Karolina Pliskova is a Czech professional tennis player who has reached the WTA No.1 ranking and is a Grand Slam finalist.
Name: Karolina Pliskova
Born: March 21, 1992
Turned Pro: 2009
Karolina Pliskova was born in Louny, Czech Republic and has an identical twin sister, Kristyna, who is also a tennis player. Pliskova began playing tennis at the age of four and quickly displayed talent for the sport. She began to focus on a tennis career as a teenager, and won the girl’s event at the 2010 Australian Open. She competed on the ITF circuit and won three singles titles between 2006 and 2009.
After winning the 2010 Australian Open junior title, Pliskova attempted to qualify for the women’s event at Wimbledon and the US Open. She failed to qualify, but won two more titles on the ITF circuit. She would make her Grand Slam main-draw debut at the 2012 French Open, losing to World No.8 Marion Bartoli in the first round. Pliskova would win her maiden WTA singles title at the 2013 Malaysian Open, defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final. She would also win her first doubles title at the 2013 Linz Open, teaming with her twin sister Kristyna. The pair became the first set of twins in WTA history to win a doubles title together. She would finish the season ranked in the Top 100 for the first time.
During the 2014 season, Pliskova would have a breakthrough on the WTA circuit. She reached two more WTA singles final at the Pattaya Open (l. to Makarova) and in Nuremberg (l. to Bouchard). She would break into the Top 50, before reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open (l. to Lisicki). Pliskova ended the 2014 season by winning at Seoul and Linz, to finish the year ranked World No.24.
Pliskova would break into the Top 20 at the start of 2015, losing to compatriot Petra Kvitova in the Sydney final. She reached the Dubai final as the 17th seed, losing to top seed Simona Halep. The Czech would win her fourth career WTA singles title at her home tournament in Prague, defeating fellow countrywoman Lucie Hradecká in the final. She would reach another final at the 2015 Aegon Classic, losing to Angelique Kerber. After a second round showing at Wimbledon, she reached her fifth final of the year at the Stanford Classic (l. to Kerber). As the eight seed, she would be upset in the first round of the US Open by Anna Tatishvili. Pliskova would end the year by reaching a tour-leading sixth final at the WTA Elite Trophy. However, she would lose to American Venus Williams in straight sets. Nonetheless, she ended the year ranked No.11 on the WTA rankings.
Pliskova would have one of her best seasons on tour in 2016. After a quarterfinal appearance at Sydney, she’d reach the semifinals at Indian Wells (l. to Azarenka). She would make another semifinal at the Prague Open, before being upset in the first round of the French Open. Pliskova would finally win her first title of the year at the 2016 Nottingham Open, defeating Alison Riske for her first grass title. She would also make the final of the Eastbourne International, but lose to Dominika Cibulkova. The Czech would go on to win her maiden WTA Premier event at the 2016 Western & Southern Open, defeating Kerber in the final.
Pliskova would record her best Grand Slam performance at the 2016 US Open. Seeded 10th, she would defeat Venus Williams and Serena Williams en route to making her first Major final. Facing Angelique Kerber, Pliskova would fall in a close three-set encounter. She ended her season with an appearance at the 2016 WTA Finals, but failed to advance to the knockout stage. She finished the year as World No.6, after having reached a career-high of No.5 in October.
Pliskova would win three titles in 2017, at Brisbane (d. Cornet), Doha (d. Wozniacki) and Eastbourne (d. Wozniacki). She became World No.3 right after a quarterfinal showing at the Australian Open. She would reach the semifinals at Indian Wells and Miami. At Roland Garros, Pliskova would make a strong run but fall at the semifinals to Simona Halep. Pliskova would finally claim the World No.1 position in July, making her the sixth player to reach that position without winning a Grand Slam. Following solid performances at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati, Pliskova would be the top seed at the 2017 US Open. She would lose to American Coco Vandeweghe in the quarterfinals in straight sets. Pliskova would end the season with a semifinal showing at the year-ending WTA Finals, losing to Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. She would finish the year ranked as the No.4 player in the world.
In 2018, Pliskova would reach the Australian Open quarterfinals, losing to Halep. She would have quarterfinal showings at Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. This was followed by a title win at the Stuttgart Open (d. Vandeweghe) and a semifinal showing at Madrid. She would post poor results at the French Open and Wimbledon, before reaching the quarterfinals at the US Open (l. to Serena Williams). Pliskova would go on to win the Pan Pacific Open, defeating newly-crowned US Open champion Naomi Osaka in the final. She would lose in the semifinals of the WTA Finals, and end the year ranked World No.8.
Pliskova began her 2019 season with a title win at the Brisbane International, which resulted in her being seeded seventh at the Australian Open. She would make the semifinals, losing to Osaka in three sets. After quarterfinal showings at both Dubai and Indian Wells, she reached her first Premier final at the Miami Open. The Czech would be defeated by Australian No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. Pliskova would go on to win the biggest clay-court title of her career at the Italian Open, rising to No.2 in the rankings as a result. Despite being a heavy favorite to win the 2019 French Open, she would be upset in the third round by 31st seed Petra Martic. She would go on to win her 14th career WTA title at the Eastbourne International, before being upset at Wimbledon (l. to Muchova in R16). Pliskova would win another title at Zhengzhou (d. Martic), before playing at the WTA Finals. She would advance to the semifinals, but lose to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.
Pliskova would successfully defend her title at the 2020 Brisbane International. She holds the record for most titles at that event with three.
Pliskova married her boyfriend Michal Hrdlicka in 2018, and resides in Monte Carlo during the off-season. She is a three-time Fed Cup winner with the Czech Republic (2015, 2016, 2018). Furthermore, she has been successful as a doubles player, winning five titles and ranking as high as No.11 on the WTA doubles rankings.