Karolina Pliskova is the Rome champion after a dominant performance against Johanna Konta in the final, breaking once in each set for a 6-3 6-4 victory. It’s the 13th title of the Czech’s career and puts her a confident mood ahead of the French Open later this month.
Konta had beaten a number of strong opponents to make it this far, most notably Kiki Bertens in the semi final. However, she struggled from the start and won just three points in the opening three games as Pliskova took control of the match. It’s always going to be hard when a strong server like Pliskova serves above 80% first serves, which is what happened in the opening set. Konta did have 1 break point chance but it went unconverted on the way to the Czech serving out the set.
Konta was always on the run and had to be strong on defense to avoid being overwhelmed in the second set. Pliskova finally made a breakthrough in the seventh game, breaking at the fourth time of asking with a forehand volley to all but seal the match. She had two shaky service games to end the match, going from 40-0 to deuce on the first. She missed two championship points on the second before Konta netted a forehand on the third to end the match.
“I just thought she didn’t really have a letdown throughout the match. She played very consistently. I found it quite hard to get a footing into the match, which is credit to her.” Konta said afterwards. Despite the disappointment of Sunday’s match, she will be delighted with such a great week on her weakest surface and has a seed spot at the French Open now for her troubles.
“Before the tournament, I was not super confident, not thinking about the final at all. I was just happy with every match I played. So it’s little bit like a miracle for me because clay, this tournament, since I haven’t played well here, and on clay it’s always tough. I played some good clay court girls. Of course, I’m super happy.” Pliskova said afterwards. She moves to No.2 in the rankings, making a statement ahead of the French Open. The Czech was a semi finalist in 2017 but has otherwise been disappointing in the French capital. “I have to go like this because otherwise there is no reason to go at all,” she said on the French Open, referring to her offensive style. “If I go to lose, then you going to lose. I have to go with this mindset that my game is good on clay, too.