Karolina Pliskova vowed not to turn her back on her all-or-nothing game despite it falling short in her three-set defeat to Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s US Open final.
The 24-year-old Czech lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to the new world number one but she came tantalisingly close to a maiden Grand Slam win when she led 3-1 with a break in the decider.
In the end, however, her 47 unforced errors — a consequence of her big-hitting approach — compared to Kerber’s meagre 17 proved her undoing.
“You have the pressure that she’s gonna ace you four times in a game, but you still have to be aggressive and hit winners, otherwise I cannot be the one who is running with her,” said Pliskova.
“I cannot play 30 times across the net. It’s gonna just kill me. I just have to go for my shots.”
Pliskova, the first Czech woman in the US Open final since Helena Sukova in 1993, had defeated both Serena and Venus Williams to reach the final.
But Kerber, the Australian Open champion in January and Wimbledon runner-up in July, proved too steady an obstacle — in the first set, the 28-year-old committed just three unforced errors.
Pliskova said that the fact Kerber is left-handed was also a key factor in the way the final played out.
It’s a style that she found hard to counter even though her twin sister Kristyna, a fellow player on the tour, is also left-handed.
“I didn’t play a lefty girl in this tournament. She’s always serving to the backhand. You cannot do much from it. Then she has the whole court open,” said Pliskova.
“There aren’t many left-handed girls in the top 100, so there is no time where you can practice against a lefty. It’s always tough to play them.”
Take the positives
Despite her loss, Pliskova had plenty of positives to look back on.
She defeated Kerber in the Cincinnati final on the eve of the US Open.
Furthermore, before New York she had never got beyond the third round of a Slam in 17 attempts.
Her victory over Venus Williams in the fourth round, which she described as a tougher assignment than beating 22-time Slam winner Serena in the semis, required her to save a match point.
Her conquest of both sisters made her just the fourth player to do so at a Grand Slam.
“I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was the biggest title of my career,” she said.
“I was thinking, OK, now I can even lose in the first or second round of the US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here.
“So I was just happy that I made it even this far. It was always my goal to pass the third round, and I made it to the final.
“I’m not gonna think about losing, I could be the winner today. Was just about a few points. I will just take the positives and move forward.”
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