World number one Karolina Pliskova (pictured left) entered Monday’s fourth-round showdown with American Jennifer Brady having lost the first set in each of her previous two matches at the U.S. Open.
She made sure she wouldn’t have to play from behind again.
“I would say the first match was okay. It was definitely not the best, but it was okay. The other two were a little shaky,” Pliskova said of her first few matches. “Sometimes you just need to have some of those matches where you can just really get through it. You don’t even know why, but the game improves so much. So I didn’t change anything. I didn’t even practice yesterday. So there is nothing really that I did different. But I just felt much better.”
Pliskova needed just 46 minutes to defeat Brady 6-1, 6-0 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. She jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and never looked back. Brady would hold serve in that fifth game, but Pliskova would rattle off the next eight games after that to complete the rout and advance to the final eight.
In the match, Pliskova hit 23 winners and committed just nine unforced errors. She saved the only two break points she faced, and converted on six break points on Brady’s serve for a nearly flawless performance.
“The opponent was not the best today. Definitely she can play better than she was playing today,” Pliskova said. “I think she was kind of nervous, and also, with the shadow, I think she just didn’t feel well.
That’s nothing change on my game today, so I was feeling great.”
Plsikova will take on another American, Coco Vandeweghe, a 6-4, 7-6 winner Monday over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. This will mark the fifth meeting between Pliskova and Vandeweghe, with each taking two wins to date. Their most recent meeting was earlier in 2017 in Stuttgart in the Round of 16 on clay, a 7-6, 6-4 victory for Pliskova.
The loss ends the run of Brady, the 22-year-old who reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time this year, but not without valuable experience and match success that she will take with her going forward.
“I think it was just good for me to, you know, get a feel for what it’s like playing on a big stage, playing on Ashe. Next time I play on it, I’ll know what to expect,” said Brady. “I think I should give myself some credit too. I had some good wins, made it to the fourth round, and not dwell on this and learn from it.
Of course, you always want more. But, you know, if you would have told me in the beginning of the year that I would make the fourth round of two Grand Slams, I probably would not have believed you.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.