BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - Magdalena Rybarikova scored her second grass court victory over Karolina Pliskova, moving into the second round at the Nature Valley Classic.
Rybarikova, who a year ago came back from a set down to end Pliskova’s Wimbledon campaign in a stunner, was in command from the start to notch the 6-2, 6-3 victory in just over an hour.
“I always say that every match is very different,” Rybarikova said. “Karolina is a great player, and I have a lot of respect for her. Today I don’t think it was her best day, but it was all about serves and returns and I was just better at that. That was the key.
“I put so many returns in, and maybe she was thinking about our last match in Wimbledon. I was playing really well there, but every match is different. It could have been a different result today, but I’m so happy that I won this match.”
Rybarikova got off to a dominant start against the Czech, who needed a few games to find her rhythm against her opponent’s slices and pace. Rybarikova broke twice in a row to get ahead 4-0, then dodged a pair of Pliskova break chances to keep her lead and take the opening set.
Her relentless returning kept Pliskova under a lot of pressure in the second, and as a result Rybarikova kept the Czech’s big serve contained. Another pair of breaks - one at 3-2 and the other at 6-3 for the match - closed out the counter for Rybarikova after 64 minutes.
Up next, the Slovakian will face Kristina Mladenovic in the second round after the Frenchwoman edged past Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 earlier in the day.