Monday, September 5, 2016

Pliskova upsets Venus in U.S. Open thriller

Karolina Pliskova, shown last year, reached her first
Grand Slam quarterfinal today. Photo by Mal Taam
   The last two runners-up in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford met today in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.
   No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic saved a match point in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over No. 6 Venus Williams during the day session in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Almost the entire crowd at 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium rooted for Williams, a 36-year-old American.
   "I was prepared that I'm going to play Venus -- it's going to be tough, because of the people are cheering for her," the 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Pliskova, who had never been past the third round of a major in 17 appearances, said in an on-court interview after the match.
   Pliskova, who lost to Angelique Kerber last year at Stanford, will play unseeded Ana Konjuh, 18, of Croatia on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. Konjuh upset No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4.
   Williams fell to Johanna Konta of Great Britain in the Bank of the West Classic in July. Konta lost to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia on Sunday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.
   Kerber, the No. 2 seed in Flushing Meadows and reigning Australian Open champion, will meet No. 7 Roberta Vinci of Italy on Tuesday at 9 a.m. PDT at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Vinci stunned Serena Williams in last year's semifinals, ending Williams' hopes of achieving the first calendar year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.
   Also today, No. 7 seeds Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic beat former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area and Nao Hibino of Japan 6-4, 7-5 in the third round of women's doubles.
   Hibino won the singles title in the inaugural $50,000 Stockton Challenger last year. Strycova and Lucie Safarova took the bronze medal in the Olympics last month in Rio de Janeiro.
   In the first round of boys doubles, Karim Hossam of Egypt and Ergi Kirkin of Turkey nipped Liam Caruano of Italy and Sacramento-area product Sam Riffice 1-6, 6-1 [10-8].

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