The Pliskova upset: an overwhelming win for an underwhelming player


For Karolina Pliskova, it doesn’t matter that she has entered the final of a major Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career. But the fact that she has beaten the legendary Serena Williams in peak form is worth all the championships she may or may not win in the future. It was perhaps the biggest match of Willams’ career — she had been holding her No.1 ranking for a record 186 consecutive weeks (tied with Steffi Graf) and was up for her 23rd championship victory (another record tied with Steffi Graf).

In a major upset, the Czech defeated the American tennis star in the U.S. Open semifinals on Thursday. At 6ft 1in, Pliskova is a big server and took on the six-time US Open champion with the same grit, finishing the match 6-2, 7-6.

Pliskova’s first big break in world tennis came as a junior when she won the Australian Open Singles in 2010. Her partnership with her identical twin sister Kristyna proved fruitful as they went on to win the junior Wimbledon Doubles’ that year and many WTA tours in the following years.

With their stellar record in junior doubles, the sisters embarked on their separate journeys. Karolina’s career took off better than her sister’s as she moved up the ranks, her best being No. 7 last year. She entered the senior arena in the 2012 French Open and has won six singles and five doubles on the WTA tour.

No 10 at present, Pliskova is slowly gaining ground. The lanky Czech serves well and leads the tour in aces (446) this season. She also holds the rare record of defeating both the Williams’ sisters in the same Grand Slam tournament. She trumped Venus in the fourth round earlier this week. Only four players have done that in the past.

In truth, Pliskova performance in women’s singles has been quite underwhelming. The 24-yr-old has never gone past the third round in her 17 previous attempts at majors. But with a win against the World No. 1 and 38-time Grand Slam winner may catapult her career from an underachiever to a rising star.

With the defeat at the semis, Serena loses her No. 1 position to German player Angelique Kerber. And Kerber is whom Pliskova will be facing on Saturday at the final. Pliskova is on an 11-match winning streak and has beaten the three-time Grand Slam winner in the Cincinnati Masters in August.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:47:00 AM |

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