Karolina Pliskova def Jennifer Brady 61 60
Efficient 46-minute win for the World #1 in Labor Day’s opening match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Last year, Karolina Pliskova defeated both Serena and Venus Williams en-route to her maiden Grand Slam Final. This year, she’s added three additional titles to the trophy case and reached the Semifinals at Roland Garros for the first time. By July, she was the #1 Player in the World, and has held the WTA’s top-spot for the past eight weeks.
Since her arrival in Flushing, after reaching the Semifinals in Cincinnati, Pliskova has been flat. She looks exhausted. In the 2nd-Round, she dropped the first-set 2-6 to Nicole Gibbs. In Round-3, she fought off match point, ultimately defeating Shuai Zhang 6-4 in the decider.
Today, Pliskova’s tennis was top-shelf
In set-1, she was up 2-breaks before the first changeover, then won 8 consecutive games to send Jennifer Brady packing. AND…she powered through the win with only 3-aces. While freshness and fitness have returned, Karolina is going to need the cannon if she’s to get past Coco Vandeweghe or Lucie Safarova in the Quarterfinals.
The emergence of Jennifer Brady
Much respect for 22-year-old Jennifer Brady from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In January, she played through qualifying and made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at the Australian Open. But she wasn’t done. In the 3rd-Round, she took-out World #18 Elena Vesnina to reach the Round of 16. Here in Queens, she matched the feat with wins over Andrea Petkovic, Barbora Strycova, and Monica Niculescu. While the tank may have been dry for the World #1, the “experience” is what matters. At this year’s US Open, she put herself in position to take a stab at the sport’s top player, on the game’s biggest stage. That’s invaluable.