SINGAPORE - A late-season surge paved the way to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global for Karolina Pliskova. However, the Czech, whose appearance is the culmination of a steady climb up the tennis ladder, is far from a one-hit wonder...
1) American dream
Pliskova impressed at the US Open this year. Playing in her 18th career Grand Slam, Pliskova advanced to the second week for the first time in her career. She saved match point against Venus Williams to make it to the quarterfinals, she shocked Serena Williams in the semifinals - and then came up just short in a thrilling final against Angelique Kerber.
2) Doing the double
Pliskova became the eighth woman ever to defeat both Williams sisters in the same tournament, and the fourth to do it at a major tournament. "There is not much better than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York," Pliskova said. "I'm really excited about those two wins."
3) Victory over Venus
Pliskova's win over Venus will have given her a smidge of satisfaction - it was the older Williams sister who beat her 7-5, 7-6(6) in the final at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai at the end of 2015.
4) Debut delight
Pliskova is making her debut in the WTA Finals after coming very close in 2015. Her run of form across tournaments in US Open, Nottingham and Cincinnati helped guide her qualification to Singapore. In addition to competing in singles, Pliskova will team up with Julia Goerges as one of the Top 8 doubles teams in the world competing at the WTA Finals.
5) Ranking rise in 2016
Pliskova rose to World No.6 after reaching the US Open final and nearly one month later made her Top 5 debut on October 10, 2016. In early August, she was ranked No.18.
6) Impressive climb
Her 2016 breakthrough has been the culmination of a steady climb up the ranks. Last year Pliskova finished just outside the Top 10 - having finished just outside the Top 20 the year before.
8) Spot the difference
It's easy to tell the Pliskova twins apart when they're on court - Karolina plays right-handed, Kristyna left. You could also check their tattoos: Karolina has two Polynesian-style tattoos, one on her left thigh and on her left arm. Kristyna has one Polynesian-style tattoo on the inside of her left arm.
9) Top tournament
Pliskova lists her favorite tournament as the Australian Open, where she won as a junior; and in recent years, she has posted consecutive third-round appearances.
10) Sublime serve
Pliskova's serve is perhaps her most well-known weapon. For the second consecutive year she has hit more than 500 aces, leading the WTA in both 2015 (517 aces) and 2016 (508). She also ranked second on the WTA in first serve points won (74.6%), trailing only Serena Williams (75.7%).