Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs.  Jennifer Brady (USA)
The number one seed has not had an easy time in her bid to hang on to her number one ranking. Several players were nipping at her heels at the beginning of the tournament and there are still two players who can dethrone her: Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina.
Round one was a fairly uncomplicated match for the Czech; however, she dropped the first set against Nicole Gibbs in the second round and had to battle to win it 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Today she was on the brink of elimination, having to save match points against the Chinese player, Shuai Zhang.
The Czech player seems to be able to find a way on a regular basis to escape the jaws of defeat; however, at what cost. She is in better physical shape and her movement around the court has improved tremendously, but she is still vulnerable to fatigue and these three set matches can have a negative cumulative effect going forward.
Her fourth round opponent will be Jennifer Brady. The American is ranked ninety-one and is looking for her first major quarterfinal appearance. However, this will be a tough ask for the twenty-two year old who is making her singles debut at the US Open. Experience favors last year’s runner-up; however, given her shaky form, this may be the perfect opportunity for the young American to pull off the upset if she can ignore the magnitude of the occasion and play at the level she is capable of playing.
If she needs any inspiration, perhaps she can take a look at the Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, or the young Russian, Andrey Rublev. She may also be feeling the effects of her two-three set matches; although, she had a fairly easy match in the second round against the twenty-third seed, Barbora Strycova. She had a tough battle today, perhaps more of an emotional battle than a physical one, against the tricky Romanian, Monica Niculescu. In any event, I expect she will give a valiant effort despite preferring the Australian Open.
Will Pliskova continue to serve her way out of trouble or will Brady derail her?
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Bing search/Zimbio