Karolina Pliskova was world No 1 after Wimbledon through to the end of the US Open, is still ranked No 4 and has won three titles this year, but the 25-year-old Czech is far from satisfied with her season.
“I think the level for me this year was OK, but my feelings were not OK on the court,” Pliskova said here on Wednesday after reaching the quarter-finals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over China’s Qiang Wang.
“Sometimes you feel the ball on the racket, but that was not my case this year.”
On this occasion, nevertheless, Pliskova left the court in a much happier frame of mind after playing what she considered to be her best tennis of the year so far. “I felt great today,” she said.
“I was feeling every shot - my backhand, my forehand, the serve. There have not been many matches in this year like this, so I appreciate it.
“It’s good to have these kind of matches in the year. Obviously you have tough matches, but sometimes you need an easy one as well. That was today. I think I felt the best I have all year.”
Pliskova’s disappointment with her season may be down to the fact that she has not quite built on the promise she showed in reaching last year’s US Open final. Although the Czech has enjoyed good results throughout the year, winning titles at Brisbane, Doha and Eastbourne, her best run at a Grand Slam tournament ended in a semi-final defeat to Simona Halep at the French Open.
On this occasion, however, Pliskova looked at the top of her game as she swept aside Wang in just 48 minutes without having to defend a single break point. It was very different to her performance the previous day, when she had struggled to beat Shuai Zhang in three sets.
“No matter the opponent, no matter the tournament, I just felt great today,” Pliskova said. “Maybe the match I played yesterday quite helped me as well to go through the tough points and tough games. That’s why I felt that good today.”
Pliskova, who this week secured her place in next month’s year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, now plays Australia’s Asheigh Barty, who built on her victory over Johanna Konta by beating Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.
The Spaniard coasted through the first set but was trailing 5-0 in the second when rain started to fall, forcing the players off the court while the roof was closed.
Linette, the world No 83, went on to level the match but Muguruza eventually closed out victory after more than two hours. She now faces Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open champion, who beat Monica Puig 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
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