Karolina Pliskova was the only player ranked in the top 20 in women’s tennis who had never advanced to the fourth round of a Grand Slam. Until Saturday.
The Open’s 10th seed defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-4 to finally make it to the second week of a Slam. “So happy to be there, especially at the U.S. Open, especially on hard court, which is my best surface,” Pliskova said.
She has shown considerable progress this year, and won at Cincinnati two weeks before the Open by beating two of this year’s Grand Slam winners. She took out French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final.
As not getting past the third round in 18 previous Slam appearances, Pliskova said: “I would also say it depends a lot on the draw. You can have players which you don’t like, which didn’t happen for me this time. I knew, especially today, I beat her three times, so I was confident about this match.”
Plodders make it through
Agnieszka Radwanska, the Open’s fourth seed, and Simona Halep, the fifth seed, have similar games but had different challenges Saturday.
Radwanska, never a Grand Slam winner but always knocking on the door, had a relatively easy time beating Carolina Garcia 6-2, 6-3 on Armstrong Stadium. Over on Ashe, Halep had difficulty with Timea Babos, pulling out a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 win.
Radwanska comes into the Open having won at New Haven last week, on a bit of a roll. “Definitely really couple good matches in New Haven, especially semis and the final,” said Radwanska. “Definitely I feel good right now and I think I’m playing really good tennis.”
Halep’s game was tested by the hard-hitting Babos. “She played unbelievable second and third set. She didn’t miss at all,” said Halep. “She was hitting very strong, so it was a good challenge for me and it was a good match. I’m really proud that I could win it and come back from 3-1 down in the third set.”
Another attendance record
The Open set a day attendance record for the second straight day with a spectator count of 40,780, and even 500 more than on Friday.