Aggression to remain a big hit for Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova ponders her loss in the US Open final to Angelique Kerber. She was playing in her first Major final.
Karolina Pliskova ponders her loss in the US Open final to Angelique Kerber. She was playing in her first Major final.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

NEW YORK • Karolina Pliskova vowed not to turn her back on her all-or-nothing game despite it falling short in her three-set defeat by Angelique Kerber in Saturday's US Open final.

The 24-year-old Czech lost 3-6, 6-4, 4-6 but she came tantalisingly close to a maiden Grand Slam win when she led 3-1 in the decider.

In the end, 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."

The 1.85m-tall 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 proved too steady an opponent - in the first set, the 28-year-old German committed just three unforced errors.

Pliskova said that Kerber being left-handed was also a key factor in the way the final played out.

It is 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. (As an opponent) you cannot do much from it. Then she has the whole court open (to play a winning shot)," said the 24-year-old. "There aren't many left-handed girls in the top 100, so there is no time where you can practise against a lefty. It's always tough to play them."

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, the world No. 11 had never progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament in 17 attempts.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Aggression to remain a big hit for Pliskova'. Print Edition | Subscribe