SINGAPORE - Karolina Pliskova is as self-assured a 25-year-old as you'll find on the WTA Tour. The World No.3 has complete clarity when it comes to her strengths (her serve) and her weaknesses (her movement) and she's not shy about discussing either. Her stoic on-court demeanor reveals little, which is to say it reveals much. Nerveless, confident, and intensely focused, Pliskova never seems surprised or concerned about what is happening on court.
But even Karolina has to admit that 2017, a season that saw her become the first woman representing the Czech Republic to hold the No.1 ranking, was full of surprises.
2017 Season Snapshot:
Match record: 51-16 (76%)
Titles: 3 (Brisbane, Doha, Eastbourne)
Key Stat: Tied for most hard court wins with 37.
WTA Finals Qualification: 2nd time.
After teaming up with Petra Kvitova's former coach David Kotyza during the off-season, Pliskova came out of the gates firing. She dominated the field to win Brisbane and continued her form into the Middle East, where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki to win Doha. Back-to-back semifinals at Indian Wells and Miami vaulted Pliskova to No.1 on the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard as the tour turned to clay, an empirical reflection of her superior play through the spring hardcourt season.
Hear from Pliskova after her Brisbane triumph on the WTA Insider Podcast below:
Armed with a big serve and flat strokes, Pliskova's success on the pavement came as no surprise. But her stunning run to the semifinals at Roland Garros reduced even the stoic Czech to laughter. On her least favorite surface, at her least successful Slam, Pliskova proved she could still win without her best weapons, coming through two tough three-set matches before beating Caroline Garcia to make her second major semifinal, where she was a win away from ascending to No.1. In her best match of the tournament, she lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to Simona Halep, but one was more bemused her hugely successful fortnight than Pliskova herself.
"I was almost celebrating after the first round when I won," Pliskova said with a laugh in Paris. "So I'll take those 700 points right now."
"I just try to fight even if my game is not 100%, and it's not 100%, actually, this week," Pliskova said in New York. "But I'm winning, so that's the main thing." Indeed, of the Singapore qualifiers, Pliskova's winning percentage of 76.1% is second only to Elina Svitolina.
Pliskova will have former WTA player Rennae Stubbs in her coaching corner in Singapore, after opting to end her partnership with Kotyza after the US Open.
Get your WTA Finals tickets here!
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.