Osaka loses semi; Keys rallies to beat Kvitova in Brisbane

National Sports
Madison Keys, Brisbane International 2020

Madison Keys of the United States waves to the crowd after winning her semifinal match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Madison Keys came from a break and set down to beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Brisbane International semifinals on Saturday. The American won nine of 10 games in her mid-match recovery against the tournament’s 2011 champion to beat Kvitova 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Keys will play defending Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova in Sunday afternoon’s final. Pliskova beat Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka 6-7 (10), 7-6 (3), 6-2 after saving a match point.

Keys said a chat with her coach Juan Todero helped to swing the momentum.

“He pretty much just said ‘Don’t be discouraged’,” Keys said. “I felt like I had chances, but couldn’t close on those … and once I did, I felt the momentum went back and forth but I gained confidence.”

Pliskova will attempt to win her third Brisbane title in four years.

Osaka broke for the first time for a 6-5 lead in the second set after winning the first-set tiebreaker. But the Japanese player was not able to convert the break.

“I was proud I stayed with her because it could go a really bad way after that first set,” Pliskova said. “There was not many things I did wrong, it was more about her (playing well).”

Despite losing her opening singles match in Brisbane, top-ranked Ash Barty has managed valuable court time on the way to the women’s doubles final.

She will partner Kiki Bertens against top-seeded Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh on Sunday.

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