SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 – Home hopes of an all-Williams US Open semi-final clash were dashed as Czech Karolina Pliskova knocked out Venus in a thrilling Labor Day fourth-round match in New York.
Williams had a match point to become the oldest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era but the 36-year-old could not get across the finish line as Pliskova triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in two hours and 25 minutes.
Pliskova, the No 10 seed, said: ‘I was prepared that I was going to play Venus and that it was going to be tough because all the people were cheering for her.”
Williams went into the match as the favourite but she was beaten in three sets on Monday.
It was a great atmosphere. It was my first time here on Arthur Ashe [Stadium]. I really enjoyed the match.’
It was Pliskova whom Williams had beaten last November in Zhuhai to secure a return to the top-10 of the world rankings after four and a half years.
Sixth seed Williams made a strong start, quickly moving 5-1 ahead with a double break but she failed to serve out the first set twice.
Pliskova lets out a winning roar as she triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in two hours and 25 minutes
Sixth seed Williams made a strong start, quickly moving 5-1 ahead with a double break.
But the American made amends by breaking the Pliskova serve, taking a third set point as her opponent hit a backhand wide.
Williams was in control at 3-1 up in the second set but Pliskova then fought back by winning five of the next six games, levelling the match at one set all by firing down two consecutive aces.
Pliskova was 4-2 up in the deciding set but, with the home crowd willing her on, Williams typically battled hard and broke for 4-4.
Pliskova then took out the next two sets to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final
With Pliskova serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Williams brought up a match point but could not convert as Pliskova saved it with a brave forehand drive volley.
Pliskova then broke serve for 6-5 and had three match points at 40-0 but Williams saved them all and broke back with a forehand winner to take this tense match to a deciding tiebreak.
The 24-year-old Czech made no mistake this time, however, bringing up another four match points at 6-2 and taking the second to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final as Williams hit a backhand return long.
Pliskova shakes hands with Williams at the net following her victory in New York
Pliskova said: ‘To be honest, it was very difficult after I lost my serve for 6-6. She played a very good game but I was still focused, I put everything in there and I am happy I won it.
‘So far I’m happy that I got my first quarter-final. I’m going to enjoy the moment and prepare for my next match.’
After working so hard to force a tie-break, Williams was left disappointed with her performance when it came down to the crunch.
Williams said: ‘We both competed really well. Of course I’d like to come out on top of that match. I just kept fighting till the end, but I don’t know, she had a little more luck today. I had a few too many errors in the tie-breaker.
‘I think in the breaker I went for a little bit more but I didn’t put the ball in enough. I went for some aggressive shots, didn’t necessarily put them in. Obviously she played well.’
Source: Daily Mail