PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR ACCOUNT CREATION
Alycia Parks stuns Karolina Pliskova in Ostrava opener
How's that for a statement? In her first-ever match against a Top 20 player, 21-year-old American Alycia Parks stunned former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the first round of the Agel Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Parks, who came through qualifying and is currently ranked No. 144, upset the two-time Grand Slam finalist in Round 1 of the WTA 500 event, 6-0, 7-6(2).
"I'm very grateful and thankful to get through the match today," Parks said. "I wasn't even scared, I was more confident with how I've been playing my previous matches."
Unseeded in qualifying, Parks didn't drop a set against No. 12 seed Oksana Selekhmeteva, a two-time junior Grand Slam doubles champion, and former Top 100 player Anna-Lena Friedsam to set up her shot at Pliskova in just the seventh WTA main draw of her young career. Parks earned not only her best-ever win by ranking (Pliskova is currently ranked No. 19), but just her third career win against a player ranked in the Top 50.
Parks' best prior win by ranking came this June, and was a straight-sets triumph against then-No. 46 Zheng Qinwen on grass in Berlin.
Parks blitzed two-time Grand Slam finalist Pliskova in 88 minutes thanks in part to clean hitting from the first ball. In a 27-minute opener, she hit 15 winners to Pliskova's one, and never faced break point. In the second set, she won four straight games from a break behind at 3-1, but closed out victory with a dominant tiebreak after failing to serve out the upset at 5-3.
A big-server by reputation—last summer, Parks hit the joint-fastest serve in US Open history—Parks landed 62% of her first serves in victory, and won 72% of those points. The serve has been a cornerstone of the Floridian's game for her first days on court, she says, thanks to the influence of her father Michael.
"[The serve] comes very natural for me, I want to thank my dad because he's the one who taught me," Parks said. "He always gave me a rhythm, kind of like dance, one-two. So that always stuck in the back of my mind."
But, against Pliskova, Parks' ground game was just as solid. Overall, she hit a staggering 35 winners to Pliskova's six, and broke the one-time ace leader of the WTA tour five times on five chances. Pliskova entered the match third-best in aces this season, but struck none in defeat. Instead, Parks made the Czech pay when she missed a first serve: She won 16 of 19 points played off of Pliskova's second serve.
After earning a win against a Top 20 player, Parks will now need to score a Top 10 victory should she want to reach the first WTA quarterfinal of her career. Her next opponent is world No. 7 Maria Sakkari of Greece.
Pro Media & NewsRoland Garros Round 1May 30, 2023Taylor Fritz and Jessica Pegula were both victorious in all-American first-round matchups in Paris. Ten American women and five U.S. men advanced to the second round across the past three days at Roland Garros. Read More
Pro Media & NewsRoland Garros drawsMay 25, 2023Returning finalist Coco Gauff and tournament debutant Ben Shelton are among nine Americans seeded across the men's and women's singles draws at Roland Garros. Read More
Pro Media & NewsStephens wins WTA 125May 08, 2023Sloane Stephens won a WTA 125 title in Saint-Malo, France, while the doubles duo of Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula reached the final at the Madrid WTA 1000. Read More