Sunday, August 9, 2015

Kerber to face Pliskova in Bank of the West final

No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber dismissed No. 8 Elina
Svitolina 6-3, 6-1. Photo by Mal Taam
   Angelique Kerber will play in the final of the Bank of the West Classic for the second straight year.
   She won't have to play Serena Williams, but that doesn't mean Kerber will win.
   The 27-year-old German will face rising star Karolina Pliskova, a 23-year-old Czech.
   Pliskova, seeded fourth, beat unseeded Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday at Stanford University to reach her WTA tour-best fifth final of the year.
   The 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) Pliskova, ranked 11th, will debut in the top 10 when the new rankings are released on Monday.
   Kerber dismissed eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a 20-year-old Ukrainian who reached the French Open quarterfinals in June, 6-3, 6-1 in 55 minutes.
   Kerber is 3-2 against Pliskova, including two meetings this year. Kerber prevailed 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4) two months ago in the grass-court final at Birmingham, England. Pliskova won 6-3, 6-2 on a hardcourt in the Sydney semifinals in January. 
   "I'm looking forward to it," the 14th-ranked Kerber, who has won three singles titles this year and six in her career, told reporters. "I know it will be a tough final against Karolina. She has a big serve, and I must try to return very well."
No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova beat unseeded
Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 7-5. Photo by Mal Taam
   In Pliskova's four finals this year, she won in Prague and lost in Sydney, Dubai and Birmingham. Pliskova has four career singles titles but will try to win her first Premier-level crown today.
   She expects a battle against the 5-foot-8 (1.73-meter) Kerber.
   "She's tough to play because she is everywhere and is hitting fast," Pliskova said. "She's a lefty, which also makes it tough. I've beaten her a few times, and she's beaten me a few times."
   Williams, who won her third Bank of the West singles title last year, withdrew on Friday before the tournament with a right elbow injury. 
At Stanford
Singles semifinals
   Karolina Pliskova (4), Czech Republic, def. Varvara Lepchenko, United States, 6-2, 7-5.
   Angelique Kerber (5), Germany, def. Elina Svitolina (8), Ukraine, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles semifinals
   Yi-Fan Xu and Saisai Zheng, China, def. Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, and Tatjana Maria, Germany, 6-2, 6-4.
   Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja (2), Spain, def. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada, and Alicja Rosolska (3), Poland, 6-3, 6-2.
Today's schedule
Stadium Court
(Starting at 2 p.m.)
   Karolina Pliskova (4), Czech Republic, vs. Angelique Kerber (5), Germany.
  Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja (2), Spain, vs. Yi-Fan Xu and Saisai Zheng, China. 

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