In 2019, though, she arrived in Italy after reaching her first clay final in Rabat last month, and once in Rome, she beat both Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens on the same day to reach her first Premier clay quarter-final, survived a three-setter against rising star Marketa Vondrousova, and beat Kiki Bertens, Madrid champion, in an impressive three sets and nearly three hours.
"I have Conchita. She won (in Rome) four times, so that's quite (a lot of) motivation for me", said Pliskova of the Spanish former Wimbledon champion. As for Pliskova, she has played her fair share of tough matches in the past, and this one will be no different.
Speaking to reporters later, Djokovic said, "I was just running out of fuel a little bit today".
She had never gone past the semi-finals in her four previous appearances in Rome.
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British No. 1 Konta struggled to trouble Pliskova on serve as she fell to a seventh loss in eight meetings between the players.
Pliskova missed a break point in Konta's opening service game of the second set but eventually broke the 28-year-old at 3-3 before holding serve to secure victory. She even had the chance of a break back in the ninth, but hit an easy smash into the net, and Pliskova did not offer another chance, 6-3.
Pliskova, the fourth seed, beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-2 on Friday and plays 39th-ranked Sakkari, who ousted France's Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, for a place in the final. Konta has definitely changed as a player and has become a much more confident player, but the tennis world still suggests that it is Pliskova that has the edge going into Sunday. "There's rarely really a rhythm to the match. It can feel sometimes like you are fighting an uphill battle, and that was the case today".
"I just thought she didn't really have a letdown throughout the match".
After a hesitant couple of years, Johanna Konta has rediscovered the verve and self-belief that once made her a grand-slam contender.