Karolina Pliskova: Number 13 in the World and Climbing

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Karolina Pliskova, the twenty-two year old Czech and rising star on the WTA tour, is on the verge of breaking into the top ten, having finished the 2014 season ranked 24th in the world. Last week in Dubai at the Duty Free Championships, she defeated Ivanovic, Safarova and Muguruza in a grueling, three hour match before losing a close two set final (4-6, 6-7) to Simona Halep. As a result of her impressive run to the finals, Pliskova has achieved a career-high ranking of thirteen in the world.

Karolina won her first WTA Tour title at the 2013 Malaysian Open where she defeated several seeded players on the way to final where she defeated the American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three sets. Later that year, she won her first WTA tour doubles title alongside her sister becoming the first set of twins in history to achieve this feat.

Her twin sister Kristyna, also competes on the WTA tour but has yet to make similar inroads and is currently ranked 137th in the world. In 2010, however, both where junior Grand Slam champions; Karolina won the Australian Open junior title while Kristyna won Wimbledon. At the time, many predicted Kristyna would emerge as the player to watch yet despite the divide in tour rankings, the sisters often play doubles together.

To proclaim that 2014 was a breakout year for the talented Czech would be a huge understatement. Last year, Karolina claimed two of her three WTA tour titles and broke into the top 25, finishing the year ranked 24th in the world.

In February of 2014, Karolina reached her second WTA tour final in Pattya City, losing to Ekatarina Makarova. In the spring of that year, she reached her third WTA tour final in Nuremberg, Germany, pushing Eugenie Bouchard to three sets before losing 2-6,6-4,3-6.

At the US Open, Karolina would reach the third round by defeating world number nine, Ana Ivanovic. Later that fall, Pliskova reached her fourth tour final at the Hong Kong Open, losing to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. The following week, she reached her fifth tour final at the Korea Open, defeating American Vavara Lepchenko for her second career title. Karolina would win her 3rd WTA Tour title at the Generali Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria with an impressive and hard-fought, three set victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

Pliskova began the current season at the Brisbane International where she took out former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka in the opeining round before losing in the second.

At the Apia International in Sydney, Australia, Pliskova crushed Angelique Kerber in the semis but lost in the final to compatriot Petra Kvitova, in two tie breakers. At the 2015 Australian Open, Karolina lost in the third round to eventual semi-finalist, Ekatarina Makarova. At the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, Pliskova, the number 8th seed, lost in the semis to eventual finalist, Carla Suarez Navarro.

At 6 feet, one inches tall, Karolina is right-handed and hits a two-handed backhand. She plays an aggressive game, always looking for opportunities to hit-out on service returns. Playing doubles will serve to improve not only her net game, but her movement around the court. Consequently, I expect her to progress further than she did at last year’s French Open (2nd round) and Wimbledon (2nd round) and look forward to following her imminent upward trajectory as the season unfolds. Stay tuned!

 

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