In the final match of the Friday, Karolina Plíšková took on Agnieszka Radwanska for the sixth time in her career, facing a daunting task; she’d never taken a set off of the Pole in their previous meetings. Once again, the play on court followed the script that had been laid out over the course of the past encounters, even if Plíšková came very close to turn it into a late-night affair. This is the fourth and final dispatch of Stuttgart Express from quarterfinal Friday in Stuttgart.
After defeating Ana Ivanovic for the fifth time in five tries in the previous round, Karolína Plíšková suddenly found herself on the opposite side of the table in the quarterfinals: facing an opponent she had struggled with massively in the past — someone she had never taken a set off, in fact.
During the initial stages of the first set, the Pole and the Czech went back and forth with several breaks, but as the set progressed, Radwanska was able to pull ahead — very much following the expected storyline of the match.
Radwanska broke the Plíšková serve for a third time in the opener to wrap the set up, 6-2, and it seemed for all the wold that the Czech had again run out of ideas in the matchup. The second set, however, saw a completely different match compared to the first 30 minutes, as Plíšková began to dictate play more and miss less frequently. While the Czech took the lead with a break midway through the second set, Radwanska soon came back to level the score at 4-4.
One of the crucial moments of the match was a marathon game late in the set, with Radwanska serving at 5-5, when Plíšková had seven break points but couldn’t convert any of them. The encounter then concluded in a dramatic tiebreak which saw the Czech save three match points in a very calm manner — with a rare destruction job on her racket thrown in between for good measure. At the end, however, it was Radwanska who prevailed in the tightest match between her and Plíšková thus far, when the Czech buried a forehand in the net to pave Radwanska’s way into the semifinals, 6-2, 7-6(8).
In the players’ own words
On how she played in today’s match:
Something between, good anyway — but definitely a great second set from both of us and she played also very good tennis and very solid, not many of quick points. The tiebreak was also crazy. So, you always appreciate this kind of matches, especially the ends.
Yes, well after the game when it was 5 all we all were relieved, especially also after the tiebreak. It was one of the best tiebreaks I played and some amazing shots from her as well, especially when I had the match points. Well, another great match, so, I’m just very happy to win that one.
On her dominance vs. Plíšková:
Well, I know I have a good record against her. But the record does not apply, every match is a different story, here it could have been a third set, you never know what would have happened in the third set. Maybe when you go on court but I try not to think about it. It goes on both side, even if I lost to someone a couple of times, it doesn’t really matter, especially every match is on a different surface, different circumstances, different day; sometimes you have a bad day, a worse day then you have a great day. That’s tennis. So, everything can happen. But, even if I won against her six times, that for sure didn’t help me today. I had to play from the beginning.
On her clay court prospects:
They were two very tight matches [this week]. I’m happy to win both of them. I think I play very good tennis even on clay. Well, I just hope I can play the same tennis tomorrow. I was really preparing for the tournament very well. I think I did everything I could to play really good tennis here. I had some good rest as well. I’m just happy I could bring everything I was practicing to the match court.
On “that” game:
Yes that was probably the biggest mistake, even – anyway I had chances in the tiebreak but if I would do this game then I’m serving for the set. I held my serve game quite easy afterwards, even after this tough game. So, that was probably the biggest mistake. I had like five or six break points and she always served good but I always did a mistake. So, that was just not good.
On her mentality despite being 0-6 in the matchup:
I think it was of the best matches I played against her so far. So, at least now I have a chance in the future if I keep playing like this. But I have to play like this from the first point and not from the second set. Because even if there would be a third set, it’s still not easy to beat her you know because it’s going through the long rallies and she’s not going to give you the easy points and easy mistakes. So, I still have to improve and maybe improve the serve. The serve percentage is very needed with her, the first serve, and also the game on the net because there were so many – not so many – but a lot of important points which I was pushing from the back and I was aggressive from the back but you cannot always kill it from the baseline You have to come forward and I was doing mistakes from that.
That concludes “Stuttgart Express” — a unique look at the four quarterfinal matches from Stuttgart — stay tuned for more content from championship weekend!