(Reuters) – Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova avenged her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni with a 6-3 6-4 win over the 26th-seeded Croatian to secure a spot in the Miami Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
After Pliskova had booked her last-four berth, Danish 12th seed Caroline Wozniacki set up a showdown against the 25-year-old with a 6-4 6-3 victory over another Czech, Lucie Safarova, to advance.
Lucic-Baroni, seeking to build on her career-reviving run in Australia, did well to neutralise Pliskova’s powerful serve early in the match but was not able to back it up when it was her turn to hold.
The 35-year-old Croatian, who rolled back the years with a run to the last four in Australia, served nine double faults during the opening set — including on set point — and was broken four times to fall behind in 28 minutes.
Lucic-Baroni eventually found her serving range and built a 4-2 lead in the second set but Pliskova relied heavily on her forehand and court movement to get out of trouble, winning four consecutive games to close out the match.
“I played much better here than I was playing (in Melbourne),” Pliskova told reporters. “Also, the conditions here are different, and she was playing better tennis there because it was faster. It suited her better in Australia.
“So definitely, I was feeling more confident with this match. I had a different game plan today.”
Lucic-Borini acknowledged that the glaring weakness in her game on the night had been pivotal in the defeat.
“I started out great but then I couldn’t find my serve. The more I was making mistakes the worse I was getting,” she said.
“I was able to calm down and fix it in the second but then I just had a lot of bad luck after 4-2. But she played great, a pretty flawless match. It was still pretty close but it just didn’t go my way today.”
Wozniacki, already a two-time finalist this year, was her typical tenacious self against Safarova, scurrying for every ball to earn another tilt at Pliskova, who won in straight sets when they met in the Doha final last month.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Andrew Both in North Carolina; Editing by John O’Brien)