Karolina Pliskova – New Career-High Ranking on WTA

The September 12th, 2016 rankings were historic for Angelique Kerber. However, Karolina Pliskova also made some major headway.

Karolina Pliskova finally did well in a Grand Slam tournament. The Czech No. 1, before the 2016 US Open, had a way of losing early in all of her previous majors. However, following a title in Cincinnati from last month and her run to the US Open final, Pliskova is now well within the Top 10 with the September 12th, 2016 ranking update.

The Czech player is now the World No. 6, up five spots from her previous ranking of World No. 11. She is also a player with tremendous room for growth. In fact, I think if you took a careful look at Pliskova and the situation in the WTA, you might foresee a challenger to the World No. 1 in 2017.

Pliskova, who is known for her serve, seems to have nowhere to go but up in the next 11 months. With early-round exits at the 2016 Australian Open, the 2016 French Open, and Wimbledon 2016 she should easily gain a lot of ranking points at those events in 2017. Furthermore, for the balance of the 2016 season, it’s hard to picture her not gaining a spot in the rankings (if she remains healthy).

She has yet to clinch a spot in the WTA year-end event, however she is the fourth-best player on year-to-date ranking points. Having never played in the WTA Finals, should she make it that far this season she would invite an opportunity to gain a ton of ranking points. Furthermore, she has no title defenses for the balance of the 2016 season with a major chance to gain some ranking points on the Asian swing.

The way that she has been playing over the last month, it’s clear that the Czech No. 1 is poised to be a major star on tour. I would project her year-end ranking as the World No. 4 or the World No. 5.

However, Pliskova is not the only player with some momentum following the US Open. Caroline Wozniacki did well at Flushing Meadows as well.

She is unlike Pliskova in the sense that the Dane, in her history, has already reached the top of the WTA Tour. However, that was a number of years ago now. Prior to New York Wozniacki was having a bad season to date, but she is back up to the World No. 29 position as of Monday.

Given her talent, she cannot be written off when it comes to the year-end WTA Finals. However, gaining 20+ ranking positions before the year-end event in Singapore will still be difficult. Furthermore, the Dane’s motivation is often difficult to measure.

In my mind, Wozniacki’s future success is a big question mark, even after the strong run in New York. Pliskova, on the other hand, seems like a very dangerous player for the balance of the season and into 2017.

Shane Lambert