The 29-year-old thrashed his Russian opponent 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to get hold of his 12th tour-level trophy.
Nishikori has set his sights on returning to the world's top five after falling to 39 last April due to a wrist injury at the end of 2017 that forced him to take a break from the tour.
"A lot of my time is spent in the hotel lying in bed trying to conserve as much energy as I can, because whenever I step out on court there's so much I leave out there", he said.
Pliskova was jolted back to life in the decider and showed the poise that has accompanied her rise up the rankings, as the world number eight raced to a 5-0 lead before sealing victory. He went on to make the final of the Monte Carlo Masters, the quarters at Wimbledon, and the semis of the US Open.
Reigning champion Daniil Medvedev may opt to skip his Sydney International defence following a strong campaign in Brisbane. "I felt so far away from playing good tennis tonight", Pliskova, who needed a pep talk from coach Rennae Stubbs to regain composure, said.
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"And he did really well the last game, I mean the 4-3 game".
In women's singles, Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova battled past Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the final clash to clinch her second Brisbane International title.
"He played like a top 10 player tonight and I gave him a fight".
"Even if I lost today, I think I was very confident, and some of the matches I played some of the best [players]".
"I was a little bit flat after the first set". But then the ball wouldn't go in and then I would go back to being childish.
"This helpless feeling I have, I think today I learned what I have to do to, not fix it, but what I can do to improve the situation so there aren't many moments that I feel like that", the Japanese added.