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Karolina Pliskova crushes Elina Svitolina to join Cornet in Brisbane final

REUTERS - World number six Karolina Pliskova beat Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4 on Friday and will play Alize Cornet in the Brisbane International final.

Ukrainian Svitolina, who beat world number one Angelique Kerber in the previous round, struggled to cope with Pliskova's aggressive approach as the 24-year-old Czech, who saved three break points at 4-2, struck 13 winners to ease through the opening set.

Svitolina brilliantly held serve at 3-2 in the second set with two great backhand winners, only for Pliskova to break in her 22-year-old opponent's next service game and close out victory to reach her 17th WTA final.

Pliskova could go to fifth in the world rankings if she beats Cornet, who won her only meeting with the big-hitting Czech in 2013, in the final on Saturday

Unseeded Frenchwoman Cornet reached her first final in nearly three years after Spanish fourth seed Garbine Muguruza was forced to retire due to injury.

Muguruza struggled to hold serve in the opening stages and was broken after a string of long rallies before quitting the match at 4-1 down due to a thigh injury.

"I was really focused on my match but I could tell (Garbine) was not playing like usual. She was not running or hitting the ball as well as usual," Cornet, who is now guaranteed a seeding at this month's Australian Open, said.

"But I was just trying to stay focused on what I had to do. Of course, it's not the way I wanted to get to the final but its part of the game."

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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