Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Czech stuns hurt Serena in semifinals

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic had never gotten past the third round of a major in 17 previous appearances until the 24-year-old stunned top-ranked Serena Williams 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic had never gotten past the third round of a major in 17 previous appearances until the 24-year-old stunned top-ranked Serena Williams 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in the U.S. Open semifinals.

NEW YORK — Serena Williams was upset in the U.S. Open semifinals for the second year in a row, beaten 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) by 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Thursday.

Williams, who clutched her left leg between points in the second set, double-faulted to end it. Williams confirmed in her postmatch interview that she had been dealing with an injured left knee since the second or third round and it curtailed her movement. She was adamant that fatigue was not a factor, having gone three sets against Simona Halep in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

"I definitely wasn't tired," she said. "It wasn't a five-hour match.

"Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less, then maybe I would have had a chance. So I think I wasn't at 100 percent, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win."

The loss prevents Williams, 34, from earning her seventh championship at Flushing Meadows and 23rd major title overall, which would both have been Open era (from 1968) records.

It also means Williams' 3½-year reign at No. 1 in the WTA rankings ends. She will be overtaken Monday by No. 2 Angelique Kerber, who advanced to the final by beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the second semifinal.

A year ago, Williams' bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam ended when she lost in the U.S. Open semifinals to unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy.

It was the 33rd major semi­final of Williams' career and the first for Pliskova, who beat Williams' sister Venus in the fourth round. Pliskova is the fourth woman to beat both Williams siblings during the same Grand Slam tournament.

"Obviously, the match with Venus helped me … not only with the game but also with the crowd," Pliskova said. "Was my first match on center court."

And to think: Pliskova, 24, had never been past the third round in 17 previous appearances at majors. But Thursday, she looked the part of an up-and-comer with the strokes and demeanor to go far.

But watching Williams miss shot after shot — 31 unforced errors in all — one couldn't help but wonder why.

"She was not moving at all today," Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said. "There was no match."

Still, Pliskova surely had a lot to do with Williams' woes. Pliskova's power is of the sort that Williams so rarely is forced to confront, much like the difficulties Williams' game presents others.

Pliskova faces Kerber on Saturday in a rematch of the final at Cincinnati nearly three weeks earlier. Kerber would have taken over the No. 1 ranking had she won that day, but Pliskova captured a breakthrough title and has ridden that momentum since.

Kerber had never made a major final at the start of this year. Then she won the Australian Open title, beating Williams in the title match. She followed that up with a run to the Wimbledon final, where she lost to Williams.

Today: Men's semifinals

• Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Gael Monfils (10)

• Stan Wawrinka (3) vs. Kei Nishikori (6)

TV: 3 p.m. ESPN (prematch coverage starts at noon on ESPN2)

Czech stuns hurt Serena in semifinals 09/08/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2016 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100

    Blogs

    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
  2. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing

    Bucs

    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Daniel Robertson walks off the field after being left stranded at first base to end the game.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.