Karolina Pliskova has become the second player to qualify for this season's WTA Finals in Shenzhen, and could have a shot to get back the No. 1 ranking again.
The 27-year-old won Zhengzhou Open on Sunday, beating Petra Martic in straight sets. She has also captured titles at Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne this season. At the Slams, she didn't get beyond the fourth round—aside from reaching the semifinal of the Australian Open—and was less than thrilled.
“I think only Australia was good for me, there was a big chance to win. But the others, I was not playing good tennis at all,” Pliskova said. “I had a couple good Grand Slams in the past, I played semifinals and finals in the past, so it's not that I can't play, but it's more difficult. So that's why maybe the second weeks are kind of tough for me. But I believe I can win.”
It was raining a lot in Zhengzhou, but Pliskova used it to her advantage in the final, saying a break at the beginning helped her find her game.
“I think it helped me just to stay calm. And I talked to [my coach] Olga [Savchuk] a little bit and I really started after better just being more aggressive, serving better and after everything kind of worked,” said Pliskova. "Of course the weather you cannot really change, so that was I think the biggest trouble of this week. But otherwise, I won, so I'm not going to complain about anything.”
The former No. 1 is now just around 100 points behind top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, but cannot get in front this week because she has points to defend and is not playing.
Pliskova is next scheduled to play Wuhan and Beijing, where she could have a shot at taking over the top spot.
"I'm going to just enjoy a couple days just rest and do some things, do some recreation and get ready a little bit more for Wuhan and Beijing," she said. "Of course, I'm going to feel confident, I'm feeling quite well, I think I played good matches."
Pliskova, who likes hard courts, has twice been a semifinalist at the WTA Finals.