Czech tennis star Karolína Plíšková has been world number one and is a constant presence in the top 10. However, she has only been to one Grand Slam final in her career – and she is now hoping to at least equal that achievement after reaching the last four at Wimbledon.
Karolína Plíšková was women’s world number in 2017 and has not been outside the top 10 in nearly five years.
Yet the rangy 29-year-old has only ever made it to one Grand Slam final, at the US Open in 2016.
Now Plíšková has made the final four at her first major tournament in two years – and reached the semi-finals at the All-England Club for the first time ever.
On Tuesday the Czech achieved that advance with a win over Viktorija Golubic on Centre Court.
Neither woman had ever made it into the last eight of the Grand Slam event before this week.
However, it was the Czech who made her experience count, with a quick-fire 6-2 6-2 victory over the Swiss player.
She described her feelings to Czech Radio after the match:
“Of course it was a wonderful win. I think I played well from the very start to the finish, even though the final game wasn’t quite as good. But I played the kind of match I needed to. It wasn’t anything out of this world, but I played the match I needed to, cleverly and carefully. My service was excellent and kept me on top throughout the match. Things didn’t go so great for me in recent weeks, so I’m glad I’ve turned that around.”
Plíšková is the first Czech singles player to reach the semis at all four Grand Slams since Tomáš Berdych. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petr Kvitová has never made the last four at the US Open.
However, Plíšková’s relatively poor record at the four Grand Slams, particularly on the grass courts of Wimbledon, has frequently been commented on.
The Czech, seeded eighth, says even making the last four in London has been a step forward for her.
“I’m glad about it. Wimbledon was the only one I was lacking. To get past the fourth round, where I was twice before… I just missed out in the past and didn’t play particularly badly, but sometimes you just need that little bit of luck. I’m glad I made the semis at the last Grand Slam that I was lacking. Because people were surprised and say, How come you can do it in Paris, but not at Wimbledon? I must have heard that a million times [laughs].”
Though she says she is taking things one match at a time, Karolína Plíšková will no doubt be hoping to go one better than the semi-finals, and take part in her first major final in half a decade.
Standing between her and that achievement will be Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who is seeded second.