NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA - No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova kicked off her US Open campaign with a solid victory over Zarina Diyas, making her way into the second round after a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6(4) battle.
“I think my level of play was not bad actually for the start of Grand Slam,” Pliskova told press afterward. “I felt okay. I had some chances to even play a little bit better, the second set
especially. I was 4-2 up, 40-15. It was big chance just too finish the set quickly. I didn't play well. She played a little bit better.
“Overall happy with my baseline game. The only thing that was not great was my serve. I think the percentage was just too low, a lot of double-faults. I should not lose serve, how many times? Three, four times in a match. This is the only negative thing.”
Pliskova added Conchita Martinez to her coaching team this week along with Rennae Stubbs earlier in the summer, and the partnerships have already paid off with her 13th career US Open win - which extends Pliskova’s first-round Grand Slam winning streak to 10 in a row.
“I think women can understand women better, for sure,” Pliskova said. “Also they played before, so it's little bit different… It's a combination of some styles what they play, what I play.
“For me, I think it can only be good because I can, you know, practice a little bit different things that I was doing before, maybe a little bit more approaching to the net too play some volleys. There's couple of things where we want to get better.”
The 2016 finalist started off on the right foot, with a 2-0 lead after an early break, but Diyas - who’s on the comeback trail after recovering from a right knee injury earlier in the summer - didn’t give her any room to breath as she quickly got the break straight back to level at 2-2.
Pliskova didn’t panic, and calmly reclaimed the lead in the next game, and held the Kazakh at bay to seal the opening set.
Things got a bit more complicated in the second, with Pliskova earning an early lead after three consecutive breaks of serve, consolidating to 4-2. Once again Diyas fought her way back into it, dodging break points and breaking through at 4-4. She brought up four set points a few games later, and Pliskova saved them all to send the match into a tiebreak.
The Czech pulled way in the decider, reeling off four games in a row and getting her big serve firing to see off the match after an hour and 37 minutes.
“I feel actually pretty happy to be here and to play here every year - doesn't matter in
which shape I am, doesn't matter that I just didn't play well the previous tournament here in the States,” Pliskova said. “Somehow here the energy is different. I feel just a little bit more confident here coming to this tournament because of my results in past.”
Up next, Pliskova will play the winner between qualifier Marie Bouzkova and Ana Bodgan in the second round.