By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Karolina Pliskova proved to be Naomi Osaka’s kryptonite after coming back from a set down- 3.6, 7.6, 6.4- in the ongoing Brisbane International tennis tournament last January 3, 2023.
A day after a successful return from competitive tennis when Osaka routed Tamara Korpatsch in the first round, the run of the former world no. 1 female tennis player had to end early after Pliskova pulled off a masterful performance in three grueling sets.
Despite a 16-month break from the sport, Osaka turned back the hands of time after a dominant first-set win.
After scoring an early break-point, Osaka began to take full control of the match and held her last service possession to go up with a 1-0 lead.
However, Pliskova, also a former world no. 1 female tennis player several years ago, adjusted his offense in the second set and made Osaka work for every point.
From a power-based attack in the first set, Pliskova played smarter in the last two sets and mixed her offense with a combination of drop shots, baseline hits, and net charges.
Her switch then proved to be effective as she nipped Osaka in the second set to equalize the nip-and-tuck affair at 1-1.
In the last set, Osaka struck first after overpowering her way with several down-the-line forehand bombs to gain a little momentum.
Midway through the third and final set, Pliskova’s thundering service took effect and changed the complexion of the game.
Despite another offensive run from Osaka, Pliskova took care of business and scored more service aces to advance to the next round of the Brisbane International.
Pliskova wrapped up the intense matchup with 16 completed service aces, one of her best tallies of the year so far.