Reaching her second Slam semi-final of 2017 and with a second win of the year over a world number one, CoCo Vandeweghe beat Karolina Pliskova, 7-6(4) 6-3 in the first of the quarter-finals on Wednesday at the US Open.
Vandeweghe saved a set point to win the opener in the tiebreak. One of the key differences was on return – Vandeweghe nailed a return on the first point of the tiebreak while Pliskova was unable to get a trio of returns back in court, flinging her racquet at the end of the set in frustration. Pliskova had rallied from a slow start in the first set and taken advantage of a few lapses in concentration from Vandeweghe on serve to come very close to grabbing the opener. However, credit to the American who mentally dug in and managed to halt Pliskova’s increasing momentum. Rather surprisingly, Pliskova missed on the key points.
In all four previous match-ups between Vandeweghe and Pliskova, the winner of the first set has gone onto win in straights. Again, this would be the case as Vandeweghe, despite a few wobbles on serve, served out the win. Pliskova was rather disappointing in the second set as she struggled both on her return and forehand. All the credit to CoCo – there were a couple of shaky moments but she managed to rein it in for an all-round mentally sound display.
“I got my chances. I didn’t make it. So that’s it” – Solid assessment from Pliskova.
By virtue of Pliskova’s loss, Garbiñe Muguruza is the new world number one. Congrats, Garbi! 😄
In the second semi-final, there was added pressure on Madison Keys as she went into the night match against Kaia Kanepi knowing that a win would complete a clean sweep of Americans in the semi-finals. She did just that, beating Kanepi, 6-3 6-3 and saving all three break points she faced in the 68-minute contest.
I’m not surprised Madison was feeling it before the match!
There wasn’t much tennis away from Ashe on another rainy day in New York. Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova and Xu Yi-fan and Gabriela Dabrowski had split sets on Grandstand when their doubles quarter-final was moved to Ashe. Dabrowski and Xu, who won New Haven together, must be an awkward pair to play and they produced flashes of inspired play at the net. Safarova and Strycova came through a tricky third set to win, 6-3 2-6 6-4. In an all-Czech semi-final, Safarova and Strycova will play Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.
Lucie talked about her partnership with Bara in the article linked below.
Both semi-finals will be played during Thursday’s night session starting at 7pm local time. It’s a brutal schedule for Europeans – if there’s one three setter, I might get lucky and see the end of the second semi-final as i’ve been waking up ridiculously early all week! Venus vs. Sloane is up first and is a fascinating match-up. I have been pondering it all day, struggling to make my mind up as to who I think will win. In terms of who I want to win i’m also pretty even.
For Stephens, her level hasn’t always been there through her last two matches against Goerges and Sevastova, yet i’ve been bowled over by her composure and ability to play solid and thoughtful tennis in the key moments. All the wins through the summer have clearly fed her confidence.
Venus continues to dazzle at the Slams – I watched back Venus-Petra which I really enjoyed! It’s never quite as good watching a match back when you know the result but the last 30 minutes or so were truly captivating. Venus played a superb third set tiebreak and was never rattled with Kvitova serving tremendously at times.
I think the day off for Venus will be huge and I would guess it could be a valid reason why she has performed better at the Slams compared to WTA tournaments this year. Honestly, I won’t be surprised either way with this result. I’m going 52-48 in favour of Venus.
For the third time this summer, Madison Keys will play CoCo Vandeweghe – the winner will advance to their first ever Slam final! Keys has won their two previous matches in Stanford (7-6 6-4, Final) and Cincy (6-4 3-6 6-3, R1). Again, Madison will play at night which she must be used to by now. I’d be more confident in Madison holding it together in what will be a huge match for both players.
Now we are down to the last four, who you got?!