8 Jan 2017

Pliskova eases to Brisbane title win

9:14 am on 8 January 2017

Czech tennis player Karolina Pliskova crushed Alize Cornet of France 6-0 6-3 to win the Brisbane International title on Saturday night and signal her intent for the Australian Open.

Pliskova, who will rise to a career-high number five in the world rankings on Monday, dropped just one set all week and continued her dominance in the final, hitting 30 winners compared to her opponent's 10.

Karolina Pliskova celebrates

Karolina Pliskova celebrates Photo: Photosport

Cornet, who won her only previous meeting with the big-hitting Czech in 2013, had no answers and the first set lasted only 18 minutes.

Cornet got on the board in the first game of the second set and managed to stretch her opponent, but did not have enough to withstand Pliskova's booming serves and fierce groundstrokes.

Pliskova, last year's US Open runner-up, served seven aces, won 90 percent of her first service points and did not face a single break point opportunity.

Cornet said she wished she'd played better but Pliskova was too good for her.

"I wish I'd done better tonight, but Karolina was way too good for me and I bet she's going to win a slam soon," Cornet said.

Top men's seed knocked out

In the men's competition, the Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov upset the top seed and defending Brisbane International champion Milos Raonic of Canada, to set up a title clash against Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Seventh seed Dimitrov saved a set point in the opener on his way to a 7-6 6-2 win over world number three Raonic in 88 minutes in their semi-final at Pat Rafter Arena.

Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov.

Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov. Photo: Photosport

World number five Nishikori had an almost identical win against the Swiss US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who went down 7-6 6-3.

There was little to separate Dimitrov and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Raonic in the first set, both players making the most of their big serves and not offering a single break-point opportunity.

Dimitrov managed to nose ahead by edging the first set tiebreak 9-7 before racing away in the second with two breaks of serve to seal the match.

The Bulgarian said he was delighted with the win.

"I couldn't imagine a better scenario for sure," he said in a court-side interview.

"I have lot of respect for him and it's always a pleasure playing against him.

"Right now I am just focussed on my performance. In previous matches I wasn't returning as well. Against Milos, the only chance you have is to get into a rally against him."

Dimitrov has never won against his next opponent, with Nishikori enjoying a 3-0 head-to-head record.

Kei Nishikori during his US Open quarterfinal win over Stan Wawrinka, 2014.

Kei Nishikori Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He said he knows it will be a challenge to come away with the title.

"Nishikori is one of the trickiest players out there," he said.

"He has a tremendous fighting spirit and has improved his game quite a bit.

"He has quite a few weapons if you think about it. It's not going to be an easy match for sure. But I am focussed on myself and what I need to improve and what I need to get better for Melbourne."

- Reuters, RNZ