Karolina Pliskova used that powerful forehand of hers to stay alive at the US Open. The World No. 1 was down a match point in the second set to Shuai Zhang but unloaded on a forehand to keep her in the match, and she would fight back and win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 and advance to the fourth round.
“If you’re match point down, you don’t really think, like, about what to play or if to hold it in the rally, so I didn’t have any other choice,” Pliskova said. “I just went through it and prayed that it’s going to be in, and it was in.”
Pliskova has now won 9 of her last 10 matches at the US Open. But it’s been a roller coaster for her so far.
“I think I’m playing in quite big waves this tournament so far,” said Pliskova. “So I think sometimes I think I play good shots, good rallies, and then there is hundreds of mistakes and not a good shot.”
“I just try to fight even if my game is not 100%, and it’s not 100%, actually, this week,” the World No.1 continued. “But I’m winning, so that’s the main thing.”
Pliskova has to at least reach the final to have a shot at holding on to the No. 1 ranking.
Coco Vandeweghe had her own roller coaster with Aga Radwanska finally outlasting the Polish No. 1 and 10 seed 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her first US Open fourth round.
“I’m really happy with getting to the second week,” said Coco. “It’s a step closer to what I would like to do here.
“My approach hasn’t been much different. Maybe a little bit mentally. I’ve been more selfish with just kind of my time, what I’m willing to do, what I’m not willing to do as far as being an American in New York. For me, I have lots of friends and family. It’s, like, kind of pick and choose my time wisely.”
Elina Svitolina also stay in the No. 1 chase finally closing out American 24-year-old Shelby Rogers 6-4, 7-5. Svitolina failed to finish off Rogers serving 5-4 after having three match points.
“It was very good level of tennis in the end of second set and the crowd was behind her,” Svitolina said. “It was tricky, but I was very happy I could handle it, because it was, like, four or five very tough games. I was happy that it’s all finished. Yeah, was happy with the performance.”
Jennifer Brady, Lucie Safarova, qualifier Kaia Kanepi and Daria Kasatkina were also winners. And in the nightcap, Madison Keys rallied to beat Indian Wells winner Elena Vesnina 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a match that finished at 1:45am.
On a big Sunday, former champions Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova return. Venus faces Carla Saurez Navarro who celebrates her 29th birthday while Sharapova continues her return against 2016 US Open quarterfinals Anastasijia Sevastova.
And in the marquee match of the schedule, two Wimbledon champions, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza, battle. Kvitova has won their last two.
“Tough match, actually,” Muguruza said. “I think she’s an incredible player. It’s going to be interesting. It’s a good fourth round to play. We played before and I won, she won, so I’m expecting a good match.”
Sloane Stephens also takes on Julia Goerges.
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