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Pliskova beats Konta to win Italian Open

Karolina Pliskova ended Johanna Konta’s hopes of landing a first clay-court title with a 6-3 6-4 victory in the Italian Open final on Sunday.

The world No.7 seven did not drop a single service game as she secured the third clay title of her career in one hour 25 minutes.

British No.1 Konta claimed some big scalps on her way to the final in Rome, beating Grand Slam winners Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams as well as Madrid Open champion Kiki Bertens.

However, she struggled to trouble the Czech on serve as Pliskova recorded her seventh win in eight meetings with Konta.

And Konta admitted she was never given a look-in by her Czech opponent as she fell to defeat just two weeks after also finishing runner-up in Morocco.

“I just thought she (Pliskova) didn’t really have a let-down in the whole match,” Konta said.

“She played very consistently. I found it quite hard to get a footing in the match, which is credit to her.

“She plays with big shots, quite flat, and big serves. It can feel sometimes like you are fighting an uphill battle, and that was the case today.”

The unseeded Konta appeared nervous at the start, double faulting then landing a backhand into the net to hand Pliskova a break in her opening service game.

In the second set, Pliskova used a swinging forehand volley putaway to break for a 4-3 lead and never looked back.

Adding to a very consistent year from the 2016 US Open runner-up, the victory will move Pliskova up to No.2 in the rankings and makes her one of the contenders for the French Open, which starts next weekend.

“I was a little bit nervous today, it’s a final so you have to be. Jo played great tennis so she made it quite tough for me,” the Czech said.

Asked about her prospects at Roland Garros, she said: “I just hope I can take the tennis I was playing here to Paris and we’ll see.

“I think there will be a chance for me if I play this way but there’s going to be some tough opponents who are playing good tennis on clay.”

Pliskova has also reached the Australian Open semi-finals and the Miami Open final in 2019 after opening this season with a title in Brisbane.

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