Monday, September 5, 2016

Karolina Pliskova refuses to leave Flushing Meadows

For a while, you could just copy and paste "never gotten beyond the third round of a major" when you were writing about Karolina Pliskova, the non-Barking Czech and Fed Cup super-player. And this week, she not only made it to the round of 16 of the U.S. Open, she entered the quarterfinals today by defeating 6th seed Venus Williams.

It was a very good match, filled with momentum swings. Pliskova saved a match point, and then saw three of her own match points disappear after she reached 40-0. She was able to take care of things on her fifth match point. The fact that she saved a match point and then recovered from seeing three of them evaporate on failed big serves says a great deal about the current Pliskova mentality.

She'll have her hands full when she plays Ana Konjuh. The 18-year-old dispatched of 4th seed Aga Radwanska in masterful fashion, playing a very "big" game and flummoxing the Polish star in straight sets. But Pliskova has to be breathing a sigh of relief because she stood very little chance of defeating The Ninja. She's 0-6 against Radwanska, who knows how to take the Czech player's legs away from her and make her head spin.

It had to be a special feeling for Konjuh, beating Radwanska, after the bizarre turn their Wimbledon match took. At 7-all in the third-set tiebreak, Konjuh attempted to retrieve a wicked Radwanska drop shot, stepped on the ball, and turned her ankle. She stayed on the court but lost the tiebreak--and the match.

The Pliskova-Konjuh match has the potential to be very, very good. Unless Konjuh gets too nervous. Or Plishy goes to that "Czech place."

Serena Williams easily defeated Yaroslava Shvedova and will face 5th seed Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Halep (and her evil twin) defeated Carla Suarez Navarro today in the round of 16. It wasn't pretty some of the time, and if Halep can get that frustrated over the Spaniard, I can only imagine what might happen when she faces Serena.

In tomorrow's quarterfinal contests, 2015 runner-up Roberta Vinci will play 2nd seed Angelique Kerber. It's hard to imagine that this won't be the end of Vinci's run, but no matter--she has handled the 2016 U.S. Open like the Fighting Italian that she is. Also--you never know.

The other match will feature "surprise" quarterfinalist Caroline Wozniacki against surprise quarterfinalist Anastasija Sevastova. This was "supposed" to have been a Keys vs. Konta quarterfinal, and I was expecting Konta to serve her way to the semifinals. But in the "who knows which chapter?" of What Do I Know?, Sunshine took down Keys, and Sevastova beat a totally lackluster Konta.

But it wasn't all about Konta's oddly detached performance: Sevastova played really well and has had quite a run at this event. She first took out Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (I know, but honestly, Schmiedy has been doing better lately), then efficiently sent Garbine Muguruza packing, and followed that with a defeat of Kateryna Bondarenko. Considering her ranking, her circumstances and her draw, Sevastova could arguably be called the biggest achiever so far at the tournament.

Quarterfinals are also set for doubles competition, and top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kiki Mladenovic will face Cincinnati champions Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova in a "don't miss" match tomorrow morning.


Stefan N said...

It was expected for Serena Williams to win yesterday's game played in the US Opem 2016. Ranked as # 1 in WTA, Serena applied successfully her strengths and scored a well deserved victory against Simona Halep. I am sorry to see S. Halep kicked out of the tournament. She could have performed better; hopefully she will readjust the game strategy for the next tournament.

Diane said...

I thought Simona performed extremely well; she just got outplayed in the end.