Brisbane International 2020 Finals: Madison Keys vs Karolina Pliskova, match preview and prediction
After a week of high-octane tennis action that threw up big surprises and some dramatic matches, it has come down to the final two women standing in Brisbane, defending champion Karolina Pliskova and the 8th seed Madison Keys.
The two women will step out onto Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday afternoon to stake their claim for the year's first trophy at a premiere level WTA Tournament. But their paths to this point in the tournament could not have been more different.
While Pliskova had to battle every step of the way, Keys managed to cruise through the opening rounds only to be pushed to the limits in the semifinal against former champion Petra Kvitova.
Coming into the last four, Keys was looking stronger than ever but quickly fell behind against a ravaging Kvitova. But she didn't give in despite the adversity and was quick to shift tactics early in the second set, showing some crazy retrieving skills that would frustrate an eager Kvitova.
Some great passing shots and lobs over Kvitova's head meant that Keys was right back in the match. The American built in confidence from there on after and edged out Kvitova on a topsy-turvy third set.
And this match could not have come at a better time for Keys. Not only did Keys craft a remarkable comeback, she successfully managed to change her entire game plan in the middle of a match and use her resources to great effect.
That, because she might have to do much of the same against Pliskova in the finals. Take a moment here to understand that while Keys has a great arsenal of groundstrokes of her own, against opponents like Kvitova and Pliskova, more often than not, one has to be able to defend and engage in long rallies to win points.
A battle-hardened Pliskova has looked dangerous on serve all week long the comeback win against Naomi Osaka would have only boosted her confidence.
If Keys wants to have a shot at the title here, she might need a little help from Pliskova, who might just be feeling the heat after a very long week of highly competitive tennis. The American managed to find her way through one big-hitting Czech star and there's no reason why she cannot do it again tomorrow.
Prediction: Pliskova to win in three sets.