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Karolina Pliskova in 2020: Stylish start, struggle at the Grand Slams

Karolina Pliskova will finish 2020 inside the world’s top 10 once again but the Czech will be disappointed with how she fared at the Grand Slams. We review her season.

Karolina Pliskova Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova continues to seek that elusive first Grand Slam title but the good news for the WTA’s ace queen is that she will end the year inside the top 10 for the fifth straight time.

  • Ranking at end of 2019: 2
  • Ranking at end of 2020: 6
  • 2020 Win/Loss: 14/8
  • Titles: 1

Best performance: Champion in Brisbane

Pliskova claimed her third Brisbane title at the start of the year, ousting the now three-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals before battling past Madison Keys in the final in another three-setter. She saw a 5-3 lead in the third set evaporate but won the final two games for a 7-5 victory. The Czech also made the final in Rome in September but had to retire against Simona Halep with a leg injury.

Best Grand Slam event: Round three in Melbourne

The 28-year-old reached the third round at the Australian Open, where she fell in two tiebreaks against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Karolina Pliskova, 2020 Australian Open

High point: Winning her one title

The best moment of Pliskova’s year was undoubtedly her run to capture her third Brisbane crown.

Low point: Sluggish at Grand Slams

Not getting past the second round at any major apart from the Australian Open, falling in her second match at both Roland-Garros and the US Open. It was the first time since 2015 Pliskova hadn’t made the quarter-finals at any Grand Slam.

Pliskova Roland Garros 2020

In the media: In the bubble

Self-assessment: “One bad season, maybe it was time for it to come”

Pliskova ended her 2020 by losing her opener to Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova in Ostrava. It was a difficult season by her standards but perhaps, as she said, she was due for a slight dip.

“The year is done, so I have to put it behind me and just hope that next year is going to be better. I had plenty of good seasons in a row, so one bad season, maybe it was time for it to come.”

The coronavirus pandemic drastically altered the tennis schedule and Pliskova is hoping for next year’s tour to resemble 2019 as much as it can.

“Maybe I didn’t really find the rhythm of tournaments and of playing matches and travelling,” she said. “Of course I’m just happy that there were some tournaments actually, because otherwise it would be too long. Hopefully next year is going to be much better, much different, and back to a little bit of normal, like we are used to.”

Karolina Pliskova, 2020 Doha

Tennis Majors assessment

Pliskova made her Grand Slam breakthrough with a bang at the 2016 US Open. Never before into a quarter-final at a major, Pliskova advanced to the last eight before upsetting Serena Williams to make the final. Even though she fell short against Angelique Kerber, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before a Grand Slam singles trophy would come her way.

But it hasn’t, and Pliskova is now going through what compatriot Petra Kvitova experienced in 2018 — flourishing away from the majors but struggling on the biggest stages in the sport. Kvitova overcame her issues and Pliskova will be desperate to do the same in 2021. She will, however, enter a season once again off the back of a coaching change after cutting ties with one of her coaches, Dani Vallverdu.

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