Kristyna Pliskova made her way into the quarterfinals of a Premier event for the first time and salvaged a first Top 5 win of her career as she defeated twin sister Karolina in a three set battle in Birmingham.
This was the first time the two played each other since all the way back in 2013, but this match felt very different. Facing off in the main draw of a tour-level event for the first time, and it was a peculiar situation that both found hard to really handle at times, both before and during the encounter.
Kristyna vs Karolina Pliskova
The older of the two sisters, Kristyna, has been on quite a tear this week, coming into the second round without dropping a set. She continued that, four of the first five games of this matchup. She was by far and large the better player for the first set, but her twin started to make more of an impact in the second set. Kristyna then lost a 4-1 lead in the decider, but eventually saw things out in what was one of the nerviest tiebreaks you are likely to see, with both players finding it a huge challenge to bring their best tennis with the pressure they were under.
Despite Karolina being the more established player, a former World No.1, and the much more experienced in these big matches, it was clear that her sister had the considerable edge when it came to imposing her game on a grass court match. These grass courts actually bring out the key strengths in Kristyna’s game. The points are short, the majority of her tennis is played on the front foot, and the most important factor of all is just how much pop she gets off her fearsome serve in these conditions. She served 24 aces and won 82% of her first serve points, which has really been the story of her tournament.
Krstyna speaks about her win
Kristyna discussed the obvious nerves that were on show towards the conclusion of the 3rd set and just how difficult an occasion it was for her to process even when coming through on the winning end against her sister.
“It was nervous in the end, but also before the match, and also yesterday, so kind of all the times since we knew we were going to play each other, so I think we tried to play calm and just like a normal match. But it is not really easy, you know, when you see on the other side your sister, but yes, I agree, the end was horrible [laughing]. I feel actually good here in Birmingham. I think I play well and only the nerves affected me a little bit this match, but so far I play good, I improved since one month ago.”
Kristyna was also questioned as to what the toughest of the matches with her sister has been. She replied with, “We didn’t realise we would play that well to be here and play against each other, but I think it was this one actually, this one was the toughest one so far, so it can get only better, I think. I hope”
Karolina discusses the loss
At the end of the match, Karolina was disappointed but also expressed the sheer difficulty of such a unique match of playing a sibling, as she tried to break down the keys of the match and the huge turning points.
“We were both nervous in the tie-breaker. I think she was for sure playing the first set amazing. There was not many chances from me. I was a little bit too much waiting for mistakes, too much waiting for what was going to happen and she was hitting it and she went for it and she was serving great, so there was not many chances for me. Then I felt I was better, maybe second, third set, I had more chances to break, already first game after the second game, so I think it was for sure a couple of chances where I should or where I could play much better.
“I think she was definitely better on the serve, which I think on grass is normal and she’s lefty, so the serve was always better (smiling). And, yeah, of course, a little bit unlucky but I’m happy for her. She played some good matches here. She was feeling confident today so she had nothing to lose. It is tough to play your sister, but I think she was playing good today.”