Brisbane International 2020: Osaka sets up Pliskova clash; Kvitova, Keys advance
The Brisbane International 2020 got an absolutely stellar line-up in the semi-finals after second seed Karolina Pliskova, third seed Naomi Osaka, fifth seed Petra Kvitova, and eighth seed Madison Keys advanced to the last four. While Pliskova will now take on Osaka for a spot in the final, the big-serving pair of Kvitova and Keys will battle it out in the other semi-final.
Out of the four quarter-finals played on Friday at the season's first WTA Premier event, the only that went the distance was the clash between the reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and sixth seed Kiki Bertens.
This was the third consecutive three-setter for both the women, yet there was hardly any inkling of tiredness from both. The feisty Dutchwoman was coming off a couple of tough wins over Dayana Yastremska and Anett Kontaveit. Osaka, meanwhile, had to dig deep to see off Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin.
Despite the marathons, both Osaka and Bertens refused to bow out without a fight. Osaka made the better start of the two and bagged the first set riding on her two breaks of serve. The undeterred Bertens did not back off and her 12 aces constantly made it a difficult task for the Japanese.
However, Osaka managed to summon the champion in her in the decider to finally get the 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in 2 hours.
Former US Open runner-up and defending Brisbane champion Pliskova was dominant on her serve and her eight aces made a lot of difference in her match against the unseeded Alison Riske. Even though the tight first set went to a tie-break, the World No. 2 held on to sneak it.
The second set was far more competitive where both were successful in making in-roads into the other's serve. Pliskova's belief turned the tide in her favour as she broke the Riske serve thrice to take the 7-6(6), 6-3 victory in 1 hour 54 minutes.
Kvitova moved one step closer to adding to the title she won in 2011 with yet another sublime display. Qualifier Jennifer Brady was looking to continue her giant-killing spree a day after stunning top seed Ashleigh Barty.
But the Czech veteran was thoroughly ready for the American and refused to make any mistake in a performance that was very much reminiscent of her Wimbledon triumphs. With eight aces and three breaks of serve, Kvitova marched to an effortless 6-4, 6-2 win.
In an all-American showdown, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys avenged her 2018 Indian Wells defeat to compatriot Danielle Collins. The World No. 13 won 71% of her first serves to coast to a solid 6-4, 6-1 win. Keys did not even face a breakpoint on her own serve and it would boost her confidence level a lot ahead of her impending face-off with Kvitova.