By Ros Satar at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham

  • Kristyna Pliskova [WC] def. Karolina Pliskova [3/WC] 6-2 3-6 7-6(7)
  • The twins talk about life on tour, and what the deal was for whoever won
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The Pliskova twins served up a late evening treat in Birmingham as the ‘other’ Pliskova delivered a victory over former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova.

 

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Kristyna Pliskova [WC] def. Karolina Pliskova [3/WC] 6-2 3-6 7-6(7)

Karolina (l) & Kristyna (r) Pliskova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019

Karolina (l) & Kristyna (r) Pliskova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

In a first tour-level, main-draw encounter between twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, a little slice of history was made, but moreover, the older Plisova was able to step out of the shadows of her top-ranking sister as she got the win.

It was Kristyna who was by far the more aggressive in the first set, breaking her sister twice for the first set. Karolina has enough experience though, coming back in the second set with an early break and holding the advantage to level the match.

The third set was a lot a tighter with the pair trading breaks, before the tensest of tiebreaks. If they were nervous at the start, the tie-break at times was a comedy of (unforced) errors. With the older, and lower ranked Pliskova coming out on top, it was a subdued celebration, and indeed when they came into press Karolina was certainly the more accepting of her fate.

Karolina Pliskova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019

Karolina Pliskova in the second round of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019 | Jimmi48 Tennis Photography

She said: “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.

“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.

“I hopefully I will go to improve until Eastbourne now, I’m going to go to Eastbourne. And I think every day on grass is going to be important for me now.”

Kristyna agreed that perhaps the grass had been a better friend to her leftie serve, as she looked a tad more shell-shocked at being in a press conference.

“My serve on grass is a big weapon so I don’t think it would be like this on any other surface, but on grass, yes. I feel good. 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.”

With that win, Kristyna breaks back into the Top 100 according to the live-rankings, and her sister believes that she is easily capable of being much higher.

Karolina continued: “There is a big gap of course between us in the rankings, so I should have won easily, or whatever. Maybe everybody thought that. But on grass it is different story, that is first thing. I think she should not really be where she is, so that’s the other thing because only if she has the serve, I think she’s super dangerous for so many players, plus if she is playing well, she can beat a lot of top players and a lot of normal players, not even top players, so she can be dangerous. It depends how she plays.

“She needs to improve. If she is playing like today, all the matches here what she has played, she can beat most of the players so, of course, I was the favourite, not only on paper, also about my feeling, but I think grass is a really different story, so you don’t have that many chances and her serve is super effective on grass but…”

 

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Sister Act

Kristyna Pliskova (l) and Karolina Pliskova (r), Indian Wells 2019

Kristyna Pliskova (l) and Karolina Pliskova (r), Indian Wells 2019 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The pair have been so engrained in tennis since a young age, they have been together throughout the juniors, and on the whole,  it has had more advantages than disadvantages. While they never got as far as swapping identities to fool people, the Czech press still get them mixed up.

Karolina said: “I have heard stories that some of the twins they did, but I never felt like being Kristyna and we are pretty much same in everything like school, we were pretty bad, so there was no reason to change. On the other hand, she was lefty, I’m righty, so on the court it was impossible.

“[Czech press] still don’t know which one is which, so if we change clothes, then I think they still have trouble still now. So every time they are using pictures on internet, it is like there’s a story and article about me and a picture of Kristyna so I think this is normal but we never wanted to change.”

In terms of general sibling rivalry and getting on, Karolina added:

“Of course, sometimes little small things [annoy each other], but now when we don’t spend that much time together, I mean in the apartment and in the rooms during the tournaments it’s not that horrible, but when we used to play all the time doubles and practicing together, it was tough, and we were fighting a lot.

“I think for mum it was worse because to have two kids at the same time and one was always crying so she really had, like, no time to rest. So it was tough, but on the other hand, I think they just put us on tennis, so they just drive us like to practice at the same time, so it was easier that we did the same sport and I think that they are proud, but it was not easy, and in each tournament is equal, let’s say today I think they are dead (laughing).

“I think we always have the best friend on tour, which is not — I think the other girls sometimes but not really during the tournament so I think we always stay so close, we talk about everything, and she’s also helping me so much because sometimes the things which I go through, she also went through so we kind of have the same feelings, so yes, I think it helped us a lot.”

 

Winning Deal

Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

The pair are sharing a hotel room this week, without their usual entourages, so the night before the match was spent shopping and doing the usual things together the following day, up until the warm-up for the match.

But what was the forfeit for player who won? Karolina said: “We had a deal before the match that whoever wins is buying something to the other one, so I get a present (laughing).”

Kristyna expanded: “Yeah, we said this. It was a bit different, so we said if she wins, then she’s going to give me her prize money [because she is richer than me] (laughing). Okay, if I win, I just buy a present, it’s true.”

Kristyna Pliskova will play fellow Czech Barbora Strycova in the first match on the Ann Jones Centre Court at 11:30am BST.

 

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