Karolina Pliskova (Reuters photo)
ROME: Czech ninth seed Karolina Pliskova booked her berth in a third consecutive Italian Open final on Saturday with a three sets win over Croatia’s Petra Martic.
Former world number one Pliskova won through 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi-final as she bids to reclaim the title she won in 2019 but lost last year after retiring injured while trailing Romania’s Simona Halep in the final.
Pliskova is the only top 10 player left in the draw and will next meet either reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek or American teenager Coco Gauff.
Earlier Poland’s Swiatek ousted fifth seed Elina Svitolina, a two-time Rome winner, 6-2, 7-5 in 1hr 36min in the match which had been pushed back from Friday because of rain in Rome.
Gauff, 17, advanced on Friday to her first clay-court semi-final after world number one Ashleigh Barty retired injured while leading their last eight clash 6-4, 2-1.
The Australian suffered from a recurring right arm issue and chose against taking any risks before the French Open, which she won in 2019, starting on May 30.
Third seed Halep withdrew with a calf injury earlier this week with second seed Naomi Osaka, four-time Rome winner Serena Williams, Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova, among the favourites exiting early.