Pliskova: Playing Venus helped me

Czech tennis player Karolina Pliskova did something only a select few have done and that is beating both Venus and Serena Williams in the same tournament on her march in reaching the final of the US Open on Thursday.

Tenth seed Pliskova caused a major upset when she defeated top seed Serena 6-2, 7-6(5) in front of Williams' home fans on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and a few days earlier, in the fourth round, she defeated sixth-seeded Venus 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).

And for a player that has never got beyond the third round of a grand slam before now, the 24-year-old Pliskova joins a select club of six players that have beaten both Williams sisters in the same tournament – Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.

Just in case

In an interview after her stunning win on Thursday, Pliskova said by playing Venus earlier in the tournament in front of a crowd of almost 23,000 fans, backing the American, had helped her prepare for her semi-final clash against Serena and the fans that supported her at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York," said Pliskova. "For the crowd, it's not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me, it's really something special.

"Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game but also with the crowd.

"I knew I was to play centre court against one of the Williams sisters and against all the people there, so I was prepared for it."

The Czech added that once she had beaten Venus she felt she was playing good tennis and felt undaunted going forward. 

"Once I beat Venus here I knew I'm playing good tennis and I have a chance to beat anyone in the tournament," said Pliskova, who before this U.S. Open had never been beyond the third round of a grand slam.

"I was ready for anything.

"I would say also the game was quite similar to Venus, so I knew it's going to be a little bit the same match and same serving, same speed.

"I was expecting a tough match but I knew I can win."

In Saturday's final, Pliskova will be up against new world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany after she beat Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the other semi-final.