The match of the day on Monday’s schedule was the second match on Ashe between Venus Williams and Karolina Pliskova. It’s so good when an anticipated match lives up to expectation…
Karolina Pliskova saved a match point to defeat Venus Williams, 4-6 6-4 7-6(3) in a thrilling third set crescendo. The first two sets were so-so, but the the final half an hour was fabulous tennis and some of the highest quality we’ve seen all year.
Venus made a fabulous start to the match, delivering a number of delicate drop shot winners early on to race into a *5-1 lead. However, she was twice unable to serve out the set. Pliskova was in the match but she couldn’t hold her serve faced with scoreboard pressure, getting broken for a third time with another poor game. Venus took the opener, 6-4. Venus was a set and a break up but began to play some loose strokes as Pliskova knuckled down impressively and won five games out of six to win the second set, 6-4 and force a decider.
From midway in the third set, I was hooked! Venus recovered from a break down in the third set and held impressively to lead 5-4. The number six seed had a match point but Pliskova was fearless, staying close to the lines. Pliskova held, broke and then quickly brought up three match points at *6-5 *40-0 in the decider. Pliskova couldn’t find a first serve for toffee but Venus strung together a series of SENSATIONAL points. Her backhand was tremendous in this match!
In a dramatic tiebreak, Pliskova was the steadier to seal the biggest win of her career. The Czech player produced a magnificent volley at 3-2 when it looked like Venus’s pass was good enough (see video below by the US Open Facebook Page). There could have been an interesting turnaround when Venus challenged a Pliskova ball (awfully late!) on match point which Hawkeye ruled out but Pliskova wrapped up the match on the next point.
It’s always sad to see Venus go out but but I am really chuffed for Karolina. I feel that her lack of success at the Slams has been holding her back at times this year and it’s so nice to see her game finally coming together on the big stage. In a third set tiebreak against a home favourite, Pliskova hung tough in the most intense of situations and really pulled it out of the bag. This has been long overdue for Pliskova and could be a game-changer for her going forward.
This was a great match – there were a few flutters of “match of the year” on Twitter. Not for me personally as I couldn’t get into it during the first two sets. The decider though was magnificent and that propels it some way up my top 20 list.