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WTA • Tennis • Stuttgart • Karolina Pliskova Beats Coco Vandweghe • Crosses Finish Line In A New Porsche

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against CoCo Vandeweghe of the USA at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, 29 April 2018. EPA-EFE/DANIEL KOPATSCH

 

 

It was a monumental, possibly season-altering week for former number one Karolina Pliskova, powering through the finish line and into a new frontier on clay.

 

Having struggled to achieve major results since Wimbledon and on her so-called “worst” surface, the big-serving Czech charged past many top players this week, finding her serve again and with it the first clay-court title of her career in Stuttgart, complete with a shiny new red Porsche Boxster despite not even having her drivers license yet. Pliskova was stuck riding shotgun in the trophy presentation but she sure did cross multiple finish lines on the court this week.

 

Pliskova was made to work against another player very few expected much from on the dirt, willing herself past powerful American Coco Vandeweghe 7-6, 6-4 for her first title of 2018. For both Pliskova and Vandeweghe, they utilized the faster indoor clay conditions of Stuttgart for their explosive, big-serving games, with both reaching never before seen success on clay.

 

Above all the ranking points, prize money, and even a shiny new red Porsche sports car, Pliskova’s biggest win this week may be finding her serve again. The weapon that has so defined the Czech’s big-hitting game had struggled to pay dividends for the world number six for long parts of the last 12 months, however the pivotal shot came up big for her in Germany.

 

After dropping serve immediately in the first game of the final, Pliskova’s resolve was tested early as she eventually broke back in the fourth game for 2-all. The dominant serving the former world number one had looked for all season returned, not dropping serve again through the first set and riding the weapon through the opening set tiebreak to take it 7-6.

 

In the second set Pliskova seemed to be on cruise control, breaking her American opponent twice to go up 5-2 and serve for the title, before unusual jitters rattled the Czech, with her signature shot abandoning her as she gave up one of the breaks for 5-3. After a crucial hold for Vandeweghe, the pressure was back on Pliskova to serve out the final and once again in the key moments, like it has been all week, the serve sealed the deal for Pliskova.

 

The world number six closed out the hard-fought final 7-6, 6-4, becoming the first Czech woman to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title and re-asserting herself amongst the WTA’s elite.

 

While nothing is certain as to how Pliskova will continue to fare on the clay this season, one of the most formidable forces on tour is back and with her signature shot behind her, the Czech can cross many more finish lines in 2018.

 

She may not even have her drivers license yet, but Pliskova walks away from Stuttgart with her a brand new red Porsche Boxster, her confidence, vital clay-court momentum, and one of the most pivotal shots on the women’s tour back in her arsenal.

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