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Pliskova vs Tsurenko tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Pliskova faces improved Tsurenko for WTA Brisbane title

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 5 Jan 2019
  • Karolina Pliskova faces Lesia Tsurenko in the final of the Brisbane International
  • Pliskova vs Tsurenko is live from Brisbane on Sunday at 5pm local/7am GMT
Karolina Pliskova (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Karolina Pliskova looks to capture her first title of 2019 at the Brisbane International – but she must be wary of crafty veteran Lesia Tsurenko.

Champion in 2017, Karolina Pliskova is out to recapture the Brisbane International title as she takes on Lesia Tsurenko on Sunday.

Pliskova has also drawn Tsurenko as her opening opponent at next week’s Apia International Sydney, meaning the pair will likely be playing again within 48 hours if neither of them withdraws.

But the world no. 8 will have her sights firmly set on the title in Brisbane first, which would be the twelfth of her career after winning the Premier-level Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart (d. Coco Vandeweghe) and the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo (d. Naomi Osaka).

Pliskova, who was defeated in the Brisbane semifinals as the defending champion a year ago by Elina Svitolina, also reached the finals of Tianjin and the semifinals of the WTA Finals Singapore and Mutua Madrid Open as well as the quarterfinals of the US and Australian Opens.

Now coached by Rennae Stubbs as well as Conchita Martinez, Pliskova will be looking to push back up the rankings in 2019 and the 26-year-old Czech has impressed in Brisbane so far, coming out on the winning end of three-set battles with Yulia Putintseva and Ajla Tomljanovic, beating qualifier Marie Bouzkova in straight sets and scoring a decisive 6-3, 6-4 victory over Donna Vekic in Saturday’s semifinals.

Vekic played well off the ground, but her serve let her down with seven double faults, often coming at key points of the match. Pliskova on the other hand played solidly throughout the 82-minute semifinal, only striking four aces (she is at 31 for the tournament) but landing a high percentage of first serves and proving very effective on return. 

‘I think I served well - maybe not that many aces, but still, I think I had a lot of points on the first serve,’ Pliskova said. 

‘I was happy with my movement today. I felt pretty good on the baseline. She can hit hard, but I managed to put a lot of balls back maybe more than she.’

Pliskova has looked very comfortable in Brisbane, but that doesn’t mean her opponent in the final should be underestimated.

Lesia Tsurenko, three years older than Pliskova at 29, has been playing some of her best tennis over the past 12 months and the Ukrainian has set herself the goal of making it into the top 10 for the first time in 2019. It’s a bold aim for a player whose highest ranking so far is world no. 26 – she’s currently at world no. 27 – but the way she has played in Brisbane makes it look very plausible.

Lesia Tsurenko (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Winner of four WTA Tour singles titles, all at International level, this is Tsurenko’s first outing in the final of a Premier-level event but it comes off the back of an excellent 2018 season which saw her successfully defend her Acapulco title and make the semifinals of Hobart as well as quarterfinals in Birmingham and Cincinnati, where she beat Garbine Muguruza. 

The highlight of Tsurenko’s 2018 season, however, was undoubtedly her Grand Slam quarterfinal run at the US Open, where she defeated second seed Caroline Wozniacki as well as Katerina Siniakova, Alison van Uytvanck and Marketa Vondrousova before losing 1-6, 1-6 to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.

After knocking out Kimberley Birrell, Anett Kontaveit and Mihaela Buzarnescu in Brisbane, Tsurenko avenged that defeat to Osaka in fine style in the semifinals, defeating the US Open winner 6-2, 6-4. Osaka was quick to blame herself but it was a very impressive performance from Tsurenko, who gave her opponent no real chance to feel comfortable, and the Ukrainian with the beautiful backhand looks increasingly at home playing at this level.

‘I'm really excited to [see] what I can achieve in the future,’ Tsurenko said. ‘During my season preparation and also last year, my goal was to change my game and to be more aggressive and to attack every ball and to go to the net when I have a chance.

‘I feel more strong now so I can kind of handle every kind of pressure on court, even when someone like Naomi is playing really strong.

‘I feel better with my serve and ... I am moving well, so I can really stay there and I can be aggressive also. I think that's the goal. And also, I just - I really enjoy more playing now.’

Pliskova holds a narrow 3-2 lead in the head-to-head, but the majority of their matches so far have come on the ITF Tour in 2012 or before. Since both players were ranked inside the top 100, they have played twice: In New Haven in 2015, Tsurenko winning in straight sets, and Madrid in 2017 when Pliskova won in three. I think Pliskova might find this new and improved – and much more aggressive – Tsurenko a bit of a shock and I can see the Ukrainian pulling off an upset win to claim her first Premier-level title in Brisbane on Sunday.

Pliskova vs Tsurenko tennis is live from Brisbane on Sunday at 5pm local/7am GMT

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Pliskova vs Tsurenko tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Pliskova faces improved Tsurenko for WTA Brisbane title

Karolina Pliskova vs Lesia Tsurenko live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Brisbane International final match on Sunday 6 January: Can 2017 champion Pliskova recapture the title or will the new and more aggressive Tsurenko cause an upset?

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