Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. Ana Konjuh (CRO)
A first appearance in the semifinals of a Major was at stake. Who would rise to the occasion? Who would succumb to the pressure of the occasion? After watching both players in their fourth round matches, I thought this quarterfinal match would be a battle. Despite her age, Konjuh impressed me with her tennis IQ; her ability to make adjustments throughout the match if something was not working and her composure are quite remarkable. However, she is still just a teenager and lacks the experience of being on the big stage on big occasions. Pliskova on the other hand has won numerous titles both in singles and doubles, and seemed to handle the occasion much better than her younger opponent.
Konjuh made too many errors and just could not get calm enough to execute her game plan. If we doubt the impact of the mental state of a player on their game, compare Konjuh’s performance today versus her performance in her previous match against Agnieszka Radwanska. The magnitude of what she could potentially accomplish today if she won was too much for her to process. Even when you think that you are prepared, when you step out on the court and the reality sets in, it can be very overwhelming for the inexperienced player. Pliskova won easily 6-2, 6-2; however, I think Konjuh has a bright future if she stays focused and fit. This result was in no way an accurate reflection of how talented she is. With experience she will get a chance to showcase just how good she really is.