Karolina Pliskova is a Czech tennis player who uses her 6'1" height to its fullest, hammering aces and groundstroke winners by the dozen in nearly every match she plays.
Pliskova reached the US Open final in 2016, signaling her arrival at the big stage. Since then, she has been competitive at all the important tournaments, challenging the likes of Serena Williams and Simona Halep on a regular basis.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Quarterfinalist (2017, 2018)
French Open: Semifinalist (2017)
Wimbledon: 4th Round (2018)
US Open: Runner-up (2016)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
Style of play
Pliskova is an all-or-nothing kind of player. She goes big with her attack, using her tall frame to rain down aces and winners against most of her opponents.
The Czech is a serve-centric player, which is rare on the women's tour. She uses her big serve to set up her groundstrokes, which are hit flat and hard off both wings.
Pliskova is comfortable with volleying, and comes to the net to finish points quite often. She doesn't use a lot of variation in her play from the baseline though, mostly sticking to flat drives that penetrate through the court.
Strengths and weaknesses
Pliskova's serve is already gaining iconic status. Widely considered the second best server on the women's tour after Serena Williams, Pliskova can unleash big serves whenever she wants. Hitting big off both the first and the second serve, the Czech often gets out of tight spots by winning free points with just one swing of the racquet.
Pliskova also has very powerful groundstrokes, and can hit winners from any part of the court. While her forehand can be a little erratic at times, it is a very potent shot when it's working. Her backhand is similarly boom-or-bust; while a little less powerful than her forehand, it can easily break open any rally in just one stroke.
Pliskova can hit some sharp volleys, but can also miss a few sitters at the net. Like so many other things in her game, her net play is also in the high-risk, high-reward territory.
Pliskova's movement and defense are by far the weakest parts of her game. She lacks the foot speed and flexibility of some of her peers, because of which she struggles to stay alive in long rallies.
The Czech's tendency to go for too much on her shots is also considered to be a weakness. She frequently racks up unforced errors in double digits, which hurts her chances against the top players.
Pliskova was born in Louny, Czech Republic, and her parents Radek and Martina have always supported her in her athletic endeavors. She has an identical twin sister named Kristyna, who also plays tennis and has a similarly big serve.
Karolina started playing tennis at the age of four, and had an impressive junior career. She won the 2010 Australian Open girls' title, defeating Laura Robson in the final.
She married her boyfriend Michal Hrdlicka in 2018, and the two live together in Monte Carlo.
Social media presence:
Karolina Pliskova Instagram: @karolinapliskova
Karolina Pliskova Twitter: @KaPliskova