New York, Sep 9 (IANS) Tenth-seeded Karolina Pliskova reached her first Grand Slam final in style, shocking top seed Serena Williams 6-2, 7-6(5) in the semi-finals of the US Open.
The loss meant American Serena will have to relinquish her top rank to German Angelique Kerber who reached the title round beating Dane Caroline Wozniacki.
"It was always a dream to, you know, get a title, get to the semi-final, get to the final," Czech Pliskova said in her post-match press conference on Thursday, wtatennis.com reported.
"So, I mean, it's a big result for me. I hope I didn't stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. I'll do anything for getting the title."
"Even if I don't get it, it's still a big result. I'm really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here. It doesn't happen often that you're playing a semi-final against Serena on centre court here in New York. It doesn't happen often that you're in the final of Grand Slams."
Pliskova came into her first major semi-final having won her last 10 matches and was in ruthless form on serve against Serena, striking seven aces and winning 84 percent of first serve points.
"I was pretty calm today. Before the match I felt a little bit like pressure, nervous. But when I stepped on the court I didn't feel anything. I just wanted to win. Not just enjoy but to win," she said.
"I knew I'm going to have my chances even if she's playing her best. There is always a chance in those two sets. I was calm during the whole match. Even in the second set there was some complications. I was up a break."
"But it never can be so easy to play No.1 in the world. You cannot win, 6-2, 6-1, so I wasn't expecting a match like this. I was prepared for anything, even if I would have lose the second set I would be ready for the third."
Serena, by contrast, had just won an epic match over No.5 seed Simona Halep less than 24 hours ago in the quarter-final, and appeared to struggle with a left leg injury that was later confirmed by coach Patrick Mourataglou.
Pushing Pliskova into a second set tie-break, Aerena threw in a sixth double fault to end the contest after just 85 minutes.
"I have been having some serious left knee problems," Serena said after the match, as per wtatennis.com. "I wasn't tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career."
"I think she's been on tour for numerous years and she's had some good wins. She was doing so well last year, was so close in so many finals, and I think maybe this was her year to really do well, at least here at the Open."