She was just getting her groove going when the French Open ended for her. Dusted out of the third round by Petra Martic in three sets, Karolina Pliskova looked forward to playing the Birmingham Classic, her first warm-up for the grass season leading to Wimbledon.
Last year she was blown out by Mihaela Buzamescu, ruining her chances of defending her title. This year it was playing her twin sister Kristyna. It might have worked out tactic-wise for Karolina's tennis resume was heavier and durable.
But the thought of duelling against your own sister, and a twin at that was doomed from the start. She is number 3 and her twin is #112. Fate played a terrible hand from Karolina and she lost the match. The twin, however, was overjoyed that it was the biggest victory of her career and said "I'm happy with the way I served today.
I think we played the best that we could but it was not easy for us. She was nervous as well, the serve was the key and I'm happy I won." Karolina was ready to move on to the next grass tournament at Eastbourne.
She remembered her bad fortune last year losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the quarters, but she wanted to make this year special. She came into the Nature Valley tournament feeling renewed and energetic and used that mantra to not only win her opening round but capture her 3rd grass court title, the 14th title of her career.
Angelique Kerber her finals opponent came in also with a great frame of mind but the timing was everything. The match went to whoever came up with the right shots at the right time. Pliskova went up 4-1 in the opening set, not doing anything for Kerber's confidence.
The Czech was wonderfully selfish and didn't give Kerber any other games in the first set, just reeling off a good amount of down the line, put-away volleys and simply powerhouse her way to a 6-1 lead. The second set wasn't that much difference as Pliskova's psyche felt the momentum to be hers and utilized every opportunity.
Kerber had gotten down low nearly on her knees to get to those grass slinging shots and was only down a break at 2-3 thinking she could at least win the set. The German tried to come back and did put a few added games on the scoreboard but the match had Pliskova's name on it nearly from the start.
It was a forehand corner shot that gave the Czech her third grass title winning 6-1, 6-4 and prancing into Wimbledon with a bag of confidence. Pliskova gave kudos to Kerber saying "Angelique for sure is one of the best grass court players..."
But she also did herself a compliment on saying "All week I was playing quite perfect tennis and didn't drop a set..." Karolina Pliskova is realistic too and knows she has to keep focused explaining that "I just want to totally forget about what was here...maybe only the positives..."
She knows what it will take to earn that Wimbledon title and hopes to go the same route she did at Eastbourne, staying focused and remaining confident on her strategies to take every opponent out one round at a time.