In third round action yesterday, the No. 1 seed, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic was given a big scare on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, when she was almost ousted in two sets by the animated 27th seed Chinese player, Shuai Zhang.
The first set was all Zhang, as she powered her way past a rather shell-shocked Pliskova, who as the aces leader, only managed to serve three in the set past her opponent.
Pliskova started off well in the second set, soon finding herself three games up. Zhang retaliated to level the scores, again became the aggressor to break and serve for the match.
It was on match point for Zhang that Pliskova, who had only hit two forehand winners past her opponent in the set, blasted one of the most impressive forehand winners down the line to stay in the game. She managed to level and then found some inspiration, serving three aces in her next game. Zhang, serving to stay in the set, tightened up and a forehand error gave Pliskova the set.
The two continued their game of cat and mouse in the third set, but it was Pliskova, who despite not serving a single ace in the final set, managed to show her mettle, calm her nerves and finish off the match with a backhand winner. The final score was 3-6 7-5 6-4.
A disappointed Zhang, can definately pat herself on the back and walk tall as she played one of her best matches.
In the on-court post match interview, Rennae Stubbs referred to Pliskova at the 6 foot 1 version of Chris Evert, who everyone will remember as being the most calm and expressionless player on the tour. Pliskova admitted to not feeling so calm during the match and also admitted to feeling the pressure more this year than last.
Although Pliskova finds herself in the easier half of the draw, this was hopefully the wake up call that she needed to up her game as not only is there the title at stake, her No. 1 ranking is now a tight three-way race that she shares with Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina.