Karolina Pliskova came out of this all-Czech Australian Open 4th-round match against Barbora Strycova battle-scarred and relieved.
So Near, but yet so Far for Barbora Strycova
Déjà vu can be a sickening feel sometimes. At this stage last year, Barbora Strycova had eventual champion Serena Williams reeling. The American turned around her tournament as well as the match. Could history repeat itself?
Too often throughout her career, luck has deserted Strycova. Therefore, when a net cord looped over for Pliskova at a key stage in the first set that Strycova went onto win, you felt at 31 years old, her luck was turning.
Pliskova’s point-shortening upset Strycova’s rhythm
An early break in the deciding set at just after nearly 1am local time left you feeling that Strycova could pull off the upset.
Pliskova showed why she has been World #1, and could be again, even this tournament. Strycova at her best was crafting points and wearing Pliskova down. This is what makes a top class player. Pliskova found the energy and guile to blast out some short points, unsettling her Federation Cup teammate: Strycova. Tremendous defence from Pliskova wore out Strycova in the end.
A tournament always loses a little edge when a quality, competitive, and entertaining player like Barbora Strycova exits. She has left her mark on the tournament again. Beating Strycova in the 4th round was a good omen for Serena last year; Pliskova will be hoping for the same destiny.
Halep up next for Pliskova
The reward for this tight three set victory is a shot at the World #1 Simona Halep. There is more than a semifinal spot up for grabs in this match. Pliskova and other players could knock Halep off her perch. The permutations centre around a Pliskova victory here.
Both players have been made to work hard at stages in this tournament. Pliskova will gain a great deal of confidence from her improved defensive display. Halep’s ankle injury seems to be worrying her, Pliskova will hone in on this. It’ll be a great match to watch.
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