Karolina Pliskova with the Evonne Goolagong Cawley trophy. Picture: AAP
Karolina Pliskova with the Evonne Goolagong Cawley trophy. Picture: AAP

Pliskova: ‘Brisbane is my favourite tournament’

World No.8 Karolina Pliskova has made a strong statement to kick off her Australian summer, after she overcame a major scare to claim her second Brisbane International title from brave Ukrainian, Lesia Tsurenko.

The Czech fifth seed was just one game away from suffering an upset loss before she managed to switch to another gear to be crowned the 2019 Brisbane champion with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory on Pat Rafter Arena.

For the opening hour of the match, Pliskova looked to be frustrated and out of sorts while Tsurenko was extremely composed.

However, the former world No.1 - spurred on by her Australian coach Rennae Stubbs - rose to the challenge in spectacular fashion.

The unseeded Tsurenko had claimed the first set and was up 5-3 in the second, serving for the match, when Pliskova started her comeback.

The 2017 Brisbane International winner claimed 14 of 15 points to force a deciding set, with Stubbs encouraging her to show more emotion.

The match then continued to go her way when Tsurenko rolled her ankle while down 1-0 in the third set.

Though the world No.27 fought bravely - pushing her opponent to the final point - her movement was limited and Pliskova's experience saw her claim the greatly-desired win.

Karolina Pliskova hugs coach Rennae Stubbs. Picture: AAP
Karolina Pliskova hugs coach Rennae Stubbs. Picture: AAP

It is the perfect start to 2019 for Pliskova, who is still chasing her first Grand Slam title, and she said Stubbs had a lot to do with her ability to recover.

"Rennae helped me quite a bit," she said.

"I don't want to say I could not do it without her, but it was just much easier. She helped me just to get motivated a little bit more, to get going a little bit more.

"She believed that I can still win it. I felt there is no chance I can win this match. Of course I tried, but I felt so far away from playing good tennis.

"But (Stubbs) said, 'I am absolutely sure you can win this match', which gave me some confidence and belief that I can do it and that's what I did."

Pliskova - who will rise one place to world No.7 after last night's win - now joins the likes of Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka as dual winners of the women's title in Brisbane.

However, she is now expected to pull out of the Sydney International, in which she was due to have a first round rematch with Tsurenko.

"I didn't decide yet, but I think it's more no than yes," Pliskova said last night when asked if she would play in Sydney.

Tsurenko - who will rise to a career-high ranking of world No.24 - has however indicated she will still head to Sydney, despite having her left ankle strapped after she fell to the ground in the third set.

"I'm hoping to get back on court in maybe two days," Tsurenko said last night.

"It was hurting a little bit, but I said, 'just fight till the end'. (Retiring) wasn't an option for me."