Pliskova’s big serve carries her to 1st Wimbledon semifinal | Sports

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Karolina Pliskova’s tennis success is predicated on a big serve, which rewards her with plenty of easy points and can get her out of trouble when needed.

Thanks largely to that stroke, she is headed to the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time.

Pliskova claimed 24 of 26 points on her serve in one stretch, hit eight aces and saved the only three break chances she faced on the way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Viktorija Golubic on Tuesday at the All England Club.

“I feel like I’m improving with every match. … Everything today was working quite well,” said Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up and a former No. 1-ranked player. “I just feel my game is good the last two weeks, even in the practices.”

She averaged 106.5 mph on her first serves, 20.5 mph faster than Golubic, with the retractable roof at No. 1 Court shut because of rain.

The crowd there — and at Centre Court — was allowed to be at full capacity Tuesday for the first time during the tournament after COVID-19 restrictions placed a 50% cap on attendance when the fortnight began.

In the day’s first match in the main stadium, No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz came back to beat No. 2 Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the resumption of a fourth-round match suspended on another court Monday night.

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