Pliskova rolls into US Open semis
NEW YORK >> Karolina Pliskova came into the U.S. Open with the dubious distinction of being the only woman currently ranked in the top 20 never to make a Grand Slam round of 16.
She's now blown past that milestone, routing 18-year-old Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-2 in just 57 minutes Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
"To be honest, I don't care at what time it came. I'm just happy that it's now and that it came," the 24-year-old Czech said of finally making a deep run at her 18th career major. "There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it's the right time for having the results like this."
She lost just one point on her serve in the first set Wednesday and never faced a break point.
"I was surprised and I was still waiting even in the first set; even in the second set I was still waiting — (thinking) some complications going to come," Pliskova said. "But, well, I'm not going to complain."
Pliskova broke Konjuh's serve in the match's opening game, forcing the 92nd-ranked teenager to play from behind right from the start.
"Her serve is just too good," Konjuh said. "Today on the court, she found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her."
The 6-foot-1 Pliskova has the most aces on the women's tour this season, though that wasn't how she dominated Wednesday. Konjuh, also a big server, had more aces in the match, in fact (4-3). But she got only half of her first serves in and was broken four times, with four double-faults and 27 unforced errors.
Pliskova, who rallied to beat sixth-seeded Venus Williams in three sets Monday, has now won 10 straight matches, riding the momentum of a breakthrough title at Cincinnati. She defeated second-ranked Angelique Kerber in the final there.
Konjuh can take plenty of momentum away from Flushing Meadows too. After what had been a disappointing, injury-plagued season, her ranking is projected to soar to a career-best No. 51. She hadn't been past the third round at a major before this tournament and upset fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska on Monday for her first win over a top-10 opponent.
The 10th-seeded Pliskova will face No. 1 Serena Williams or No. 5 Simona Halep on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, I'm in the part of the draw with Serena," Pliskova said.
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