Former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova ended a four-year title drought by winning the Transylvania Open championship in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on Sunday.
The Czech Pliskova defeated Romanian hope and No.8 seed Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 25 minutes to capture her 17th career WTA singles title — and her first since January of 2020, when she won the Brisbane International title for the third time.
Back in the winner’s circle: Coming into this week’s WTA 250 event, two-time Grand Slam finalist Pliskova had not reached a WTA singles final since August of 2021, when she finished as Montreal runner-up to Camila Giorgi.
Pliskova, who spent eight weeks ranked World No.1 in 2017, was still inside the Top 20 at this time last year. But her current ranking is No.78, and she was an unseeded player in her Cluj-Napoca tournament debut.
However, it proved to be a fruitful week in Romania for Pliskova, who eased into the final without the loss of a set. She brought a 3-0 head-to-head record against Bogdan into Sunday’s clash, and Pliskova was ultimately able to maintain her undefeated record against the home hope.
Tale of the match: Bogdan, who was seeking her first career WTA singles title, and on home soil to boot, got off to the perfect start as she built an early 3-0 lead. However, Pliskova began to find her top form as she pulled back on serve at 3-2 with a forehand winner down the line.
Pliskova saved two break points in the next game to remain on serve, then prevailed in a grueling ninth game, converting her fifth break point of that battle to serve for the set at 5-4. Pliskova fired two aces to reach triple set point and closed out the love hold with a forehand winner.
Pliskova kept control in the second set, where she broke Bogdan twice and never faced a break point. The former World No.1 slammed one final forehand winner to convert her second match point and hoist another championship trophy in her prolific career.
Pliskova won 29 of 37 first-service points in the match (78 percent), and she erased three of the four break points she stared down, all in the opening set.
Doubles victory: Earlier on Sunday, the all-American duo of Caty McNally and Asia Muhammad won the Transylvania Open doubles title. McNally and Muhammad defeated Harriet Dart of Great Britain and Slovakia’s Tereza Mihalikova 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour and 18 minutes.
This week was the first time McNally and Muhammad had ever partnered up on tour, and it resulted in McNally’s eighth career WTA doubles title, and the ninth career WTA doubles title for Muhammad.
More to come…