Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova stormed through the first set and dropped the second set equally quickly before cruising through the third to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-1

Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) - Former champion Karolina Pliskova moved into the semi-finals of the season-opening Brisbane International with a three set win over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday.

Pliskova stormed through the first set and dropped the second set equally quickly before cruising through the third to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 and set up a semi-final against Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

The tall Czech was in imperious form in the first set and appeared set for a lightning-quick victory.

But her game dropped off slightly as Tomljanovic picked hers up to level the match.

However, the third was almost an exact copy of the first as Pliskova found her mark with her booming serves and the Australian had no answers.

Earlier, Vekic was in blistering form as she thrashed 2018 runner-up Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-0.

Vekic played what she later called “perfect” tennis, giving her Belarusian opponent no chance in the 56-minute demolition.

“I think today was probably one of the most perfect matches I’ve ever played in my career,” she said.

“Everything was going well for me. I was trying to be aggressive, trying to play my game and not give her time to be aggressive, because if she’s on, she’s on.”

The 22-year-old Vekic will finish the week inside the top 30, guaranteeing herself a seeding at the Australian Open.

Vekic burst onto the scene in 2012 when she reached the final of her first WTA tournament in Tashkent as a 16-year-old.

However, she said she struggled to live up to people’s expectations of her and her career suffered as a result.

“There’s ups and downs in every career, every sport – not only in sport, in life,” Vekic said.

“And I think I’ve already gone through that, and to say I’ve already gone through that at 22 I think is pretty good.

“So I hope it’s going to be a little bit more stable now.”