Karolina Pliskova will attempt to win her first clay Premier 5/Mandatory title on Sunday afternoon, taking on Johanna Konta in the final of the Italian Open. It’s the 25th final of Pliskova’s career with the Czech currently holding an equal 12-12 record through her first 24.
Watch the Pliskova vs Konta Rome Live Stream here.
It’s been an incredible week for Konta, who has managed to make the final out of nowhere on what was considered to be her worst surface. It hasn’t just been taking advantage of a weak draw either with the likes of Sloane Stephens and Marketa Vondrousova vanquished on her way to the semis. She came from a set down to beat the form player of the clay season, Kiki Bertens. “I’m very pleased to be in the final here. It’s my second biggest final behind Miami. That’s a big achievement in my career so far.” Konta said after the 5-7 7-5 6-2 victory. “I’ve never really doubted my ability on the surface. I don’t necessarily feel like this is massively out of the blue or super wow. I’m definitely pleased.”
Pliskova has had the fortune of not playing anyone inside the top 30 on her way to the final. She defeated a confident Maria Sakkari in the semis, breaking for the set both times in her 6-4 6-4 victory. It’s now three finals on the year for her, following victory in Brisbane and defeat in Miami. Despite her placing, the Czech believes there is still room for improvement. “I’m still not feeling like I would be playing the best tennis,” Pliskova said “[But] super happy because I didn’t feel, not even before the tournament, not even during, that I’m playing amazing. I’m in the final. Especially in this tournament, it means quite a lot to me because I never played well.”
Konta is bound to be wary against an opponent she has a poor record against, currently standing at 1-5 against the 6th seed. “Karolina, she’s been at the top of the game for years now. She’s able to perform on all surfaces. She’s able to really show up to every match. She’s very difficult to play in that sense because she has a big serve, she has big shots, but she’s also backing it up with being incredibly astute on court.” she said. Konta will be looking to take advantage of Pliskova’s less than stellar movement on clay but could be blown off the court by the Czech’s power if she is not careful. They only met once on clay in those 6 matches with Pliskova winning in a 25k 8 years ago when both women were outside the top 200.
Prediction – Karolina Pliskova in straight sets