Flushing Meadows witnessed an upset last Thursday when Karolina Pliskova beat 22 time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams. This further dethroned Williams from the No.1 ranking, making sure that she would have to wait till 2017 to win an unprecedented 23rd Grand Slam title. One would have expected Serena to avoid an upset, especially after last year’s episode when Roberta Vinci defeated her. But Pliskova had other plans.
The tall lanky Czech can easily disrupt anyone’s game with her booming serve, a prized weapon in Women’s tennis. Few can match Serena’s serving prowess, but Pliskova just hinted that she can beat her. Facing daunting flat serves and accurate body liners, the best Serena could seem to do was avoiding the ball. Though Serena pulled her socks in the second set, Pliskova held on to record the biggest win of her career.
On the Grand Slam stage, at least up until now, Pliskova has been a perennial underachiever.
Her previous personal best was a 3rd round appearance at the Australian Open in 2015 and 2016. But given the Women’s circuit, Pliskova has just gotten only better. Having played for four years now, she won 6 titles, including two of this year. She achieved her personal best ranking of World No.7 last year.
Pliskova possesses a gameplay unique to the Women’s Tour. With the serve being her biggest asset, her lengthy arms produce penetrating groundstrokes and give her much better reach on the court. The fact that she has started to use these to her advantage is a sign of progress and reflects success in recent results. Pliskova seems to be shaking off the inconsistency tag by producing deep runs in every tournament she plays in.
On Saturday night, Pliskova plays the biggest match of her career when she faces German Angelique Kerber. The two met just last month at the Cincinnati Open, with the Czech destroying Kerber in two dominating sets. What’s funny is Kerber’s Cincinnati loss prevented her from taking the World No.1 rank from Williams. And this very week, Pliskova beat Williams and crowned Kerber World No.1.
With a first Grand Slam title in her sights, Pliskova is more than capable of producing an upset. Her win would mark the rise of a newer generation, with players like Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza. Whatever said and done, the Future of Women’s Tennis does certainly look bright. And we hope to see more and more players rise up.