There is no doubt that the women’s singles at the US Open will be a highly exciting and dramatic event, and one of the leading figures competing for the title when the action begins next monday will be Karolina Pliskova.
It was at this tournament last year that Pliskova, seeded tenth, reached her first Grand Slam final, and the Czech has progressed even further since then, rising to the world number ranking after Wimbledon. However she is yet to win a Grand Slam title, and will be looking to win her first and stay at world number one in the next couple of weeks.
Early 2017 performances
Encouragingly for the Czech, she had played well on hard courts before the North American hard court summer began. Pliskova won her first title of the year at the Brisbane International, beating Alize Cornet in the final, and also won the title in Doha, where she beat Caroline Wozniacki to win her second title of 2017. She also reached the last four in both Indian Wells and Miami, as well as reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.
Pliskova typically struggles on clay and struggled at tournaments heading into the French Open, though impressed in Paris as she made the last four, losing to Simona Halep in a thrilling semifinal clash. The Czech rebounded after that defeat with a third title of the year in Eastbourne, beating Wozniacki once again to take the title, though suffered an early defeat at Wimbledon (where she was arguably the favorite for the title) at the hands of Magdalena Rybarikova.
Hard Court summer results
Following a disappointing third Grand Slam of the year, Pliskova has rebounded fairly strongly with good performances at both the Rogers Cup in Toronto and at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Making her debut performances as the world number one, the Czech eased past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her opening match in Toronto before reaching the last eight following Naomi Osaka’s retirement in their third round clash. There, the Czech fell to Caroline Wozniacki in a thrilling quarterfinal encounter, putting in a strong performance but falling just short at the end of the day.
Just as she did in Toronto, Pliskova started very well in Cincinnati, dropping just five games to beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva in her opening round. She faced a tougher third round match, but eventually saw off Camila Giorgi in three sets and then eased past Wozniacki in straight sets to reach the last four. In the semifinals she fell to Garbine Muguruza relatively tamely, winning just five games, though overall she will probably be fairly satisfied with her US Open build-up.
Best US Open result
As previously mentioned, Pliskova made the final in New York last year, despite the fact she had previously never made it to the second week of a Grand Slam tournament before.
Seeded tenth, she beat American wildcard Sofia Kenin in the first round in straight sets, before putting in two more impressive performances against Montserrat Gonzalez and 17th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the second week without dropping a set. Her fourth round match proved to be one of the best matches of the year, with Pliskova saving a match point to beat sixth seed Venus Williams in a final set tiebreak.
In her first ever major quarterfinal Pliskova put in a dominant performance, dropping just four games against Ana Konjuh to cruise into the last four. The Czech was a big underdog heading into her semifinal encounter, but she was able to stun top seed Serena Williams in straight sets to reach the final, where she fell to Angelique Kerber in a thrilling final.
Pliskova has undoubtedly been one of the most consistent performers of 2017, and will be a huge contender for the title when action begins. It would not be a surprise if she walked away with the title in just over two weeks time.