LONDON, Great Britain -- No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic moved into the fourth round of Wimbledon for the second straight season after outlasting upset artist Hsieh Su-wei, the No.28 seed from Chinese Taipei, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 on No.1 Court at Wimbledon on Friday.
"I think I did quite good," Pliskova said, in her post-match press conference. "Of course, the second set was not the best, not as I wanted to have it. I think I was just too good on the serve. I had a lot of aces."
Pliskova, who won her third title of the year at Eastbourne last week, increased her winning streak to eight straight matches with a gritty victory over dangerous Hsieh, who beat Pliskova in their most recent meeting in Dubai in February. Hsieh also has three Top 10 wins at majors in the last two seasons, including a win over then-World No.1 Simona Halep at Wimbledon last year.
The Czech, though, earned her second win in her three meetings with Hsieh after one hour and 45 minutes of play, behind 42 winners, including 14 thunderous aces. The powerful Czech had a clean match, firing just 22 unforced errors on the day. Hsieh, for her part, had 33 winners to just 10 unforced errors during the high-quality clash.
"Pretty much all of the service games also in the third set were quite easy," Pliskova stated. "There was not that much trouble. I think that's what I did better, of course, compared to last matches when I played her. But of course, tricky, especially on grass. She can make you feel ugly, which I felt at some points. Of course, happy that I'm through."
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"It's tough to really prepare because sometimes I don't think she even know what she's going to play," Pliskova continued. "You have to be ready for everything. We, of course, prepared a little bit. I played some slices with [Conchita Martinez] She likes [those], as well. I think I was ready."
"I think the people enjoy, so it was nice to be out there today on Court 1 for first time this year for me," Pliskova said. "I had fun at some points. Sometimes it was not easy, of course. I think some rallies were nice for the people. I was running way too much I think sometimes," the Czech said with a smile.
Neither player faced a break point in the first seven games, as the power of Pliskova and the guile of Hsieh kept them closely matched up to that juncture. It was Hsieh, though, who faltered at 4-3, as she started that game with a double fault and continued with errors to give Pliskova triple break point. A nifty short return by Pliskova on the second chance led to the break.
Pliskova fell behind 15-30 while serving for the set at 5-3, but a variety of forehand prowess pulled her from there to her first set point. The Czech, who is this year’s ace leader to date, fired another one of those booming untouched service winners to wrap up the first set.
Hsieh, however, had plenty of tricks up her sleeve for the second set. The player from Chinese Taipei began to deploy her devilish dropshots with aplomb, and moved Pliskova around the court with gusto as she converted her first break point of the match to lead 3-1. Hsieh nearly lost her advantage late in the set, but gritted her way past four break points to attain a key hold for 5-2.
After failing to take advantage of that opportunity, Pliskova had to regroup while serving to stay in the set, but Hsieh would not let the Czech do so. The No.28 seed fired a crosscourt winner to pull to triple break point, which doubled as three set points. On her second chance, Hsieh blasted another crosscourt winner, leveling the match at one set all.
The final set was closely contested but Pliskova earned the critical break of service early, when she blasted a forehand winner crosscourt to take a pivotal 2-1 lead. The Czech found herself in danger in her subsequent service game, but evaded two break points before holding for 3-1 with a stunning volley.
Hsieh also wriggled her way out of a tough service game, coming back from 0-40 down and holding for 3-2 to stay within touching distance. But Pliskova continued to be commanding on serve, winning her next two service games with the loss of just a single point as she eased to 5-3, putting her within a game of victory.
Hsieh extended the match by holding for 5-4 with an ace on game point, but she would not get a look into Pliskova’s final service game, as the Czech boomed her way to triple match point. On her first opportunity, Pliskova fired an error-forcing forehand to notch her spot in the second week.
Pliskova, who is yet to make a Wimbledon quarterfinal in her career, will try to reach that round on Monday when she faces her fellow Czech Karolina Muchova in the round of 16. Muchova upset No.20 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Friday.
"We played in Australia in the first round," said Pliskova. "Of course she's improving with every month or with every tournament. But I have my serve, I have my game."