New York - Hard-hitting Czech Karolina Pliskova toppled
two-time champion Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) on Monday to reach her
first Grand Slam quarter-final at the US Open.
Pliskova, who had never before made it past the third round
of a major in 17 prior attempts, saved a match point en route to a victory
which scuppered a possible semi-final clash between Williams and her sister
The 36-year-old Williams was vying to become the oldest
woman to reach the US Open quarters in the Open Era.
But the in-form Czech - who shocked world number two
Angelique Kerber in the final at Cincinnati in August - settled her own late
nerves to pull off the upset in front of a partisan Arthur Ashe stadium crowd.
"I was prepared that I'm going to play Venus, it's
going to be tough because people will be cheering for her," Pliskova said.
Williams was philosophical about her failure to convert a
match point against Pliskova's serve in the 10th game of the third.
"She had a great serve," Williams said. "She
hit another great shot and I still played a great defensive shot. I did the
best I could on that.
"Whenever you have a match point on someone else's
serve, it's a little bit of an asterisk. I really have no regrets on
Pliskova then broke Williams for a 6-5 lead - with the help
of a favourable net cord bounce.
Serving for the match and up 40-0, however, Pliskova
couldn't close it out. A double fault followed by four strong points from
Williams sent it to the tiebreaker.
"To be honest it was very difficult after I lost my
serve for six-all," Pliskova admitted. "She played a very good
There was one last agonizing moment for Pliskova, who
appeared to have won the decider with a ball that was ruled out on a challenge.
But she was able to celebrate for real when Williams sent a
service return long on the next point.
Results from the eighth day of the 2016 US Open tennis championships at Flushing Meadows on Monday (x denotes seeded player):
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x8) 6-3, 3-2 - retired
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Illya Marchenko (UKR) 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3
Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO x21) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x22) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-2, 6-3
Simona Halep (ROM x5) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x11) 6-2, 7-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO) bt Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4) 6-4, 6-4
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x10) bt Venus Williams (USA x6) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)