadian's dreams of a repeat. 

Kontaveit has won 15 of her last 16 matches, winning titles in Cleveland and Ostrava during that stretch. Monday, she captured the first set on her fifth set point before rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second to run the table and seal the win.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

 

BADOSA BOUNCES GAUFF

Paula Badosa, the 21st seed, breezed past Gauff 6-2 6-2 as the American teen also had trouble with her serve, hitting just two aces after recording 12 in her previous match. 

In a meeting of the last two defeated finalists in the tournament, 10th seed Angelique Kerber beat 20th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2 1-6 6-4. 

Third seed Barbora Krejcikova handled Amanda Anisimova with ease, 6-2 6-3. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, had little trouble in downing 22nd seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-3. 

Garbine Muguruza could not keep the momentum going at the Indian Wells Open after winning a WTA title last week and the former world number one was followed out the door by Maria Sakkari.

Muguruza, who claimed the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, was surprisingly upstaged 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in an upset on Saturday.

Tomljanovic had been 0-6 against top-10 players this year heading into the match but had just enough to edge the fifth seed and two-time grand slam champion with some timely breaks of serve. 

The world number 47 Tomljanovic is into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in seven appearances and next faces 26th seed Tamara Zidansek. 

"I was really looking forward to playing Garbine, because I did lose [to her] the last couple of times," Tomljanovic said in her on-court interview. "I did try to focus on that one time I beat her [in 2014], and tried to channel that energy, so I was really happy that I got through today."

GOLUBIC STUNS SAKKARI

Sixth seed Sakkari – a semi-finalist at this year's French and US Opens – also fell victim to a shock result, going out 5-7 6-3 6-2 to Viktorija Golubic in their first meeting. 

The pair kept trading service breaks in the opening set, five in all, before Golubic tightened up her game for the final two sets. 

After breaking the Swiss three times in the first set, Sakkari converted just one of four break points the rest of the match. 

Golubic had lost in the first round in her previous two trips to Indian Wells but is now on to the third, where she will face Anna Kalinskaya.

 

ANDREESCU HOLDS OFF RISKE

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu saw a potential straight-sets win slip away before recovering to defeat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2.

Andreescu – the defending champion after the 2020 WTA Premier 1000 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – led 4-1 in the second set but watched her advantage evaporate as Riske forced a decider, which the Canadian ended up taking comfortably as she faced only one break point in the last. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova eased past Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-2, while third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova was pushed to a third set before prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-1 against Zarina Diyas. 

Angelique Kerber – the 10th seed and three-time major winner – went the distance to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, while 15th seed Coco Gauff downed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 in her debut match at the tournament. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, prevailed 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 over Anastasija Sevastova and 18th seed Anett Kontaveit – Andreescu's next opponent – moved on when Martina Trevisan retired down 6-3 5-2. 

Maria Sakkari reached her second grand slam semi-final of the year after upstaging fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-4 at the US Open.

Sakkari made history at this year's French Open, where she became the first Greek woman to reach a grand slam singles semi-final.

The 17th seed continued her impressive 2021 with a straight-sets victory over former world number one and 2016 US Open finalist Pliskova in New York on Wednesday.

After one hour, 21 minutes on court, Sakkari will face high-flying English teenager Emma Raducanu for a spot in the Flushing Meadows decider.

Pliskova entered the quarter-final, having rediscovered her best form after a slow start to the season – the Czech star claimed just 15 wins from her first 12 WTA Tour tournaments before winning 19 matches from five events, reaching two finals, since the start of July.

But Sakkari proved too good on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the 26-year-old utilised her almost flawless serve.

Sakkari lost just two points on serve in the opening set – claiming 92 per cent of her first serves, while hitting 12 winners and clinching the decisive break.

Pliskova owned three top-20 wins this season as she was looking to emulate countrywoman Hana Mandlikova, who won the US Open in 1985.

But the second set followed a similar pattern, Sakkari tallying 10 winners while winning 11 of her 12 first serves, closing out the match at the third time of asking.

 

Data Slam: Sakkari matches career high

With her dominant win over Pliskova, Sakkari – who did not face a break point – tallied her 31st victory of the year. It equalled her best return from 2019, when she finished with a 31-23 win-loss record.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pliskova – 14/20
Sakkari – 22/12

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pliskova – 6/3
Sakkari – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Pliskova – 0/0
Sakkari – 2/5

World number one Ash Barty reached yet another final on Saturday at the Western and Southern Open, where she will face wildcard Jil Teichmann.

Barty is through to her sixth title match of the season – and first in Cincinnati – after beating Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

In action on the WTA Tour for the first time since winning at Wimbledon, having gone to the Tokyo Olympics in the intervening period, the Australian came through a sloppy spell in the second set to advance 6-2 7-5.

Teichmann is next, taking on Barty for the first time after a stunning run continued with victory over Karolina Pliskova.

The world number 76 had already eliminated Naomi Osaka and Belinda Bencic and was a deserving 6-2 6-4 winner against Pliskova.

Barty finds the balance

Barty had been racing towards victory when she took the opener on Kerber's serve, her second break, and then went 2-0 up in the second.

But Kerber gave the favourite a scare by winning each of the next three games, belatedly finding joy against the Barty serve.

The All England Club champion has won more matches than any other player on tour this year, though, and regained her composure to break twice more for a 39th triumph of 2021.

"It's never, ever a walk in the park against Angie," Barty said. "She's an exceptional competitor and I think early on in that second set she went to another gear and it took me a few games to go with her.

"That was the change – she was able to lift her game and, even though there were some close games, she won the big points early on in the second set.

"I'm glad that I was able to find a way through there in the end.

"I had to find the balance of being aggressive and not getting too passive and letting Angie dictate.

"She moves exceptionally well, puts the balls in difficult positions, and I felt like when I was able to control the court I did a better job.

"In the games I got broken, she just saw too many second serves and was able to be assertive.

"I'm really happy to get through in the end, and to be playing for a title here in Cincinnati is awesome."

'Random' run wears on

Despite facing three seeds in succession, Teichmann has not dropped a set since losing the first against Osaka in the last 16.

Continuing that sequence against Barty will be a tough ask, but few would have anticipated Pliskova being brushed aside quite so easily.

Teichmann herself has no explanation for a sensational run of form.

"It's tough to explain," she said. "When I ask my coaches what they think of me, they always say, 'You're just an unexpected person, you do random things', so I guess that's one of them.

"I'm feeling really, really good here, the conditions, serving good, moving well, when I can I attack, I defend... What I'm feeling here, I cannot even describe it.

"It's a dream. I'm playing centre court, a final against the world number one. I cannot ask for anything else."

Ash Barty reached her sixth semi-final of the year after winning the battle of grand slam champions against Barbora Krejcikova at the Western & Southern Open.

World number one and top seed Barty – the Wimbledon titleholder – dispatched French Open champion Krejcikova in straight sets in Cincinnati on Friday.

Another slam champion awaits Barty in the form of Angelique Kerber, while wildcard Jil Teichmann continued her fairytale run with victory over Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic.

 

Coffee the tonic for in-form Barty

Australian star Barty was too good for Krejcikova, winning 6-2 6-4 at the WTA 1000 tournament.

Barty had to battle from a break down in the second set against the fast-rising Krejcikova, who has shot up from 65th in the world to a career high of number 10 this year.

After extending her season record to 38-7, Barty talked about the importance of drinking coffee in the morning.

"I travel with a French press and an AeroPress, just to have two options. Usually every tournament we go to, one of us has a cafe that we have been to before, so I have got a little section of all my local cafes from the tournaments, so we try and get out to those if we can," she said.

"This year, some places we haven't been able to; some places we have. It's been nice to get some sort of a mixture, but I'm pretty simple. I'm just a black coffee cup in the morning, and then I'm set."

Three-time major champion Kerber is next up after she was 6-4 3-3 ahead before Petra Kvitova retired hurt due to a stomach problem.

 

Teichmann takes down another star

Unheralded Swiss and world number 76 Teichmann claimed another scalp, this time upstaging countrywoman Bencic 6-3 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

Teichmann stunned world number two Naomi Osaka en route to the quarters and maintained her giant-slaying form in Cincinnati, where 10th seed Bencic became the latest victim.

"We hugged before the match; we hugged after the match," Teichmann said of the Bencic meeting. "We know that once we step on court it's business, it's just another player I have to deal with, and she had the same mindset. At the beginning it's obviously a bit special, but once we're in it, we just look at the game, not looking at the opponent, or at least I do that way."

Teichmann will take on fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who advanced to her second successive WTA 1000 semi-final after Paula Badosa retired down 7-5 2-0.

Unseeded Camila Giorgi again surprised Karolina Pliskova as she earned a straight-sets win in Sunday's National Bank Open final to claim the third singles title of her career.

The world number 71 defeated Pliskova at the Viking International and the Tokyo Olympics in the past three months and prevailed 6-3 7-5 in their latest meeting in Montreal.

Giorgi, who had never previously won a trophy above 250 level or on outdoor hard courts, has now triumphed in 16 of her last 20 matches in an impressive 2021 campaign.

She lost just one set all week and will move back into the world's top 35 for the first time since May 2019 with this first tournament victory since the Linz Open in October 2018.

 

Fourth seed Pliskova eliminated favourite Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals but could not replicate that performance as she fell at the final hurdle in a tournament for the third time this year.

Giorgi broke the former world number one for the first time in a lengthy fifth game and took the first set when Pliskova double faulted and sent a forehand wide in the final game.

Pliskova double faulted six times across the match, which lasted one hour and 40 minutes, including in the fourth game of the second set to put her opponent in complete control.

The Czech was given hope when earning her first break of serve in the following game, but she was let down by some forehand errors in the 12th game and Giorgi took her second championship point to seal an emotional win.

Karolina Pliskova will face unseeded Italian Camila Giorgi in the National Bank Open final after beating top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last four.

An intriguing semi-final pitted two of the favourites against one another in Montreal and it was Pliskova, the fourth seed, who came out on top 6-3 6-4.

The Wimbledon finalist broke early in the first and then clinched the set on Sabalenka's serve, too, although she was made to work a little harder in the second.

Pliskova fell behind in the seventh game, but she responded by winning three straight games to wrap up victory.

"It's an amazing feeling to be in another final this year," Pliskova said.

"I think I was super solid today. I just did everything what I was supposed to do to win this match, played smart.

"My serve was pretty good, I have to say."

Indeed, the Czech landed 71 per cent of her first serves in – with 10 aces to two double faults – helping her to win 69 per cent of her service points.

World number 71 Giorgi progressed to the decider with a three-set win over Jessica Pegula in two hours and 11 minutes.

The 6-3 3-6 6-1 win means the Italian qualified for her first career WTA 1000 final.

Giorgi had toppled seventh seed Petra Kvitova, ninth seed Elise Mertens and 15th seed Cori Gauff on her route to the decider.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka and fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova set up a tantalising semi-final clash with straight-set wins Friday at the National Bank Open. 

Sabalenka had little trouble with fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in a 6-2 6-4 victory in Montreal, firing seven aces and winning 74.3 per cent of points on her first serve. 

It was Sabalenka's 38th win this season, the most of any WTA player. Another triumph on Saturday would vault world number three Sabalenka past Naomi Osaka and into second in the rankings next week. 

To achieve that, she will have to defeat the only other seeded player remaining in Pliskova as the two stage a rematch of their Wimbledon semi-final won by the Czech.

The world number six downed Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-4 6-0 to reach the semis for the first time in six trips to the Canadian tournament. 

While Pliskova twice failed to hold her serve in the opening set, she converted all three of her own break point chances before going on to dominate the second set. 

The other semi-final will feature a pair of unseeded players. 

Italy's Camila Giorgi continued her run of upsets in the tournament, knocking out 15th seed Coco Gauff 6-4 7-6 (7-2). 

In the last quarter-final of the day, Jessica Pegula took down 13th seed Ons Jabeur 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 in a match of wild momentum swings. 

Pegula went the distance for the fourth consecutive match in Montreal, though at one hour, 28 minutes Friday's affair was a full hour shorter than her round of 16 epic with Danielle Collins. 

 

Page 1 of 3
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.