NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Karolina Pliskova showed the steel of a world number one as she fought off a match point to claim a riveting 3-6 7-5 6-4 comeback win over Zhang Shuai in the U.S. Open third round on Saturday.
Pliskova, runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year, would have lost her world number one ranking had she been beaten on Arthur Ashe Stadium but moved another step closer to a first career grand slam title.
Chinese Zhang was aggressive throughout the match but was ultimately worn down by the tall, big-serving Czech.
Pliskova needed an injury time out to attend to a sore arm in the second set, which she hopes will not bother her when she faces either American Jennifer Brady or Monica Niculescu of Romania.
“I will have to improve in the next one,” the 25-year-old said in a courtside interview.
“Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and I’ll be ready for my next match.”
The match was 25-year-old Zhang’s best showing against the tournament’s top seed but she came up short and is now winless in five matches against Pliskova.
Editing by Ed Osmond