Tennis: Pliskova takes Qatar Open title

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts after winning against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts after winning against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki.PHOTO: AFP

DOHA (AFP) - Karolina Pliskova beat Caroline Wozniacki for the first time in her career to claim the Qatar Open title on Saturday (Feb 18).

The powerful Czech won in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 for her eighth WTA title and her second of the year, after her victory at the Brisbane International last month.

It was the first Qatar title for the world number three and confirms the 24-year-old's growing reputation as many see her as a potential Grand Slam title winner.

"It's amazing, it means so much to me to win the tournament," she said afterwards.

"It was an unusual week for me, it was not easy with all the stoppages."

Pliskova hit 27 winners and four aces in a match which she controlled from the beginning, after breaking Wozniacki in her first two service games.

Her win was even more impressive given her late arrival in Qatar.

Pliskova only arrived in Doha after helping defending champions the Czech Republic into the Fed Cup semi-finals last weekend.

Then her matches in Qatar were delayed by the wet weather, which meant she ended up - like Wozniacki - playing her quarter-final, semi-final and the final within 24 hours of each other.

Wozniacki's defeat was the second time the Dane has lost in the Qatar Open after being defeated in straight sets by Russia's Vera Zvonareva back in 2011.

However, one consolation from her performances this week is that she is likely to move up three places in the world rankings to number 15.

Astonishingly, completion of the final on Saturday meant the tournament was able to finish on time after a week of awful weather in Qatar.

Rainfall and thunderstorms throughout the week had so delayed the schedule that organisers said on Friday that if they could not finish the tournament by Sunday there would be no winner.