At the Net: Pliskova’s stock is on the rise

Philadelphia, PA ( – As it turns out, Petra Kvitova isn’t
the only Czech stud on the women’s tour.

Enter big-serving Karolina Pliskova.

Both the two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova (4th) and Lucie Safarova (16th)
are two Czech women who are currently ranked higher than Pliskova, with
Safarova as one who will need to watch out.

The Louny, Czech Republic, native Pliskova is a 22-year-old riser who quietly
reached five, count ’em five, WTA finals in 2014.

She reached her first final of the year (and second of her career) in Pattaya
City, Thailand. And en route to her second final of ’14, in Nurnberg, Germany,
Pliskova notched a career-best victory over world No. 9 German star Angelique

But her season really took off during the fall Asian swing, highlighted by
a runner-up finish in Hong Kong (where she topped another rising star, Monica
Puig, in the second round) and satisfying championships in Seoul, Korea, and
in Linz, Austria (which, of course, is not in Asia).

Pliskova was actually match point down before fighting back to beat Italy’s
Camila Giorgi in the Linz final. And her big win in that marathon match marked
her 16th victory in 19 tries.

She was hot.

Pliskova is also a 10-time champion at the ITF level (the next tour down) and
was the 2010 girls’ champ at the Aussie Open.

She can play.

Pliskova also enjoyed some Grand Slam success this year, as her victory over
another world No. 9, and former No. 1, Ana Ivanovic, at the U.S. Open not only
matched her career-best victory, but moved her into the third round of a major
for the first time in her blossoming career. She captured at least one match
win at all four of the Slams this year and went 5-4 at those biggest of

After appearing as an alternate at the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia,
Bulgaria, in October, Pliskova finished a year-end/career-best No. 23, or 44
places better than where she started 2014.

“There are always things to improve,” she said. “My movement isn’t that
great. And my serve can be up and down sometimes, so we’ll have to practice
that a little bit more. I’ll have to do some strength conditioning and
running, too. I’m looking forward to it.”

You might say that the tattooed one is being hard on herself regarding work on
her serve, considering she fired 435 aces, which trailed only Serena Williams
(452) on tour this year.

Pliskova has some tribal pattern tattoos on her left arm and thigh, not
something you see very often on the women’s tour.

The Top 20 would appear to be a certain landing spot for the 6-foot-1 slugger,
whose lefty twin sister Kristyna also plays on the WTA circuit.

Karolina Pliskova will crank it back up, like everyone else, in a few weeks.
Expect her to continue her climb then.