Karolina Pliskova may have felt underestimated and overlooked so far. And many tennis players can envy her achievements. The 30-year-old Czech was the world’s first racket and a two-time grand slam finalist. Now, Magda Linette’s quarter-final opponent at the Australian Open is seeded No. 30 and has had an arduous recovery from an unlucky arm fracture just over a year ago. While last season she had difficulties after resuming performances, now she seems to be Pliskova version 2.0.
The second half of 2021 was the golden time of the 1.86 m Czech woman. She reached the final at Wimbledon and the quarter-final at the US Open. The continuation of the good streak at the beginning of the next season was prevented by an injury she contracted during the preparation. The main interested person later called the injury stupid. Marek Bartosik, who reports the tournament from Melbourne for the “Tennisowy Świat” portal, describes it in the same way.
– It was a stupid injury. During training, she leaned on her arm and broke a bone, the journalist recalls.
Pliskova, who returned to the game in March 2022, later said that so far she had avoided health problems. She would have accepted this one with less regret if it hadn’t happened just before the competition on the antipodes.
“I never missed tournaments or training, even if I felt something. I only dropped out of the game when I was on a COVID-19 hiatus. Now I had a cast for a month or two. Fortunately, I avoided hand surgery. I assume no one plays professionally for 20 years without ups and downs. But it was killing me that I couldn’t be in Australia because it’s my favorite part of the season. I had a really good season earlier. I was “charged”. I thought I could have a good start to next year as well, and normally I always play well in Australia. So I was very sorry. If it was Indian Wells and Miami, it would be ok, but I missed Australia – she recalled after returning to the game in March.
She waited until April for her first victory after resuming the competition. However, it took much longer for her to return to a regular good game.
“I’m back in the game, but I’m still in pain. I wasn’t 100 percent ready then. Then he plays on clay and grass, no points for Wimbledon. It wasn’t an easy start. Only then did I find my game. Now I still play like I did in the US in the summer,” Pliskova said.
Bartosik tells us that the 30-year-old is now an improved version of herself. – Improved movement around the court and other elements. He’s clearly “in the gas”. In Melbourne, she has won very confidently so far – the journalist analyzes.
The former world’s first racket also admits to being in shape right now. He adds that he has been feeling well for several weeks, although it did not immediately translate into the result.
“Actually, things have been going pretty well since I got to Australia. Even in Adelaide, I only had a few matches, but I felt I was playing good tennis. There was a lack of wins because I had demanding opponents, but my game was already in the right place. You just feel these things sometimes. That’s what I’ve had for two or three weeks,” she said.
Pliskova is one of the most experienced players left on the grid. A grand slam quarterfinal is nothing new to her.
– The Grand Slam is also governed by its own rules. I always focus a little more on him. All the matches I’ve played so far here have been pretty solid, with no big slip-ups, with a small number of mistakes. I think the website works fine too. The conditions suit me too, I feel the ball well. Of course, experience can help me here, but there are a lot of young girls here or those who have never been at this stage before and can play without pressure.
One of such “freshmen” will be Linette. The 30-year-old Polish woman passed the third round for the first time in her career, and then took a step further, thanks to which she will face Pliskova on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to say it’s a good ladder, but if you look at it, it seems that way. This is Magda’s first quarter-final, right? I’ve been watching her a bit this week and she’s playing really good tennis. But I don’t want to approach it as a good ladder. Like, “It’s going to be a fun game and I’m going to win.” I’ve played the Polish woman twice in the last few months and it was a tight match at the US Open. In the third set tie-break, quite happily. Then I lost in the Billie Jean King Cup – recalled the favorite of this quarter-final.
Bartosik, in turn, reminded that Pliskova arrived at the BJK final tournament straight from Mexico. The indoor conditions did not suit her then. All this had a negative impact on the game of the Czech. But she herself sees a big improvement in Linette’s game.
She’s starting to believe it. She is combative, plays well from behind the endline. I can’t leave her much time. However, if I play like I did in the previous round, it will be difficult for anyone to compete with me.
In this year’s Australian Open, a lot of players from the top were eliminated very quickly. Only Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka remained from the Top 10. Pliskova, however, says such decisions may seem shocking only to the fans. She herself is not surprised.
“I know people are always shocked by the defeat of higher-ranked players, but this is sport and anything is possible. I have a feeling that in recent years it’s not like you only have 20 demanding top opponents. Sooner there are 150 demanding rivals. If you don’t play completely on a given day, you can lose – reserves the Czech.
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