This is the first US Open quarter-final of her career, and she takes on Pliskova with a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head.
Pliskova, who had been a match point down in her previous match, destroyed Jennifer Brady 6-1 6-0 in just 46 minutes to move into the US Open quarter finals.
Eventually the home crowd had something to cheer as Brady got on the board, having lost the first four games of the match, but it was only a brief success as Pliskova fended off two break openings before taking the set.
For the first time since 2002, half of the women's quarterfinalists at the U.S. Open are Americans.
Nadal had found the going tough at Flushing Meadows but the hottest day of the tournament so far saw Nadal spark into life.
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Now the 32-year-old, a former No15, had battled her way through qualifying and played two long three-setters to set this meeting with a woman 12 years her junior, and made short work of her, too, 6-4, 6-4, in an hour and half, 34 winners to 11-though her big attacking game produced many errors too.
Karolina Pliskova expects Coco Vandeweghe to provide a different test to anyone else she has faced at the 2017 US Open but the world number one is ready for the challenge. "It was good for me to get a feel for what it's like playing on a big stage, playing on Ashe". "My first good match, actually", Pliskova said.
Pliskova remained undefeated against Americans this year.
"I felt like she was playing pretty well today".
She wouldn't have much problem if she plays as she did in a almost flawless fourth-round performance, looking nothing like the player who almost went home a round earlier. I didn't even practice yesterday.
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This time, she took the lead 4-0 against an opponent obviously nervous, and then she won the second round even more uneven. I didn't play my best.
Former champion Juan Martin del Potro, the No 24 seed, faced sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem, with the victor getting Federer if the five-time champion can improve his 31-1 record in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium. "She's playing as well as anyone", he said.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA finally played like the world No 1 and proved she could claim her first Grand Slam title in NY.
"But, you know, I think she was hitting her spots and her serves well".
Elina Svitolina, the world No 4, had also been in contention to go top of the pile, but the 22-year-old Ukrainian went out of the tournament when she was beaten 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 by Madison Keys, of the United States.
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Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens had continued to fly the flag all the way to the quarters in the bottom half of the draw.