Karolina Pliskova admits there have been matches – even tournaments – that she has won simply because she has a big serve that can bail her out of trouble.
The Czech, who will play Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday night for a place in the BNP Paribas Open final, has for the past two seasons recorded the most aces of any WTA player.
She described the stroke as the defining element of her game.
“Everybody has something, so with me it’s the serve. I always had kind of like good serve, not that good as it (is) now last few years,” she said after beating Garbine Muguruza in the Indian Wells quarterfinals.
“It’s my biggest weapon. I just feel it when I need some points, or break points down, I can serve well in those moments, which is always big plus. It’s always important that I can have that free point.
“Not many girls can do that. Even the girls can have good serve, but they (don’t) serve well in the important moments. And I’m able to do that, so I’m really happy for that.
“Even though some tournaments it’s just not great, but a lot of matches I won because of my serve (smiling). Even tournaments, not only matches.”
Both Pliskova and her twin sister Kristyna were tall players as juniors, and continued to grow – meaning they were always blessed with a natural advantage when it come to serving.
And according to Karolina, her serve is an incredibly natural stroke.
Unlike other dominant female servers such as Serena Williams or Sam Stosur, who have experienced shoulder niggles in the past season, Pliskova claims not to have suffered any such pain.
“I don’t even use any power. It’s just a swing, you know. That’s why maybe I cannot go over … I think 186 (kph) is my fastest serve, which is not that much. There are girls which can hit 200 or more than 190,” she said.
“It’s probably because I’m just, like, not using any power in the serve. It’s just like all my strokes, it’s more like everything natural, just swinging easy. Backhand sometimes not swinging easy (smiling).
“If there are some long match or tough match and I’m going through a lot of second serve, then it’s obviously for the shoulder it’s tough. But I don’t usually have any shoulder problems and any hand problems. Probably it’s because I’m not using any power. It’s just naturally going.
“It’s not hurting anything so far (smiling).”
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