No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova had to dig deep to overcome 2019 French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in a thrilling US Open second round clash. The Czech star saved a match point and fired a tournament record 24 aces to beat Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 and advance to the third round of the US Open. The 24 aces hit by Pliskova are the most by a woman at the US Open since the stat was recorded in 1998. In a tight neck-to-neck battle, the duo exchanged a total of three breaks in the opening set, but neither would lose a service game for the rest of the match. Pliskova held serve in 17 of her 18 service games, while Anisimova held in 16 of her 18.
With both players holding on to their service games impressively, the gruelling contest made it a spectacle worth watching for the fans gathered in the stadium. “I thought without my serve, tonight would not be possible,” Karolina Pliskova said. “I suppose also because I put so much pressure on my serve with her, I think she also needed to serve this way. I thought we kind of pushed each other with the serve, so that’s why we hold. For women’s tennis, normally there is break, break, break, break. That’s quite impressive I think.” Pliskova will next face Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. The Australian defeated No.30 seed Petra Martic, 7-6, 6-4.
After the Czech star captured the opening set, neither Pliskova nor Anisimova faced a break point in the second set. The duo calmly held their service games to force a tiebreak. In a tense tiebreaker, the Czech fired two double-faults to give the American the momentum. However, Anisimova then hit her first double fault of the match at 5-4, but she followed it up with a stunning crosscourt backhand winner to earn her first set point. Karolina Pliskova then hit her second double fault of the tiebreaker, as the American player bagged the second set to force the match into a decider.
With the momentum on her side and crowd backing her, Anisimova stepped up her serving game in the third set. Pliskova struggled to win return points in the final set, but she managed to hold on to her serve. With Anisimova serving at 5-5, Pliskova saw her first break points since the first set, earning four in total. But the American player stood tall as she weathered the storm to make it 6-5.
As the match went into a deciding tiebreak, Anisimova earned the early lead at 2-0 and extended that advantage to 4-1 with big-hitting off her backhand side. But the No.4 seed fought back to even the tiebreak at 5-5 and earned her first match point. The American saved the point with a courageous foray into the net, before earning her own match point. This time, it was Pliskova’s turn to save the match point. Finally, after 2 hours and 21 minutes, Karolina Pliskova screamed in joy as Anisimova hit her 37th unforced error to end a memorable contest.
Explaining her tactical change, Karolina Pliskova said, “The way the tiebreak went, I thought already by losing the second tiebreak it’s going to be difficult. She was actually on fire. She made only winners in the tiebreak. So I thought, Okay, point by point of course.
“When it was 5-3, I was like, ‘OK, if it’s 5-4, we are back on serve.’ But she had two serves actually. I know backhand is her better shot, right, and she didn’t miss many. She put so much pressure from the backhand. She can really play cross, line. Even if I play fast to the backhand, she doesn’t mind the speed.
“I thought, ‘OK, maybe I try to bit play to the forehand, make her move.’ I thought I played too many times in the same corner. Yeah, luckily it worked. But it was big luck.”