Karolina Pliskova has backed up her 2016 season incredibly well in 2017. The 25-year-old did not reach the second week of a Grand Slam until she advanced to her first Grand Slam final at the US Open last year. The lanky Czech has won three WTA titles in 2017, and she has earned the right to become the world number one for the first time in her career.
Pliskova had the chance to attain the world number one ranking from Angelique Kerber at the French Open had she reached the final. Nevertheless, she claimed the ranking at Wimbledon despite losing in the second round. Coupled with Simona Halep's quarterfinal exit and Kerber's fourth round loss to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza.
This midseason review will look at Pliskova's season at the halfway stage, and she has a big second half to the season coming up with plenty of points to defend.
The new world number one has a 37-10 win-loss record on tour in 2017. The Czech has reached three finals in 2017 and she has won all three of her finals which are all Premier level titles.
Pliskova had the dream start to get her 2017 WTA campaign underway. Last year's US Open finalist won her first title of the year in her very first event of the year in Brisbane. She defeated the likes of Yulia Putintseva, Asia Muhammad, Roberta Vinci, Elina Svitolina and Alize Cornet clinching her seventh career title. The 25-year-old backed up her run at the US Open by reaching a second successive Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. Her nine-match winning streak was snapped by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal in 18 years.
The world number one bounced back at the Qatar Total Open in Doha when she won her second title of the year. Pliskova dropped a solitary set throughout her title run, and she defeated Caroline Garcia, Zhang Shuai, Dominika Cibulkova and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.
Pliskova's good run of form on hard courts continued at the back-to-back North American Premier Mandatory hard court events in Indian Wells and Miami. The Czech advanced to the semifinals at both events but she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Wozniacki respectively.
Despite a mediocre clay court season up until the French Open. Pliskova had low expectations heading into Roland Garros. Clay is historically Pliskova's weakest surface. However, the Czech embraced the clay in Paris, and she reached her third successive Grand Slam semifinal. The Czech's draw fell apart but she took advantage of it by dispatching the likes of Saisai Zheng, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Carina Witthoeft and Veronica Cepede Royg to reach the quarterfinals. Pliskova sent France's home favorite Caroline Garcia packing in the quarterfinals but lost to Simona Halep in the semifinals.
The Czech began her grass court campaign at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. It was a successful run for Pliskova as she claimed her third title of 2017. She defeated Wozniacki for the second time in a final in 2017. It was also Pliskova's third Premier level title of the year.
However, despite entering Wimbledon as one of the heavy favorites, and it remained to be the solitary Grand Slam where she has not advanced past the second round. Pliskova lost to eventual semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round in straight sets. Nevertheless, it ended up being a good tournament for the 25-year-old as she began her stint as the world number one for the first time with results going her way.
Pliskova had a tough second round clash with Kristina Mladenovic in Dubai, and the world number one lost in straight sets to the Frenchwoman. Furthermore, after a strong hard court season. Pliskova had a woeful start to the clay court campaign. She suffered a first round exit in Prague to Camila Giorgi.
She lost to Anastasija Sevastova in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open at the third Premier Mandatory event of the year. Moreover, she did reach two quarterfinals in Stuttgart and Rome losing to Laura Siegemund and to Elina Svitolina respectively.
The world number one's level of consistency in 2017 has been nothing short of brilliance. Pliskova won three Premier titles in Brisbane, Doha, and Eastbourne respectively. She also performed well at the Australian Open and the French Open, where she advanced to the second week at both for the first time. She made the quarterfinals in Melbourne and the semifinals in Paris. Reaching the semifinals in Indian Wells and Miami was amongst her good results of the season.
Pliskova losing in the second round in Dubai, Madrid and Wimbledon along with a first round exit in Prague, certainly were lowest moments in 2017. The Czech herself would have expected to have performed better at Wimbledon but it was not meant to be.
Despite not reaching a Grand Slam final at the first three Grand Slam events in 2017. Pliskova has sustained a high-level of consistency this year. Her movement is still the weakest aspect of her game but hard courts especially are her strongest surface.
The new world number one would have been pleased with her unexpected run to the semifinals at the French Open. Despite being the second seed at the time, she was not expected to be a contender at Roland Garros.
Pliskova will have a lot of points to defend at the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati along with defending her US Open points from last year. Nonetheless, Pliskova will have a lot of more media attention towards her as she is the world number one but the Czech will let her tennis do the talking. This second half of the year could be very crucial for the 25-year-old, who is could win her first Slam title at the end of the year.