BC-TEN--Italian Open,1st Ld-Writethru
ROME (AP) — Karolina Pliskova captured the biggest clay-clay-court title of her career by beating Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the Italian Open final.
Adding to a very consistent year from the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up, the victory will move Pliskova up to No. 2 in the rankings and makes her one of the contenders for the French Open, which starts next weekend.
“I just hope to take the tennis I was playing here to Paris,” Pliskova said. “For sure there’s going to be a chance for me if I play this way.”
Pliskova also reached the Australian Open semifinals and the Miami Open final after opening this season with a title in Brisbane, Australia.
The unseeded Konta appeared nervous at the start, double faulting then landing a backhand into the net to hand Pliskova a break in her opening service game.
In the second set, Pliskova used a swinging forehand volley putaway to break for a 4-3 lead and never looked back.
After converting her third championship point, Pliskova went over and slapped hands with Conchita Martinez, the four-time Rome champion who she recently named her head coach. Pliskova then asked Martinez and the rest of her team to come down onto the court for her victory celebration.
Later on an overcast day at the Foro Italico, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were resuming their rivalry in the men’s final.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf