Friday, September 9, 2016

The Pliskova Effect

A lot of us were joking on Twitter about the sudden "power" of Karolina Pliskova to make or break a ranking. In Cincinnati, the Czech star prevented Angie Kerber from overtaking the world number 1 spot when she beat her in the final. At the time, a dry-humored Pliskova told Kerber, "I think you deserve to be number 1, but maybe next time." Then, at the U.S. Open, Pliskova upset Serena Williams in the semifinals, which did make Kerber number 1 in the world.

That's all kind of funny and interesting, but what effects might Pliskova's breakthrough (finally) have on a couple of other players?

Her sister, Kristyna, who has an ever crazier-big serve than Karolina, is currently competing in the Dalian Women's Tennis Open, a WTA 125K series event. Kristyna has made it to the semifinals and might, in fact, be inspired by her twin's performance in Cincinnati and Flushing Meadows.

And then there's Petra Kvitova, who is now out-ranked by Pliskova. Not only that, but--for now--Pliskova has taken over as leader of the Czech Republic's killer Fed Cup team. Could the unintended competition from Pliskova be a fire that lights Kvitova's flame once again? Or could it have the opposite effect? Or perhaps it doesn't matter at all, especially considering the likes of the good-natured, all-for-one/one-for-all human puzzle that is Petra.

It may take a while before we know if there really is such a thing as a Pliskova Effect. 

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