EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - 2017 champion Karolina Pliskova dropped just two games in a grass court masterclass against Ekaterina Alexandrova, claiming the last semifinal spot at the Nature Valley International.
Clinical all week without dropping a set, No.2 seed Pliskova - who also made the final here in 2016 - needed just 54 minutes to dismiss World No.52 Alexandrova in a clinical performance, 6-2, 6-0.
“I think it's tough because I can serve well,” Pliskova explained. “It's about couple points. If you don't do well, then I can just really, not kill you every time, but I can just hold my serve sometimes easier... I can also serve breakpoints down.
“So it's tough. And then I think more mentally it's tough that they just, I don't know, try to play too much, I feel like. And I don't mind this game: then there is too much mistakes from them.”
Indeed, Pliskova was nearly flawless on Thursday, firing 22 winners and only three unforced errors during the match, outpacing Alexandrova’s 12 and nine, respectively. The Czech’s serve was clicking as well today, firing six aces and not facing a single break point.
Alexandrova, who had knocked out heavyweights Belinda Bencic and Jelena Ostepenko en route to the quarterfinals, came out firing during the opening exchanges, but quickly found herself outclassed as the former World No.1 got going.
Pliskova had Alexandrova’s serve under pressure with her powerful returns, bringing up a pair of break chances early on at 2-2. Alexandrova struggled with Pliskova’s own booming serves, finding herself unable to create any break points of her own as Pliskova reeled off the last four games in a row to take the opening set, 6-2.
Fully dialled in and firing, Pliskova tore through the next six games unanswered to the second set to love, claiming the victory in just 54 minutes on court.
“I think the beginning was quite tough,” Pliskova admitted. “There were a couple of moments which I had some breakpoints. I didn't make it… I think I just did well in the important moments, I played just better.
“I think she was kind of on and off. I think she just went for too much sometimes. And I was just putting pressure every time I could, especially on the second serve.”
Into the Eastbourne semifinals for the third time, Pliskova will now take on No.3 seed Kiki Bertens in her next match as she seeks a spot in the final.
“You know, she beat me last year in Wimbledon,” Pliskova recalled. “She did quarterfinal in Wimbledon, so I don't think [grass is] the worst surface for her.
“I think she played quite okay. I saw a little bit today. Of course she made one final already on the grass, so she's been one more week than me.
“I need to be patient, because for sure she's not gonna give me that much as maybe today she did, Alexandrova, so there is not going to be that many mistakes. But of course I will have maybe more time.”