Williams ousted by powerful Pliskova
NEW YORK — For the second year in a row, Serena Williams’ bid to make history ended with a shocking loss in the U.S. Open semifinals.
A seventh title at Flushing Meadows, which would have been an Open-era record, will have to wait. So will a 23rd Grand Slam championship, another record. And her 31⁄ year reign at No. 1 in the WTA rankings is over, too, one week short of what would have been yet another mark.
Undone by a half-dozen double faults, including on match point, and plenty of other mistakes she attributed in part to dealing with an injured left knee, Williams was upset, 6-2, 7-6 (5), by big-serving Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Thursday night.
“Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less, then maybe I would have had a chance,” Williams said. “So I think I wasn’t at 100 percent, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.”
The 10th-seeded Pliskova, who will play No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany for the title Saturday, began her on-court interview by blurting out that she couldn’t believe she’d eliminated Williams to earn a spot in her first major final. Then Pliskova changed course, saying: “I mean, actually, I do believe it. I always knew I have a chance to beat anyone if I’m playing my game.”
At the 2015 U.S. Open, Williams’ bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam ended when she lost in the semifinals to unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy in one of the biggest surprises in tennis history. This one goes pretty high on the list, too.
This was the 33rd major semifinal of Williams’ career, and the first for Pliskova, who beat the 34-year-old American’s older sister, Venus, in the fourth round after staving off a match point. Pliskova is only the fourth woman to beat both Williams siblings during the same Slam.
Pliskova, 24, had never been past the third round in 17 previous appearances at majors.
Karolina Pliskova became the fourth player to defeat Serena and Venus Williams in the same Grand Slam.