"Jo played great tennis so she made it quite tough for me", she added. That's a big achievement in my career so far. I'm definitely very conscious and appreciative of this opportunity, of this situation. "I've really enjoyed my week here". I don't necessarily feel like this is massively out of the blue or super wow.
After an impressive clay court season so far, Bertens was a heavy favourite against Konta, having won eight straight matches on clay, including the Madrid Open. Then she was within two points of the win in the second but this time she couldn't close the door.
After struggling with her form for most of 2018, former World No. 4 is back to her winning ways this season.
These two have played five times and Pliskova won four of those matches. Pliskova have had a very consistent run since the 2016 U.S. Open, reaching the Australia Open Semifinal and also the Miami Open final. "But it was not there".
A double fault when serving for the set handed Konta a break point but the British number one squandered the chance with a smash into the net with the entire court open to her. Nevertheless, she aced an inside-out forehand and with Konta netting the ball, Karolina Pliskova held the first set 6-3.
"I'm still not feeling like I would be playing the best tennis", Pliskova said. "I think she prayed so I could win today". "Finally I have a title", Nadal told reporters. Pliskova was almost unbreakable in the match, showing the world that she should never be counted out when playing on clay. "Yeah, really happy before Paris to go this week". They last met in the 2017 WTA Eastbourne, where Pliskova won on the back of a walkover.
Konta, 28, beat two top-10 players to reach the final and earned a seeding at the French Open starting on 26 May.
"Of course, she's going to be confident".
However, the unseeded Briton remained upbeat, claiming "this is a big moment for me". "Before the tournament, I was not super confident, not thinking about the final at all".
Konta will seek her 4th career title, Pliskova her 13th.
Nadal is aiming for a record-extending ninth trophy in Rome while Djokovic is seeking his fifth title at the Foro Italico.
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