Karolina Pliskova halts Simona Halep No 1 charge to set up Ash Barty final
Karolina Pliskova reached the Miami Open final with an emphatic 7-5 6-1 win over second seed Simona Halep in soggy south Florida on Thursday night.
The Czech fifth seed will meet Ashleigh Barty in Saturday's final, after the 12th seeded Australian beat Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-3 in the other semi-final on a day that tested the patience with a seemingly endless number of rain delays.
Pliskova and Romanian Halep played a tight first set, which Pliskova eventually clinched with some outstanding court coverage as she used her long reach to chase down a series of shots by Halep that would have been winners against many a player.
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic celebrates her victory over Simona Halep of Romania in the semi finals of the women's singles of the Miami Open on March 28, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida.Getty Images
Suitably buoyed, Pliskova raced through the second set and was on the brink of victory, up 5-0 when another shower sent the players to the locker room as the clock struck midnight.
They eventually returned an hour later for Pliskova to close it out in a near-empty arena.
Simona Halep of Romania walks off after her match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during day eleven of the Miami Open tennis on March 28, 2019 in Miami Gardens, FloridaGetty Images
Earlier, Barty was forced to wait out an hour-long rain delay before her match and when it started she and 21st seed Kontaveit were only on the court for about five minutes before weather halted play again.
They returned about two-and-a-half hours later to play one more game and then headed back to the locker room for a third rain delay, this time for two hours.
Barty finally secured the win with an ace on her second match point, six-and-a-half hours after the original scheduled start.
Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia during day eleven of the Miami Open tennis on March 28, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida.Getty Images
"I have been here for 12 hours today, but really happy with the way I was able to come out after the rain delays and kind of get on the front foot pretty early," said Barty, 22, who has three career titles.
"I did the best with what I had and was able to get out of some tight service games at crucial times and get a bit of a roll on."