BRISBANE, Australia - No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova delivered a clinical performance in her first match of 2017, needing just over an hour to defeat Yulia Putintseva and move into the second round at the Brisbane International.
On a day when the WTA's extreme heat policy came into force, Pliskova enjoyed the luxury of playing under the closed roof on the Pat Rafter Arena. Even so, the Czech kept her time on court to a minimum, reeling off 10 of the last 11 games to wrap up victory after a fraction over an hour. "I think I felt pretty good on the court. The roof is definitely helping," Pliskova said. "All the practices I had, just one I had on Pat Rafter.
"I felt much better than on the outside courts today, definitely. And, yeah, you could also see it in the match I was fine."
? WTA (@WTA) January 1, 2017
Despite finishing 2016 at a career-best No.6 in the rankings, Pliskova parted company with long-term coach Jiri Vanek during the off-season, bringing on board David Kotyza as a replacement.
"There are still few things what I want to improve in the next match. I have a day off tomorrow. I just hit with my coach and try and improve it. Just take it match by match and try to play at least how I was playing today," she added.
The two are paying particular attention to the forehand wing, hoping to iron out any creases ahead of the Australian Open, which begins in a fortnight's time.
"I was just trying to move on the court to play as many forehands as I can. And with the backhand, just play solid, which I think was not that good today from backhand side. But like I said, it's first match, so there was few mistakes and we still have some time to improve it to Melbourne.
"I just, you know, take these matches more like not practice but just to maybe try few things what I was doing today. Maybe to go to the net often than I was doing it maybe on the Grand Slam. Just take it match by match and try to play at least how I was playing today."
Also advancing in the top half of the draw were Shelby Rogers and Misaki Doi. Rogers finished strongly to win a see-saw battle against Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, while Doi impressively saw off Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6(1), 6-4.