Pliskova, Keys to fight for Brisbane title
Karolina Pliskova will chase a third Brisbane International title in four years after saving a match point in a titanic semi-final victory over Naomi Osaka.
The pair served mightily in a high-quality contest, won 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 by world No.2 Pliskova. The Czech will play Madison Keys for a chance to add to her 2017 and 2019 triumphs.
The two hour, 51-minute battle on Saturday night looked all but over well before that when world No.4 and defending Australian Open champion Osaka broke for the first time for a 6-5 lead in the second set.
But, after winning an engrossing first set tiebreak, she couldn't convert a break point and tightened up to hand back the break and the set.
Pliskova controlled the decider but there was one final twist when Osaka saved two match points before Pliskova finally ended the tussle with another unreturnable serve.
The pair served 29 aces between them and had brutal baseline rallies in a contest befitting a final.
That will come on Sunday for the Czech, though, against in-form American Keys who had rallied from a set and break down to beat Petra Kvitova.
Keys won nine of 10 games on Saturday afternoon in a remarkable mid-match recovery against the tournament's 2011 champion on her way to a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory.
Despite losing her opening singles match in Brisbane, Australian world No.1 Ashleigh Barty but has managed valuable court time on the way to the women's doubles final.
She will partner Kiki Bertens against top seeds Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh in Sunday's first match from midday.
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