By Thomas Dodd
- Czech 10th seed is in her maiden Grand Slam final after defeating Serena Williams on Thursday
- Win was Pliskova’s 11th in a row after victory in Cincinnati last month
- Nottingham champion will now face new world number one Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s final
NEW YORK, USA – On Saturday Karolina Pliskova will face new World No. 1 Angelique Kerber for the US Open title – why do we think she can lift her first Slam title?
She just beat Serena Williams
Probably the most important factor in her favour, Pliskova’s demolition of the former world No.1 was one of the performances of the year on the Tour. Despite all the injury worries leading up to the tournament, Serena’s stress-free progress to the semi-finals had silenced the doubters and left her still the one to beat going into the last four.
The manner of the result was just as impressive, the Czech breaking one of the most powerful serves in the game on three occasions to build a set and a break lead, before recomposing herself to win the second set tiebreak.
She’s hit more Aces than anyone else this year
In any match on any Tour, cheap points on serve will always come in handy, and with consistent, powerful serving a rarity Pliskova’s record of sending down more Aces that anyone else this year (147 more to be exact) will make her a constant threat throughout Saturday’s final. If that wasn’t enough, the Czech has also saved over 62% of the break points she has faced, so she knows how to play the big points. If she can get the serve firing early and establish a rhythm she could be very hard to break down as the match wears on.
She’s on an 11-match winning streak
Those who don’t follow tennis all year round or outside of the Grand Slams may be wondering to themselves where this run has come from, but success over Williams in the last four at Flushing Meadows was actually the Czech’s 11th win in a row, dating back to the start of Cincinnati – a tournament she won by defeating Kerber in the final. Going back further and the tenth seed won on the grass in Nottingham and reached the final in Eastbourne just two weeks later back in the Summer. New York may have been her first foray past the third round of a Grand Slam, but this is no flash in the pan.
She beat Kerber three weeks ago
The German may lead the head-to-head 4-3 but the last meeting in the Cincinnati final a few weeks back was one way traffic. Kerber may have been playing for the number one ranking (something she has now secured by reaching Saturday’s showpiece in New York) but Pliskova was nerveless to run out a comfortable 6-3 6-1 win and her first Premier 5 level title. Including beating Kerber, the 11-match unbeaten streak Pliskova is currently on has seen her defeat five players ranked above her in the world rankings.
She won’t be overcome by the occasion
Why would she? A Premier title, where she defeated her New York final opponent convincingly, and victory over both Williams sisters in the last three weeks have proven Pliskova deserves her place in the top ten in the world and a shot at her first Grand Slam title. Her play over the last few months has been sensational and a first Slam final is the natural reward for her hard work. Don’t let her steely on court stare fool you either, this a woman with an incredibly laid back demeanour who has enjoyed playing her tennis in front of the Arthur Ashe crowd for the last two weeks. She has the right attitude to handle the occasion perfectly and her game has all the components necessary to help her lift a maiden Grand Slam title under the lights on Saturday evening.
Kerber and Pliskova are scheduled to play the women’s US Open Singles Final on 10 Septemer, at 4pm (9pm BST).
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