Ana slumps to Plikova defeat

Ana slumps to Plikova defeat

Ana suffered a disappointing 7-5, 6-4 loss to world No.42 Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic in the second round of the US Open in New York. The 26-year-old was too inconsistent and encountered a superior opponent today, who took advantage of every opportunity to dictate the rallies with her aggressive groundstrokes.
 
“This was probably my best match of the year, and probably of my career,” the Czech said in her on-court interview straight after the match. Indeed, Pliskova had never before reached the third round of a Grand Slam event and entered the match as the firm underdog. She would belie that status throughout the match.
 
Nevertheless, Ana appeared to be in her element in the early stages of the contest on Louis Armstrong stadium. Thanks to a backhand winner and two aces, she easily held serve in the opening game.
 
She threatened to break the Czech in the second game as she earned a breakpoint at 30-40, but Pliskova got out of danger with a big first serve. The eighth seed did manage to break two games later, but Pliskova immediately responded with a re-break to love.
 
Breaks were traded once more in games seven and eight, but it was Ana who seemed to carve out the decisive gap: the 26-year-old led 0-30 on the Pliskova serve while holding a 5-4 advantage, but four straight points from the Czech levelled the contest at 5-all.
 
Pliskova fully went for her shots and she wangled two breakpoints with a classy lob shot. The Czech was successful on the first occasion and she got the chance to serve out the set in the following game, which the 22-year-old did in fine style.
 
Ana started the second act with fresh impetus and although she had to get rid of two break points in the fifth game, the match at this stage could have gone either way. Three breaks of serve were to follow: Ana surrendered her serve twice and fell 5-4 behind, with the world No.42 serving for the match in the next game.
 
There was to be no turnaround for Ana as three unforced errors from her racket set up three match points for Pliskova. The Czech’s arm got a bit shaky on the first occasion, missing an easy put away shot, but she scored her career’s finest triumph with a winning serve on the next point.

“It was very tough out there for me today,” said Ana.

“I really struggled to find my rhythm and made way too many unforced errors. It was just a really bad day. She served well, and she played good at important points, but I think I just did not play as well as I did.

“It’s very disappointing. It's never easy to finish, and especially this early. I was really hoping I can make a good run and push. But I'm definitely going to assess what went wrong and what I can work on.

“Still, I thought I had a pretty good summer. Very disappointed today to finish this early and in this manner, because I really felt it wasn't my game out there today.

By Joeri Moerman

Photo: Manuela Davies / doubleXposure.com