A Grand Slam quarterfinal was uncharted territory for both Karolina Pliskova and Ana Konjuh, but only one appeared to be in need of a better map on Wednesday.
Over-hitting and underperforming, Konjuh, an 18-year-old from Croatia, struggled with her timing and her footwork from the start.
But that was hardly her biggest problem.
“I wasn’t at my best level today for sure, but she was just too good,” Konjuh said of Pliskova.
That has become a mantra on the women’s tour of late. Long considered a major threat, Pliskova has struggled with nerves and consistency in the major events until now. But she has won 22 of her last 26 matches and is busting through mental and physical barriers at the United States Open.
Before this tournament, Pliskova, a tall Czech right-hander, was the only player in the top 20 who had yet to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament in singles.