"I'm sure I could do much better. I know that she can be tough if she is playing well...everything started with me, " Karolina Pliskova commented on her quality of play against Jelena Ostapenko. The 6-4, 6-2 victory for the 2017 French Open winner had Ostapenko's name on it from the minute the match started.
Pliskova, ranked No. 4 in the world didn't really play her role as a top 5 player.
She was having a difficult time with unforced errors in her first round at Roland Garros with Egypt's Mayar Sherif, but she lucked up and won the match.
The Czech admitted her caliber of play didn't change for the better from her first round saying "Definitely I was not playing great. I think maybe the same level as the match before..." Pliskova's reputation of being the biggest server in the WTA was indeed lacking in strength and performance.
It could be that she was simply tired of having gone through so many pandemic bubbles. The drastic change of weather could have been a factor since playing in autumn as compared to the Spring. The tournament in Rome, Pliskova hadn't nearly lost a set up to the final with Simona Halep.
But she'd fall exhausted with Halep giving her a bagel in the opening set and leading 2-1 in the second. The Czech would retire after running out of energy to not see the match through. It was the U.S. Open that Caroline Garcia got the better of Pliskova and defeated her in the second round in straight sets.
The Cincinnati Masters had the Czech losing also in straight sets against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. It might have also been the six months' hiatus that was too long for most players to endure, including Pliskova as she'd had difficulty playing tournament after tournament in a short period of time.
It seems that Ostapenko escaped the six month tournament absence unaffected as she had went on a rampage and kept in the zone throughout the match. "I was just rying to play my game, but I knew I had to return well...she obviously has, like, one of the best serves on tour."
The Czech wasn't true to form leaving Ostapenko a bit relieved. "I had to hold my serve, which I did pretty good. Also to use some drop shots, because it's a very good shot in these conditions," Ostapenko commented on her game strategies.
The Latvian had 27 winners whereas Pliskova had only 9. Ostapenko quickly learned how to take advantage of the slower moving Czech and showed change ups in her strokes to win the match. Ostapenko was once know for just thrashing the ball on every shot, but that's not how she plays now and laughingly says "Girls are expecting me to always hit the ball so strong."
It was clearly not the Czech's day and it leaves her to re-evaluate what tournaments if any she'll play until the end of the year. Karolina Pliskova wasn't only tired but disgusted on her second rate performance and could only say that there is "Not much to say about this match."