BRISBANE – Defending champion Karolina Pliskova saved a match point before prevailing in an epic slugfest with Naomi Osaka, while Madison Keys pulled off an escape of her own in the other semi-final in the Brisbane International on Saturday.
Pliskova and Osaka served 29 aces between them and were often locked in fierce baseline rallies before the second seeded Czech won 6-7(10) 7-6(3) 6-2 in two hours and 48 minutes.
Osaka had survived three consecutive three-setters en route to the semi-finals and Pliskova's title defence appeared over with the Japanese serving for the match at 7-6(10), 6-5.
The Czech then roared back into the match, earning her first break of Osaka's serve to force a tiebreak and fired eight of her 15 aces in the final set, while saving all six break points.
Pliskova will play Keys in Sunday's final hoping to add to her 2017 and 2019 crowns.