Thursday is my tennis day where I actually get on the tennis court rather than watching the pros do their thing. I missed the first two sets and a half but did see the end of the third round match in Cincy between Jelena Jankovic and Karolina Pliskova which was pretty noteworthy. Jankovic saved a match point and recovered from 5-2 down in the third set to win the last five games and book her place in the Cincy quarter-finals for the seventh time in her career. I hate to say it but this was a collapse from Pliskova. The Czech player tried to serve it out twice and looked nervy with Jankovic getting on top in most of the rallies. When Pliskova did get in the ascendancy, she refused to move up the court (there was one point I have in mind!) and kept letting Jankovic back in the point who all too often took advantage of an error.
Pliskova even had break points in the 5-5 game but she definitely wasn’t clutch on the big points. Pliskova looked a little lost in the final game serving at *5-6 with a couple of BIG errors long including on match point. Pliskova’s done so much good stuff this year but there were certainly a few concerns with this loss. Her serve hasn’t been great of late and I was surprised by her inability to close out points against Jankovic. She looked nervous and tame at the end, and was waiting for Jankovic to make the error rather than being proactive
It is worth noting Pliskova’s first round defeat in Toronto was also a tough one as she led Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-3 *4-0 before losing in three sets. Before that, Pliskova lost her fourth Premier final this year in a three setter to Angelique Kerber. All four finals were against quality opposition but I wonder if that has played on her mind. This will be a really tough loss to get over and I hope she can forget about it as fast as possible! Grand Slams is another issue and it wasn’t ideal preparation for the US Open where Pliskova will be attempting to make the second week of a Slam for the first time in her career.
Credit to JJ who was really solid at the end and fought back in style. Any tournament with Jankovic left in is a fun tournament. The Serb will play Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the quarters. On paper, it’s a pretty cushty match but Schmiedlova’s been doing great of late. She’s already won two WTA titles this year in Katowice and Bucharest, and backed up her first round upset win in Cincy over Agnieszka Radwanska with further wins over Irina-Camelia Begu (6-1 6-3) and Varvara Lepchenko (6-3 3-6 6-4). Against Lepchenko, Schmiedlova was 3-0 and two breaks down in the final set but came back to win six of the last seven games. I’d go for JJ but don’t be surprised if Schmieds keeps her run going. She’s definitely one to watch…