Pliskova wins Italian Open for biggest clay title of career

Great Britain's Johanna Konta celebrates during her quarter final match against Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova

Johanna Konta is still searching for the first clay court title of her career after a straight-sets defeat to Karolina Pliskova in the Italian Open final. Especially in this tournament, it means quite a lot to me because I never played well.

Speaking to reporters later, Djokovic said, "I was just running out of fuel a little bit today".

"She played really smart with the drop shots", Bertens said. "It can feel sometimes like you are fighting an uphill battle, and that was the case today".

Williams had her right knee strapped and, although she improved as the match wore on, Konta reached the first Premier clay court quarter-final of her career.

The 28-year-old will contest her second claycourt final of the season, after finishing as runner-up to Sakkari at the Morocco Open, as she heads into this month's French Open in fine form.

They traded breaks at the beginning of the second set and it was the Briton who took charge after that, serving well and taking the last three games for a 7-5, including a break at 5-5 that gave her the crucial advantage.

Pliskova's victory will move her up to No. 2 in the rankings and makes her one of the contenders for Roland Garros.

Konta dominated the deciding set, breaking Bertens' serve twice, though she needed four match points to seal the win, having made three unforced errors at 40-0 in the final game.

Meanwhile, the summit clash of Italian Open is in progress in Rome between World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia and defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain.

But then Konta faced a huge test in the seventh game, an eight-minute tussle of four break points, saved time and again by Konta at the baseline. "I think there will be a chance for me if I play this way but there's going to be some tough opponents who are playing good tennis on clay".

Pliskova has also reached the Australian Open semi-finals and the Miami Open final in 2019 after opening this season with a title in Brisbane.

If Pliskova is able to be as dominant as she was on Saturday, then she should be the one to win the International BNL d'Italia.

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