Karolina Pliskova rolls past Konjuh, into US Open semifinals
Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, returns a shot to Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
NEW YORK (AP) Karolina Pliskova came into the U.S. Open with the dubious distinction of being the only woman currently ranked in the top 20 never to make a Grand Slam round of 16.
She's now blown past that milestone, routing 18-year-old Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-2 in just 57 minutes Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
The 24-year-old Czech lost just one point on her serve in the first set and never faced a break point.
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''Her serve is just too good,'' Konjuh said.
And Pliskova broke Konjuh's serve in the match's opening game, forcing the 92nd-ranked teenager to play from behind right from the start.
''I was more calm then and I was going for my shots,'' Pliskova said.
The 6-foot-1 Pliskova has the most aces on the women's tour this season, though that wasn't how she dominated Wednesday. Konjuh, also a big server, had more aces in the match, in fact (4-3). But she got only half of her first serves in and was broken four times, with four doubles-faults and 27 unforced errors.
Pliskova, who rallied to beat sixth-seeded Venus Williams in three sets Monday, has now won 10 straight matches, riding the momentum of a breakthrough title at Cincinnati. She defeated second-ranked Angelique Kerber in the final there.
Konjuh can take plenty of momentum away from Flushing Meadows too. After what had been a disappointing, injury-plagued season, her ranking is projected to soar to a career-best No. 51. She hadn't been past the third round at a major before this tournament and upset fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska on Monday for her first win over a top-10 opponent.
The 10th-seeded Pliskova will face No. 1 Serena Williams or No. 5 Simona Halep on Thursday.