There’s always someone who makes a name for herself at the US Open.
Every year, a new name pops up and the average fan learns about a virtual no one.
Up until today, it was 18 year-old Ana Konjuh, who played in the Quarterfinals earlier today.
“I’m happy with my results here,” Konjuh said. “When I came here I could only imagine playing the quarters. I think it’s been a great tournament.”
However, this is not her story, because she played 24 year-old Karolina Pliskova, even though she was seeded No. 10, she is not really known, outside of close Tennis circles and obviously her native Czech Republic.
But there she was out there slicing apart the Open’s darling, 6-2 6-2, for a date in the Semifinals on Friday.
“I wasn’t at my best level today for sure, but she was just too good,” Konjuh said. “Her serve is just too good. Today on the court, you know, she found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her.
“You know, I cannot be sad after all of this. Good luck to her. She’s having great season so far, and, you know, I’m cheering for her.”
Well someone has to, since Pliskova earned a date will probably No. 1 seed Serena Williams, who plays tonight against the No. 5 seed Simona Halep.
Both will be tough competition., but remember Pliskova fought Venus Williams on Monday, who is no slouch.
“Even if Serena is not going to win, there is Simona,” she said. “That will be very tough match for me in the semifinal. I’m just looking forward to this challenge. Like I said, anything is possible, so I know I have a chance if I play good tennis.”
That said, this is the Czech girl’s time to shine. She never made it this far before in a Grand Slam. The best she has done is a couple of third rounders in Melbourne and a third round back in 2014 here in Flushing Meadows.
But she had a great summer, winning in Cincinnati, which is generally considered the big warm-up to the US Open.
So maybe this is her time.
“I don’t care at what time it came,” she said. “I’m just happy that it’s now and that it came. There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it’s the right time for having the results like this.”
Okay then, so maybe she is just a more experienced and mature player. How about that?
“Definitely some experience from the biggest matches,” Pliskova said. “Obviously the title from Cincinnati helped me a lot. I was waiting for the bigger title for a few years, let’s say two, so that was next step.
“I think just everything is on time. I was practicing hard this year, and even the results in the beginning of this year were not that good as the last year. I’m happy that I could, you know, play my game on the biggest tournaments, which I didn’t play last year.”
And now she has a chance. That’s all Pliskova wants. Two more matches and anything can happen. Look, Serena lost last year in the Semis, who why not now?
“I mean, it would be a dream, but unfortunately I’m in the part of the draw with Serena, so it would be very tough to get through this one,” Pliskova said. “So I’m not gonna think about the finals yet. Obviously I know there is a chance. Always there is a chance. So I’m going to do everything for, you know, get at least close to the final.”
And one step closer to being a household name.